baby dwarf avocado tree help

sarahjanebellaSeptember 22, 2011

I bought a baby dwarf avocado tree from the garden center at my local home improvement store and planted it in the corner of my backyard in the beginning of August. I followed all the planting instructions but it started drooping after transplant. I got on my computer and found an avocado growers website. They said that all transplanted avocado trees will go through shock and not to worry about drooping, just be careful not to over-water. So, I've been watering about once a week-ish, making sure not to water again until the soil feels dry, then giving it a deep root watering. It gets about 6-7 hours of sunlight everyday. Other than that I've been leaving it alone. Last week it started dropping leaves and now there are only 3 left and I'm not seeing any new growth. All the branches and remaining leaves are still a lovely shade of green, and the leaves that dropped didn't look unhealthy. Am I slowly killing this poor tree or is still just going through shock? Please help!

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

August is a bad time to plant them, but you may be able to bring it back to life.

Baby avocados grow as understory plants- they don't like hot summer sun because it burns them. You can put a semi-sheer umbrella or some shade cloth over it to keep it from being burned by the sun. You can also paint the trunk and branches with white latex paint if they start to get brown from sunburn. I had to do this when mine were babies and lost all of their leaves.

Avocados hate having their roots disturbed, and their feeder roots are at the soil surface to one foot down. They like cool roots. Mulch it very heavily- at least four inches, with leaves and/or shredded bark- out to what used to be the drip line.

Avocados are thirsty trees and require a lot of water. I water some twice a week with drippers for two hours, and others twice a week for an hour with sprinklers. I almost killed all of mine when I first planted them because I did not give them enough water.

I would water it deeply twice a week, and make sure all of the feeder roots and the mulch is moist. Don't let standing water develop or the roots will rot.

Your tree should start getting new leaves within a month or two. Please give us an update, and good luck!
Renee

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 12:01AM
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sarahjanebella

Thanks for the advice! I did forget to mention that during August while it was very hot I did put my easy-up over the tree. I only took it down recently when the weather cooled down and became more overcast. Also I do have about 3-4 inches of mulch down. So, I'll try watering more and see what happens. I guess I've just been too worried about the root rot issue and not watering enough? I'll let you know!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 3:26AM
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stanofh

Here's a dwarf Mexicola. Taste great-but the very small size is less filling.
Full size

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 11:51PM
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sarahjanebella

Hosenemesis, I've been following your advice and watering twice weekly and now I can see A LOT of new leaf buds. Yay, thank you!!!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 7:16PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hooray! Yummy avocados coming your way!
Renee

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 10:13PM
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sarahjanebella

Hi Renee,
Me again... So now I've got the watering schedule down and new leaves are sprouting up everywhere, but I just noticed a couple dark brown spots on branches. Any ideas?

Sarah

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 5:18PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hmmm. Mine get dark brown spots on branches too. Sometimes those are branches that die- a lot of little branches die on healthy avocados. If the brown is on top of the branch it is probably sunburn. It would help if you could post a photo.
I'll go look at mine tomorrow to see if they look that way too.
Renee

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:11PM
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sarahjanebella

Thanks for all the advice! I would love to post a pic but can't figure out how to do it....computer ignorant here!
Sarah

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:48PM
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sarahjanebella

AHHHH! Now I just noticed that the leaves on top of the tree are are curling under with brown tips...but only on the very top, right above the brown bark. Maybe I should cut the top off?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 7:15PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Naw, just leave it. I don't think it's disease, so there's no point in trimming it off, and if we get a frost you will just be exposing new wood and potential new growth to damage. Those leaves may just be old and ready to die off now.
Renee

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:13PM
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sarahjanebella

Hi Renee (if you're still there)
Just wanted to let you know that I followed your advice throughout winter, and my little tree basically just hibernated. But since the days have started getting longer again, the tree is growing like crazy! It's a very happy little tree now! Thank you for the good advice :)
Sarah

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 6:55PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Good news indeed, Sarah. Mine are just starting to put on spring growth too. Mine usually drop a lot of old leaves in May and start to grow new ones.
Renee

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:05AM
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