Avocado problems

kerrican2001(z9b CA)March 20, 2010

Hi, I planted a "Mexicola Grande" avocado, probably the cold-hardiest avocado around, at my parents' home in Walnut Creek. A family friend has had the same tree for 25 years, there's another large avocado tree in the same neighborhood (not sure of the variety), and we've gotten fruit from another friend's very large, old tree (again, a different variety with small fruit) a couple of miles away. So in general, they should grow here. We planted a cold-hardy variety so we wouldn't ever have to worry about frost. Cold seems to have nothing to do with this particular problem. At first I thought it was heat, but that also does not seem to be it.

Ever since we planted the tree last May, when it was big and had thick, waxy leaves, it has not grown an inch. The same leaves are still on the tree, slowly getting greyish, dry tips that have crept inwards from the tips to about a third of the way down on each leaf. The tree looks like it's always just about to burst into growth but never does. The tree is planted on a slight slope, with a large drainage pipe underneath, and significant soil amendment, as I know they don't like heavy clay soil. Drainage seems good. On either side of the tree, they have a healthy sapote tree and a healthy macadamia tree. Any ideas why the avocado is just sitting there and what's causing the leaf problems?

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

That's what they do at this time of year. My Hass avocados are at their least attractive in April, when the rest of the garden is gorgeous. Their leaves turn brown and drop off (all over the flower beds), leaving almost bare branches. Then the flowers come out, and the trees start to get fresh new green growth by May. I think of them as semi-deciduous.

As far as growth, avocados need a huge amount of water and they should be heavily mulched at all times with no disturbance to the roots. If branches are exposed to the sun this spring and begin to get sunburned it may kill the tree. I painted the trunks and new branches with white latex paint when they were babies because I had almost killed them by watering so little, and there was not enough leaf canopy to protect them.

Their feeder roots are at the soil surface and only go down a foot to two feet, where the soil dries out rapidly, so avo farmers leave all of the leaf litter under the tree.

I ran a soaker-drip line around the drip line of each tree and gave them two full hours of water twice a week. I have cut back since, because the trees are now big and shade their own roots.

Good luck with your Mexicola. That is one of the varieties that I killed when I first planted avos and did not water enough.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 4:26PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

I planted a Hass last summer (June 09) in a protected place with good drainage. And it has not grown an inch since then (same old leaves from last year). I fertilized it in February when I started my citrus fertilization regimen. This week I see some tiny new buds if I look really closely. But, it may take a month or two for my tree to break out with new growth I think. So, hang in there and keep watching once a week, you might see growth when the weather is warmer. (Did you fertilize the tree yet?).
Renee, your post reminded me to mulch my tree. I have been meaning to do it but forgot about it with so much going on in my garden.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 10:44PM
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I look for seeds avocado tree resisting the cold if you possess it to contact I.

Thank you for your help

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 11:44AM
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