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Avocado Trees Losing Leaves

Category Fruit Trees
There are a number of reasons your avocado tree may lose its leaves, from pests to lack of nutrients. This is a guide about avocado trees losing leaves.


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By 0 found this helpful
February 1, 2014

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?


By Lorelei N.


August 2, 20153 found this helpful
Best Answer

I can't really tell much from the pictures, but I have a few suggestions. I've had a lot of luck growing avocados indoors in Canada and I'm pretty familiar with some of the problems that you can run into with these plants (e.g., root damage, sciarid flies). Although I can't quite tell what the problem is from the pictures, I have a few suggestions that might help.

First, you should no plant multiple avocado plants together in the same pot. Avocado tree roots like to spread out and do not deal well with crowding. If planted together in the same pot, the plants can strangle one another (untangling them when this happens is horrible, trust me). Planting them together in the same pot can also mean that any diseases are easily transferred between the plants. The pot can also become root bound extremely quickly with multiple plants, meaning that the plants will stop getting adequate water and nutrients in a matter of months. For example, if you put two avocado trees in a pot that is the ideal size for one plant, the pot become root bound in half the time (i.e., 6 months instead of 12); the smaller the pot (or the less soil in the pot) the bigger a problem this becomes. It is best to put each seedling in its own pot that is fill 9/10 with fertilizer.


Second, you need to put the plants in a window that gets a lot of direct sunlight. If the plants don't get enough sunlight, they won't be able to produce enough nutrients to support their leaves (extra fertilizer will not fix this, either). A lack of sunlight can cause the leaves to yellow, then brown and fall off. If you live in a basement or anywhere that doesn't get at least 6 hours of sunlight in the spring and summer, the avocado trees won't last long.

Third, if your plants are on the ground floor directly adjacent to the window, you will eventually end up with sciarid flies. These flies look like fruit flies, but they have black, vein-less wings and kind of aimlessly flutter around the pots. If you can't catch one to examine to check if it is a sciarid fly, breathe on them. Sciarid flies are attracted to carbon dioxide and will fly all around your face when you exhale. The adult flies will munch on any dead leaves that are in the pot and will lay eggs in moist soil. The larvae are what you really need to worry about: after hatching, sciarid larvae eat the roots of the plant. These larvae can be devastating for seedlings. The easiest way to protect against them is to put up sticky fly traps and apple cider vinegar traps to kill the adults, and put a 1-2 inch layer of pebbles in the last 1/10 of your pot. If the adults can't reach the soil, then they can't lay their eggs, and then the larvae can't destroy your plants' roots.


Fourth, avocado trees require a more nitrogen rich fertilizer than most plants. The nitrogen helps support growth. Most fertilizer bags will have three numbers on the front to indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. Well-balanced potting soil for indoor plants (considered safe to use on a variety of houseplants) typically has about .2% nitrogen, which is extremely low for an avocado tree. Avocado trees will require something closer to 6% nitrogen to really thrive. Adding fertilizer to your potting soil every month or so can help give your plants the nitrogen they need.

Fifth, avocado trees like fast draining soil; they like it when the soil is moist, but they don't want to be in a puddle. There are a lot of people who suggest putting gravel at the bottom of pots, but DO NOT DO THIS. Avocado tree roots grow down as well as out, and they will seek out areas in the pot that have the most moisture (i.e., the bottom of the pot). In addition to limiting the amount of space the roots have to grow, if you put gravel at the bottom, the roots will very likely wrap themselves around the rocks, making it more likely that you will damage the plant when re-potting. Having drainage holes at the bottom of the pot is fine for draining excess water.


Finally, sometimes you just get a bad seed. Last year I sprouted five avocado trees. One of the sprouts, no matter what I did, would grow a few leaves and then lose them a couple weeks later. It ended up dying after about a year. The other four trees, however, that were grown in identical conditions, are all fine (one of them is more than 4 feet tall). For whatever reason, every now and then you'll get a seed that just doesn't take.

I hope this helps!


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October 8, 2017

I have grown my avocado tree from a seed and never pruned it. As new leaves sprout the existing leaves fall off. I still keep the tree indoors. What could I do to prevent the the leaves falling off. Thank you.



October 9, 20170 found this helpful

Fertilizer once a month.

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October 9, 20170 found this helpful

You need to prune it.
If you pick them off you will not have them on the floor.
It grows better if pruned.

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October 10, 20170 found this helpful

Thank you.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 23, 2017

My potted avocado trees lost all of their leaves, now the new leaves are coming out and dying; the branches turn black. I tried cutting off the black part, but it keeps coming. Parts of the plants look healthy with new leaves, one flowered this spring.


June 24, 20170 found this helpful

Make sure you are not overwatering.

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July 27, 20170 found this helpful

Normally this is caused by root knots or ants. You might need to take your trees out of their pots and check the roots. When I replant my plants I make sure I shake all the dirt off the roots and check their health. Giving your trees, fresh dirt and a good shaking should help.

You can also mix some dishwashing soap with water and spray the branches of your trees. Black on the branches is a virus. You will need to spray the trees every three days for 2 weeks. Afterwards, take your garden hose and wash the branches to get off the remaining black virus on the branches.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 14, 2017

I have three avocado trees. On all three of the trees the leaves and small avocados are all falling off. Does anyone have any idea what the problem could be? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please and thank you.


June 14, 20170 found this helpful

Sometimes this is nature's way of getting rid of defective fruit. Make sure you are not overwatering or underwatering. Here is an article to help you: http://www.cali  ocado-fruit-drop

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June 14, 20170 found this helpful

I believe that sometimes this will happen naturally but if it seems to be extreme than you may need to read up on why trees may do this. I believe California has the largest number of growers so probably most of the information will come from their sites. I have a couple listed but you can do more research if you still need more.


http://mgorange  id=31&ds=530

You can also call or email your county extension office and ask them about this problem.

https://www.gar  sion-service.htm

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May 10, 20140 found this helpful

My tree is 15 feet high. I planted him from a seed. He had for the first time after 6 years 40 avocados, 2nd time 70, 3d time 90. This year I don't know yet, but he loses a lot of brown leafs. Did I water him too much? Please let me know what I have to do. Thanks.

By Ruth S.

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March 25, 20130 found this helpful

My tree is about three years old and is flowering right now, but is losing leaves from the top down. I have not watered much during the wet months. Is this normal?

By Conor from Los Angeles, CA

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