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Caring for an Avocado Tree

Category Fruit Trees
Avocado trees whether grown from seed or purchased from a nursery will need to proper care to thrive. This is a page about caring for an avocado tree.
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I have had an avocado tree for over a year now and this spring I noticed that the trunk was getting brown. I wouldn't want it to die as it is part of my family. Any suggestions?

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May 31, 20180 found this helpful
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avocados are finicky as to climate. They don't like too much humidity as they are fro a California climate. I'm not sure where you are or whether you have it indoors or not but it could be a symptom of Root Rot.

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June 1, 20180 found this helpful
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It looks like you are growing it indoors. This site recommends fish emulsion to help simulate growth. My mom used it for every plant she ever touched and always had a green thumb!

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

Just know the stuff smells awful... at least to me...so you may want to use it in a well ventilated space. Plus follow all package guidelines carefully. Watch any plant foods around pets and children!

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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.

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Anonymous
March 15, 20160 found this helpful

I have never cut mine back. Its well over 6' and doing fine. Mine is also in the ground not in a pot. It might be root bound.

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Anonymous
May 5, 20160 found this helpful

That tree has to go in the ground for the stalk to thicken. The root doesnt have enough room to grow first of all.

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Second, dont cut anymore of the top, allow it to grow in.

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November 20, 20160 found this helpful

My avocado tree is about 120cm high and no branches. What should i do to devep branches?
Thanks a lot
Gaspa

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December 10, 20160 found this helpful

Hi, from what I've read, avocado's branch naturally and a lot! So I wouldn't worry about it. Let it grow and wait and see.
More often people have issues with too much branching rather than not enough.
Make sure you have it in the ground though. You might have a similar issue to the primary question in this thread.

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February 25, 20172 found this helpful

I have grown several avodado plants, and have a lot of funny stories related to successes and failures. My elderly Italian relatives all had green thumbs and grew all kind of fruit trees from seed. They didn't have any kind of experience with most of the trees they were growing; none of these plants were native to Italy. Still, the old folks who I observed as a child had some real talent and a peculiar facination with tropical and citrus plants.

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With that background in mind, I assumed that growing an avocado would be easy, or that I might have inherited some natural instincts giving me success in this area. Alas, if only that were the case! I think that speaking Italian to the plants may be in some way beneficial, but that doesn't help me much since I never learned the language.

To the point, however, it seems that it is always a good idea to pinch indoor plants back so that they don't get "leggy". Basically, in order to have a nice, thick stem or trunk, plants and trees have to grow tall slowly. From the look of your plant, it looks like it got very leggy, and you supported it with some trellice stakes so it could support its weight as it grew leaves.

Judging from the size of the plant, it looks like the little guy is about 3 years old or so, and that's actually a pretty good accomplishment in itself. It also looks like the plant is growing out of a pretty small pot, and is probably getting a little root bound by now.

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Although I have my avocado growing in a rather giant pot, I did make the same mistake of letting the plant get leggy and support it with stakes. I recently pruned it back to help correct this, but probalby have more to do. By not pinching my plant back, I got the same results you did. I grew and avocado with an assymetric canopy atop a rather vine-like trunk.

Unfortunately, the solution for this is probably a hard one to handle because it comes with risk to the plant as well as your own emotional connection to the little guy. Judging by the obvious care you put into staking the plant, it appears you are rather attached to it and want it to thrive.

If you want the plant to really flourish, however, I think you need to do more than supporting the plant. You will need to go big or go home and make two potentially hazarddous interventions for the sake of the plant overall.

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The first intervention is to repot the plant into a new and larger pot with some good fertilizer. Everyone will tell you to expect your plant to loose his leaves and get angry for a while when you do this, but I have had some good luck with root bound plants by simply cutting the old pot away or breaking and not disrupting the roots at all. Just put the root ball right into another pot and pack new, fertilized dirt around it. Soak it liberally when you do this to help the roots settle and give the plant a much needed drink. Give the plant a few weeks and I expect he'll loose a few leaves, be a little crabby, and then look fine again.

What seems to be happening when a plant goes into transplant shock, whether mild or severe, is that repotting triggers a cahnge in a plant's priorities. The root bound plant can't do much with its roots, so it focuses on making a lot of leaves to make a bunch of energy. When you repot the plant, it puts a whole lot of metabolic octane into shooting out new roots and stretching its legs, so to speak. After a little adjusting, the plant goes back to putting its energy into normal trunk and leaf growth.

You can stop here and go no further. you can continue to trellice the tree, and he'll probably grow for a few more years. If you want to really make the little guy flourish you will need to do a second, more drastic, intervention - or shall I say surgery. you need to cut the plant down to about half it's height, or cut it down and graft it.

Just cutting the plant takes a little faith in Mother Nature because while plants, including trees are in their infancy and childhood, you can chop them down or pinch them and they will just start new growth. Cut down a mature tree, and you might have a new shoot that grows off the side or from the base of the tree, but chances are that the tree with just die. It's kind of rolling the dice.

Just to give you a little confidence, however, I have observed that Leggy, vine-ish plants are survivors. they are fighting for life, and I think that gives them an advantage over a typical, mature plant, but that's my own humble opinion.

If you are nervous that the plant will just die and not develop new shoots and leaves, you can try a really effective method for grafting the plant that might be a little less risky and also provide some cool results by maintaining some leafy branches. This is also a lot more fun.

It sounds complicated, but it's not. The process of grafting is really simple and you just cut the top of your plant off at an angle where it has leaves. Next make a cut in the "trunk" of the tree further down and get rid of the middle portion of the plant. cut this angle to match the angle you used to cut the top off the plant. Press the ends together and wrap them with cecil twine or grafting tape you can buy at a hardware store or online. If you use cecil twine, you need to put plastic over the graft when you are done and tie the plastic above and below the joint so that it doesn't dry out.

Whether using twine with plastic or grafting tape, some people like to hold the pieces together and paint the joint with grafting compound, wax, or pruning sealer, then use the twine or grafting tape to hold it together and maintain moisture. I think that this is probably best.

The grafting compound, pruning sealer, or wax all do the same thing. they seal the joint so the cortex of the stem doesn't dry out. All these supplies are "dirt" cheap. Pruning sealer is a few dollars, grafting tape is no more than a dollar. Wax is free if you have a candle on hand that you don't mind melting a small chunk of. You probably have cecil twine sitting in a drawer somewhere.

To be even more creative, you can cut both leaf bearing branches (These are called scions, by the way) and graft both of them to the same trunk. With any luck, the main trunk and both branches will survive and start to flourish. Don't worry if the leaves fall off. If the trunk/branches stay green, they will eventually start budding again.

Make sure that you support the graft by supporting the plant above the graft with a trelice steak just like you did for your current plant. At this point, though, don't let it grow taller untill it gets wider and continue to pinch new buds off the top of the plant until it can support itself. This could take a long time - like over a year. Who cares how long it takes, however. the plant will look fine and be an interesting conversation topic.

At the risk of getting WAY too long winded, there is one final option that I have never tried but have been interested in for a while. It is to use cloning gel to create new roots high up on the plant. All you do is make a slice in the plant just below the scion. Now wrap the cut area in rockwool and soak it with cloning gel (online for about $7 or twice that at a nursery). Cover this with a plastic bag and tie it above and below the cut to prevent it from drying out. When you see roots growing out of the rockwool, cut the stem below the new roots and simply plant the new roots with the attached scion in new soil. Voila! New roots from your old plant. With any luck, you can cut the rest of your old plant down to about two feet, water it and that one will come back as well. Now you have an avacado for you and one for a friend.

I hope that helps. If you end up doing it, I'd love to see a photo of the results. I'm going to graft my plant when it leafs out a little more this summer. I will also clone a branch just to experiment. I do a lot of growing in a greenhouse and prefer to do this kind of stuff there where there is plenty of sun. It looks like your window also gets a good amount of sun, so you may not have to wait until summer to have both warmth and sun.

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My avocado tree was about 16 inches at 2 months and it got damaged halfway up so I cut it off by a new growth just under were it was broken and it started growing an inch below the new growth and out the side instead. Now I'm afraid it will not bear weight well. What should I do?

Also, I plan to transfer it to a pot soon and would like to know I'd I should wait for a while.

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June 23, 20181 found this helpful
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I'm not really sure about this as you are growing a tree - not just a bush or garden plant.

  • Do you really want to take a chance? I would suggest you transplant it to a pot and let it grow but this is still a young plant and avocado trees are slow growers so you may not know the answer for many years.
  • Why not start another tree? You had success with this one so why not start another one just in case there is a problem with this one later on? Room to plant two trees?
  • I have taken stretchy medical gauze and loosely wrapped a "joint" like this (or a broken stem) and the two eventually joined together and I believe it was stronger from then on (but I cannot say that for sure).
  • Here is an excellent article about avocado trees that are grown from a seed (from California - the king area of avocados).
  • www.californiaavocado.com/.../your-own-avocado-tree
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January 7, 2018

About a month ago I moved my young, 4 year old, avocado tree because there wasn't enough space for it to grow. It was thriving and looked very happy. I was watering it daily. It was moved from the north to the south side of the house. Before it was moved it was in the shade of a large tree with direct sun in the morning and late afternoon. Now it has sun from mid-morning until dusk. The day after it was transplanted was very sunny and windy, and all of the leaves turned brown. I've been covering it with a sun shade, protecting it from the wind, and keeping it wet. There is still some green at the ends of the branches. I've cut off the dead branch tips. Should I cut off the dead leaves, or leave them, and how much should I water it? I live in Baja California where the humidity is often around 30%, and the north winds can get up to 20-30mph in the winter. Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! It was doing so well where it was, but it didn't have enough room to grow.

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January 7, 20180 found this helpful
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You may be watering too much, and the roots are rotting. Water less often, but mulch the plant.

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January 8, 20180 found this helpful
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This is an issue when you move larger trees from one location to another. Some of the roots get damaged during the move and the tree goes into shock.

Normally, if you want to move a tree like this the leaves will die. You'll need to cut the tree back and remove the rest of the leaves from the tree. Add some good fertilizer to your soil and stop watering it so often. You have to give the tree a chance to grow and overcome the shock. You are only adding to the shock of the tree this way.

This might take up to 3 months before you see new growth on the tree. However, if the tree is healthy, the new growth could come sooner. Don't worry about the sun, the tree needs sun to grow and no need to shade the tree or cover it up. Let it adapt to the new location on it's own.

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This tree is about 9 months old, and has been pot bound for a month or so (now moved to this big current pot). It seemed to stop growing a few months back presumably when it's roots ran out of room. Only the white waxy stuff on top has been growing. My question is what is it? There are lots of conflicting opinions online, like it was an immature seed. (Maybe as it was straight out of an avocado I ate.) Other ideas are a virus or disease or it's an albino plant?

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February 25, 20180 found this helpful
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Your avocado tree seems to be rewarding your care with flowers and perhaps fruit. The waxy growth seems to me to be a flower stalk developing

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November 22, 2017

About a year ago I bought two avocado trees from a nursery. They are 1.5 metres tall. We live near the beach so the soil is sandy, but I have fertilised and mulched them. One is OK, but it has heaps of flower buds at the top. Do I remove these? The 2nd one has struggled from the beginning, now it has lost its leaves, but has the buds at the top, like flower buds? What can I do to help it?

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November 22, 20170 found this helpful
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Avocado trees need lots of water so be sure and give them a drink daily. Also need a lot of space to grow, make sure the roots are really deep.

They do not like a lot of sunshine or hot weather.

The flower buds are natural, this is where the fruit will come from, leave then to produce on their own.

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June 3, 2018

I have an avocado tree that I grew from a pit, it is like a year old, but has two stems. Should I cut one or leave it like that?

Thanks.

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June 3, 20180 found this helpful
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Either way. If the two stems reach out too far sideways you can string them together or to a central pole. There is no problem leaving both stems grow as long as they get enough fertilizer.

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I have a great looking Hass avocado tree, about 6 years old. I get avocados, but they always stay green and hard and never get mature looking. Any ideas what can be wrong?

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October 7, 20161 found this helpful

Yep. Avocados don't ripen on the tree. You have to pick the green mature fruit and then it will ripen in a few days.

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October 10, 20160 found this helpful

When picked from the tree they just stay hard. How long should they be left on the tree before picking?

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November 16, 20160 found this helpful

As someone has already said they dont ripen on the tree, when the friuts lose their shine, i.e. go dull looking, that apparently is the time to pick. Ripening time usually 7 to 10 days

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December 22, 20160 found this helpful

The avacodos look really good. Take them off and let them sit for two to three weeks. They will be ripe then.

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February 18, 2019

I have an 1 month old avocado tree. It has a few leaves that are white, thick, and waxy. They just keep the same shape and are a little twisted. They look very different from the other leaves. What it is?

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I bought a Hass avocado tree in a 15 gallon pot that already had tiny avocado fruits on it. I re-planted it in a larger container. A few days later, a majority of my tiny avocados fell off.

Should I pick off all those long stems that originally had the tiny fruits to promote new growth or do I leave them on the tree and they will eventually produce fruit?

I have no idea what to do. Can any expert answer this question?

Thanks in advance.

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May 13, 2017

I put avocado tree fertilizer on a 20 year old avocado tree, to improve the productivity this year. Now it is dying and turning brown. Did I kill it? Do I have hope? What should I do? :(

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April 6, 2017

I have a few avocado plants. Is it normal that at certain times of the day they give off a bad odor?

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I live in southern Florida. My avocado is now only growing little acorn size fruit, that then drop, and leaves. The same is true of my citrus trees which are always covered with a black substance. This has been going on for the past 2 years. It is a shame as they were doing so well.

I've found that my fruit trees only survived if started in passive shade and my avocado was producing many huge size fruit, but not now. I have been giving them expensive fertilizer lately, but no change. My mango is no problem it is a factory. I don't eat much, but I enjoy giving the fruit away and have felt like I been doing battle to keep them alive.

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I have grown an avocado tree from the pit. I would say it is over 2 years old. It is 3 1/2 feet tall. I know it needs to go in a bigger pot, but I put it out in the sun (hot day 90+ degrees) and it wilted; have I killed it?

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March 26, 2017

So I have an avocado tree that is still in a pot because it is just a year old. I have two branches growing and one of them broke about 3 inches off and I was wondering if it will survive.

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August 24, 2018

This past July I planted a dwarf avocado tree. A few days later we had an unprecedented heatwave (104deg) for a day. That was enough to damage the top section of the trunk. I decided to cut the damaged portion of main trunk at 3 ft. Is there any hope for this tree? Or should I start new avocado tree?

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September 9, 2016

We are renting and our well pump broke. It took over 4 months to fix and so these trees have been through a summer in Ojai California (high temps) all summer. The landlords say that now that the well if fixed we just have to start watering, but I am not so sure. I am looking for expert advice hopefully and thank you!

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February 27, 20170 found this helpful

IF you do not start watering them again, they will die. Now, you can start slowly so as not to 'drown' them. The problem with trees that have spent a lot of time in drought is that the root structure becomes loose, so that when excessive water comes back and loosens the soil, the trees can fall over. If you water them slowly you should avoid this problem.

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