Leaves on Avocado Tree Sunburned

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.



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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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