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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.

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August 2, 20153 found this helpful
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I hope this helps!

Cari

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By 0 found this helpful
December 15, 2017

I have an avocado tree that I bought when it was about a foot tall. It is now about three feet tall. It is dropping fresh green leaves. I can send pictures, if you want. I bought it in March and it had been doing very well. The lady at Terra greenhouses said not to expect fruit this year, so I'm not, but I am very concerned about it dropping it's fresh green leaves.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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December 24, 20170 found this helpful
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Hello !
I see you get snow in the winter, that means real winter. It also means that the lady at Terra Greenhouses is a big liar if she told you that your avocado has a good chance to have fruits one day. I think that your avocado is just having a big shock due to the change of season, less daylight, heating on in your house which means higher temperature and dry air. It is a situation the plant can't adapt to as an avocado is a tree made to live outdoors where shorter daylight goes together with colder temperature. My advice would be to keep it away from heaters, lightly spray it with water at room temperature once a week and no fertilizer, it is winter it is not the time for a tree to grow and any season of the year water it only if when you press hard the tips of your fingers on the soil no bits of soil stay stuck to your skin and that's all. Sometimes whether the leaves which are falling are at the top of the plant or close to the foot tells you if the plant is overwatered or not. When it lacks water it is the leaves at the top that fall first and when it is overwatered it is the leaves close to the foot that fall first but this trick doesn't work always. Give the tree a rest and you will see when spring comes how it is doing. In case your avocado isn't doing well do not buy a new one just grow a new one from a seed you will have the same result without spending any money. 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.

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October 17, 20170 found this helpful
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Brown or dropping leaves can be caused by a number of things so you may have to try several suggestions to find a true solution.

  • Have you repotted your plant recently? Sometimes the shock of repotting will cause this to happen. If that is the reason, it will take a little while to recover.
  • What type of soil do you have in your pot? Avocado trees need a loose soil so regular soil is not recommended as it will be too heavy/thick. You may have to repot in a lighter soil.
  • If you are using regular tap water you may have a salt buildup that will need to be removed. Take your plant outside (if possible) and run water through the plant for several minutes and maybe even a second time to remove any remaining salt.
  • If you are using a water softener then you may have to do the same thing but with unfiltered outside water.
  • For future watering, try to use distilled water or boiled and cooled water.
  • Use one-half recommended fertilizer but on a regular basis.
  • Prune your plant (check YouTube videos).
  • If you feel your tree has been over-watered, you may have to remove it from the pot and clean roots (gently) and replace in new soil.
  • For Light requirements you may have to move your plant to different areas of your house at different times of the year.
  • This is also true for temperature and humidity requirements.

Here is a link to a site that has a lot of information about growing avocado trees indoors. Check all the links on each side for more information.

http://homeguid  lting-86308.html

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September 25, 2018

I have an avocado plant that I've been growing indoors for the past 5 years. She's over 3 ft tall! She has been growing strong and grew a branch this summer. I was so proud and happy! For the past couple of weeks I noticed she wasn't looking too well, her branch was wilting/turning black and she lost all her leaves so I cut her back thinking that was the problem. From where I cut the stalk, it's turning brown and is shriveling up. Over the summer I went on vacation twice and used a self watering globe so she would be okay when I was gone (I went away in July and August). I kept the self watering globe in the pot until I noticed she wasn't looking too good and removed it. Then I noticed she was losing leaves and the branch was wilting and turning a blackish color. I went back to how I used to water her in the past. The second change was I added crushed egg shells to the soil because a coworker said they were great fertilizer and to give it a try. I removed the shells from the soil as well. So those were the only two changes she experienced over the summer, the self watering globe and egg shells. She sits in front of a window so I know she's getting great sunlight. I always check the soil to make sure I wasn't over/under watering her. I checked my plant/apartment and I have no bugs flying around the plant or my studio. Did I kill my baby? Does anyone know what can be the problem and how I can save her? The picture below is from June when she was growing strong. What can I do to get her back to looking this healthy? I'm really upset. Please give me some advice on what I can to to help her. =(

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September 25, 20181 found this helpful

You could have an insect problem or fungus problem. You also could have too wet or too dry soil. Since you check the soil often, I suspect insects.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 16, 2018

Recently there was a heatwave where I live. My avocado tree, without my knowledge, was sunburned. All of the leaves turned brown and crunchy so I decided to pluck them off. I left a few that still seemed to be healthy and were green however most of them got knocked off in the wind when I was carrying it outside. Now my avocado tree of only 6 months has three leaves remaining.

I am concerned that with this minimal amount of leaves my plant will not be obtaining enough sunlight for its vital functions. Currently, it is in a place where it receives sunlight all day that is at a good level. It has some tiny new buds on the top, but they also seem a bit burned, there are also buds where the burned leaves where (both visible, hopefully, in the pictures). Will my tree be OK? I'd hate for it to die as I've grown it from nothing.

Many thanks.

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August 16, 20181 found this helpful

Poor tree! They do sunburn just like humans.

You didn't say where you are located, but calling your local agriculture college or home extension office can get you some good solutions that work best in your area to help the tree make a full recovery, but more importantly for prevention of future burns.

A family member from California has tried painting the tree trunk with white paint (hers was much thicker than yours and it was an outside plant)......but that may be different than what is recommended for your area. Every area is different, so best to the expert for your climate.

If you put your town name and the phase home extension services into Google, it should come up near the top. Most have a .org at the end.

Good luck! PS, you sound like me with the deep love for your plant! If there is a prayer for plants, I will say one for it!!

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August 16, 20181 found this helpful

Your tree will recover. I would invest in some shade cloth to protect it from future heat waves

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August 16, 20180 found this helpful

You can see the leaves are starting to grow at the top of the plant again. Normally avocado trees need to be outdoors in order to grow properly. After your tree has reached the hight it is now, it really should be planted in the ground and not kept in a small pot. The tree needs a place to grow the roots.

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August 17, 20180 found this helpful

To help your young avocado tree along, remove it from the south or southwest area to diminish intensity of the sun. Like your own skin, an avocado is sensitive to sunburning too. If you had a sunburn, you would not expose yourself to direct sun's heat because the burning sensation is intensified.

Yes, you can paint a tree using half water and half acrylic white paint and put it on all the areas where leaves have fallen. This will help protect it more from getting sunburned further. However, the avocado tree would have been planted outdoors exposed to the sun. I don't know if you would do this to such a young plant as your own.

Do not over water as the tree won't be needing an abundance of water due to lack of leaves, but do keep it sheltered from sun until you see it improving. Good Luck.

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August 20, 20180 found this helpful

Looks and sounds like your tree is going to be okay but I'm not sure you should still have it in full direct sunlight.

If you do not have a way to make a sunscreen to stop the harsh sunlight you might try placing a thin sheet over the plant during the hottest part of the day. This has worked for me with some of my really tender plants as we have had some very hot days in Florida this year. I have even watered the plant (wet the sheet) and my plants have survived even 105 degrees.

If you plan to leave your tree in a container then here is a link that has a lot of information about growing your tree.

www.gardeningknowhow.com/.../indoor-avocado-plant-care.htm

www.logees.com/howtogrowavocados

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August 21, 20180 found this helpful

avocados can be tough and sometimes in the past when I have tried to grow them indoors they do only so well and then started to die on me.

I would just say maybe improve its soil by adding some cactus potting mix (they like a more sandy soil) and also adding some lime or other agent to slightly acidify the soil since it does best at 6.5 or 6 pH. Make sure it gets light but not too much, water but not too much, and just wait for it to recover

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By 0 found this helpful
July 18, 2018

My 15 year old avocado tree is losing its leaves too early. It is July in Southern California. It has lots of avocados on it, that are about half way there and the leaves are dropping like it is post season. They are brown and yellow and hundreds are falling. It is about 25 ft. tall. Why is this happening? What can I do? Am I going to lose this tree?

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July 18, 20180 found this helpful

Maybe its too hot and it is not getting enough water.

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July 18, 20180 found this helpful

I have some family in your neck of the woods and they all have different suggestions from mite infestation to water chloride issues from the various fires.

They suggested calling your local ag extension and getting an expert opinion. This link is what they gave me:

ipm.ucanr.edu/.../ceofficefinder.html

Good luck! Hope you get an easy to deal with answer and the trees recover!

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July 19, 20180 found this helpful

could it be a weird virus or other disease? Root rot fungi, persea mite, and excess salt accumulations are all things that affect these trees. ucce.ucdavis.edu/.../530-27.pdf

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By 0 found this helpful
September 21, 2018

I just planted a new avocado tree in the soil and its leaves started to fall down like it's dying. I mixed the soil with 50gr of DAP fertilizer. I am worrying what should I do?

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September 21, 20180 found this helpful

If you just planted it the tree probably went into a bit of shock. It should be fine once it gets used to its new environment

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September 22, 20180 found this helpful

It is possible you have over fertilized your new tree as most recommend NO fertilizer when planted and very little at any time. Also, how the fertilizer was applied may not have been best for the new tree.
Are you talking about planting a grafted Avocado tree?

  • Its possible you could replant it away from the fertilizer but not sure how that would work.
  • Information from the CA avocado website:
  • We don't recommend fertilizing young and newly planted trees for at least the first year. Once the tree is established you can use any balanced citrus fertilizer on a yearly basis, just follow the directions on the label. Keep in mind, the rule of thumb with commercial fertilizers is less is more, so be conservative. Or if you are into organics like me you can use compost, coffee grounds, fish emulsion, etc.
  • Plant grafted seedlings with the graft under the soil, which is uncommon for other grafted trees. Stake young trees and keep them free of weeds while they are establishing."
  • It may be beneficial for you to read a few sections about growing your new tree - hope you can save it.
  • www.gardeningknowhow.com/.../avocado-tree-growing.htm
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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.

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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.

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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  r.edu/?story=898

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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May 10, 20180 found this helpful

My tree was grown from a seed (in San Diego County) 40+ years ago. It used to have hundreds of avocados, but drought and too many trees in the vicinity kept production low. Several surrounding trees were removed--roots and all--and we had more rain last year, so this year we had hundreds of avocados for the first time in years. Also, it drops all old leaves in the Spring while it blooms and adds beautiful new leaves. I use avocado and citrus food at least once each year.

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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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