It was my first avocado tree’s first winter when a couple leaves started getting yellow veins. Oh no, what disease was this?
I sent a photo to a seasoned avocado grower and he wrote back, “This is leaf senescence. The leaf is just dying naturally.”
With this post, I hope to calm your worries or clue you in when the leaves on your avocado trees take on unexpected appearances.
This is a small gallery of photos of avocado leaves along with explanations of why they look the way they do. Many of the photos were taken in my yard but some were taken elsewhere.
Learning to read the leaves of your avocado trees can help you care for them, and it can help you just relax and appreciate their stages of life.
Let’s start from the beginning.
New, red avocado leaves
Don’t let the red shock you. While these are among the reddest new avocado leaves I’ve ever seen (they’re on a seedling tree), all new avocado leaves are reddish. That’s just the way they grow (even in the wild).
Adolescent, lime green avocado leaves
. . . with mature, forest green avocado leaves
As the new, red leaves age they become light green and then deep green once mature.
If all is healthy with the tree and the soil below, then the leaves’ color will be uniform, not blotchy.
Old, yellowing avocado leaves
But at the end of their lives, avocado leaves begin to yellow, starting with their veins. The look could alarm you, as it alarmed me. The above photo shows dying (“senescent,” say the botanists) leaves on a Fuerte avocado tree.
These leaves on a Reed avocado tree are farther along in the aging process. They will drop any day now. This is their natural end.
So . . . from red to lime green, to forest green, to yellow: that’s the colorful cycle of life for an avocado leaf.
Here’s video of avocado trees in my yard in May of 2021, showing leaves in all natural stages:
Yet things can go wrong along the way. And when they do, avocado leaves sometimes turn color but other times pattern, shape, or size.
Avocado leaves damaged by mites
That’s the speckled look of avocado leaves when the tiny critters called mites have been feeding on them. Depending on the type of mite, the dots can be distributed across the whole leaf or concentrated near the veins. Flip a leaf over to find the mites underneath doing the chewing.
Sometimes you can even see their silvery webbing. (See this page for information on identifying and managing avocado mites.)
Mite damage can mimic damage from other leaf stresses, such as when temperatures get too cold.
Mottled, cold-damaged avocado leaves
Cold damage forms little dead spots between the veins and all over the leaf. There’s no yellowing, and the spots are dark brown. Some people refer to it as bronzing. It’s a mottled, pixelated look that comes from nights that are too cold for comfort but not so cold as to kill the whole leaf.
Avocado leaves killed by cold, frost
If the temperature gets low enough, then leaves start to die. Young leaves like these are most vulnerable. After a frost kill, they appear black and curled; they look burned, ironically.
(For tips on preventing this, see my post “Protecting avocado trees from cold.”)
Bleached, sunburned avocado leaves
These leaves have actually been burned. At first they bleach to a yellow like the leaf in the lower right, but if the sun and heat is too intense, then they brown and die. Temperatures usually need to be well over 100 degrees to cause damage to the leaves of a healthy, well-watered avocado tree, in my experience.
Avocado lace bug
If sunburn is mild, then it can appear spotty on the leaves, especially young leaves. However, if avocado leaves have brown, dead spots — about the size of your thumbnail — on leaves throughout the tree’s canopy, then they are likely caused by the avocado lace bug.
Look at the underside of such a leaf and you’ll likely find black specks.
The black specks are the lace bugs’ eggs, plus they excrete a black substance over some of their eggs. The lace bugs themselves can also be black or more tan or white colored. (See this page for more photos of avocado lace bugs and their damage. And see this page for details on avocado lace bugs, as well as management strategies. The latest research on avocado lace bug in California is posted by UC Riverside entomologist Mark Hoddle here.)
Wilting, dull, thirsty avocado leaves
When avocado trees are thirsty or stressed because of extremely high heat their leaves droop, sag, wilt. (Note: The leaves of citrus trees cup upward when thirsty, but avocados do the opposite.)
The above photo shows a young Sharwil avocado tree that is signalling thirst. I took the picture, then I watered it, and then I returned fifteen minutes later and took this photo:
Scroll back up and down to compare. After watering, the leaves rapidly became turgid, stiff, and shiny. When you read these leaves, you read hydrated, happy.
A little drooping from momentary thirst is no big deal. Worse for avocados is leaves drooping from constant soil saturation.
Pale, overwatered avocado leaves
This little Fuerte tree has been watered too much too often, and because of that its leaves are showing this sign: pale green leaves.
If this tree were to continue to be watered too much too often, such that the soil stays constantly wet, it would end up looking like this next Fuerte tree.
Notice that the leaves are few, and the leaves are pale green and small. These are classic symptoms of a tree that is growing in heavy soil and that is watered too much too often. Its roots are rotting.
In heavy soil, an avocado tree should be planted on a mound, and the mound should be covered with a thick mulch. This helps provide the airy environment that avocado roots need. (See my post, “How to plant and stake an avocado tree.”)
Drooping old avocado leaves during bloom and new flush
Another reason that avocado leaves droop is during flowering, which is mainly in spring and which is also accompanied by the growth of new avocado leaves. I’ve always thought of it as looking like the old leaves are getting out of the way of the flowers and new leaves.
Here is a Reed avocado tree with droopy old leaves during spring flowering and flush:
Avocado leaves with tip or margin burn from chloride salt in irrigation water
You shouldn’t see many of these leaves on your tree in spring through summer. They appear in fall once the chloride in the irrigation water that we use in Southern California has accumulated in the soil and tree. (It can also be partly due to not watering enough.) The leaf burn gets worse through winter, and then the tree sheds the burned leaves and replaces them with new ones in spring.
(More on this: “Avocado leaves turning brown? Here’s why and what to do.”)
On the other hand, here in the spring you’ll see . . .
Avocado leaves chewed by bugs
To find out who is doing the munching (it might also be slugs, Fuller rose beetles, grasshoppers, and more), check the tree with a flashlight at night. That’s when most critters chew avocado leaves.
(Also see my post “Who is eating holes in your avocado leaves?”)
But if you see the tips of leaves curled:
Then unfurl. You might find aphids in there or you might find a caterpillar and its frass:
Three kinds of caterpillars that commonly do this on avocados are the leafroller (amorbia), looper, and orange tortrix. No matter which you find, as long as you’re not spraying poisons on or near your tree then natural enemies such as birds, spiders, flies, and lots of other bugs and parasites should keep these caterpillar numbers down.
Some avocado leaves can look as if they’ve been affected by a pest or disease or stress when the fact is that they can’t help it — they look funky by nature.
Wavy leaf margins on avocado leaves
The leaves of all avocado varieties look as unique as their fruit. The above leaves with undulating edges belong to my Pinkerton tree, but Sir-Prize and Nimlioh can have similarly wavy margins.
Upturned, cupped, taco-shell shaped avocado leaves
Another set of avocado varieties has leaves that are often folded up like a taco shell. The above photo shows leaves on a Holiday, but you’ll find the leaves of Lamb doing the same pose.
What could it mean if leaves in one part of the tree look different from leaves in another?
Look closely at this photo and you’ll see that the larger, greener leaves on the left all emanate from a branch that is attached to the trunk way down low — below the graft union.
(See my post “Your fruit tree is grafted — Why? And so what?”)
Usually, you’d want to cut off such a rootstock sucker immediately, but this is a friend’s young Fuerte tree, and I proposed using them to graft on additional avocado varieties instead. The tree now has branches of Reed and Lamb growing on it. It has become a three in one. It will have three sets of different-looking avocado leaves on the tree plus three sets of different avocado fruit. Is that making lemonade out of lemons?
There are many other looks to avocado leaves, but let’s end with the reality that most of the time leaves show a combination of characteristics. Here’s an example you can quiz yourself on. What is happening with this avocado leaf?
Why the yellow? Why the dots? Why the burned tip?
Here’s a video showing some of the above types of avocado leaves:
You might also like to read my post:
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Thank you, I always look forward to your Avocado tree posts.
I looked over your post on avocado leaf problems and did not see the problem that just developed on my two-year old tree: small brown spots along the veins of the upper leaves. I can always send along a photo.
Sounds like possible mites to me: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/C008/m008bpmites.html
Looks like a good call on your part. Hopefully the hot weather we are having will help; I’ll also spray water on the underside of the leaves. Any hint as to whether Need oil will help the situation?
Based on the UC IPM page, it looks like Neem oil would smother the mites. But do remember that it’s going to also smother predaceous mites and other beneficial insects.
Thanks. I’ll mull it over.
A year later, it’s all good, without me doing anything.
Thanks for the update, Robert. I think it’s so wise to be hesitant to take action, and you’ve shown why.
What is wrong with my avocado? It is getting a bunch of brown spots until it turns yellow and falls off
Is it normal that my indoor potted avocado plant leaves droop at night and spread up during the day?
I’ve never noticed that phenomenon. Doesn’t sound like it would indicate any problem though.
Hi. I have a Fuerte Avocado tree growing in the Mount Helix area. My tree is about 4 years old and looks very healthy. There are a few leaves that have white squiggly lines on the tops of the leaves. They look similar to citrus miner problems. Any ideas?
Help we had a hurricane and tree was in excessively watered soil. All leave brown and crunchy stalk and branches very green and flexible. Can it be saved? My husband pulled from the area it was planted and potted but it may be lost cause help- it’s my first from seed, we live in St. John’s Fl
Greg, what if the tops look a bit like the mite-infected leaves but the bottoms are clear and beautiful?
Nitrogen issue? I have a Fuerte that is trying to talk to me but I’m not yet able to understand.
My Zutano and Hass are great communicators. I’m still trying to learn my Fuerte.
I love your description! I’ve also got some trees whose language I don’t yet speak.
Do you mean that the tops of the leaves show damage but the undersides of the leaves don’t? The only mite that feeds on avocados that damages the top sides of leaves that I know of is the avocado brown mite. See more about it here: https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/avocado/avocado-brown-mite/
I read the info. It doesn’t sound like that either. I did post two pictures in the Southern California Avocado Growers group on Facebook, but I’m not getting much help there either. I guess I’ll just keep watching and trying to figure out the needs of my tree.
This is only my second year with avocados. I have so much to learn.
If you posted a link to photos I might have a whole new perspective. It can be hard to communicate these symptoms effectively with only words.
I don’t see anything, maybe because it’s within a private group?
I just uploaded them to imgbb under eloradorini
Is there a link you can provide?
That leaf looks like it has slight cold damage. The symptoms are sometimes called mottling or bronzing.
Thank you. That’s a relief. I know I have much to learn but I just don’t want to cause harm to any of my plants/trees.
Bless you, Greg. Your daughter with the kale picture was so precious!
I just joined your website and I don’t see how I post a new question so I hope this works! I live near the coast in San Diego (University City, near UCSD). A month ago I had a 15-gal Haas avocado tree planted in my yard . It was purchased from and planted by Moon Valley Nurseries. I cannot tell from the appearance of the leaves if I am giving it too much or too little water. The leaves towards the top are drooping down, like they are wilted; giving it a LOT more water doesn’t seem to help. They are also turning “taco shaped”. The leaves towards the bottom look better. Can too much water make the top leaves look like that?
Very much informative, cleared mostly about ourSan Diego Residence 4.25 acre land with 80 big trees and 250 two years old Hass Plants with some three or five big fruits each! Grover comments the BoreWell water using for irrigation is with 300 chloride content! But increased the water Quantity as 50 Gallons per hour every day, leaves are very healthy, plain, big and with 50% more small fruits than last year!
Hi Greg, I planted a Wurtz that was already about 3 feet tall and looking good in a very large clay pot and I got the tree from a reputable c=source. Cactus dirt was recommended for pots so that’s what I used and it drains well. I have been deep watering it once a week and digging down a little to make sure it drains out. There are nice white little roots about 1 to 2 inches down. I had the reddish leaf period but now I’m going right into the yellow vain and dark brown tip period already and there are no dark green leaves at all on the tree, just the yellow vein and brown tips. My water is very hard, Laguna Beach and on this hose there is no softener attached to it. I fertilized only once about 3 weeks ago with an organic Citruce-Tone 5-2-6 but don’t see any change. Any suggestiuons? Thanks Pat
This is really helpful, thank you.
Thank you for a very nice explanation on leaves signs. I have young avocado trees where I observed on tree trunk some whitish powder and a very tiny hole. What is it. I could attached the photo but if fail on how to paste. Thank you again
The white powder is dried sap. See here: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/white-powder-on-avocado-branches/
The tiny hole could have been caused by a boring insect or some other injury.
Thank you very much for your response. The photo you attached is real of what was happening on my avocado tree, It seems was borrower pest.
This is my first avocado tree with flowers I’m so happy you imagine I going to have avocado in my house for the first time I tried before but they got sick now I look on books and learn how to care indoor plants I have lime lemon and avocado I feel good
Congrats, Luis. I’m happy for you and your tree!
Hi! I have recently started growing avocado trees. They sprouted in my compost, but it’s turning winter in Georgia, so I knew they wouldn’t last. The first one I saw, I transplanted. The leaves went from perky and stiff to thick, fluffy almost, and quite wavy. The other, which is somehow about the same age (I guess I just didn’t notice it) is still in the compost. Unlike its potted sibling, it’s leaves are still durable and a healthy width. The thickness of the potted leaves and the almost wilted look makes me think of overwatering. Thoughts?
I love that you’re growing avocados in Georgia. My first guess is not that you’re overwatering, but rather that roots were damaged in the transplanting process and now the transplanted tree is having trouble pulling up enough water to support its leaves. This has happened to me many times. Avocado seeds first send down a single tap root very deep and then later form side roots. It’s often hard to dig deep enough to keep the tap root intact when transplanting. Usually, I end up severing it. Sometimes such transplanted trees recover over time. To help you can cut a few leaves in half to reduce their water needs.
But my guess as to what is happening with your trees could certainly be wrong. Linking to a few photos might give me a whole new perspective.
We’ve got an avocado plant in a pot, indoors here in SoCal. It was growing find for the first few months, I trimmed it back at 13″, and it’s almost 25″ now with only leaves on the tip top. The new foliage that grows is miniature and withers and dies before it ever makes it past a few millimeters in length. The adult leaves, (only two on top) eventually turn brown and dry at the tips and fall off. I do have hard water, but would this prevent the baby leaves from growing? It’s under a grow light with direct sun, and was repotted recently, to no avail.
You’re out last hope. We’re just about to give up on this baby. I’ve not seen this ailment listed anywhere.
Sounds like a lot of things can be going on. I’d take a look at the roots. If you find no white or cream-colored roots around the outside of the potting mix, then you’ve got a sick root system and the tree probably won’t recover.
It’s been a second since I posted, but you seem to be absolutely right! After taking my tree indoors for the winter, I went outside every now and then to check on the tree in the ground. After the first frost, it was wilted, so I know I made the right choice to keep one inside. As much as I would have liked to take in both, this was a bit of an experiment and the one outside was my control group.
In the time since I took my tree inside, it’s gained a whole new layer of healthy, perky leaves. It’s only been a month, but my baby is growing fast! I potted it in two Pringles cans, one stacked on top of the other (with the bottom cut out to make it a continuous “pot”) because my tree was growing a very long tap root, and my ten or so mango trees that I had didn’t do well with being restricted to a stout or shallow pot. In my house, it’s around seventy degrees, with slightly humid air (it’s Georgia) and my tree receives bright indirect light all day. I’m not sure how it’s actually done better in the cooler environment without direct sunlight, but it’s grown faster and stronger here than it did outside. I really do think that once it adapted to the transplant and got a better environment, the tree found itself. Thanks so much for the information!
That’s great news! Thanks for taking the time to update. Researchers have found that avocados actually grow best at around 72 degrees, they are certainly happy in humid air, and they photosynthesize well without very bright (outdoor, “real”) light so everything you’ve described about your indoor environment seems to be conducive to growing a happy avocado tree. Hope all continues.
Hi Greg, your posts are full of valuable information i really appreciate the help you provide the community, i am hoping you can give me some direction on my lamb hass. I live in hot climate it’s been in the 90s most of last 2 months, I had the tree in a container not doing too well and i planted in hopes It would get better and it hasn’t. Here are some pictures can you advise your thoughts on this?
Thanks. Looks like it had been thirsty for a while (not necessarily right now). You’re doing everything right with the painting for sunscreen. Make sure it doesn’t dry out going forward and hope to see a good flush of new leaves in the next few weeks. If those new leaves reach full size and don’t burn, then your tree is good to go. If they stay small or burn on the margins, then your root system is too compromised and I’d remove it and replace it and start over with a new, healthy tree.
What about seedling leaves coming in really small after the plant was initially very healthy and growing strong?
The size of new leaves is always small at first and in general unimportant. What you want to watch for is the size of the leaves at maturity, that is, once they stop increasing in size and turn a darker green. A healthy tree will have large mature leaves. Leaves that don’t get big (as big as normal for that variety) at maturity indicate health problems with the tree.
Good day I need some advice. My Rees Avo tree’s leaves is white with green sport. Can you help please. Marie I dont know how to sent you a photo.
Btw the young leaves are amazing on salad!!! YUM!
I have two young potted avo plants (variety unknown, leaves are not shiny, but dull, color is rather pale green) growing in the room. While on the terrace to be watered by rain we got hail that made nasty holes in the leaves, they don’t look nice, but don’t fall off. Shall I take the damaged leaves off, will this affect the overall growth?
Btw, see Cammis post from a year ago (20 Aug 20) – the leaves on my avo plant (on only one of them!) also droop at night and spread up during the day. I, too, can send a pic.
Excellent detail. Broad and deep. Thanks so much.
Hello, on my avocodo plant the leaves are turning orange and papery and i am not sure what is happening
Hi James, I have a 2’ potted wurtz avocado that was looking really great. Then it started losing a lot of buds and flowers. Should I be concerned or is this normal. I live in south Florida
My fuerte has the brown tips you show in fall and winter, beautiful leaves in spring and summer. You describe it as chloride damage..but I only use well water, is there something else that also causes the browning tips? I also live in Ramona, above the valley. Thanks for all your tips!
I’m glad you wrote. Trying to be brief, I said the tip burn in the photo above was due to chloride accumulation, but that’s not the whole story, and it may not be true for your Fuerte.
Chloride does seem to be the main cause for the type of tip burn shown in that photo. See some more photos and discussion of this here: http://avocadosource.com/Journals/CA/CA_1951_V5_N12_PG_7.pdf
But avocado leaves also get different patterns of leaf burn from other water-related causes. For example, the link above shows photos of leaf burn caused by sodium in irrigation water.
Also, simply not watering an avocado tree enough will cause leaf burn, no matter the water quality. I’ve kept an eye on a few avocado trees in Southern California that I know don’t get any irrigation — in other words, they’re getting all of their water in the form of relatively pure rainwater. And in low rainfall years they have bad leaf burn. In those cases, it doesn’t seem likely to be cause by chloride or other salt issues; it seems to me that it must be due to inadequate water.
This leaf-burning from inadequate water also happens readily on newly planted trees which have small, vulnerable root systems. In fact, in the photo above the tip burn one, titled “Drooping, pale, overwatered avocado leaves,” you’ll notice there are burned leaves at the bottom of that young tree, and that’s because when this particular tree was first planted it wasn’t watered enough. (Later, my friend then overcompensated and watered it too often.)
As for well water in general, it’s all different. Some wells in our area tap into better quality water than others in terms of both chloride levels and levels of salts on the whole.
Many of my neighbors water their avocado trees with well water and they all have varying levels of leaf burn in fall and winter. This might be partly because their water quality varies. I don’t know for sure. But it’s also due to how much they water. I can observe this better. And it’s due to differences in avocado varieties. Some of these trees are Hass, some Fuerte, some others. Different avocado varieties have different sensitivities to chloride and other salts. Then there’s the issue of rootstocks. There’s a lot involved!
Thank you for your reply very helpful!
How do we fix it whatever the reason? Can we cut the brown off each leaf affected even if most or close to all of the leaves are brown topped? Thanks Much!
The cure depends on the cause. First, you have to figure out why the leaves have browned. For a little more about this issue, see my post “Avocado leaves turning brown? Here’s why and what to do.”
Most often, it’s related to not watering enough, especially not often enough.
You can cut the brown off of each leaf if that makes the tree look better to you, but unfortunately, that will do nothing to help the tree.
Hello. I have my first avacado tree growing and it looks healthy and beautiful. But my main question is why one leaf alot bigger than the rest of the leaves? Like twice the size. Should I be worried? What do I need to do? TIA
Sometimes this happens. I don’t know why. I’ve seen it many times, but it has never indicated any kind of problem to my knowledge.
On larger trees, you’ll see big leaves sometimes on the north sides of a canopy. There’s one on my Fuerte right now that is giant. Just a strange but natural occurrence. I don’t know the cause.
The only thing you want to make sure of is that it’s only a single leaf and not a bunch of different leaves on a branch that is growing from low on the trunk. That might be a rootstock sucker.
I started a few avocado seedlings this spring and there’s one that has been a light pink since day one. It’s in good soil and I’m only watering maybe once or twice a week. It frequently drops leaves and since there’s no chlorophyll, I’m worried it will die. Is there some deficiency in the soil I could fix? It’s indoor and the other avocado trees I’ve started in the same way have been doing great, it’s just this little pink one that’s struggling. Thank you for your help!
Do the leaves remain light pink or do they eventually turn yellow or green? I’ve never known an avocado whose leaves remain light pink into maturity.
I have small yellow rust looking spots all over leaves on my 2year old hass. What could that be?
There could be mites. Check out this page: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/C008/m008bpmites.html
Greg, Excellent and very much appreciated photos of various conditions for Avocado leaves. Will most definately save this. I do have one question. Earlier this spring I notices on my two young trees the appearance on the new leaves that would indicate an iron or zinc deficiency that is evidently from our Southern California alkaline water and soil. Mission Viejo. I treated the condition with Liquidnox Iron & zinc soil and leaf application rates per directions and the leaves returned to normal. Knowing we have alkaline soil and water how often should I be treating the trees with a soil application?
Glad the issue has been resolved for the time being. I’d wait to treat the soil again until the leaves give you the signal.
If that happens, I’d also test the soil to make sure you’re treating for the right problem. You don’t want to end up creating a new problem on top of your first problem.
I’ve found that what appears to be a nutrient deficiency needing treatment sometimes rectifies itself once the soil warms up in spring or summer. I just went through this on a young Nabal avocado tree. It looked terribly chlorotic in the fall and winter, but now it is putting out perfect new growth — yet I did nothing but wait and watch.
Not to suggest that patience is all we ever need, but sometimes it is.
Just a side note for anyone else reading this: While it’s true that some areas of Southern California have alkaline soil, other areas are on the acid side — even too acidic for certain plants to thrive in. I recently attended a lecture where an agronomist who has been working with Southern California soils for decades talked about this issue.
Hi Greg, Very informative and the pictures illustrate the points well. After reading this, I went out and re-looked at my new trees and saw all your points. However, I don’t think my poor Reed planted last year from 10G pot is going to make it… the new leaves it recently pushed out just aren’t developing. May be time to replace it….
Thanks, Robert — and bummer! Was it heat damage in July? Was it saturated soil this winter? What’s going on with your Reed?
I’ve seen lots of Persea mite nests on most of my avocado tree leaves. What is the best spray to use to terminate them?
See the link about controlling persea mites in the post above. And I’ll also note that I’ve had some persea mite damage on trees that I did nothing about and they were eventually naturally controlled. A friend had a pretty bad infestation some years back and he got good results from buying and releasing predatory mites.
We have a young avacado and has lost all it’s leaves but three. I don’t see signs of insects. Could birds be taking my leaves? No leaves are found on the ground.
The branches look like they are being damaged too. Any ideas to save my plant?
Leaves totally disappearing? My guess at this time of year is that they are naturally dropping and then being carried away by wind. A lot of leaves fall on avocados at this time of year, just as new leaves start to grow.
Good to know because I planted my two GEMs in February of this year and the leaves completely fell off just as it started flowering.
A few branches at their tips browned as well and new leaves and branches are shooting up now from the base (above graft line).
I think it’s just the time of year and the tree maybe deciding it wants to grow a different way? They’re only 1-2 years old and not big yet. They’re planted in well draining soil so I know it’s not that.
I live in southern Spain and follow your blog as the climate and soil conditions are very similar. I planted an avocado tree last year in our very alkaline soil, I dug a huge hole and filled it with compost and mulched it HUGE with pine tree clippings and it seems to be doing OK but it would seem that, after referring to your photos I have bugs eating my newly sprouted leaves. Would a diluted garlic spray deter? Also I was told that I should protect the tree from the sun for its first few years as the sun will burn the leaves badly, I have my put a beach umbrella over it when the wind allows me to, but I would like confirmation that I need to. Many thanks for your blogs on all the other vegetable blogs, I have even persuaded to pee in the garden!!
I love hearing how things are going for you in southern Spain. I’ve never tried a garlic spray on avocado leaves (or anything else) so I’m not sure. You could give it a try on a couple leaves first.
If your tree was planted last year and went through a full summer, then it is acclimated and there’s no need to protect it from the sun except possibly during heat waves near or above 100 degrees F / 38 degrees C. I’ve never seen sunburn on leaves of healthy trees in lower temperatures than that. Branches, on the other hand, can be sunburned at far lower temperatures. You might want to see my post “Avocado trees get sunburned — What to do?”
This was extremely helpful but I have a question. I have been worried about the yellow leaves. I read your post on fertilizer and hope I added the correct amount. . It would be good to include photos of what under and over fertilizing looks like. Thank you so much for your guidance! You’re so selfless to help us out and I appreciate it greatly.
Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Fertilizing avocados is a complicated, subjective, and controversial topic. One reason it is so is that symptoms from improper watering often appear as a need for nutrients in the soil.
I’m still waiting, after all these years, to see a single avocado tree that is planted in decent soil (and perhaps mulched) and watered properly and yet still needs fertilizer added in order to grow and fruit well. But if I find one, I promise I’ll photograph it and post it here!
Perfect timing. We were discussing my Hass how it went through transplant shock and dropped all its leaves and was restarting. I told you how my last Lamb Hass restarted 3 times before it died, each time the new leaves would start showing damage and drop off. This one is doing the same thing unfortunately. Shot a quick video and was hoping you could take a look at the leaves. Hopefully it won’t be a new category – “this is what your leaves will look like when they are trying to grow on a tree that is dying.”
I think your young Hass might go into a new category called, “This is what your tree looks like when its roots are damaged or stressed.” I think.
Your tree reminds me very much of a Sharwil I once had that was attacked repeatedly — but never killed — by gophers. The root system was partially eaten over and over again during the first couple years of its life. The leaves looked and behaved almost identically to yours. They would flush sparsely and then appear stressed and burn on the margins.
But your tree has an additional stress going on, which is an abundance of flowering. That is of no use to the tree right now in this condition, where it’s young and without leaves to support it.
I would definitely strip all fruitlets off of this little tree.
And then I would do a lot of poking around in the soil. I think that is where you’re going to find the source of the stress — unless there’s something strange in the water you’re giving it, but you said it was rainwater so that seems unlikely. Where do you find roots? What do they look like: white tips, white inside when you break one, brown and mushy, brown and dried? How deep are the shallowest roots? How many are there?
And finally, can you dig a foot down and feel how wet it is down low there? Is it moderately moist down there, surprisingly dry, or surprisingly soggy? Assess what the roots there look like too. The slight damage you might do to the roots in doing this digging is totally worth it.
You know my neighbor has a problem with gophers but I haven’t seen any holes around my area unless they are tunneling from his property which is below mine so there’s an embankment. I was afraid it could be root rot so I did do a bit of poking around at the roots… there are feeder roots growing at the surface and some of the roots I looked at below were white other larger ones slightly yellow but I only checked out maybe 2″ down. Tomorrow I’ll do a more extensive look and see if there are any tunnels. If I have gophers then I’ve got like 4 new young trees they could be chewing at… not good 🙁 Thanks for getting back and for checking the vid out.
Forgot to mention, it dropped all its flowers but I did notice one fruitlet setting which I will remove. The panicles I can just leave alone right? No flowers left. Also there was dieback on two smaller branches which I trimmed off. Hoping it won’t continue.
it’s taken a full year but my tree finally recovered from shock, it actually looks like an avocado tree now instead of a stick and it’s got new growth sprouting everywhere I am so stoked over this, it didn’t flower this year however but I’m looking forward to it doing so next
I am glad to see you made this post. About a month ago you helped me identify senescing leaves on my Reed. Unfortunately, since then the new growth has been decimated by June bugs and I am almost certain it has been overwatered since it is is drooping, weak, and some branches are turning black and dying off. I can email photos if more detail is needed. It is barely hanging on, but I am wondering at what point should I just cut my losses and plant a new tree? Will the tree ever overcome this bad start and begin to thrive if I can get the conditions better? If I do give up on this one, should I get the new one in the ground in the next few weeks before it gets too hot to plant?
The good news is that my Bacon is happy and growing really well, so I am at least 1 for 2 on avocado trees this year.
Hey Greg thanks for all the information. I live inTemecula and I have a 5 gallon Hass that I bought last October and planted in January and a 15 gallon Fuerte that I bought and planted in March. The Fuerte looks great. Constant growing. Lately the Hass has had droopy leaves in the afternoon. The temp might be in the high 70’s or low 80’s. But I’ve been watering it when it looks like that and it perks up. The other day, I wanted to see what would happen it I didn’t water it. As the temp cooled off for the evening, it perked up again. It has been reliably doing that for the last week. The Fuerte always looks strong during this. Is this just normal behavior for a Hass?
Interesting observations. I have a Queen avocado tree that also shows some wilt during the noon hours almost every day, even during these mild high 70s and low 80s days. Same as your Hass: If I water it, or even just wet its foliage, it perks up. But if I don’t water it, it perks up anyway once the air temperature cools in the late afternoon. I’ve been poking around the soil under this tree and what I’ve noticed is that it has few roots. It’s a young tree, and last year it was damaged repeatedly by gophers, and then damaged again by the July heatwave.
What I’m getting at is that what I usually find with a tree that is showing wilt faster than others is that its root system is weak or compromised in some way, making it incapable of transporting water into the foliage properly, which is how a tree cools itself and keeps its leaves turgid.
This also happens when another, well-established tree has grown roots where you are watering the tree and is “stealing” some of that water. And it happens with young, small trees simply because they have a small root system compared to bigger, older trees.
Maybe this is the explanation for your Hass compared to your Fuerte, as your Fuerte was in a 15-gallon container compared to the Hass’s 5-gallon container. But also, in general, Fuerte trees are tougher than Hass trees.
In terms of what to do about it, I always base my decision on whether to water on what the soil moisture level is where the roots are. So for that little Queen, for example, I don’t always water it when it shows wilt because sometimes I feel the soil and know it’s moist enough. But I do sprinkle some water on the leaves sometimes in order to cool it and reduce the stress. Hopefully, someday, small or weakened trees like this recover and bulk up their root systems and no longer need such special attention. I’m sure this will happen with your Hass. I can only hope it will happen with my poor, damaged Queen.
Thanks Greg! That makes perfect sense. I think I may have to do extra work to get that Hass through a temecula summer.
Hey Greg. How has that queen been doing in this heat lately? My Hass has been doing pretty much the same as it was when I messaged you last. But, I’ve been putting a beach umbrella over it during the hottest part of days over 90. When it gets over 100 even my Fuerte wilts really bad. The next morning it’s always perky again and it looks like it grows a bit too. As you’ve said in other posts though, the Reed shows absolutely zero affect from the heat.
My poor little Queen is doing slightly better. It no longer wilts as early as it did, which I think indicates that its roots are healthier. And the spring’s leaf flush has matured, but it hasn’t started a summer flush like my other avocado trees have. Honestly, my hope for this tree is to keep it going until next spring when I can take a piece of wood from it to graft onto a better rootstock somewhere in the yard.
At least we’re past the point when damaging heat usually hits. We should now be able to get our weak trees through the rest of summer more easily. Even if it gets well over 100, at least the days aren’t as long as they were in early July.
I noticed when return from work, the reed avocado leaves (about 4 ft high) in my yard look wilted, thirsty if the weather during the day is hot. I checked the soil and it felt moist. I just gave it a couple gallon of water and about an hour later it perked up. Should I give it water in situation like this even when the soil is moist? I don’t want to over-water it.
There are a number of things that can be going on with a tree like this. Sometimes it’s that only the upper few inches are moist, but if you dig deeper it’s dry. Sometimes it’s that another nearby tree or plant has grown roots into the avocado tree’s root zone and is “stealing” some of the water. Sometimes it’s that the avocado tree has a damaged root system in some way that you haven’t yet discovered — for example, a gopher has chewed some roots — and so on a hot day the compromised root system can’t keep the foliage totally supported no matter how much water it has in the surrounding soil.
Sometimes you can do more poking around and get a better idea of why the tree is struggling. But sometimes I have trees acting like this that I never fully understand. I have found that giving these trees more water in specific ways usually works. You can either give them water more frequently or in a broader area, or both. Try that and see if the tree shapes up.
Also, sometimes I give such trees a little shade overhead so that they have relief during the hottest hours of the day. You might find that a couple weeks of this can give the tree a rest to recover from whatever is going on — or you may need to do it for the whole summer.
Last week, I had a young tree wilting in the afternoon for unknown reasons (the soil in the upper root zone was still moist), and I started giving it more water more broadly, and I also gave it shade during the afternoon hours. It now looks awesome all day long.
If your soil drains fast, then don’t worry about overwatering such trees. If your soil doesn’t drain so fast, then try watering approximately the same overall volume (for example, 8 gallons per week, or 1.5 hours per week) but just splitting it up into more frequency, like watering every other day instead of every three days. In my observations, the risk of overwatering a young tree like yours is not big. And the tree usually tells you by not just wilting but also having pale green or yellowish leaves. If you see that, then you can back off on the water before the tree is harmed in some way that it can’t recover from.
Greg, we enjoy your weekly posts and all your website offers in the way of advice and information. Can you identify this pest that has been attacking my Haas and Fuerte avocado trees from these photos – https://www.jewebdesign.com/dropbox/LeafTop.jpg, https://www.jewebdesign.com/dropbox/LeafBottom.jpg? What do you recommend as a treatment for this “rust”?
Greg, hoping to get a reply from you on my initial post. Here’s additional info. This stuff started to appear on my Fuerte avocado leaves a year ago, and has spread to my Haas avocado leaves. Seems to be getting worse and worse, and I don’t know who to seek help from other than you. These are tiny, hard, black pellets the size of grains of salt on the underside of leaves that brush off easily, but there must be some spray or systemic treatment to eradicate it.
I’m so sorry about not replying to your initial post. I remember seeing it, but must have forgotten that I didn’t reply.
Those photos look to me like you’re dealing with avocado lace bug (Pseudacysta perseae). Please see this page from the University of California about this pest and ways to manage it: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/r8301411.html
Also check out photos of the avocado lace bug and its damage here: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/C008/m008bplacebug.html
Greg, I planted a 15 gallon has Avocado tree in March. It was doing real well until early July. I live in Moreno Valley so my soil is a composition of Clay. to aid in water penetration I sunk a 3 foot piece of perf drain pipe near the roots. The soil does drain, but now the branches are turning black and the leaves are gone. I read your article about water, and found out water source is the Colorado River. Our water district says we are being delivered water with 80 PPM chlorides. So your discussion regarding Salts in the water is verified.
Now that my tree is 90% black can it be saved. I installed the drip mist as you recommended and I eater 10 minutes 3 times a week.
Is my tree beyond saving? I would be happy to share photos taken last week and photos of this week If I can get your Email address.
Doesn’t sound good. Sorry to hear this. Based on your description, I’d recommend planting a new tree instead of trying to save this one.
If your soil is heavy and doesn’t drain well on its own, the best thing you can do is build up a mound of soil to plant on. A mound that is a couple feet high should drain well enough.
Watering ten minutes three times per week doesn’t sound like it’s enough, especially for Moreno Valley. Most likely, you need to water for longer each time. A 15-gallon tree planted in March probably needs roughly five to ten gallons per week through the summer.
I’m so glad I stumbled over your site while researching avocado trees. I have brought home a young tree that is supposed to be an avocado tree. The leaves are rather thin and not really glossy. Judging by shape – yes, they resemble avocado leaves. Any ideas, as to how can I be certain that this is indeed an avocado?
Thanks a lot!
You should be able to identify it as some kind of avocado just based on the leaves. Compare them to photos of avocado leaves on this website and elsewhere. Do keep in mind that avocado leaves can look slightly different according to how much sunlight they get, how old they are, and which kind of avocado they are.
I suppose the only way to determine for sure for you will be to wait until it flowers. No other tree flowers in the same way an avocado tree flowers. Then there’s the fruit . . .
Hello there! I just bought an avocado tree from a nursery and repotted the tree about 3 days ago because it also had tomatoes growing in the same pot. It is hard for me to tell if my tree is healthy at this point. The leaves seem to be flat in spots and folded like a taco in some places. I am starting to think that I bought this tree with some kind of infection because of the dark splotches growing all over the stems. I feel like the leaves should be darker and thicker.. but I am unsure. Is there anyway I could send you a picture to have you look at it? Thank you for your time and all the content. Very helpful. My tree is a brogdon.
I don’t grow the Brogdon variety, but everything you describe sounds normal and healthy. Avocado leaves can be flat or cupped, and young branches get dark spots on them. All of this is fine. Also, some varieties have deep green leaves (Bacon) while others have almost lime green leaves (“West Indian” varieties), not to mention that the color of the leaves can change throughout the year. It doesn’t sound like you have anything to worry about, fortunately.
It is already growing fruit so I’m not sure on how old it is. But thank you so much. I think I was a little paranoid because I just reported it as well.
I’m a little worried since I think my tree is getting burnt, or maybe something like fungus is going on since I planted a 5g tree in sunny East LA. I applied this IV organics 3-1 product to help with that, but it seems like it’s getting burnt and splits down the middle of leaves/holes, etc. Full photo shows what it looked like when I planted it last week. I did notice above the grafted area it looked like a notch into the branch that I thought had healed up. Any ideas here before it’s too late?
Looks like a Fuerte you’ve got there, based on the leaf appearance. Did I guess right?
The tree looks fine. That is just sunburn on the leaves. (The cracking at the center is unrelated.) My Fuerte (and a few other varieties) have a few sunburned leaves now too. It has been hot the past week in Southern California, and East L.A. with a concrete wall and patio nearby gets hotter than avocados like. But there’s nothing to worry about. Just make sure you continue to keep the tree well-watered, especially the day before and during another heatwave is predicted to hit.
Judging by the maturity of the leaves on your tree and the time of year, I bet you get a flush of new leaves (red) coming within a couple weeks. That will make you feel good, and it’s something to look forward to.
By the way, congratulations on taking such good care of that tree. The mulch under it and the whitewashing you’ve done on branches are what the tree needs. It’s going to grow well for you.
Fuerte is my guess too, but it was a mystery 5 gallon purchase. I decided to get it since it had a nice shape, and the trunk seemed pretty thick for a tree of this size. I’d say the tree is about 4 feet tall. Definitely looking forward to seeing some new fresh leaves. I’m a little concerned about the water here since one of our Crape Myrtle trees is already showing lots of signs of too much salt accumulation. I thought it wasn’t getting watered enough, but it has gotten worse since watering more. Is there anything you can do to combat the water here? Also, would it be beneficial to create a little shade screen for the avocado tree? I’m noticing each day more leaves are getting burn spots even with all the whitewashing and mulch. The sun is pretty darn strong here in Socal!
I’m guessing you’re on Metropolitan Water District water, in which case there’s nothing that I know of that you can do to combat the water except to water more, oddly. For more on this, see my post, “Avocado leaves turning brown? Here’s why and what to do.”
Shade can certainly help. See my recent post for examples: “Protecting avocado trees from heat.”
Thanks for the links!
So I built a little shade structure, and that seems to have done the trick. No more burn, and starting to get some new flush of leaves! I’m still going to guess Fuerte, but correct me if the flush indicates otherwise 🙂
You can see in the images at:
When would you advise to remove the shade structure?
Nice work on the shade structure! I usually remove all shade from my young avocados by the middle of September. A couple of exceptions are if there’s a late heatwave and if the tree is planted near a south-facing wall. In those cases, keep the shade for another couple weeks.
So I noticed my tree stopped vigorously growing, and some of the leaves started curling and getting traces of yellow in them. I thought I was overwatering, so checked the soil and found tons and tons of what I think are root aphids. Little white bugs and some ants that seem to be feeding on them. What do you recommend I do to treat this? Thanks!
Are you sure you don’t have an ant colony living under your tree? Argentine ants love to inhabit the irrigated soil under or beside avocado trees, and then when you water they come running out carrying their white larvae.
So I poked around a bit more and it seems like what I might have are Springtails. Noticed that they were popping around when I watered the soil. The ants may be unrelated. Can they do damage? I came across one such site that talks a bit about Springtails, and the potential to chew at the fine roots.
There is some differing opinion about if they can do damage to roots, but was wondering if you’ve ever heard about these kind of insects doing harm to an Avocado tree? Or, it’s possible it’s just overwatering, in which case it would be an easy fix.
I’ve never seen or heard of springtails damaging avocado trees. I don’t think they’re anything to worry about.
Let me tell you I am extremely happy I have discovered this write-up of yours.
I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and I have sprouted some seedlings. I gave two away some years ago to a friend of mine. The one died as he planted it in soil. The other is thriving and is 7-8 feet tall currently.
In January I started the process again with a pit in water and it took about 3 months for it to start doing anything (yes, under normal circumstances I would have thrown it away but I persisted). The seed is from the Hass variety.
It’s probably about a foot tall currently. The leaves started sagging and I stopped watering it here for large periods during what is our winter here in the Southern Hemisphere.
I had it inside during the winter as a safeguard, but I have taken it out into the sun and especially now as summer is approaching and temperatures have been between 70-77 degrees of late. After watering it the leaves did not perk up so I went and checked the soil, which was a bit stiff I imagine (wet, clay-ish).
I proceeded to remove it and plant it in potting soil along with peat moss. The soil drains perfectly now. There was always some growth of leaves, but they would soon wilt. I suspect that any recovery may take a while since it has been replanted now.
The roots were going down about as deep as the plant was high, a handful or so of them.
My question is, since I had to water it now for the soil to set, should I wait a few weeks before I water it again, or should I water weekly. The pot it is in is about a foot in diameter (sorry, we are on metric here so I’m giving my best guess, roughly 30cm).
Also, given that it has new leaves that may sprout yet, can I remove all of the hanging leaves? They wilt and then when touched they curl, but they do not break off at all.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Greetings to you in Johannesburg. Since it’s now in that fast-draining mix, you probably won’t water it too much by watering it weekly now. It depends a lot on how much time it spends outdoors and how much light it is in when it’s inside.
I wouldn’t remove any leaves. Once it warms up around September or October you should start seeing some new leaves and the plant will shed the old ones on its own.
thanks Greg always love your posts
Could you please give me some advice about when I should apply manure to my avocado trees? and how much? the trees are 7 months old. Besides, I live in a place where the winter is not so cold (usually between 40 and 60 F in December, January). I heard that man should apply it in December, but I am not sure about it.
Check out my post called “Fertilizing avocado trees.”
Let me know there if you still have questions.
I have 2 potted avocado trees that are living outside for the first time this winter (I live in London) and I don’t think the one is doing so well. Could I get your email address to send you photos of their leaves?
My five year old reed has southern exposure leaf tip burn. I understand that allowing water to sit for 24 hours will allow the cholorine to off gas. Will this reduce or eliminate leaf tip burn. Interesting my fuerte doesn’t have any leaf tip burn.
The leaf burn can be partly due to chloride toxicity in the tips and margins of the leaves, but it can also be due to simply underwatering. The two are related since chloride will move with water down through the soil to below where the roots are. Anyway, one way that I have come to understand that it’s not just the chloride in our irrigation water that is causing leaf burn is through observing a few avocado trees that get zero irrigation water — that is, they survive on rainfall alone, in Southern California. These trees also show leaf burn every year.
I’ve been told that some municipal water districts are using chloramine (not chlorine) as a disinfectant, and chloramine does not volatilize as readily as chlorine.
As far as I’ve observed, both Reed and Fuerte avocado trees get less leaf burn than Hass; I’ve noticed this on different trees in different locations. And I have noticed Reed getting a little more leaf burn than Fuerte in some orchards, but that’s not the case in my yard. My Reed tends to get slightly less leaf burn than my Fuerte. This could be due to many different reasons though (rootstock, sun exposure, soil salinity, watering volume, competing trees nearby).
I really enjoy reading your extensive research on avocado trees. I am based in Belgium, and I’ve recently started growing avocado trees. I have three plants growing in the same pot (one – 1 year old, and two – 2 months old (since stem growth). They all looked very healthy until a couple of days ago, one of the young plants (and the tallest one at the moment) started slightly curling down its leaves. The soil is not too wet, and as soon as it dries out, I am planning to using only rainwater. Is there anything else you would recommend? Could it be because they are growing together in one rather large pot? If you’ve had similar problems due to overwatering, do you have any idea how long does the recovery process last?
Thank you so much in advance for your help!
I love that you’re growing some avocados in Belgium. It sounds like it might be more likely that the plant is thirsty rather than overwatered. If it ends up developing browning/drying on the margins of some leaves, that will tell you for sure that it went through a thirsty period. It might be that as the plants get bigger they are drinking more water and you need to give them more. This is my best guess.
Thank you so much for your help, Greg! I’ve followed your advice, the plant is still struggling and I assume it’s the lack of sun– after a couple of sunny days, we’ve had a dark week over here (one of the disadvantages of growing non-native species, but still, so rewarding, when they establish well!).
I look forward to following your blog and learning more, thank you!
My Reed experienced leaf tip burn on the north facing side towards the end of last summer. Over the winter it’s spread to the north side. The soil in Mission Viejo is mostly clay. But I’ve maintained a 6″ layer of mulch. I use a moisture meter and only water when is borderline dry. And a year ago I dug down 24″ 6 feet from the center and added ton’s of compost. I did this knowing I would have problems with clay and overwatering when it’s get hot in Aug-Sept. This area also has a thick 6″ top compost layer. The fuerte only 10′ away has new brown healthy leaves appearing. All the leaves on this tree have zero leaf tip burn. It gets the same water as the reed. The fuerte is also covered with lots of new fruit flower buds. Although not blooming yet.
The reed is also covered with flower buds but zero new leaves. I also have a gopher living around the tree. I’ve tried to flood it, I bought the cinch trap you recommended and the little bugger burried it maybe ten times. Never got him. After flooding I haven’t seen any new gopher activity. At one point the gopher had a small 2″ breather hole 18″ from the reed trunk. I hosed it also. And for the past week we have received 5″ of rain. Is it normal for no new leaves when my Fuerte has them? Also a year ago when I scratched away the mulch there were hundreds of creamy white feeder roots. When I scratch now they are mostly light brown. Your thoughts.
A lot of possible things going on there, as you know. What I can say for sure is to not worry about the Fuerte starting to grow before the Reed. Always and everywhere, Fuerte starts to grow and bloom before Reed.
Possibly, a gopher did damage to the Reed or for some reason the Reed didn’t get as much water as it needed last summer and fall. Sometimes a tree can be given enough water but still not get enough water. This can happen if there are gopher tunnels channeling water away from the root zone or if there is a large tree nearby that has its roots in the area and is stealing some of the water.
In some places (Israel, for example), avocados have been grown well on clay soils by using drip irrigation that runs very frequently — daily in the summer. You might try that.
It spread to south side over the winter. Comment above.
Hi Greg, love your posts!
I have a Hass that was here when we bought the house 5 years ago. A year ago during a very hot summer most of the trees branches were dieing. At that point we cut off all the dead branches leaving only a couple of branches that looked ok. This past year the tree has really taken off. New branches and tons of leafs and double the size. New growth all year long. This tree has never had fruit until the summer after the trimming, and only 1 small alvacado which was perfect and delicious. Does this mean the tree will continue to bear fruit from now on. I have noticed this spring there was only a few areas where it was flowering. I don’t know when or where to look to see the new fruit will grow. Any feedback is greatly unappreciated.
I’d be optimistic about your tree fruiting more in the coming years. The fruit does come from the flowers so wherever it was flowering is where you’ll find the new fruit growing, but at this time of year it can be hard to find them. Usually, it’s not until about July that I start noticing the fruitset on my avocado trees because the fruit is finally big enough to be seen easily.
Thanks for the info on diagnosing leaves. I have a situation that I did not see exactly described after reading your post and I am wondering if you can shed some light on it. I have a 1 year old Carmen Hass and all of the branches coming off of the main trunk are drooping. Not just a little, but a lot, some nearly vertical towards the ground before straightening to horizontal. The leaves are all folded like tacos, and the tips of some of the leaves are burned, maybe chloride or over watering? Not sure. I am not as concerned with the leaf burn (though your observation and insight would be appreciated) as I am seeing some healthy new growth at the tips of the drooping branches. I am more concerned with the drooping branches and what will the tree be like as it gets bigger with these sad drooping branches as the tips start to grow new growth. I do not think that it is over watering or even the soil because there are four other avocados on the same drip line and timer and two are right next to it in the exact same soil. The link below is a 1 minute video showing my concern. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Great video! So glad you made that because it is worth 10,000 words.
In short, your Carmen is healthy and growing splendidly. I know it doesn’t look that way, but trust me that it is. Here is what is happening:
First, the tree is blooming like crazy. Carmen is a precocious variety and blooms at a younger age and more in terms of quantity than most other varieties. Looking at your other trees illustrates this so well. They are all growing leaves but few to no flowers (and spring here is the season when they would be growing flowers).
When an avocado tree blooms the flowers mostly come from the ends of branches and the leaves near the ends of those branches take on a drooping form. It’s like they’re getting out of the way of the flowers. In addition, the leaves cup like tacos. Some varieties do this excessively. It’s just what they do; it’s natural.
Simultaneously, these older leaves start to die naturally. So you will see many turn yellow and gradually fall from the tree over the next couple weeks. If a tree is blooming heavily, it might even shed almost all of its leaves at that time. But if the tree is healthy it will also grow a full canopy of new leaves right after the bloom wanes. So come June you will have new leaves to shade and protect the young avocados that have set.
Your Carmen looks like it will do this. However, it is so small that I wouldn’t let it carry too many avocados this year. In about June, if that tree has more than a couple of avocados hanging on, I’d remove the extras — unless it has also grown a lot of new leaves and branches. Just keep an eye on it. Too many avocados and too few new leaves and branches will mean sunburned avocados and a stunted young tree.
As for the drooping branches, I wouldn’t worry about them much. You’ve got a strong vertical leader that looks like it will continue dominating the lower branches. Drooping lower branches can be useful in that they shade the soil under the tree and help keep the fallen leaves in place. Next year or the year after, you might decide to remove one or two of those low branches because if they set fruit, the fruit will be on the ground. Avocados touching the ground tend to not form as well as those up off the ground. The only thing I’d really watch for is sunburn. If new leaves don’t grow to shade the bark at the top of the drooping branches by about late April, then be sure to paint them. If it’s not a hassle, then you can paint them right now just to be sure. But what often happens is that you’ll find new branches sprouting up on the top sides of those drooping branches because there’s so much sun there.
That’s funny, I looked at my Holiday Avocado tree today and it’s all bloom with almost all the leaves about to fall off, pointed down and folded like a taco. I painted all the bark white last year and notice there’s no new growth as everything is still white. Glad to read this and find out the Holiday is okay.
Thanks so much for your reply. I was actually considering pulling it up and replacing it with a new “healthy” looking plant. I am so glad I didn’t! I will just look forward to seeing how it grows this spring and summer! I can paint now, but will the paint inhibit new growth from sprouting from the branch if I paint over it? Also, I was wondering if I can put an orange tree on the same watering schedule (on the same timed water source) as an avocado? One last thing, per one of your posts I mulched several inches under my avocados last year with some sawdust from a stump grinder when I had a couple of eucalyptus trees removed and less than a year later two inches down the soil is black and there are earthworms!
Sprouts can break through the paint. I just took a walk among my trees to see that some sprouts are coming out of areas on branches that I had painted in the past.
Yes, you can water oranges and avocados on the same schedule. I have most of my citrus being watered on the same stations as my avocados. I’d rather have them separate, but for my yard’s situation it’s more convenient to have them on the same line so I just give the citrus less water than the avocados each time I run the system. Citrus don’t need as much water as avocados. I do this by using driplines on my citrus while using micro-sprinklers on my avocados.
Hurray for that soil! Your trees are so grateful!
Greg, my Fuerte has two different types of leaves. The normal leaves and these large leaves that are growing on a branch from the bottom. Can sucker branches have flowers, cause these branches do? If so, will these result in a Fuerte avocado or some unknown avocado?
Yes, suckers can flower although they don’t usually flower until they’ve been growing for at least a few years. And then they certainly will set fruit also, but the fruit won’t be Fuerte. The fruit will be unknown unless you’ve got a clonal rootstock.
You could let it fruit just to see what the fruit is like. Or you could remove the suckers. Or you could use one or more of them to graft on another variety. A friend of mine had a Fuerte with rootstock suckers and I grafted on Lamb and Reed, which are nice complements to Fuerte since they are A types and their harvest season is very different.
I just came across your posts and learning a lot. I’ve been growing avocados from seeds for a while, and have been encountering issues with browning leaves as they grow older. I read the post and tried to compare the images, but at this point I’m not sure if it’s due to chloride in the water (I’m using water filtered using brita filters) or not watering enough.
I’ve added a link to some images. Would you mind taking a look and giving your opinion?
I understand why you’re having trouble diagnosing your tree. Thanks for the helpful photos. Essentially, it’s a watering problem, as most problems with avocados are. But more specifically, it looks like the tree went through a brief spell when it was not watered enough. It is clearly recovered and happy, but the browning on the margins of its leaves say that it was thirsty for a period in the past. But since it is on the lower, older leaves only, it couldn’t have been in the very recent past.
The whole story, however, is that this could be combined with the salts building up in the container soil such that the tree’s roots are having a harder time pulling up the water. Also, the container is becoming a bit small for the size of the canopy, which means that your margin of error is narrowing. It is now very easy to water the tree a little too late and cause it stress. If possible, I’d now put it into a larger container.
Thanks for the detailed response! The margin of error you mentioned is a very interesting take. I’ll try and get a bigger container soon, or at least when things calm down outside…
Do you have any tips in regards to watering a somewhat indoor tree that’s in a container? I only found your notes for planted trees.
I also read that giving the soil a good rinse for a few minutes under running water can get rid of the salts build up. I’ve been doing that every once in a while. Is that good practice?
I keep all my potted avocado trees outside, but a couple things that I’ve noticed about watering these avocado trees in containers are that if the soil mix is light and airy, like with a lot of coir, peat moss, and perlite, then they can dry out incredibly fast. For these trees, it seems like you can’t water them too frequently.
Also, my routine for the last couple years has been to use that “chicken compost” mix as my potting soil, and it is far denser than typical potting soil, but what I do is still give the trees a little water almost every day rather than letting them dry out much and then soaking them. This has been working very well. The trees have been growing great. The only caveat I must add is that I’ve been doing this with collected rainwater so I don’t know if it would work as well with saltier water, but my hunch is that it would because it would keep the salts in solution.
The idea of giving the soil a good rinse as you described seems like it would work, but I’ve never tried it.
Hi Greg, This is very helpful! I have a 3ft tall Reed I planted in January here in one a Zone 10a part of the Bay Area. The leaves all look like your senescing image (happy to provide photographic evidence if helpful). Have I watered it too much (I’ve tried to follow your guidelines, but we do have heavy soils…)? Too little? Too many nutrients? Too few? Thanks so much for any instant insights you have.
Your leaves are probably senescent. Lots are on my Reed right now too. This is that time of year.
Thanks again for an informative post. I’m located in El Cajon and just planted my 5 gallon Kona Sharwil in mid February. Recently all the new growth seems to be browning and dying. During the last frost it was still in its container and was put under a covered patio. Also as you know we’ve had a decent amount of rain since February so I haven’t been watering it as much either. Here are a few pictures:
What does this look like to you?
That’s thirst/heat/sun damage on those new (red) leaves. It wasn’t happening at the moment you took the photos, it had already happened. Fresh new leaves very quickly get singed tips and margins when the tree doesn’t have enough water and the weather is warm.
But don’t stress; the tree is healthy. You just need to make sure not to let it go too long between waterings, especially if the weather is warm. During this heatwave here, you might need to water it every other day, maybe even every day.
Thanks Greg, I’ll make sure to increase my watering frequency and keep it happy.
My neighbor has a large avacodo tree planted within 15 feet of my house. The dead leaves fall into my yard. Is this shedding process seasonal or year round?
Hi Greg, my avocado tree’s leaves look just like the one for the “Final Exam” you have there, but I can’t tell what’s wrong. Do you think you could let me know?
That “final exam” leaf mostly looks the way it does because it is dying a natural death in the spring and the tree grows new leaves to replace it. You’ll see such leaves on all avocado trees this time of year. Nothing wrong, nothing to be done about it.
Thank you, Greg! I was getting worried because I’ve never seen my tree have so many yellowed leaves. I thought something was wrong. But my tree is also growing many new, healthy leaves, so I couldn’t tell if anything was wrong with it.
I have another avocado tree that doesn’t have any yellowing leaves, but I’ll keep an eye out and see what the season brings.
Thank you for all of your great posts! I recently purchased and planted a 3-4-year-old Hass avocado tree, and one week later I am seeing a considerable amount of leaf droop and shedding. It looks like there is new growth coming in, but the rate of the leaf loss is alarming.
Would you mind looking at these photos and seeing if there is something I am doing wrong in regards to the planting, fertilizing, and watering?
Your Hass tree is in beautiful shape. Those are just old leaves that are dropping naturally this time of year. Keep doing what you’re doing.
Thank you, Greg. I appreciate the quick review and response.
Weirdest thing happened. I have (had) a very healthy Sharwil. And in one day went from healthy to almost dead. These pics are after two days. I have three other avocados on the same drip line within 6-7 ft of each other and they are all doing amazing. I included a pic of the Gwen that is 6 ft away. Any ideas what is going on? Maybe I just need to pull it and start over… That would be sad as I had to make a trip to subtropica for this last fall.
Healthy Gwen 6 ft away. The Sharwil looked like this a couple of days ago
Sorry, Chris! That looks like a tree that lost its roots. I’d give it a tug and see if it doesn’t pull right out of the ground. It’s very possible that a gopher got to it. Obviously you’re caring for your trees perfectly. That Gwen looks amazing. But yes, no tree collapses like your Sharwil has unless it has lost most of its roots, in which case you will have a very hard time reviving the tree. I’ve had this happen in my yard before. Let me know if you don’t find evidence of a gopher.
Hi Greg, Well I went and tugged on the tree and it is solidly in the ground. And I do not see any sign of gophers. In fact I have never really had an issue with gophers. A few more days have passed and in certainly does not look like it is recovering. I found a local(ish) nursery that is growing some Sharwil avocados so i do not have to make a trip all the way down to Subtropica for one plant. Question: Can I remove the existing almost dead Sharwil and roots and plant a new one in the same hole? Do I need to remove dirt and replace it with new dirt? It has been in the ground about 9 months.
Bummer. You can probably just replant without doing anything to the soil, but I wish I knew why this first tree collapsed. If I were you, I’d just replant without any special accommodation. I’ve done this kind of thing before successfully in my yard.
I have 3 newer trees which get watered about the same with different results. All 3 are planted on a mound. My haus gets wilted and I add more water and it perks up. My lamb is perfect, no signs of anything. My sir prize is overwatered (leaves have never looked perky even when i bought it a few months ago(others at nursery looked the same) and of course it didn’t change when I thought it was underwatered and added more. We did have some hot days, so I put an umbrella above it since I didn’t want it to burn. I questioned doing so since the soil needs to dry up. I was surprised to see a bunch of new growth during this 2 week period, all which looks very healthy. The older leaves on the tree have not changed, still looking wilted. Are these leaves ever going to perk up (watering has been reduced) or should the new growth be my indicators?
What you might be seeing in the Sir-Prize is the natural look of that variety’s foliage, which is more weeping compared to Hass or Lamb. If the soil under the trees all feels about equally moist/dry before each time you water, then I’d guess you don’t need to alter the watering and your Sir-Prize is likely fine.
Those three varieties each have leaves which look slightly different. Hass is the perkiest and its leaves are relatively flat. Lamb leaves often have a taco shell shape. And Sir-Prize leaves are somewhat weepy and with wavy leaf margins. So it can be confusing to compare the three varieties. It might be easier to try to notice changes in the leaves of each individual variety, and take that change as an indication of, for example, thirst.
Hey Greg, I have a mature florida avocado tree that has lost its leaves and as of today no leaves have come back. It did produce last year so I am at a loss. Thanks for your help.
I’m hesitant to say much about trees growing in Florida because many things are different compared to where my experience lies, here in California. But if your mature tree has lost all of its leaves it may have a serious problem. The only times I’ve seen avocado trees lose so many leaves and not simultaneously grow new ones is when they are blooming heavily or when they have a disease.
There are wilt diseases that you might want to look into, including a newer, devastating one called Laurel Wilt: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/miami-dade/agriculture/laurel-wilt—a-disease-impacting-avocados/
Thanks so much for your blog. As a new Hass Avocado tree owner, it’s been a wealth of information. My gardener planted a 5-6 year old tree last early Autumn, it flowered well in the Spring but apparently I wasn’t giving it enough water and the flowers dried up rather quickly. I adjusted my watering and got a lot of new branch and leaf growth. But I do see cracks on branches and along the main trunk where the top heavy growth caused the trunk to bend and crack the new bark. A couple young fruit appeared but the branches seem too weak to support them and most have fallen off. I recently added more mulch (pine bark) but now it looks as if the leaves show some signs of too much moisture. Is that common? I’ll ease up on the water for the next few days. Just some details- I’m in Irvine and thought the heat wave would be a bit warmer so I deep watered on Monday night and put in the mulch on Tuesday/Wednesday. My concern is some of the more established but still young branches that have the bark cracks have fallen off and some of the new leaves on those branches appear wilted like they’ve had too much water. Just wondering what your thoughts were.
This is tough to decipher. Cracking bark makes me think of sunburn. Avocado trees that are drowning in soggy soil have yellowish foliage rather than deep green. If your soil drains well, then I wouldn’t worry about watering too much at this time of year in Irvine. But the question is: how long does it take for water to drain out of a hole that you dig in the ground?
Hi Greg, I have an avocado leaf problem.
First, though, thanks for the great info! I’ve been following you since I moved to Vista a couple of years ago, having fun planting veggies on slopes, under my baby citrus and avocado trees, and also have a tiny raised bed garden. I’m learning patience and simplicity from your posts. Thank you!
My avocado leaf problem: I just noticed that some of the new leaves on my young Jan Boyce are rolled/curled under at the tips, like something is making a cocoon. When I unravel the tips, there are little tiny black specks. I assume what I’m seeing is bug poo, but I don’t know. I haven’t seen anything scamper out, no noticeable webbing. Any thoughts what might be causing this? Unfortunately, I couldn’t upload any images. I really appreciate any help. Take care! Nancy
I have the same problem as Nancy. Young leaves on several different Avocado trees are curling up at the tips, and when I run my fingers over them, they come out wet and with little black specks, Until now, I hadn’t found a bug there, but I just went and took a closer look and found a little worm/bug there. You can see the worm at the bottom left of the leaf in this picture.
Any idea what this critter is and how to deal with it?
The worm is at the bottom right of the leaf, not left, sorry. Little 3/16″ brown line.
Sorry, David. I can’t tell what that is for sure, but the only bug similar to what you describe and possibly what I see is this leafroller: https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/avocado/amorbia-western-avocado-leafroller/
Thanks for the comments. Sometimes I see what you’re describing and I find aphids on the underside of the curled tip. They’re tiny and black, and they can easily be mistaken for poop. Have a closer look and see if they’re moving at all, or see if ants are near them. Argentine ants are almost always near aphids.
Hi Greg, thanks for your reply. I don’t seem to have any more rolled leaf tips on my Jan Boyce, but I did find a couple on my Fuerte. I unrolled one and found a tiny, tiny worm the coloring of the leaf roller in the link you provided. I also noticed a few of my Fuerte leaves had random holes. Leaf roller too? Birds? Black Phoebes hunt in my yard. Baby grasshoppers? I wish I had paid better attention to know when these holes started appearing. There aren’t any on my Jan Boyce.
Yesterday I thinned out my Fuerte to give it better airflow, paying careful attention to clusters of leaves that protected the trunk. I found a boatload of tiny avocados! Maybe this year it will give me my first avocado.
I often listen to The Davis Garden Show, Dan recommended periodically rinsing the dust off fruit and nut trees in low-water landscape to control…good grief, I can’t remember…spider mites maybe. Our yard is almost entirely covered in mulch and it’s very windy here, so I started rinsing about a month ago. I was rinsing every morning, then went to once a week, then went back to every morning. I don’t know what I’m doing. Hahaha!!! I just hope I’m not making things worse.
Thank you, again. Be well!
Hurray for your Fuerte! It has been found that in commercial orchards, avocado trees near the dirt access roads get worse mite damage. I live on a dirt road so I’ve been washing the foliage of my trees nearest the road every month or so in the summer, but I can’t say whether it really makes a difference. I do know that I’ve yet to have any problems with mites though.
Well, Greg, if you haven’t had any problems with mites since you started washing your trees, I’m going to keep doing it too! Thanks for all the great info and advice. I love the pics and videos too! Be well 🙂
My 5-year old Haas avocado tree drops its tiny fruit every year. What am I doing wrong? I deep water it every week and fertilize it religiously.
Sorry to hear this. How tall is the tree? Where approximately do you live?
I live in Poway and my tree is about 13 or 14 ft tall
Does the tree drop all its tiny fruit or just a portion? Does the foliage look good? You might hold back on the fertilizer but keep up the watering, even water twice each week.
Yes, it appears to have dropped all it’s tiny fruit. I will hold off on fertilizer and water more often. Thanks for your help.
I’m new to Avocado trees and thankfully found this excellent resource of valuable information you have kindly made available to everyone. Congratulations!
I live in Portugal and have a new Hass Avocado tree which currently looks bad to me and has got me quite worried:
What would you say are the most likley causes for that leaf yellowing and tip blackening?
Thanks! Tell me about the soil in that container, and tell me about the kind of water (not how much) you are giving the tree. Do you know the rootstock the Hass was grafted onto?
I know it’s grafted but do not know what was used for that.
It’s not in a container anymore (even if may seem like from the picture – that circling thing around it is only about 2 or 3 cm deep). I planted it in my yard (here is another picture: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6lk3wj8tiemhk7d/IMG_20200606_113042.jpg?dl=0).
I currently have a wind protection for it which normally blows insistently from north.
The soil there is a little rocky and clay like but I did dig a deep hole into that and filled it up with a mixture of the existing soil, without the rocks, and several big bags of some “soil amendment” product. So before the roots reach the sides or bottom of the hole I dug it’s quite a light and loose mixture.
I have watered it at least once a week with water from the public water system which is used for drinking and everything else.
This might be a difficult environment for your avocado tree to thrive in. In heavy soil it is effective to plant an avocado on a mound so the trees roots don’t sit in soggy soil for too long. Even with a hole dug out of the clay and amended as you’ve done, the soil can still be too soggy a few inches below the surface because the water doesn’t drain through the clay below and to the sides rapidly enough. Avocados need faster drainage than any other type of tree I know. If much of the tree’s roots are in soggy soil the leaves will start to show chlorosis like yours because the roots can’t take up nutrients properly without oxygen. You might dig down to see if the soil remains wet down low.
I wish I could attach a picture, but the leaves on my Mexicola Grande are turning yellow with brown veins. Is this lack of water or iron? I can’t see anything like it in the pictures on this post.
Is this happening to some of the leaves or all of the leaves?
Hi, just some of the leaves. And not in any particular spot.
That makes me think that those leaves are just dying a natural death of old age (senescing). If there were a serious problem with water or nutrient deficiency, you’d see the symptoms more generally throughout the tree.
Love your blog. It’s very helpful. I am finding growing avocados is VERY tricky and difficult to read the leaves sometimes. I am in zone 10a and have this Wurtz avocado tree that’s been great until recently. Some leaves have developed strange brown blotches that seem to be spreading on other leaves. You have one example that looks close, but not exactly sure its the same thing. You have a thing on mites, but the leaves mine look different and it’s not mainly on the veins. It looks like ink blotches. I haven’t seen any other image like it on the internet. My watering and everything else has been the same the past year, nothing has changed except these new noticeable brown blotches. Have you seen this before?
Thank you so much!
You’re right. Leaves with those symptoms are not shown in the above post. In fact, I’ve never seen exactly those symptoms before. They make me think of the early stages of a mineral toxicity: too much of something. Have you added fertilizer recently?
Actually, on May 27th I added some citrus fertilizer to it along with 4 other avocado plants. I followed the directions and did even less than the recommended. Only the Wurtz is doing what it’s doing, but it does makes sense. It’s the smallest and youngest of the 5 that I have (2 Hass, 2 Mex, 1 Wurts). I will try to water/flush it immediately. Does it normally take almost 2 weeks to begin to show signs? I would have thought it would react to toxicity more quickly. I use the powder Down To Earth citrus mix.
Small avocado trees are known to be sensitive to overfertilization. Different fertilizers become accessible to plant roots at different rates, and it also depends on the time of year, among other factors. But it is within the realm of possibility that the tree could show toxicity after about two weeks. I’m not saying that I know that this is what is causing the symptoms on your leaves, but it’s possible, and it’s my best guess at this point.
Thanks Greg. From your posts and repsonses, the internet, and my observations… I think you’re on the money with this one. I believe it’s toxicity of over fertilization. I removed as much of the dirt around the tree until I saw roots and replaced it with my usual soil mix with no fertilizer or additives. Then watered in deeply to give the roots fresh water and oxygen. I’ll let you know its progress in a few weeks. Thanks for your help!!!
Greg – First off – I can’t thank you enough for this amaaaazing site. I continue to learn so much exploring the rich amount of information you have provided. Awesome and inspiring! I’m up to 70 different fruit trees and counting! My location is Big Basin Park on a ridge.
I have 3 avocado. The Haas is about 5 years old and doing fine! The two newer ones are a Lamb Haas and a Sir Prize. I’m having issues with the newer ones, especially the Lamb Haas. The leaves seem to burn back at the tips. I have some guesses as to the problem based on your informative page here, but nothing lines up exactly.
My water source is pretty pure (Big Basin Water) comes from local springs and lakes. It even sits in the storage tank a while before it gets to me.
My soil is a bit clay and sand.. not the best. I did amend when I planted. As mentioned, the juvenile Haas is doing great on the same hillside. I water daily and never let it dry out completely since it does get hot and it is easy to see when water was needed.
My guess has been either poor drainage or over fertilization. I see the comments about fertilization above and thought to ask if the image I am showing lines up with that? Any input you have is greatly appreciated!!
Thank you again for all your great advice!
Thanks for the feedback! That looks to me like it isn’t related to water or fertilizer but rather physical damage from an insect or larger animal. My best guess is that something chewed on those leaves and now the damaged areas are drying and looking burned.
Thanks Greg! – I’ll do some night checks to see if I find anything.
Hi, I’m trying to grow an avocado tree from a seed at home. Its been about 2 years and the plant has been growing great. I’ve re-potted it twice and is now about 2 feet tall. Recently the new leaves have been having issues… tips drying up and curling… eventually fully drying up and falling off. Any thoughts? Am I looking at mild root rot?
My first guess would not be root rot but rather a period of thirst or high heat or high sunlight. If the media in the pot drains quickly, and it almost always does, then it’s highly unlikely you’re overwatering unless the bottom of the pot lacks drainage holes.
Terrific site you have developed Greg. I find myself continuously scrolling through and learning new things every time. I am an amateur gardener at best with two potted avocados in my collection. The goal when I bought and potted these trees was to keep them healthy and happy until we could settled down in one location and plant them in the ground for good. Unfortunately, we are well into our fourth year with the potted fuerte and still haven’t been able to plant her.
My question for you today is in regards to her current appearance and what exactly is wrong. Seems as though she hasn’t dropped her current leaves in nearly 2 years now and they are in a constant state of droop. No new growth has been shown in these last two years either. I went through your “reading avocado leaves” write up several times now and am not convinced she falls into any of these categories. Would you mind taking a look at the photos and letting me know what you think?
Sorry, those photos weren’t accessible for me. Can you try again?
Sorry for wasting your time Greg. I updated the links and they should be accessible now. Really appreciate any feedback you can share. New links are below.
Thanks, Derek. Strange that the tree isn’t flushing new growth. It looks like it is well watered. If anything, it looks overwatered rather than underwatered. It also looks like it would benefit from more sun (though I understand that might not be possible).
I read your article, but I am still perplexed as to the problem with my Avocado tree.
I’m in the southwest corner of Riverside County.
I grew my tree from a seed. It was doing well in the water. Transplanted it at the end of March. Put it in a new pot at the beginning of May.
Have been putting it out in dappled sun little by little to get it used to outside. Stays out most of the day now. I bring it in every night.
But it just looks droopy. I thought it wasn’t getting enough water, but it does not bounce up when I water it. Still droopy.
So based on the browning (see pics in folder in link below) and color of the leaves, I thought it was overwatered.
These pics are on the 4th day since watering.
I can put my finger pretty deep in the pot and it is not wet.
Maybe you can see something I am not seeing?
The droopiness in those leaves doesn’t look to be problematic. Often, Hass seedlings look like that. But it does look like it wants more sunlight. If you can, put it in more and more sun every day until it’s in maximum sun all day. No need to bring it indoors this time of year either. If you do this, you’ll see the leaves darken and thicken. You will have to water more since the tree will be transpiring more, just be aware.
Are you around Temecula? I’m in Ramona . . . similar climate . . . and I keep little seedlings like that in full sun all day unless it’s around 100 degrees or more. (But they do need time to acclimate if they’ve been kept out of full sun for a while.)
Yes, I am up in Temecula.
Ramona. Pretty area. Before we settled on Temecula we were looking at rentals in Ramona.
Originally from the Midwest, so still getting used to the California climate for growing.
Been told by numerous people that you can’t grow avocados in Temecula. I like a challenge.
My bigger concern is the brown spots on the big leaves. I just uploaded a new picture today that shows the brown spot has enlarged and torn.
I have left it out since your reply. Seems to be doing okay otherwise.
I have 3 avocados in temecula in a neighborhood that scraped the land before they built the houses. I’ve heard the same thing about avocados here but mine are growing fine.?
Those brown spots look like minor sunburn. As long as the weather stays mild here, just keep the tree where it is and let it take a little damage as it acclimates, but do shade it when we get hot again — just for the first hot spell.
I’ve heard from many people who live in Temecula that others tell them they can’t grow avocados. Temecula is like Ramona in that it is a large area with various microclimates. But there’s no doubt that avocados do very well in some parts of Temecula because there are hundreds of acres of productive commercial groves demonstrating it.
I transplanted a 5-gallon Lambs Hass back in April in Long Beach, CA… it did well for a while (even had new growth) then about a month ago all the leaves dried up and fell off. Even the new leaves are gone but the branches are still green. What did I do wrong? Can I still save it? Our soil is pretty loose and sandy, so that should be ok. Maybe it’s getting too much water from being near the veggie garden, or maybe I gave it too much citrus/avo food? It could also be getting too much sun (full sun all day). Any ideas?
If your soil is sandy and the drainage is good, then my guess is either lack of water or overfertilization — maybe a combination of the two. It takes a couple months for the roots of a new avocado tree to grow and reach a couple inches into the dirt around the hole you planted it in, so it’s unlikely that lots of water being applied to a nearby vegetable garden affected it at all. And in Long Beach an avocado tree will do best with 100 percent sun all day long.
Can you save the tree? If it has no leaves, then the danger now is sunburn. You must paint the branches to protect them until the grow back new leaves. If this regrowth doesn’t happen within the next month, I’d replace the tree.
It’s best to be very conservative about fertilizing baby avocado trees. The risk of harming them from fertilizers is big. The risk of adding no fertilizer at all is only that the tree might not grow as fast as it would with some fertilizer added. My routine is to only add some compost on the surface and wood chips or leaves for mulch to avocado trees at planting time. This has always worked well in various locations and soils in Southern California. These trees may not grow as fast as possible, but they always grow steadily.
I am growing a couple of Avocado trees in Oaxaca, México. Lately one of my Hass trees hasn’t been looking good. Many leaves are falling, they are drooping with yellow spots and the young branches are spottet and discolored.. What might this be?
Could be many things going on, some of which wouldn’t be anything to worry about. Young branches do get dark blotches on them naturally, and this is not a disease or of any concern. Leaf fall can be natural too, especially around the time that new leaves are growing to replace them. The old leaves that fall often droop and turn yellow before they fall. You might want to have a close look at the spots on the leaves to see if you can find any insects.
Hi Greg, I just read your article about “Avacado Leaves”. Hands down it is the best article I’ve ever come across. The pictures are great for reference for figuring out what’s going on, and the article itself was very helpful. I’ve signed up for your newsletter and looking forward to learning more about Avacados.
Thank you, Sue. Great to hear the feedback.
We have a young Fuerte avocado tree that we got this year. It is still in a pot (though we upgraded the size). It doesn’t seem to be growing new leaves and the older leaves are browning and drying up on the edges and then falling off. We check the soil with a moisture monitor daily before deciding whether or not to water. It is kept under a porch area and only gets sun in the mornings and none in the afternoons when it is over 90 degrees. I am in zone 9a. Any ideas what’s going on and what we need to do to fix it?
The browning edges of the older leaves suggest the tree needs more water. I’d try that. Since the tree is in a pot, I’d try water more often though not necessarily more in total volume. Still, do make sure you’re watering enough each time such that you see water come out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
You can give the tree more sun if you want. As long as you can keep up on the watering, it should be fine in the sun all day even if the temperature is near 100. I do find it beneficial to shade the outside of the pots that an avocado tree is in, however, because the sunny side of the pot will heat up so much that roots can’t grow near that side. My potted avocado trees have been in full sun all day so far this year, and the temperature has reached the mid 90s a few times. They look happy. Again, ample water is key.
This time of year avocado trees are mostly between flushes. They have finished the flush of new leaves that they put out in spring, and they have yet to start the summer flush. Actually, I see that one of my Fuertes has just now barely started its summer flush. So I’d expect some new leaves emerging on your tree within the next few weeks.
Greg I appreciate your thoughtfulness in posting this information and it’s been very helpful. I have an example of some leaves that do not fit the images as clearly above. New leaves, which have inverted and are curling upward from the edges. I believe it may be underwatering as a result of heat, but curling is described as a problem of overwatering. Is there some way to share the image and get your thoughts? I’m happy to contribute the images to your post, if they would be helpful to others.
Thanks. I’ve never seen upward curled avocado leaves indicating any problem. And when an avocado tree is thirsty its leaves wilt and flatten or curl downward.
When an avocado tree is overwatered the leaf shape doesn’t change; however, over time the leaf color can change to a paler green, and if the roots rot, then the size of the leaves will be small.
Some varieties of avocados have very “cupped” leaves naturally, such as Holiday and Lamb.
The short of it is that cupped or upward curling leaves are never anything to worry about on avocados.
Appreciate the reply; I noticed that others have used Dropbox- so here are a few pics. As I said, feel free to add to your posts if helpful. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I underwatered this Hass, the new leaves burned from the tips and then when I watered the leaves recovered somewhat but the edges are dead so the leaves have taken on this odd shape. I also read salt could be the issue but I’ve barely fertilized since getting these trees a few months ago as they acclimated, I guess it’s possible the water has chloride (NorCal), but the large leaves don’t have the same symptoms as these new leaves.
Those leaves show some burning from high heat or intense sunlight. Sometimes new leaves do that, especially on a branch they call a “water sprout.” A water sprout is a branch that grows very fast and usually vertically; the stem is light green and juicy. On these types of branches, this burning can happen even if it’s not very hot.
I got some similar burning on these types of leaves and branches on some of my avocados over the last few weeks and it hasn’t even gotten over 105, which is usually the threshold for when normal new leaves get margin burn in my yard.
my trees have black spots on the stalk of the young shoot…they die back..but the other part of the tree is okey..am japhet mutugi from kenya..i can send you the photos
Avocados normally get black spots on their young branches, but it is not a problem. If yours are dying back, it might be because of some disease that I’m unfamiliar with. It’s possible that your climate in Kenya is conducive to it whereas our drier climate in California isn’t.
Are you sure that the black spots are related to the shoots dying back? For example, do you see the black spots appear and then soon after those same branches start dying back?
Can you tell the difference between avocado varieties by looking at the leaves or other parts of the trees? I have purchased a lot of 5 gallon Hass and Fuerte avocados and three were missing their labels. Now I have no idea how to tell the difference.
Yes, one can tell the difference between avocado varieties by looking at their leaves. Seeing other parts of the trees helps even more.
I’m not great at this, but I can sometimes guess right. In fact, every time I’m at a nursery I test myself by guessing the varieties before looking at labels.
As for Hass and Fuerte specifically, the easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at the young stems. Young stems on Fuerte have red flecks whereas those of Hass do not. Fuerte leaves tend to be slightly bigger and slightly deeper green than Hass too.
We purchased our Holiday Avocado this June and moved it to a bigger pot about a week ago.
I started seeing the lower leaves yellow and having brown tips (4 leaves so far), very similar to your photo on “Old, yellowing avocado leaves” above.
The tree is about 4 1/2-5 feet and the yellowing leaves are all on the bottom of the plant. Is this normal for this young of a tree? It is making a lot of new leaves on other branches though.
Everything you’ve described does sound normal. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.
I been growing 2 avocado plants so far so good. But all of sudden the leaves starting to look droopy??!!! They are in soil. So what I did took the old soil out and noticed that the soil was very wet from the bottom. So what I did was put them in a bigger pot and added new dry soil. I live in TX so its nice and sunny with high heat. I been keeping an eye on them and still have droopy leaves!! Has anyone have this happened to them? I need help and don’t want my plants to die!! 🙁
If you’re growing an avocado in a pot it’s best to use a fast-draining soil/mix. If the bottom stays very wet, then the soil isn’t draining well enough or you’re watering too much too often or the pot doesn’t have enough drainage holes. Constantly wet soil will make the leaves droop and become pale in color.
My avocado tree was doing well until a week ago. The leaves are really droopy and saggy and they do not perk up when watered. I will attach a link. I would appreciate it so much if yo gave me your opinion. I have searched endlessly online and asked the sales person who helped me at the store about it with not much success.
Thank you in advance,
Your website is invaluable. A safe, peace of mind source that I can trust is a blessing. Thanks you.
Thanks for your kind words. Whenever a tree’s leaves don’t perk up after being watered, the indication is that the roots are damaged and can’t support the leaves. This assumes that you are properly judging the leaves as being droopy; some varieties are naturally somewhat droopy.
I would check the soil below the tree. Can you find avocado roots, which are as thick as a metal coat hanger and white toward the tip, if healthy? Is the soil there wet? If you squeeze a handful, does it leave a sticky stain on your hand? And poke around to see if you can find tunneling from a gopher.
I appreciate your support so much. Thank you. I will do what you suggested.
Not sure if you got the link, but that’s how it’s looking:
It’s a Carmen Hass. and has lots of new growth. I was hoping maybe it’s pulling all the energy from the old leaves to the new ones. Was afraid of the scary root rot thing..
Glad you linked to those photos. There’s nothing wrong with your tree. The old leaves are drooping in that way because new leaves are growing. The old leaves sort of get out of the way of the new leaves in this manner. It’s natural and normal.
Also, this drooping happens when the tree is flowering and here in August is when Carmen trees often start their “off” bloom. Don’t be surprised if you see flowers emerging soon.
Greg, I was just going to ask about the off bloom, my Carmen is flowering right now and thought it was odd but I guess not. About that off bloom, hopefully the flowers turn into some avocados, when will those avocados be ready to pick and eat? Next August, one year from now?
Thanks for your insight…
Yeah, Eric. Spot on. Let me know if you get set on this off bloom.
Remind me where you’re at again, please. Somewhere in Orange County, right? I’m curious to learn how far inland Carmen makes an off bloom. (I’m 20 miles from the ocean and don’t get an off bloom on my Carmen, unfortunately.)
I’m in Mission Viejo, right off the LaPaz exit and 5 fwy, so it’s probably about 9 miles as the crow flies to the beach. I planted 2 Carmens in the spring of 2019 that are about 7 feet tall but are still babies so I’ll let you know if they set any fruit this go around. They didn’t really flower this past spring which I thought was odd.
I frequent Laguna Hills nursery in Santa Ana and the owner highly recommended the Carmen because he planted one at the Farm and Food lab at the Great Park in Irvine years ago (https://www.cityofirvine.org/orange-county-great-park/farm-food-lab). I went and visited and was sold. That place is also a great place for kids to visit if anyone is interested and they have a decent farmers market on Sunday’s…
Thanks again for all the information you put out, it’s really helped me over the years. My wife and family truly appreciate your wisdom.
Thanks a lot for the details and kind words.
In fact, it’s in the avocado variety collection at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine where the most inland Carmens I know have an off bloom. That location seems to be near the limit.
❤ Thanks so much. I am happy 🙂
Greg – thank you for a great blog! When you have observed root rot, what has been your best remedy? Do you use systemic fungicides?
We are in the suburbs of San Diego (so close to where you are) and my 2-3 year old avocados just can’t seem to turn the corner… We have sandy soil, they are up on mounds, and irrigation is adjusted based on evapotranspiration… I pulled one of the trees out today, and a majority of its roots were black. Seems to me the only remedy is a systemic fungicide, but I can’t do a trunk injection on a 1-inch plant…
I’d be hesitant to diagnose root rot in your situation. I’d first want to rule out insufficient watering, which can also lead to dying roots that shrivel and turn black.
To suspect root rot, you’d also want to observe other conditions in addition to black roots: constantly soggy soil, soil that doesn’t drain after an irrigation, small and light green leaves.
When you scratch around the dirt under your trees, is the soil heavy and wet and sticky?
When you pulled that tree out, was the soil at the bottom of the planting hole / root ball soggy?
Insufficient watering was my initial suspicion, so I verified my micro-sprinklers are providing the right amount of water for evapotranspiration zone 4, a ~3ft canopy diameter and a Kc of 0.85 (which translates to about 3 gallons every 4 days).
The red flag came when I noticed glistening dirt the day after an irrigation. When I dug down next to the rootball water made a small puddle in the hole. Same when I pulled out the tree: water pooled where the tree was. I inspected the soil which turned out to be loamy/clay-y right in that location (and only that location – some wired clay pocket), so it retained water like there was no tomorrow. Combined with the dropped leaves, and stalled new growth (tiny leaves, see images below) made me suspect root rot.
So yesterday I replaced the dirt in the planting hole with different, sandier soil from a different location on the property and added some drainage enhancing amendment. My hope is that this will solve the sogginess, but I wonder whether the existing root damage along with the rot/fungus that is now on the roots will continue to weaken/kill the tree. Hence the thought about the systemic fungicide. (I also added some temporary shade.)
Ironically, I have a Haas about 12 feet away for which the water runs off as if it were planted in pebbles… It has also dropped its leaves but after adding mulch and increasing the irrigation a bit it started new growth. Same symptoms, but I guess due to a different cause…
Here are some images (I included a couple from the Haas as well; the Reed is the one with the issues described above): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1uLeEUta2q8N3GnGIa5KcgQvuWmqUjbt9?usp=sharing
The photos are helpful. They sure do show symptoms of wet feet.
Let’s disregard the fungicide idea for now because that approach is not effective unless you also have the irrigation right. Obviously, the irrigation isn’t quite right because there was a bunch of “unused” water pooled under the tree, meaning the irrigation was too much in some sense. But we should back up even further and make sure that you can get water to drain away from the roots of the trees well enough or when it rains hard this winter (which you can’t stop), you’ll have rotting roots once again.
So how high is that mound?
How long does it take water to drain out of a hole in the soil in that spot? (One foot deep and wide hole, filled with water.)
By the way, if you dig a little deeper, any chance you get through that clay layer to a sandier layer below?
Good point – makes sense. About 1ft high; I’ve added an image titled “Mound” to the link in the previous post to give you an idea.
When I originally pulled the tree out to check the roots I dug down and eventually reached a sand stone layer that was quite hard, about 2-3 ft down. During that process I removed the clay as well. It was very local – no clay on either side of the hole…
I originally dialed in my irrigation based on your recommendation of 3 gals every 4 days once established. However, after daily checking the moisture level by digging down ~6in I found that the dirt dries out after two days (as in, won’t-form-a-ball-anymore-dry). So I’ve adjusted the irrigation to provide 1.5 gals every other day.
I explain the quick drying out with the fact that the trees are planted on the edge of one of those typical San Diego canyons. Add to that the fact that the face of the canyon is south-facing, which probably significantly increases the heat load. It does usually feel very hot and dry on the hill when we walk on it…
Not sure if that makes sense?
Thanks so much for your post. I live in the PNW and have potted my avocado plant that I sprouted from water. It was doing so well and I trimmed the top when it got to be 12”, and it’s sprouting again, but I am seeing dark brown spots on the lower two leaves. It is now starting on the third to the last leaf, like it is moving up the plant. I don’t think it is mites because I don’t see any silvery patterns on the underside of the leaves and it’s indoors. Also, the plant’s leaves have always been light green in color. (Am I overwatering?) This is my only successful plant, I’m a novice, so I would love any advice! Thank you!
Dark brown spots on lower leaves? Is it possible that the tree has gotten extra strong sun recently? Sunburn sometimes appears that way.
The light green leaves could just be natural or due to the plant being indoors.
We have been growing 4 varieties of avocado fairly successfully for the last 3 years and they are flowering heavily for the first time. We get are on Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia and have warm weather and heavy rainfall and a very clayey soil so have opted to plant in plastic rubbish bins with the bottom cut out to avoid root rot. One of the trees (fuerte) has suddenly died, for no known reason, it was not over watered and was watered regularly and the soil checked every week for moisture content. When it died all the leaves have stayed firmly attached and are not dropping, but its obviously dead. We removed it from the location it was in and found that the roots had made it into the soil below, so was doing well before this. Would very much appreciate your thoughts on what may have happened to it. I have some photos, not sure how to load them.
This reminds me of a wilt disease, such as Verticilium wilt: https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/avocado/verticillium-wilt/
I noticed some strangeness on a few of my avocado tree leaves today. Mottled yellow with some dark spots underneath. The spots don’t appear to be associated with the veins, like in the mites pictures. I do see mites running around on the pavement when I move the pot, but I assumed they were normal soil mites.
Some leaves: https://i.imgur.com/m41SFGA.jpg
After watering: https://i.imgur.com/b9mEhuX.jpg
Good news: those leaves are just senescent, dying a natural death. Your tree is in perfect health. Nice work!
Hey Greg I tried to reply to you with some pictures attached. I have an avocado tree that’s a hass and a zutano grafted together on a single rootstock. There is some very vigorous growth below each graft. Although the callus marks appear to be below the new growth. That and the fact I can’t find any differences between the leaves leads me to believe the growth isn’t rootstock, but how big they are is what’s concerning me.
I haven’t noticed any photos. Any chance you could link to some in reply to this comment thread?
I’m confused about whether the growth in question is above or below the graft unions.
The size of the leaves alone isn’t too telling. All varieties are capable of making some very big leaves from time to time, especially down low on the north sides of canopies.
I am a fairly new avocado grower (just purchased my first tree couple of months ago). Sadly, today I noticed that I have gopher mounds all around the tree. What would you recommend I do? Is it too late to dig the tree out and put a chicken wire basket around?
It’s not too late to replant the tree in a basket. My own preferred method of gopher control is to trap them though. Here is the trap I use: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/the-best-gopher-trap-its-a-cinch/
If you think you can stay vigilant about trapping, then that method works well. But if not, then replanting in a basket is safe — although I have to note that I’ve never planted a tree in a basket myself so I don’t have firsthand experience with it.
I have had some trouble with my two avocado trees the past 6 months and I was hoping you could help me, as I am no expert. I started growing two avocado trees five years ago in a high school biology unit. I am from New Hampshire, and they are kept in a large pot and watered whenever I think the soil is dry (about once every week and a half or so). They are both about 2 ft tall, and for a while have been kept in my house’s main second-floor hallway with a lot of indirect sunlight.
I was away at college for this past school year, so my mom took care of them. When I returned, they did not look so good (Images 1 and 2). I wanted to repot them, but I felt it was not warm enough outside yet to do so. Because of this, I gradually clipped off some of the leaves. One of those leaves is in image 3.
I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it never really occurred to me to repot them until this past summer. I repotted both plants on July 28 once I found the time to do so, hoping it would help to solve the issue. After repotting, the leaves of both trees began to curl, become less vibrant, and start to get brown all along the edges (Images 5 and 6). I decided to clip them off, hoping it would stimulate growth elsewhere. I also recently purchased a grow light for the plants from Amazon that is on for 9 hours a day (Images 7 and 8). I have provided closer views of each stem in images 9 and 10. The stem of the tree in images 9 is green, but the stem in image 10 is yellowing with some black spots. Images 11 and 12 show closer views.
I am really just in need of a lot of help, as I do not know what to do. I appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank you.
Here is the link:
It is an accomplishment to have kept avocado trees alive in a pot in New Hampshire for five years. So congratulations on that.
The leaves in images 1, 2, and 3 are dying a natural death. They are mostly healthy leaves that are senescent.
In images 5, 6, and 7 it looks like symptoms of abrupt, severe root damage. Maybe this happened during repotting.
Disregard black spots on the stems. That is natural as the stems age. The stems look alive still.
If you can water judiciously (not so much that the roots rot), then the trees might grow new leaves soon. I hope they do!
Hi again Greg!
Since I last messaged you, I had to say goodbye to one of my trees unfortunately. I believe that the repotting was too much for the roots. I cut the stem down a bit to see if there was any possibility of the tree being okay but it was completely dried out.
I do, however, still have my other tree! You can see his growth in the link at the bottom of this message! Unfortunately though, when the other tree died I began to see small flies around the soil which made their way to my other living tree.
I went to my local home depot and picked up a bug spray for fruits and vegetables. Being in New Hampshire, I couldn’t find one that listed avocado tree pests but I hoped for the best. After numerous treatments, the bugs still remain. I was wondering if there was a particular spray I should be using for this instead that pertains more to avocado trees.
Currently, my avocado tree is in my garage because I don’t want the bugs in my house. I have been bringing it outside during the day so it could get some sun (weather and temperature depending, of course), then bringing it in at night. With the weather getting colder (it snowed for the first time today!), I am hoping to get the tree back inside as soon as possible.
I also noticed what appears to be a small bruise on my tree (see the photo from Oct 18th) and was wondering if this was an area of concern.
Lastly, I was hoping you could recommend me a general rule of thumb for repotting, such as how often and what time of year I should be doing it.
These have been the first trees I have ever grown. Thank you for taking the time to help me and many others.
It’s nice to see that there are some new sprouts on the trunk in one of those photos. That little bruise doesn’t look like anything to worry about. I imagine the little bugs are fungus gnats or something similar. House plants seem to always attract insects of some sort. I do know that some nurseries put a layer of perlite on top of the potting mix of their avocados to discourage these insects. I’d try that.
I put in young 1m high avocado trees during winter and now coming into Spring they have new growth at the tips. What concerns me is the colour of the leaves is yellowish and I need to know if I have something to worry about.
Maybe nothing to worry about. Certain kinds of avocados make new leaves that are yellowish or pale green. These are commonly labelled “West Indian” types.
Thanks for the thumbs up Greg. The variety with the issue is called ‘Reed’ and I’m not sure where this variety originates from.
I have noticed with increasing sun with Spring arriving the new new leaves have started to become greener so you’re probably right on the money.
(this is a reply about the pink avocado seedling)
The pink seedling is a few months old. The only green it’s ever had was a small leathery patch on a single leaf one time. That leaf is gone. Other than that, the leaves don’t get very big and dry up and fall off. I think it’s just surviving on the energy it has in the pit, because it can’t be photosynthesizing. I know I’m not overwatering it, because the other seedlings are doing great and I let it dry out between waterings. The entire plant is light pink, including the stem. It’s been that way since it initially sprouted.
If the other seedlings are doing fine in the same soil with the same watering, then this one might just be a genetic dud. That happens sometimes. I get some seedlings that are slow or have chlorosis or other problems and I just give up on them.
Hello Greg! I also have a plant requiring help.
Here’s my avocado. A couple of months ago I repotted it and tbh, I don’t exactly remember if that’s when it started growing these deforming, folding\curling trees or before, but now it’s also wilting while the soil is still wet and I’m panicking ’cause I already had an avocado die on me before and it was in this pot. I washed it with soap and flushed with potassium permanganate to disinfect it (and it’s been airing out for around a year). I used a mix of local soil with river sand (50/50) and put some clay pebbles at the bottom. There’s a lot of draining holes at the bottom. I also mixed in some wood chips from a chopped down city trees, idk if that matters. So what could be happening to it? Overwatering? I only water when it dries. Or fungus from previous tree? Or could it be that the pot is leaking chemicals into the soil?
Please help, thank you.
Your tree looks fine to me. It looks like a healthy avocado seedling that is growing indoors in low light. I don’t see anything wrong with it.
Sometimes I get avocado seeds that sprout under the shade of my big avocado or orange trees, and the leaves of the seedlings look much like yours.
My avocado plant is very young, possibly 9 months old. It is a Hass avocado tree, and it currently lives in Charlotte, NC. I received this plant from my grandmother, who has raised several Hass avocado trees successfully. Its leaves had started to curl up, and she told me to transplant it into a bigger pot. I transplanted it into an empty 5-gallon water jug that I had cut the top off of. I made sure it has 3-4 holes in the bottom for drainage. I placed it outside in the sun and the leaves unfurled a few hours later.
However, after a few weeks, with watering every 2-3 days, it’s leaves began to curl, turn brown, and drop off. The remaining leaves began to show holes and marks that looked like someone had pinched them. I consulted my copy of Elvin McDonald’s “World Book of House Plants” to see what was wrong with it, but found no answer.
Similar marks have appeared on both of my two-year-old Calla lilies, along with spots of sunburns. I have moved the lilies into the shadier part of my yard that still receives sunlight.
Please help me as I am quite at a loss for what to do. My plants are normally quite healthy.
If you moved the avocado from a shady or indoor spot to a sunny outdoor location, then my first guess would be sunburn. Avocados need to be gradually moved from low light to normal outdoor sunshine. Otherwise, the leaves brown (sunburn), often in spots and then entirely. Is this possibly it, do you think?
Hello! I have been growing this avocado tree in my bedroom in front of a nice big window. So far its going pretty well. Only thing is, that its grows 3 leaves. Then the next 3 grow. they look great healthy, but then the first 3 that grow become frail and go a bit brown. and then fall off. and this keeps repeating itself. is this normal?
This might be normal. Healthy avocado leaves remain on the tree for roughly a year before being shed. If the leaves are dropping much sooner, then it could be due to many reasons, including low light.
I need help for my avocado tree. The leafs turned yellow in the last month with a very intensive blooming. Now the leafs are dropping although most of the lower branches are putting new leafs. I read scary things like rootten roots. Infilmed the tree, please find below the file:
Could you please help me to find the causes and how to save the tree?
Sorry that I didn’t get to replying to your message until now and the link has expired. However, during an intense bloom, avocado trees often shed many — sometimes most — of their older leaves, and then they begin to grow new ones. This is usually not a sign of ill health. Trees can do this if they’re infected with root rot, it’s true, but that is certainly not always the case. If the tree had good looking foliage (large, deep green leaves) before the bloom, then it is healthy and you don’t need to worry.
I love your blog! I’ve just started trying to grow avocados in Florida. They weren’t doing well in our irrigated bermuda grass lawn, so I moved them out back and now they’re green and growing beautifully!
I have a problem with our Doni. Some of the new leaves fold in at a 90 degree angle close to the tip. It’s like 1/2″ from the tip, or so, a chunk is missing, or there is a tear, and the tip bends toward that side of the leaf so it ends up pointing sideways. Many other new leaves look great, and it’s growing tons of new leaves and generally looks really healthy but if this is something I need to head off I’d like to know soon.
Thank you for any advice!
Thanks! That’s an odd symptom. My only guess is that it is bug damage. Bugs like to eat the tips of leaves or use them for protection by rolling the leaves around themselves. Do you find any bugs or bug poop near those tips? Either way, it’s unlikely to be an issue you need to worry about.
Hi Greg, thanks for all the great info you’ve posted. I have a potted avocado seedling grown from a pitt that I moved outside about 2 months back. Recently one of the leaves developed brown spots but it doesn’t seem to match any of your example photos.
If you have a chance, perhaps you could take a look: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ni3LucERvtnVsqvhypCB2GNwdHFy1mLI/view
I’m in San Jose, CA and although we’ve had some hot days, I typically move the plant into the shade and so I don’t think it has been sunburned. Previously I’ve had issues with potted avs suffering from root rot and so I’m pretty careful about not overwatering. This one is planted in a fast draining cactus/perlite mix.
Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the good photo. My guess is still sunburn. If it were some toxicity like sodium, then I’d expect to see it on more than one leaf and more than one side of one leaf. It doesn’t look like the damage of any pest I’ve seen. But the fact that you brought the tree out into the real sunshine recently, plus the fact that the leaves look like they’ve been growing in low light, make me think that leaf got a little too much sun too fast. It could have happened on just one afternoon on one day a while back. Everything else looks healthy about it and the other leaves.
Thanks for the insights, that gives me some hope! I have moved the plant out of direct sunlight and will give it a couple of months to acclimatize.
really interesting post thanks. I have a relatively well established avocado tree which is budding well and showing small fruits- circa 1cm. i live in Perth, WA so solid climate, but some of my leaves- predominantly their tips have turned black and are crunchy. I am so paranoid about it being root fungus! is this simply sun burn on some leaves- and if so why only a few and not the whole tree? anything i can do to prevent it re-occuring, i probably water it 2/3 times a week with auto -irrigation system for circa 10 mins each time as part of my broader garden watering. thanks in advance
What you describe does sound like the symptoms of heat stress (drought/sunburn). Is it mostly occurring on newer leaves? That’s what usually happens. The newer leaves are on the periphery of the tree’s canopy where they are exposed to more sun and heat, and so they lose more water and need more water to keep themselves cooled and hydrated. They’re always the leaves that get burned first. And if the stress isn’t too much, then they are the only leaves that get burned.
It might be that your watering wasn’t quite enough during a spell of heat or wind or low humidity. You want to keep an eye on weather forecasts so you can give some extra water in advance of this type of weather, but that’s hard to always do, and everybody gets caught sometimes.
I’ve been searching for quite a while now, but I haven’t found anything really. You seem like you’ve seen a thing or two when it comes to avocadoes.
I’ve decided to grow a little one from seed, and I honestly don’t think they’re older than a year old yet.
The weird thing that happens though, is that the leaves first start developing bumps, and then slowly turn brownish green and brittle. Then they fall off.
I’ve tried putting cinnamon on it in case it was some kind of fungal infection. It seemed to have slowed it down, although I’m not really sure.
I looked all over it, there don’t seem to be any kinds of pests on it.
Do you think you could help?
Sorry, but I have no guess on this one. Maybe I could give a clue if you linked to a few photos.
Hi Greg – Another great post, thank you. My two Hass trees appear to be doing well (planted in November). I have scaled the watering way back, in accordance with your table included within another post. However, the leaves of both trees are browning not only at the tips but all around the outer edges. The leaves are also cupped (similar to the “taco-shell” photo in this post). The cupping does not concern me but more the browning that is taking place on seemingly all of the leaves. They most resemble the sunburned leaves in your post above. However, the leaves still are alive (for now) and the browning is only on the outer edge of each leaf. In summary, they don’t look healthy and I’m slightly concerned. Given the trees are very young / newly planted, I will continue to monitor and hope for the best but wanted to check with you if there is anything I can do. Thank you in advance.
Just read your post about browning leaves. Since my trees have been in the ground for less than a year (merely 2 months), I am going with the presumption that I am watering too infrequently. I just watered both trees and can affirm that there is not a single leaf without the browning taking place. Are the trees salvageable? So frustrating that I blew it on the watering. I was very careful to water a lot during the first 4 weeks, but then eased way back around week 5 which caused the trees to suffer. I’ll monitor the trees and water them once per week and hope that I can somehow nurse them back to health. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
I think you’ve assessed the situation accurately. This has been a tricky fall for planting new avocado trees so don’t feel bad. We’ve had one-day rains in between long stretches of dry and warm weather, meaning those baby trees have needed more frequent watering than in more normal falls.
I was away from home the past three weeks and I set my irrigation system to water my young trees twice a week while I was gone, just to be safe. That’s frequent for this time of year, but it was approximately correct because of the weather.
If your trees just have brown margins but are still hanging on the trees, then don’t worry much. Around the corner is warmer weather, and the days are already getting longer, and very soon the trees will start flushing new growth. Likely, they’ll recover and look great in spring.
Also, this might not have been your fault at all. The trees may have been insufficiently watered during late summer or early fall at the nursery. Slight underwatering doesn’t show itself in the trees until late fall so it’s hard to make the correlation.
Finally, don’t expect good watering now to totally stop the leaf browning let alone make it disappear. Even if you water perfectly for the next month, the leaf margins may still get progressively brown because of accumulated stress. Your goal now is just to water sufficiently and keep the browning to a minimum. You might also consider a single, very long watering to leach any salts that may have accumulated in the soil over the past couple months.
My 2 year old Hass about 1 metre tall has been very healthy and has good drainage. Now the most of the top leaves, healthy otherwise are drooping but the very bottom leaves are spry and standing out but contrast. I cant’ make out whether this one was grafted. So I can’t tell if these lower leaves are from rootstock. How can I tell? are most commercially bought avos grafted? If they are from rootstock is this viable or is this the beginning of the end of the tree? This is the Australian summer now and I protected it through 45 degree heat wave last year but this year is not hot.
Do the top leaves droop all the time or only during the heat of the day?
Thanks for getting back, Greg. They droop all the time. Watering doesn’t make a difference. cheers Y
It’s possible that the tree is about to bloom or flush new leaves. The uppermost leaves droop at this time, excessively on some varieties. See the photo above of a Reed in the bloom/flush mode.
Thanks again for your attention. Checked out the Reed pictures – nothing so healthy is going on. The blooming occurred a couple of months back. A couple of immature fruit appeared and dropped. We had one week of 109 -113 F early in this Sydney summer. Sure that didn’t help. I hear your advice. Think I have now spotted the rootstock graft union and the sparky leaves are from below it.. I’m probably not going to cultivate given how slowing growing these are any future rootstock for other varieties as the yard has a lot of plants. So I’ll give it a month to see what to do next.
I enjoy sprouting avocado seeds from the ones I’ve purchased at grocery stores to eat. I’m aware I most likely will not get fruit from growing these seeds, but my frustrations lies in them growing straight up to 4′-6′ heights and the bottom leaves all falling off as they grow taller. The stalk gets no bigger than 1/4″ diameter and I have to stake them to stay erect. They are in 12″ pots or bigger, so the roots have room to grow, and they continue to grow taller, but just wondering how to get them to grow stronger stalks and branch more.
I’ve never had to stake a seedling avocado tree, and I’ve always found them gratifyingly upright and strong, which makes me wonder if you’re growing yours in very different conditions, perhaps indoors where there’s lower light and no wind. Is that the case?
I’ve found that the trees are stouter and with denser foliage when grown in strong sunlight. And plant stems strengthen by having to deal with movement, as from wind. You can simulate this by frequently giving them a side tap with your hand each time you walk by.
I started growing an avocado tree last year from the seed. It was already big for its little pot so I repotted it in a bigger, clay pot that sits out in my garden. The first week I noticed its leaves started getting “sunburns”, I don’t know if that’s exactly what they are, but they are big brown spots in the center of the leaves with no damage on the underside. Also I noticed that the leaves that were beneath other leaves didn’t get damaged where they were covered. I moved the pot under a bigger tree where it doesn’t get direct sunshine or maybe just in the early morning. I live in Bogotá, Colombia at 2600 meters over sea levels so I don’t know if it is that the sun here is too harsh for my tree. Help please!! 🙁
I created an Instagram account so that you can see the leaves and the placement of my little tree: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKwfa70JROn/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Wow, those are curious looking leaves. I’ve never seen anything exactly like that bronzing. My best guess is that it is sunburn. See if the damage doesn’t progress now that you’ve put the plant in more shade (and the plant is settling into its new pot). If the problem is caused by something other than the sun, you should see damage continuing.
Thanks Greg! It hasn’t preogressed, but it also isn’t getting better :/
I’ll keep you posted, thanks for your reply!! 🙂
I purchased a home in the Gird Valley area of Fallbrook recently and have some old avocado im not sure if they are salvageable as they have not been cared for very well. They are in and around the septic system and leach field so its hard to know how much water they are getting. I have been irrigating them also but sparingly so far. They have a pretty heavy ivy that is ground cover beneath them. would love to keep them but have no idea where to begin. I posted some pictures here. https://www.flickr.com/photos/192133730@N08/albums/72157718199866481/with/50919168353/
I couldn’t see the photos because it said that I have to be signed in. Maybe try posting again?
If there’s heavy ivy below then there’s likely decent soil moisture, but that could be from the leach field. How does the foliage look? Sparse? Dense? Are the leaves mostly green or do they have lots of brown on the margins? Any fruit in the trees? Approximately how thick is the trunk, in diameter a couple feet off the ground?
Maybe try this link for photos
My guess is they are very underwatered. 20ft trees. Trunk diameter 20in plus. Very sparse foliage. Light green leaves on most that have 1/3 of the leaf browned. Just overall the leaves look bad. They are spotted also. Some branches look dead and have no leaves. There are some places where new leaves are sprouting. Tks for any help
Also very little fruit on tree. What exists are small. Some shriveled
Thanks for the excellent photos, Jason. My guess is the same as yours, that they are very underwatered. When we moved into our place in 2013, we found a similar scene. There were mature avocado trees that hadn’t been watered well or watered at all for a while. I decided not to try to save the trees.
For you to try to save those trees, the first step will be simply irrigating them. See how they recover between now and June. Any tree that doesn’t look significantly better by June, I’d abandon. If a tree fills in with new leaves and looks much better by June, then I’d keep watering it and keep up hope for a full recovery.
Also, on any trees that are recovering, by May or so you should have whitewashed the exposed branches so they don’t sunburn during summer.
Here is a post you might check out: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/avocado-trees-get-sunburned-what-to-do/
I started my avocado tree from a pit a few months ago and it was doing very well in the cup. I potted it after about 6 months and now the leaves have yellow spots with brown spots in it. I have been watering it about once every other week. When I water it, I pour water on it until water drains out of the bottom. The veins are a nice light green and the rest of the leaf is a darker green. The edges are a very light green almost a yellow and within the lighter color there is brown spots. All of the spots are along the edge of the leaves. 3 of the 4 leaves have this problem.
Doesn’t sound like a serious problem. That’s the good news. Is the tree indoors or outdoors? Where are you located?
It is an indoor tree in Michigan
As of today, the tips of one leaf where it used to be yellow and brown has turned just brown. Where it once was yellow it now is brown covering the tips. The brown tips are a bit crunchy. The soil is still damp from watering it last week.
Am I watering it too much??
Watering too much shouldn’t produce brown leaf tips, but I wouldn’t worry about them at this point since the browning is so minor. Very soon the tree will begin growing again.
This is a hass that was planted about 3 weeks ago from a 15 gallon pot. I have been following your watering recommendations for a newly planted tree. It has a lot of new growth ( almost all branches have new buds, see picture). The problem is after reading this post and the subsequent link you provided, it appears it has a substantial infestation of perea mites ( see pics). Should i be concerned? And if so how does one go about obtaining the predatory beneficial mites? I read you had an infestation, didn’t treat it and all was ok. Problem here is that it is only February so it will not heat up for a few months in Ventura.
It does look like your tree has persea mites. I wouldn’t be concerned yet. Since your tree is small, you might even try wiping them off by hand. Then keep an eye out for a return in their numbers. Follow the monitoring advice on the UC IPM page and then buy predatory mites if necessary. At that point, just do a web search for the name of the predatory mite in order to find where to buy some. I’ve never bought any so can’t recommend a source. UC IPM page: https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/avocado/persea-mite/
I have a small 3ft avocado tree that I bought 3 months ago. I could use your expertise to find out why are the leaves looking brownish in the middle. Is there a way I can upload some photos?
Try using Flickr or Google Drive or Imgur or a similar service to share photos.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to find a post online! I have 30+ indoor avocado trees grown from pits in varying stages of growth. I’m a beginner experimenting with different things and haven’t had a clue what was going on with some of leaves. I read this post and a lot of the comments. Thank you everyone!! Greg I don’t know how you find the time to keep up with this all and tend to your plants, but you’re doing incredible work and the ripple effect of it all I can’t imagine. You’ve made my day. I’ll see what I can do with self diagnosis from these comments, so excited! If questions persist from there I’ll send photos. Thank you all!!!
I really appreciate your comments. The truth is that I don’t tend to all of my plants and keep up with the website and do all of the other important things in life, but I’m giving it my best shot. Thank you for first reading previous comments before asking a question here because it saves me time and it’s very likely that you’ll find stories to learn from.
Hi, I loved reading your post. I have two avocado trees grown from seed in Auckland, NZ. They are ca 3.5m tall. One of them even has vigorously floured the last two years. Last Winter the older avocado tree burnt all its leaves. After a lot of patience it has ergrün leaves over the summer, but they are all very small and the tree struggles. Ober the last two days unfortunately the flowering tree has give all yellow snd lost most of it’s leaves. The two trees are close to each other. Could their roots have become wet deep in the soil ? I gave. Oth of them lamb & chicken poop fertiliser. The way try look I fear to lose them. Anything I can to ?
Any advice would be appreciated
Many thanks, Anna .
It could be a temporary condition during flowering, as some trees shed many leaves and look very stressed during bloom. It could also be related to the fertilizer, if it was too strong for the trees. I can’t think of anything you should do right now except not add any more fertilizer and don’t water a lot since the tree has lost many leaves.
My avocado leaves have yellow veins. I noticed it last year but this year is much worse. The tree did fruit and they tasted fine but the leaves indicate to me something is wrong. The tree was here when we moved to Central Fl. and I am not so knowledgeable about avocado trees. Thank you for the pictures!
We received a grafted avocado tree for Christmas that came with only three leaves. Now, two months later, it has grown nicely, and has several leaves in two different places. We repotted it using the type of soil the grower recommended, which is a soil for cactus, Citrus, and avocado. I mist the tree everyday to give it some humidity, and we are trying very hard not to overwater or underwater it.
However, we want it to become an outdoor tree eventually, but we have found that whenever we take it outside to get some sunshine, the leaves go soft and down. And then when we bring it back in, it seems happy with that, and the leaves spring back up like an umbrella. Are we destined to have an indoor avocado tree?
I should add, we are in Central Florida, our weather has been all over the map as has the entire country. I don’t take it out in severe heat, and we don’t leave it out when the temperatures drop into the 40s or 50s. Or when there are strong winds or hard rain. It is a very young tree, after all.
But I should like to think that a tree wouldn’t mind being in the sunshine when it’s 78 degrees outside! LOL
You are being so nice to this baby avocado tree. Maybe too nice! It’s hard to perfectly acclimate an indoor tree to the outdoors such that the leaves never show distress. This is a good time of year to just set it out there and let it adapt. Temperatures down in the 40s should be no problem and temperatures up into the 80s should be no problem except that they’ll probably burn the leaves at first since the tree has been in weak, indoor light. Giving it shade on days over about 75 will mitigate the damage. But really, you’ll just have to let the tree take a few bumps, and as long as you water it enough on warm days it will end up fine. (In that cactus mix it’s unlikely that you’ll water too much because it probably drains very fast.)
Hello Greg. Love your postings on Avocado trees. I have two in my yard that were old, hollow and mostly dead so I cut them down. The ground stumps have produced new trees and I am wondering if the trees growing from the root are worth keeping. 7 years ago, the old trees still fruited. Huge bright green Florida avocados, but I have no photos of the fruit anymore to share. Can you tell what variety I have by just the leaves? Some of the leaves have a slight wave to the margins, but most are rather flat. All are slightly taco shaped, but others are kind of flat too. To me they look the most like Pinkerton, but not as wavy. I don’t see how to attach a photo, but any help would be great. Thanks
This page is so helpful!
I’m not sure whats going on with my avocado plant. I have a Hass that I planted out in Fall. It is 3 years old and has large mature dark green leaves while it was in the pot.
Since I planted it out, it has developed more small leaves and shoots on the top, and the very tiny tips of the thin branches on the sides are starting to develop a bit more.
The new leaves are still very small(growing but very slowly), is it due to the cold(night temps in the 40s with highs in the 70s and 60s this week) or … root rot?
How to tell?
SF Bay Area, 9b
Here’s what it looks like
Try that link again, Elaine. This one doesn’t work for me.
Apologies, here’s a better pic. I have 2 images , one taken last week and one from today.
I planted in Oct 2020, there’s a mark on the stick a week after. You can see since then, above the mark the leaves have sprouted but are very tiny.
I do the ball test before I water.
This week I have added a 2″ leaf mulch.
Maybe it’s not enough nitrogen?
Yesterday I fed it a very weak compost tea with just 2 spadefuls of composted chicken manure in a gallon of water poured around the outer edge of the mulching.
This chart recommends nitrogen.
Another question is, do people count the age of the tree from the time of planting or since it sprouted from seed(or after a successful graft)?
Thank you so much for answering my questions!
Best regards and Happy Planting!
Your tree looks great! I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. The leaves on top are just small because they’re new, but they’ll enlarge — especially as the weather warms.
Is that really a Hass tree? It looks like a Hass seedling to me.
Most people count the age of a tree from the time they planted it, but this can still be confusing because you can plant a tree after it has grown in a container for six months or four years. Farmers always plant very small trees (less than one year after grafting) though so using the planting date isn’t confusing among them.
Thanks for your comment, now I get it — ambient temperature could be warm but if soil temp. is still cold, the plant’s leaves wont grow as well.
Btw great presentation on Thursday! I asked the question re. pinching leaf tips. I’ve not heard the advice you gave any where on the internet. Could you do a post about what you said? Specifically how to remove tips but still get a harvest. Great work you do, thank you for sharing the results of your experiments and observations!
Quick opinion needed on the appearance of my leaves: Transplant shock? Under/over water? Aging leaves? Or am I worried about nothing?
And is that trough idea worth relying on?
Short video: https://youtu.be/a1S3fStDdOQ
Excellent video. That was really helpful. Tree looks fine; I wouldn’t worry about any of the miniscule tip browning and leaf yellowing as yet. The leaves will look their worst about now every year, before they grow new ones in the next month or so. If it gets much worse, then grow concerned.
The container mix did look dry. I would water that for sure.
I would water the tree by hand — directly over the rootball — for about the next month, maybe two, and then by late April you can start to rely on the bubbler that feeds that trough. The reason is that the tree’s roots should grow into the surrounding native soil and be able to access the water there after 1-2 months (and avocado tree roots usually start to grow again around April in California). If you just use that bubbler right now, you might underwater the tree because the native soil will prevent much of it from soaking into the porous container mix of the rootball.
Did you time the drainage in that planting hole before putting the tree in?
Thanks a bunch Greg!
Right after I took the video, I did water the root ball by hand. The leaves perked up right away. I’ll just watch the yellowing and see if it gets any more dramatic.
No. I forgot to check drainage in the hole itself. But that trough emptied from about 8in deep in less than an hour. It’s the same soil, so I imagine the results would have been similar.
But as you’ve suggested, I won’t rely on it for a couple months.
Hi Greg! I commented earlier about the leaves turning brown and yellow, you suggested that it will soon start growing again. It has gotten about 5 new leaves and they are all turning brown, some of them look like they have holes in the tips… kinda like a bug might be eating them?? They no longer are yellow but are just brown. Any suggestions?
I have been using insecticidal soap on it as well
Should I pinch back the bigger leaves that are all brown and hope that the new ones coming in will no longer be brown?
Hi, curious about my avo tree. The leaves are turning white and almost see through… none of these images show that and I can’t find any info in this on the web. Happy to send a pic…
Really enjoy reading your Yard Posts. My leaves are yellow with green veins on my entire Pinkerton avocado tree. I think it is done for but it looks like it is still alive so debating if I should just hold on. What do you think might be the issue? I did create a Youtube video on it so you can see.
Could be lime-induced chlorosis: http://cetulare.ucanr.edu/newsletters/Topics_In_Subtropics44429.pdf
Thank you so much, it was a good read and I think that might be it. Just odd that my other avocados are doing just fine and this one is suffering. Maybe the rootstock that my Pinkerton was grafted on from the grower is the culprit. I’m going to try “digging four to six 12‐24 inch holes around the drip line and burying a mixture of sulfur and Fe fertilizer.
I know you are writing about So. Ca. I am in Melbourne Fl (Atlantic Coast). We have had our avocado tree about 3years. This was the first year we had blossoms and certainly hope we get to eat an avocado or two this year. The tree was beautiful, leaves perfect, green and lush and last year we watched the tree go from 5 feet to currently at least 12 feet tall. It has lots of new growth on it but a lot of the interior leaves are just turning yellow and falling off. Would this be under your description of “older leaves”? There is plenty of new growth and currently have several baby avocado 1/3 inch in size.
Yes, your description does sound like older leaves that are naturally yellowing and dropping.
Marin County, Nor Cal
Looking through your pictures is seems my two trees have been over watered. Leaves are drooping and minimal leaves. I had four blue drippers per tree running 22minutes every other day. Now I have just two blue drippers per tree. The avocado trees are Haas and a Fuerte. Is there a way to attach pictures so you can see the condition of the trees?
Thank you for your help.
Those leaves are drooping because the trees are starting to flower.
Thank you for this marvelous resource.
I was an idiot and overwatered my avocado tree for about five days when I got a new hose. Inexcusable. Formerly happy tree now dropping tons of leaves.
Is there anything I can do to help it recover other than just letting it dry out?
If you’re sure you overwatered the tree, then letting it dry out is the only thing I can think of.
Hi, Greg. I enjoyed reading you post about reading avocado leaves! I apologize if you have already answered this question in the thread above, but my avocado plant is about 2 ft tall, potted, and droopy as hell from the day I bought it. It’s an Avocado, Lila variety.
Aside from being eternally droopy, many leaves have begun turning yellow from the vein out. There’s at least 1 yellowing leaf on every branch. Additionally, half of the sprouts at the very top of the plant are browning and shriveled. I have no idea what’s going on with the plant, but I really don’t want to lose it.
We have a Bacon and it was in a 24 gal container (can’t remember how old) but super happy – been in ground since September – happy healthy. Now it started blooming like crazy and then leaves started going yellow (thought overwatering) so pulled back now they are turning brown and dropping like crazy. We just put in a grey water system which is great but have no idea how much water we’re actually feeding the tree – which is a bit of a problem. Anyhoo – would love any insight & can attach photos.
The yellowing and dropping of leaves during a heavy bloom is normal. The graywater system might be dangerous though. Be sure you’re not keeping the soil under the tree constantly wet. Of course, with graywater you also need to be careful with the soaps and shampoos you use, especially with avocados because they are peculiarly sensitive to sodium and chloride.
Feel free to attach links to photos in some sharing platform like IMGUR or Google Drive.
I have a 30-foot tall avocado tree, approximately 25 years old. It has plenty of blooms and small avocados that fall off before maturity. Many of the leaves are curled and black. It is not overwatered as the irrigation has been shut off in that part of the yard. I have started watering it manually but wonder if something other than dehydration may be the issue. Thanks!
Has it held a crop of fruit to maturity in the past?
It’s normal and inevitable for some small avocados to fall off, but if they’re almost all falling then it might be because they weren’t optimally pollinated. They’ve seen in studies that avocado flowers that were cross-pollinated with another variety become fruit all the way to maturity more often. For example: http://www.avocadosource.com/Journals/SAAGA/SAAGA_1997/SAAGA_1997_PG_039-041.pdf
Also, not enough water later in spring or summer can cause fruitlets to drop.
Hi Greg, thanks for all your great advice. I’m having a similar issue as some others have mentioned with brown veins, on a recently bought/planted Reed. Seems like a normal part of leaf aging/death but would appreciate any concerns you may see in these photos:
Those are perfectly healthy leaves that are dying of old age. All looks great with your tree. Good work!
Hi Greg, long time reader of your blog. I love your deep knowledge of these fussy buggers.
So, I’ve recently (Late Feb) planted the enclosed Mexicola tree in a mounded arrangement to avoid our clay soils in NorCal, and the tree has started to push out new growth. For some reason, my new leaves are really fuzzy and seem to turn brown and almost immediately. Honestly, these are only 1 week old leaves. I’ve sprayed with both neem oil and insecticidal soap, since it looked like I was having some leaf damage. If you look at the leaves, I’ve never seen anything quite like it, almost like they turn translucient from some microscopic pest hollowing it out (I also caught an unidentified visible pest in one of the enclosed pics). As you can also see in the pics, the older growth has the browning tips (which you’ve already covered perfectly). My worry is, if all my new growth is getting damaged very quickly, photo synthesis will not happen when the old leaves drop.
Any idea as to what;’s going on here?
Continued, sorry imgur only allows one pic per upload.
You’ve got multiple things going on there. For the tiny new growth, most likely, a bug such as an earwig is living in the mulch or soil below the tree and climbing up to chew the leaves a bit at night. The tree will tolerate it and grow out of it. By mid-summer you’ll likely not see any evidence of it anymore. The same thing is currently happening on a couple of my small trees. Here’s a little post about this type of damage: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/who-is-eating-holes-in-your-avocado-leaves/
For the brown tips, it’s probably burn from last year’s watering. Nothing to do about it now except to be sure to water a little more this year (summer especially) to keep it to a minimum.
For the brown patches on the sides of mature leaves, that looks like sunburn. Maybe it happened back in the fall?
Hi Greg, thanks for such an informative blog!
My wife and i moved to Riverside from the east coast a few years ago, and our house has an avocado tree that hasn’t borne fruit in several years (since well before we got here). This season, though, it’s covered in fruit and until a week or so ago was looking fantastic. Now the leaves look like they’re dooping and turning yellow. I’m guessing it may be really thirsty, but was curious if there’s something else going on
Any chance you have a guess (a) what kind of tree it might be, and (b) what might be wrong?
Nothing looks wrong with your tree. It doesn’t look thirsty. The leaves look a bit like Pinkerton, but I could only make a better guess with photos of mature fruit on the tree.
thanks for the advice. I still have about 10 fruits hanging around looking good. Any chance these are easier to identify? I’d hazard a guess that maybe they look like fuerte? I’m having a tough time figuring out when they’ll be ripe
here are a couple of the large ones
thanks again for the help!
Hello Greg, I’m a new reader to your blog and really appreciate all of the helpful tips and advice you provide! Hoping you can help me with a recent 15 gal. Haas that was given to me as a gift. I did the watering test prior to planting it and the drainage appeared ok. In planting it, we managed to keep the rootball intact and keep all of the soil. After 2 days, many of the leaves are starting to turn black and there is a lot of droop. I checked the soil and it is still very moist below the first inch or so. Any idea what may be causing this and suggestions?
Sorry, but the photo links aren’t working for me. Is the tree blooming by chance?
Hi Greg, it’s not blooming yet but you had texted me that it needed much more water and that seems to be doing the trick. Couple of leaves are falling from the shock of transplanting but otherwise there is new growth that looks good.
I’m up in Canada trying to grow an avocado tree, not looking for fruit just a neat plant to grow. My remaining plant is about a year now. a few leaves and the new tip leaf are browning from the stem outwards, I might be mistaken but I didn’t notice a similar cause on the list.
Often, browning leaf margins on new leaves indicate water stress. So it could be that there was a period of heat or dry air, or it could be that the root system is not healthy and can’t supply enough water to the leaves. Sometimes the tree grows out of such symptoms because they were caused by a quick change in weather or environmental conditions that the tree then gets used to.
Dear Greg, great, very useful and simply put information!
I hope you could help wirh a grafting question , too… I used several ~1/4″ side branches on a 6′ Stuart to graft several ather varieties at the beginning of March (San Jose, Ca). 2 grafts blackened in 3 days – obvious, badly done. Others looked supple and pretty for over 2 months, wrapped in parafilm until recently, and then just fell off at the trunk one by one. Only 1 graft is actively growing…
The fallen graft unions looked healed, most scions well hydrated, and 1-2″rootstock side looked a bit wilted.
I dont know what to think…
New Hass parent here
Im not sure my issue(s), but I’m hoping you can visit my link to pictures and identify what’s going on.
15gal tree planted from pot a week ago. Its been 88-94° here in San Diego at my house. I watered it when planted, and twice since then (because of the heat and how fast things dry out at 3200′ above sea level).
Some leaves have burnt tips, most are curling. Too much water?
I’ll add a link to photos
Here’s that link to the pictures;
That’s a strange pattern of damage on the leaves. Reminds me of photos I’ve seen of sodium toxicity. Are you on well water? Is the water high in sodium?
Thank you for responding!!
Yes, we’re on well water. The water is only sediment filtered for the hose spigots around the yard. In fact, this one hose spigot that serves the two new trees is straight from our 20k gal storage tank. No filters whatsoever. I’ve never tested the water in the 4+yrs I’ve lived here. Maybe it’s time.
I also can’t imagine that the leaves would have this issue in the first few days of being planted. Could it happen that fast? … maybe, the nursery has a water problem?! I guess I should have taken a few pictures BEFORE I put the hass in the ground. Hindsight now I guess.
Could it also be from too much fertilizer in the ground when planted?! I often sprinkle a 16-16-16 in the pots hole before planting… and, I’ve read it’s probably not a good idea to do so (since my doing).
Let me know if there’s anything else I can give for information to help identify the issue(s). Hoping it solves it’s own issues as the week(s) go on. It’s cooled off a bit the last few days too, down to 65-75 with a cool breeze.
I would be most interested in finding out the water quality. I would be curious to know the levels of sodium and chloride especially. Then I’d like to know the EC (electrical conductivity) too.
It’s certainly possible that something happened at the nursery and is now showing up in the leaves. It’s also possible that the symptoms are related to your fertilizer.
It will be interesting to see if the symptoms worsen during and after this upcoming heat wave. Let me know.
I started growing an avocado plant from an avocado seed. I’ve seen great results (meaning I have several leaves that have been goring fast on this plant?) , but they are droopy. I started the growth process and just water. The seed sits on top of the small mouthed vase in is rooting in water below. Is this normal? Or do I need to plant it in soil now? And if so, what kind?
Hi, thank you for this site. I have a tree in Florida and haven’t been able to match up my leaves with your pictures. Here is a link to what I’m seeing. Hopefully you can access the picture.
Have read through this forum and tried to find a solution for my little avo seedling (think it is a Hass). The spots that are appearing appeared first on the newest leaves, and they are splotchy and irregular in shape. They follow the veins across the leaf, and are a brownish yellow in colour. The tops of the older leaves are just now starting to go a little nrown
The brown spots appeared out of nowhere a week or two ago, and I have searched far and wide for similar symptoms but can’t find a solution. Can provide pictures if there is a way to.
I live in QLD, Australia – this little fella was grown from seed.
I am quite a novice when it comes to plant care in general but have recently obtained a little cado (Wurtz) tree. It seems that during the day, the leaves start to wilt and look like it’s dying. But in the early morning they plump up and look a bit more lush and healthy. I attached is a picture of it in the morning, but you can still see the very top drooping a little bit. By 3 pm, the whole tree will sag like that. I don’t want to overwater or kill my plant in the heat or direct sun. Please help?
Hi Greg, I planted this grafted hass seedling early last spring in New Zealand after it was in a pot for a year. It is planted on a steep slope and I added scoria to the hole we dug (it is in an area of very dense soil, which has patches of clay and dense mud under the top layer). I also added gypsum to the area and crossed my fingers. It was growing well last spring/summer and didn’t drop any leaves, so I ignored it over winter, but then towards the end of winter I took a closer look and noticed black colouration towards the ends of most of the branches and mottling to the main trunk (first few photos) BUT it had signs of new growth and no leaf drop and ends weren’t shrivelling up. I added more gypsum and sprayed the leaves and trunk with copper fungicide and the new growth has taken off and even started flowering. The black patches are still there with healthy looking stems beyond it. It has dropped some old leaves over the last few weeks, but it is still flowering like crazy with lots of new healthy leaves. Not sure what to do or what this is! Can’t seem to find anything like it online other than Anthracnose, but I thought it would have killed my tree by now. Worried about next winter. Would love your advice!
My entire 40 yr. old avocado tree has ALL of the leaves turned brown.
I there a chance it is still alive… Miami, FL.
What to do?
Are you familiar with Laurel Wilt disease? In Florida, I would have a look at this publication and rule out L.W. disease first: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/miami-dade/agriculture/laurel-wilt—a-disease-impacting-avocados/
My avocado tree has suddenly become unhappy these last few weeks: wilting leaves, some of which had a sticky layer on them. After inspecting it I noticed that there were long tailed mealybugs present on the leaves. I gently removed those which I could see and sprayed the plant with an apple cider vinegar/water solution to create a hostile environment for those critters I might have missed. To my horror, since then, the leaves have all developed large speckled brown patches – the plant looks like it’s dying! Is there anything I can do to rescue it?
Always appreciate all of your valuable information and helpful tips. I’m in Manhattan Beach and the soil drains fairly fast. I planted a 15 gal Hass last April and slowly over the summer and fall the leaves aged and fell off. There was not a lot of new leaf growth and all that is gone. I now have a tree that has a number of buds but no leaves. The buds have gotten larger but I am not sure if they will indeed flower. I have been following your water schedule but am not certain if the tree is done for. Would greatly appreciate any advice you could provide! thanks
Shoot! Not looking right. Those are flowers emerging all over your tree. If they turn into fruit, I would remove them, or at least remove almost all of them since the tree’s not healthy. It’s probably a water related problem. Are there plants or a big tree nearby that might be stealing the water you gave your tree over summer?
Thanks for your quick reply. Around the tree are mainly potted plants. We’re on a rise from the neighbors who have a mature shrub wall but they don’t touch. I’m attaching a photo (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I5rprLtMLw58sYakYiWtyUEmbLpQB7jl/view?usp=sharing)
Appreciate any tips if it is water-related as I really want to try and save this one.
I’m sorry but it’s so hard to figure these things out without being able to stand there and look all around at the whole context and scratch into the dirt, etc. It’s probably water related, as 90 percent of growing avocados in Southern California is just getting the watering right.
Look for whether that hedge on the other side of the fence has roots near your avocado.
Will do – always appreciate your helpful info and blog!
Hoping you can help me with this approx 12 year old Haas tree in my yard. I purchased the house 5 years ago and the tree looked about like it does now. It started looking better, and the last two years have given us large quality fruit yields, but this year the tree doesn’t look healthy and even through it’s starting to flower it dropped all its budding fruit a few months back. Thanks for any advice you may have !
Forgot to mention, I’m in South Orange County, CA.
Could I send you a picture of my avocado plant so you could tell me what you think
I’ve got a fairly young avocado that I recently put in the ground here in southern california. It’s currently flowering and the older leaves are all drooping, but otherwise seem okay (a little tip burn). All of this sounds normal from what i’ve read on your posts. What concerns me is that the new growth is browning at the tips and curling up. The soil here is fairly heavy clay soil, though this particular part of my yard tends to drain well and we are on a slope. I worry i’ve been over watering it, but perhaps it’s also due to the heat/sun. I’m in LA county about 4 miles inland so it tends to stay somewhat mild, but it’s been a little warmer here this winter.
Pictures can be found here:
HelloHello, your website is awesome! Despite all of the knowledge you have shared I am still doing my best to kill two avocado trees I have planted. They were both in 15 gal pots before I planted them. I am using the Digg micro sprinklers you recommend. I was watering once a week for 30min. When I noticed the tips dying about 2 weeks ago I started watering 1hr 20min once a week. Now I’m thinking I should be watering the 1hr 20 min every 3days or so. The soil has never felt dry when I dig down a few inches. There is a few inches of mulch on top of the soil. This is in Thousand Oaks, CA. Any insight you could pass along would be much appreciated.
Tree 1- Planted end of Nov 2021, Reed. Old leaves look really bad, burned tips and yellowish insides. New growth, pale green/ yellow leaves with small amount of burned tips.
Tree 2- Planted end of Jan 2022, Hass. Old leaves have a little tip burning and yellowing. Newer growth is looking OK so far.
Hi, Greg! We have a Mexicola avocado tree that’s about 3 yrs. old that seems to be having issues on only 1 side of the tree. On the problem side, the leaves are droopy and yellowing, many are falling off, and there are white-ish diluted speckles and spots on some of them (as if drops of watery white paint dropped on them). I can send photos if you’d like. We are so worried about this tree but aren’t sure what’s wrong with it. Do you know what might be wrong with it?
Not sure you have time to monitor these messages but I have an issue with browning & dropping leaves on my young Reed.
Any ideas what’s causing this?
My best guess on those leaves is sunburn/heat damage. It doesn’t look like anything to worry much about as you’ve got plenty of new growth coming on to replace them. Just be sure to irrigate in advance of any upcoming heat waves. By the way, those damaged leaves will probably all drop in the next few weeks — don’t be dismayed if you see that happen.
Thank you for doing this great service.
I have a 18 year old 25ft avocado tree which was grown from seed. Got it from Hawaii. Don’t know the variety but they are are large and resemble a large haas with smoother skin. Problem: they ripen at the top while the bottom stays hard no matter how early or late they are harvested. They have always been this way. Seems genetic but do you have any thoughts on this?
Sounds like Pinkerton sometimes! Some varieties do this, and as far as I know there’s nothing you can do to change it. As you alluded to, the behavior can be worse or better depending on how mature the fruit is though.
I have a 2-3 year old in a pot which I had to rescue from the ground. It’s getting new leaves, which is encouraging, but some of these new leaves are getting a black tip. What does that signify?
That means the little leaves are not getting the water they need. It might be that the roots (or another part of the tree) are damaged and can’t supply it, or it might mean that you’re not watering enough.
Thank you, Greg. I have to hold myself back from overwatering, so water shortage is likely not the issue. Root damage from the repotting may be more the issue. Thanks for confirming that. Since I last posted, I haven’t seen more leaves develop the black tips, and some new growth is popping, so I think it will come through it shortly if it hasn’t already.
Yeah thanks Greg. My 4yr Bacon just had the same thing and watering fixed the newest growth. It appears that lack of water pretty much axed the entire fruit set too. Was thinking to use it anyways to try my first grafting, so maybe not all bad.
Sending again as I think my question got skipped over. I would love your help as I don’t want this tree to die.
Hi, Greg! We have a Mexicola avocado tree that’s about 3 yrs. old that seems to be having issues on only 1 side of the tree. On the problem side, the leaves are droopy and yellowing, many are falling off, and there are white-ish diluted speckles and spots on some of them (as if drops of watery white paint dropped on them). I can send photos if you’d like. We are so worried about this tree but aren’t sure what’s wrong with it. Do you know what might be wrong with it?
From my comment above regarding the Mexicola Tree w/yellow leaves on half the tree, here are photos:
The leaves look like they’re dying naturally of old age, which happens to a lot of them this time of year because the new ones are growing to replace them. The white spots look like salt deposits from irrigation water. Could be something else, but doesn’t look problematic.
Overall, your tree looks fine from the photos. Sometimes one side of a tree will look better because it gets more water or gets less sun or another reason. There is one disease that can affect one side of a tree, but it has rapid onset and the symptoms are more dramatic than what I see in your tree. (It’s called verticillium wilt.)
Thank you!!!!!!! We truly appreciate it ???
Small correction, it is thin skinned.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have a mature avocado tree in my home that came with the home when we bought it few years ago. The first year it produced over 50 avocados but since then has been producing 5-6 each year, I am unable to tell what type my avacados are. They are thin skinned and not pebbled but are slightly bitter to taste even when ripe. Lately the tree is looking sick and has few leaves. It does have a lot of buds. I live in north California and want to make sure the tree is healthy. Please can you advise. Attaching pictures of the tree. https://photos.app.goo.gl/SeoJEV1Amv2FCDxJ6
Hoping to get some advice esp if you could help me identify the avacado type and why they would taste bitter?
I think my Fuerte might have cold damage. Tiny dark dots ranging from light brown on some leaves to a very dark brown on others. Almost all are totally clean on back side with a few where the dark indented spots do show through. Affected leaves are scattered through out the tree.
My local nursery said it’s probably fungal or bacterial. However it sure looks like your cold damage example.
The coldest it got here in San Clemente was 37 one night in February.
Wish I knew how to send some pics. Any thoughts? The nursery wanted me to spray copper on it.
Hi Greg – thanks for all the great information on growing avocado trees. Over the last few weeks the leaves of my fuerte have been getting this black fungus under the leaves. It seems to be spreading rapidly. Any thoughts on what it could be?
Is it occurring on the dead (brown) margins and tips of the leaves only? If so, this is nothing to worry about. It’s just nature breaking down the dead stuff. I have it on those parts of the leaves on my trees too.
Thanks Greg – we gave the tree a heavy trimming (including cutting off a root stock branch) and now it looks better. Thanks for your reply!
Thanks so much for your invaluable posts, which I have come back to many times!
I have a small and much loved avocado grown from seed, which used to thrive – amazing us with its energetic growth – but which ceased to grow since getting waterlogged for several days back in August. Since then it has been static, leaves drooping.
Based on your posts I’m assuming the roots have been damaged. Is there anything we can do at all to save it?
I’d be very grateful for any advice you could give.
Here are some photos:
Hey Greg – long time fan of yours. Your knowledge about Avocado’s specifically is amazing and I enjoy reading every article you write on that topic. For now, I’m here posting to get some help with my Avocado tree.
I’m trying to figure out if this darkening of stems and browning of leaves is being caused because of a fertilizer shock or root rot or something else.
Some things that could play a role.
I’m in the Bay Area zone 9b-10a.
The tree produced bumper fruit last year and is only 4yrs old.
I used to use a different fertilizer but recently switched to fertilizer spikes from Jobe’s. (So thinking might be because of that.
I have 3 Avocado trees and this one is the biggest, all 3 are showing this kind of symptoms but I also used the fertilizer on all 3(different amounts though based on the size of the tree).
I was thinking of using Garden Phos (Monterey) to make sure I help them with root rot if that is indeed the case.
But also don’t want to treat for something that doesn’t exist in the first place.
Last time I fertilized with the new fertilizer was like 7months back & have avoided fertilizer ever since to avoid any further fertilizer burn if it is indeed that.
With exceptional rain this season in the Bay Area, I’m wondering if the excess fertilizer is almost a wash now because the salt concentration would have been washed down into the water cycle with so much water leeching down?
Thoughts? Should I go ahead and try the ‘garden phos’ product to make sure it’s not root rot.
I really love this tree (planted by my late father) and don’t want to loose it under any circumstance.
I have an avocado tree (about 2 years old) that I’m having problems with. I’m thinking maybe root rot but I’m not sure. If I post or send some pictures would you possibly be able to look at the and let me know what you think?