HELP! Avocado issues

sandy_eggo_gardenerMarch 21, 2008

I need some expert advice on Avocado's. Late January I bought a 5 gallon Haas avocado tree. I waited until the end of February to plant it. Now it seems to being going through a tough time, maybe it's transplant shock im not sure. It has dropped almost all its leaves, but new bugs are on the tree and new leaves appear to be growing from where the old ones have fallen. The tree is almost completely bare. I've been watering once a week deeply. Is this normal for them to lose their leaves like this? It's obviously still alive since it's budding new leaves. Anyone who knows anything about avocado let me know.

Some additional info

Planted on the north side of yard

gets filtered light in the afternoon

my soil is clay (i know they like good drainage)

im in Inland San Diego County

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bugs=buds sorry about that

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 11:32PM
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It sounds like you have root rot. If the planting medium that the potted tree came in had lots of organic material like sawdust or shredder chips (typical), it did fine as long as it was in the pot, but once you planted it in the ground you cut off the oxygen supply, making ideal conditions for rot. The rot robs the roots of any remaining oxygen; frantic growers then pour the water and fertilizer on, choking off any remaining oxygen. If the tree dies you will most likely be able to easily pull it from the ground and see the decimated roots.

If you're getting new buds, it means the roots may have grown out of the toxic rootball and into fresh dirt. It may still pull through; but is the reason I recommend unpottng trees and knocking off all the potting mix from the roots and planting it in plain dirt.

See the Laguna Hills Nursery link below for more.


Here is a link that might be useful: Its all about soil

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 8:40PM
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erela(z9 SCal)

I have a Hass avocado tree thats at least 15 years old and well established. It grows in clay soil in San Diego inland on the northwest side of my property. Its currently dropping all its older leaves and filled with new buds. It sounds like your tree is going through its normal cycle although it may have some transplant shock as well. You may want to add some root stimulator to the soil. Otherwise, its sound like you're doing everything right.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 1:47PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

More likely than root rot at this early stage is that the rootball has dried out too much.

Keep the rootball and surrounding soil evenly moist until the roots can extend into the surrounding soil. (The rootball will require more frequent water than the surrounding soil.)

That's a process that takes much more time -- at least 2 years -- than many gardeners think it should.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 2:17PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I've noticed a vast improvement over the weekend (maybe the warm temps), but the new buds are starting to leaf out like crazy. I think i underwatered it a bit which may have added to the stress. Im really anxious to get it going so it can fruit! erela how did your hass tree do during the freeze a couple years ago?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 6:44PM
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Avocados go through this every year. After winter, mine looks pretty ratty. Regarding the water, rather than water it once a week or on some schedule, a new tree should have it's soil checked. If it is wet, don't water. If it is drying out, water it. It is very easy to over/under water a new plant, if you don't check the soil's moisture content.

Karin :)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 3:24PM
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erela(z9 SCal)

My entire garden pretty much escaped the frost except for one salvia which came back better than ever. I'm at the top of a canyon and must have a microclimate that stayed warmer.

Remember, avocados as well as all citrus need to be watered out to their dripline. They have surface roots. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Here in So Cal, avocados do great. Though 2 winters ago we had a very bad freeze and some plants were damaged if not killed. Mostly the smaller younger plants. My aunt has a gigantic (over 40 feet high) Haas and it made bumper crop this year. Some obnoxious people at night were jumping the wall and stealing fruit. Wantonly just breaking off the lower branches. Luckily most of the fruit require a very tall ladder to reach them. Avocados do require a goodly amount of water, even established ones during the summer. In San Diego and Santa Barbara county, the groves are drip irrigated. For some reason, I planted a dwarf Haas avocado in my backyard but it never grew well. Lingered for 8 years never bearing more than a few fruit. We suspect the plant had root nematodes. A problem with our soil. Needs to be fumigated before planting anything. Needless to say, we dug the shrub out and threw it away.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:34PM
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My tree does the same thing. I believe avocados have shallow roots, so they need to be watered more often, depending on the weather, for around 15 minutes at the drip line.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 6:51PM
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I was considering planting a Hass. I live in zone 9b(Solano County). After reading this post I think I am going to for sure. Only thing is what kind of advice can anyone offer as to the "perfect hole" to start a Hass in? What sort of amendments, sun/shade, mulch, etc.?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 12:55AM
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Wide hole but not deep due to shallow root system. Let the base of the tree sit a little above ground level. Young trees will need a stake or two but let the trunk have some movement. Give it plenty of space.

No soil amendment, sunny spot, heavy mulch right up to the trunk.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 11:31AM
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norcal916(USDA 9 / Sunset 14)

I live just east of Sacramento in Fair Oaks. Bought a 3 foot tall Haas Avacado last year. I planted in a large container thinking the Haas would be too frost sensitive for in ground. Currently it's lush with new leaves and looks great. My question is does anyone know if it will eventually bear fruit as a container tree ?
Also, does anyone know of other hardier avacado types like Bacon or Fuerte that will do good in ground in Sacramento?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 2:57PM
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elladog(z10, SoCalif, Sunset 22)

Avocados, at least here in SoCal, drop their leaves in the Spring. The leaves fall, the flowering buds come out, and then the new leaves emerge and the flowers start dropping. The new leaves look kind of reddish.

We have a fuerte avocado thatÂs about 35 years old. The only water it gets outside of winter rain is when we water the lawn, which we keep to an absolute minimum. We get 300 to 400 avocados per year.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 3:02PM
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greenwitch(Sz19 SoCal)

Here is a link to Julie Frink's article on planting an avocado tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Plant an Avocado

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 6:35PM
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I just had a fuerte and a lamb haas from a 15 gal container planted by a tree person. The leaves are wilting on the lamb haas and falling off. The fuerte appears to be starting the wilting also. I was told to water it 2 to 3 minutes or 2 to 4 gallons of water every other day. I think it needs expert advice as the tree person says it just needs more water. It has only been 1 week since they were planted and they looked wilted when he brought them. Do I have a problem now. The location is Oceanside Ca. Please help Cj

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 3:27PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

The avocado trees should not have been wilting when they were put into the ground. When were they planted? Were they planted during our recent heat spell? Has it been windy where you are? Baby avocados do not do well if they are transplanted in 100 degree heat or lots of wind, and they need a lot of water.

Do you have a thick mulch under the trees?

The trees should be kept moist but not soggy for about two weeks. If it is really hot or dry they need more water. You should have a mulch of at least three inches over the root zone so that the soil stays moist. If it gets too sunny, rig up a shade structure so the green twigs do not get sunburned and die off.

By the way, what is a tree person? Was he an employee of a nursery?


    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 7:17PM
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home_grower(SoCal Z9 S18)

I am on my fourth try for an avocado and I am thinking this one will stick. I have learned so much from this site since I started and my luck with the plants is getting better.
The first three I had tried were all Haas. They were all small and never lasted long after planting. We get hot in the summer (110* plus summer, down to about 30* winter) . They would all drop their leaves and never recover.
Using my gardenweb knowledge I made my last attempt by changing to a Zutano which can handle the cold and hot a little better. I planted it in a whiskey half barrel to get it started and placed it where it gets a good mix of sun and shade. I planted it in July and it grew 6â in this picture and has since filled out and grew another 18âÂÂ.

It will get a nice home in the ground this spring and will hopefully grow to look like ReneeâÂÂs awesome avocado tree some day.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:14AM
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Tonton101(CA 8B, 17)

Leafs on my Bacon avocado trees look healthy but majority of them will fall off even with gentle touches. So far leafs on the tip of the branch are the ones that will not come off like this.

The leafs look green and not wilty. Is this normal?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:32PM
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I expecting delivery of my 25 gallon hass avocado in 2 week.
so far I dug out 3x3 feet and replace dirt with mix sand and potting soil to give roots and easy rooting and water draineds. at the bottom of the pit I installed 3 inch drain pipe to pump out trap water during rainy season... question? is the sand mix with potting soil works for avocados? better ask the question now before I plan this expensive avocado. $450 for 12 footer hass. please advice thanx

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 2:29AM
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I have a lamb hass which I planted during the summer (2013) which I now know was a mistake but it's survived. Now that it's becoming Fall I see that the tips are turning brown and I was wondering if this is bad or if it's a characteristic of fall climate. The leaves are not falling and if I shake the tree none fall off. It's just the tips turning brown.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 6:05PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I don't think anyone saw your question here- you may want to start a new post. My avocados get brown tips on the leaves. You have to protect it when it is a baby from the hot sun, especially the branches. If they are brown on top instead of green, they are sunburned, and you should consider erecting a shade contraption or painting the trunk and limbs with white latex paint.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 5:36PM
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