Caring for an Avocado Tree

Avocado trees whether grown from seed or purchased from a nursery will need to proper care to thrive. This is a guide about caring for an avocado tree.

Avocados on a Tree
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I had an avocado plant; it was growing good it was already 8 feet tall, but one day I went out and when I got back home my plant was cut. They cut the top part off where the leaves were growing. What can I do to get it to grow again? The steam is still green!

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    Hello !

    Don't worry an avocado is a tree and it will start new branches from its trunk. Some people "pinch" or cut the top of the avocado shoot at a very early stage of its growth so that it will start new branches and get stronger. You too would have had to cut it anyway. Just relax and watch it grow.


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    I discovered that the top 80% of my avocado broke off in the wind storm today. What do I do to protect it and help it to heal?

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      I have an avocado tree that was 4 ft high when I got it and growing well. I did not realize at the time that I needed to cut it back and it was 6 ft tall before I realized the the top was bushy, but the stalk was not growing. Since then I have pinched it back, it has a lot of new growth at the top, but the now 8 ft tree still has a stalk no thicker than an inch or so. Should I cut it down to the bottom completely? Or should I let it go and keep pinching back the new growth? I am at a loss. All of the info I can find says to pinch it back, but I haven't been able to find out how to correct this.

      Growing an Avocado Tree
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        Transplanted avocado tree.I recently planted a 5yr old avocado tree that was beginning to flower. I (thought) I did everything I was supposed when planting, including fresh soil and deep watering, but since I planted the tree all the leaves have died and turned brown, but the branches are still green. It has been about three weeks since planting. I have sprinklers set to twice a week, but if am wondering if it is not getting enough water from them. I have deep watered only twice since planting. The tree sits on the north east end of my yard and gets plenty of sun after about 10am. Does it sound like the tree can recover? If so, what do I need to do?

        By Shawn H.

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        Avocados can handle winter temperatures if prepped the right way every avo I had survived winter in my house and it probably gets around 50 degrees to 45 the least until I use heat. When planting avocado you can burry seed or display half since seed will eventually rot, display half so when rotting is spotted you can simply remove the huge stale seed note only when the avo is ready though! Else you would be depleting it of butrients, avocados is very finicky plants they like loose soil and damp to dry soil and indirect light and some full sun is required, with out it slow growth and leggy plant will happen. As far as brown leaves check for over watering, over fertilizing and or root bound, or insufficient lighting, all is fixable if root bound repot cut back dead black roots and the main tap root a couple inches to encourage more root branch out growth . Fertilize lightly for avocados half the recomended and probably once every two three months , with all these factors new leaves will grow back just monitor plant.

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        My avocado tree started growing brown on the leaves. How would I check if it's root bound?

        By Alicia

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        The only way I know of to check if a plant is root bound is to pull the whole thing out of the pot and look.

        Avocado trees are just that, trees. They prefer to be in the ground. I had one in my back yard (California coastal valley) that was about 30 feet tall and put out hundreds of avocadoes.

        The older leaves do turn brown, dry up and fall off. This is natural.

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        Avocado with dying leaves.I currently have 5 avocado trees no taller than 1 foot. It seems, no matter how hard I try I can't keep them alive past 1 year. The leaves have fallen off all 5 plants. I only water them every 10-14 days. As we speak the soil is comfortably moist. It's so aggravating because I literally can grow anything. Perhaps I'm paying them too much attention? Avocado tree without leaves.

        By Lorelei N.

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        Cari, this was great to know about the tiny, bugs. I didn't think twice about these tiny pests. I thought they were fruit flies. Looks like I have some changes to make here soon.

        I wanted to comment because I have been trying to do avo plants since 2008. No matter what, for two years struggled to get them to root. Suggested by a friend to put the seed in a cupboard. because the darkness would enhance the root. Whatever the case may be, it worked, however doing this for some time now, I get them to root in soil (although is longer) and water, and in the sunlight, and in the cupboard.

        The issue is I haven't had them live past 3 years old. I moved back to Oregon from California a couple years ago, and one tree is going on 3 years old. It's from my family's tree. The other four are from store bought avocados. Each one is slightly different because their leaves are different. My 3-year old, started to get black on top of the stem last December. Worried, because this black sucks the life out of the plant and kills my tree. This time, I thought I'd check to confirm if it's the roots. And surely the roots were brittle and mostly dark brown, tan, and limp. I cut what I thought was the dying roots.

        I went to local garden shops, one of them, the man is from Santa Monica, but there is no knowledge on avocados. I search online and I get the name of a fungus. I never know if it applies or not. I took a risk and transplanted the tree in new pot and new bought soil in hopes to bring it back to life. Then I cut the "rotten" roots. The next day all the leaves just drooped and died. My poor plant went into massive shock, December was snowy, and chilly out but we keep the heat on, I should also say we went away for Thanksgiving weekend, no heat was on in the house and I think that's what started this situation, we saw our breath inside our place :(

        I didn't want to remove the leaves but I did. I cut off the black inch on top, and then wrapped the top with a small plastic baggy. I did add (Hydrozyme & Thrive Alive B-1 Green) to the new soil in hopes to rejuvenate the healthy roots.

        I placed back into its normal spot, and just left it alone.

        Just last month I noticed a bud developing. With super joy, my naked tree was not dead. The black didn't spread, and at the base (now) is a sprouting stem leaf.

        However, I just watered all my plants last weekend. (Typically once a week and skip a week for the avo trees) Today I noticed there is blackening at the top, again. I am afraid I watered it when I shouldn't have. I have cut the tops like this before previous years, but that never stopped the black from coming back down.

        I have great levels of pH on all the trees I've checked them and they're around 6-6.5. Which I'm told is what they like.

        Any thoughts on this blackening top? The stem is about 13"... But to be fair, I watered because of the new sprouting :( I'm so bummed.

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        I have a mature 10 ft 8 yr old avocado tree and the leaves are turning yellow and the 30+ fruit on the tree are red skinned, but turn brown when picked and stored. It's close to another avocado tree which has the normal dark green leaves. It receives normal fertilizer annually. We are 200 meters from sea. Other avocado trees nearby in the settlement are normal. Is my tree dying or can it be saved? Thanks for any help.

        By Allan M

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        Beware fertilizing avocado trees too often. In So Cali they grow perfectly fine with very little...sometimes no fertilizer.

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        Large avocado tree.My avocado tree is about 12 years old. It's planted in the ground, in Orlando. Each branch is turning brown and looks like the tree is slowly dying. It gets adequate water and fertilizer. I am not sure why it's dying. Is the root rotten?

        By Sabrina b

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        When you are seeing your avocado die back immediately stop fertilizing and cut back majorly on the watering, water ever is normal schedule do 1 third of it for example if once a week then once a month if once a month than once every three weeks because over fertilization can happen and root rot. Since there is no way to check just do those to steps and pray it recovers if not then next time you'll have this experience as a tool, happy growing and don't worry it may recover and things happen.

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        My 3 year old avocado's new leaves are browning.

        Hardiness Zone: 7a

        Jamie from Hampton, VA

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        Contact your local nursery -- they'll have the answer! =D

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        My avocado tree has leaves that are turning brown. There is very little new growth. Please help.

        By Joyce C

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        Is your plant inside or outside? If potted, have you checked to make sure it isn't root bound?

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        I read your answer in ASK, but I do not have leaves or branches on my avocado plant only 1 high stem w/leaves. Can I cut the top back or the leaves further down, or just let it keep growing taller w/o branching out? This is all new to me, please help.

        By Sandra

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        Don't cut the top as that will stunt the upward growth of the plant. You can prune off the lower leaves, and that might encourage it to grow more upwards, and then hopefully start to branch. If you prune the lower leaves/branches it forces the plant to put more energy into the stuff on top.

        Hope this helps!

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        Full length photo fo avocado tree.Please help me I am in desperate need of assistance. I live in East Lansing, Michigan and have been growing an indoor Avocado plant since this summer. Everything seemed to be going very well until recently.

        Firstly, let me say that I do not know the type of seed nor have I ever pruned my tree (I don't know how to or if I should). Right now, my plant is a little taller than 1 foot. It is pretty straight up (spindly) and gets a good amount of sunlight.

        Here is the problem: recently, I have noticed that almost all of the leaves have fallen off. There are still a few leaves at the top and there even appears to be new leaves sprouting from the very top. Some of the larger leaves literally fell off at the slightest touch. Is this simply a natural phase my plant is going through or are there any measures I should be taking to improve my plant's health.

        I would be really upset if it died and would really appreciate any help you can provide. I do not give it plant food, but I do have it planted in potting soil containing time release plant food. How often should I completely change all the soil and how do I do that without damaging the tree?

        So, in sum, why is my plant so ugly (for lack of a better word)? why are all the leaves falling off? What kind of soil and/or plant food would you recommend? Should I change the soil? If so, how do I do it? And finally, should I prune it? If so, how do I do it?

        Please help.

        Hardiness Zone: 6a

        By attys from East Lansing, MI

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        I think you may have over watered it. If that is the case it probably will not make it, sorry. I would not feed it either we have never fed ours and we have about 30 trees(my hubby just can;t throw those seeds away!). Let it dry out a little between watering, then water completely till it runs out the bottom, but do not let it sit in water.

        I usually cut mine back at about a foot high down to 6" or so. Avocados do not like to be repotted, that is why they suggest to first pot it in a fairly large pot. Remember It is really easy to start a new one if yours does not make it and fairly inexpensive. Think guacamole, yum. Just google starting avocado trees and you will get lots of help.

        Hope this helps, good luck!

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        I am growing an avocado plant. We had regular soil in the pot, but then we bought Miracle Gro soil and distributed it in 7 avocado plants. Then we read the bad side of using the Miracle Grow; it said not for potting. Will it affect the avocado plant in any way?

        By Danny

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        Pruning an Avocado Plant

        After reading another post about avocado plants, specifically how and when to properly prune them, I am in need of suggestions too. My first avocado plant is now almost 7'3 inches tall and living in Michigan in my apartment that has 8' ceilings.

        It is still winter here, but "Avogadro" knows spring is coming. There is new growth on all three branches as well as significant growth on the top. How do I prune this guy back or is it too late?

        Hardiness Zone: 6a

        By M.B. from Ann Arbor, MI

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        By Ellen Brown


        I have grown an avocado seed and it is 2 years old and approximately 9 feet tall. I have had it outside and need to bring it in for the winter, but it is too tall for the ceiling. Can I cut it back or should I just leave it alone?




        This is a tough one, as I would hate to see anything slow down a 9 ft. tall avocado tree. I'm not sure how a 9 ft. tall avocado will respond to being pruned. Is it tall and spindly or have you pruned it back before to encourage branching from below? I'm going to assume since it has grown so tall in just two years time that you may have never pruned it before. If you have a fair number of strong, leafy side branches I wouldn't worry about cutting it back far enough to fit it indoors.

        If the plant consists primarily of one stem, you might want to let the top bend at the ceiling and cut a few of the side branches back to try to encourage more branching. If new branches start to emerge, you can safely cut back the top. You don't say what zone you're in, but if you live in 9b or above you probably won't have to keep it indoors long enough to worry about causing a permanent change in its appearance. As long as there are enough leaves left on the plant to maintain food production and the plant is in good overall health, I wouldn't worry too much about cutting it back. Clearly you have a knack for growing avocado plants. If something should happen to this one as a result of you cutting it back, you might consider keeping any future plants to ceiling height with regular pruning.


        About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. <a href="post_request.ldml?email_subject=Gardening">Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


        Pruning an Avocado Plant

        It's my understanding that the Avocado is semi-tropical, so I'd not take chances by leaving it out in colder than 50 degrees. 60 or above would be better, and I'd put it in the garage, pot double wrapped in a blanket, stem/trunk wrapped in pipe insulation (inexpensive from hardware store) on a stepping stone base, under a 24 hour light of 100 W. I've found grow bulbs in regular bulb shape, but they're not so cheap.

        The idea is to keep the plant warm, but not in darkness. It gets it's health from the leaves, so they
        will be the final determination if you are able to save the plant. Whatever you do, use caution that you do not set up a fire hazard for yourself and the plant.

        It takes several years before it will produce fruit, I understand, but I'd encourage you to use Sea Kelp, if it were mine, for this season. It should keep it healthy throughout the year. If you know of anyone who'd let you borrow a space in their greenhouse, that would be the ideal.

        I sort of believe that unless there are branches and leaves well below the 6 foot height, you might actually kill the tree by cutting it back since you may also bring it inside, which causes plants to suffer some degree of shock.
        (I have so little sunlight that I know I'd kill one. )

        If it's pot is really deep, perhaps you could gain a foot and a little more by transplanting gently to a less deep pot, and lightly trim it's roots, "very gently" with scissors?

        If no one has a greenhouse, look for a friend with a higher ceiling, although I have visions of the plant getting scorched by the heat that rises naturally to the ceiling.

        This is a tough call for you, having raised it from seed, as I once did as a young girl, then somehow did something wrong and lost it years ago. Most likely I forgot to water it back then.

        As I say this, there is one more possibility that sounds strange, but might work. Is the plant flexible enough to try bending it over towards an east or south window, just for the winter? (We get many months of growing season here in Texas, so it might not work if your season is short there). I thought I'd help you exhaust all options. I'm not an expert, only gardened inside/out for best of 35 years and also lived in Hawaii for three years, a plant's paradise. God bless you in your efforts. (09/28/2006)

        By Lynda

        Pruning an Avocado Plant

        I trimmed mine and it bushed out a little bit and it looked so much better. When spring came it put on extra branches and leaves. It was wonderful looking.
        Good luck.

        Tina (01/11/2007)

        By trbrown22

        Pruning an Avocado Plant

        To all and to anyone. Go ahead and prune your avocado trees as much as you wish. The plants that you have propagated from seed will never bear fruit. If for some reason they do bear fruit, the fruit is highly unlikely to resemble the quality of the original fruit.

        If you wish to own a tree that bears fruit go to Home Depot and for the low price of $23.95 buy a Hass avocado. These trees will usually bear fruit within a year. The trees are about 2 years old and will start fruit soon enough. Your trees do not fruit, because they are not grafted from the the original parent plants.

        So to answer all questions, feel free to cut and shape your tree as much as you want. (07/29/2009)

        By elmeromero

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        Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
        CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
        Home and Garden Gardening Fruit TreesApril 6, 2012
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