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Help! Why Are There Spots On My Avocado Tree?

Ask The Plant Expert:

Hello, I bought a 2 year old avocado tree and transplanted it to a larger pot about 3 months ago, and the plant looked perfect. Now 3 months later I am getting these spots on the plant…

It is planted in a large pot and on one of the pictures you can see where the main middle stalk has died, but the other stalks off of the main are alive. It is potted (extra large pot) in miracle grow moisture control soil and I water once a week. No rain since the issue began. I live in Houston, Texas and the temp is high 79° and low of 46° right now. I am presently spraying Bonine copper fungicide, and Bonine neem oil on the plant once every 7 days. The moisture has been extremely high at night and foggy. Can you possibly tell me what this is? -Michael

Avocado Leaf Avocado Leaf Avocado Leaf Avocado Leaf

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Pollinating Avocados

Pollination Ask The Plant Expert:

Hi, I have an avocado tree that so far, has not yet produced avocados. I have no idea what kind of avocado tree it is.  I have heard that sometime you need another to pollinate, but others say, avocados will grow with only one, but that a second helps you produce more.  It is 10ft. tall, in a large, industrial 20″ x 20″ container.  I live in Vallejo, California. Thank you, Kimberly

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:


As far as I know Avocados are not self-pollinating. In fact, the pollination of avocados is tricky.  Besides needing two plants, you need two different kind of plants. On top of that you need to make sure you have a good bee population to more the pollen from one plant to another.

Here are a couple of really good articles on Avocado pollination and culture:

A Planting Plan for Avocados & Avocado Flowering Basics

Help! Why Is My Avocado Tree Dying During Winter?

Ask The Plant Expert:

Ok, so it’s winter, and I put my one-year-old avocado tree inside to prevent it from freezing, but some of its leaves have crunched up and the tips of some leaves are brown. What’s wrong with it? What should I do? Any ideas? – Cassy

Avocado Tree - leaves turning brown

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Cassy,   It looks like an environmental factor and not a disease problem. When you move a plant indoors during the winter humidity becomes a problem. The heating system in most houses decrease the moisture level in the air. So, you need to increase the humidity around the plant. You can do this by misting the  air around the plant with lukewarm water once a day.  Your plant may need a little more light as well. If you can move it closer to a light source, I recommend doing so. Hope this information was helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

Caring For New Avocado Plant In The Texas Heat

Ask The Plant Expert: I bought an Avocado Tree a couple of months ago and planted it outside. My soil is a sandy soil, and I live in south Texas. The heat here has been horrendous! I made a Teepee with a screen around two sides to keep the western sun out. I don’t know if somethings attacking my tree or if it’s heat related. My leaves turn brown and get brittle and fall off. No new leaves are growing back. -Bob

Avocado Plant Protected From Heat

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Bob, It may have Sun Blotch. It is hard to tell from the picture, but if you can take a leaf from your plant to the nearest Texas extension service office, they should be able to send it off to their plant diagnostic center. For more information take a look at this website http://plantclinic.tamu.edu/.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

Ask The Expert: Why Are My Avocado Leaves Turning Brown?

Ask the Expert: Avocado tree question.

Avocado Leaves Turning BrownHi all, I have a well established (~10-20 yrs old) which has produced avocados the last 6 years. This year, no fruit and the top 1/3 of the trees canopy has turned brown. I have no idea what is happening. I water the tree every other day for ten minutes. I have also noted splits in the bark at the base of the trunk. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Attached is a photo of the leaves. This problem began after our gardener removed the ground cover around the tree earlier this spring. The tree initially looked stressed but began to rebound after a few months. Now the current situation appears to be worsening again. – Art G

Flower Shop Network‘s Plant Expert’s Reply:

Art, there are several reasons that could cause your avocado tree’s leaves to turn brown. This is a hard diagnosis without knowing the previous conditions of your tree’s environment.

1. Overexposure to the Elements – Harsh conditions could be the reason your avocado tree is turning brown. Overexposure to the following could be the problem:

  • Sun
  • Ice
  • Frost
  • Drying Winds
  • Salt (carried in the air)

2. Changes in Soil – You mentioned your gardener removed the ground cover around the tree. This loss of mulch could have quite an impact. The ground cover helps retain water for the roots by keeping it from evaporating. When watering, it’s best to water thoroughly then wait until the ground is dry before watering again. A good rule is about 5 gallons twice a week. The best way to do this is by using a 5 gallon bucket with a 1/4″ hole in the center of the bottom. Fill up your bucket and set it a couple of feet away from the trunk of your tree, so that the water oozes across the feeder roots.

3. Root diseases – Root diseases kill or weaken the roots of trees. There is no cure for these, although improved conditions may help the tree to bounce back to normal and outgrow the disorder.

4. Insect Damage – Take a close look at the branches and trunk of your tree. If you notice insect damage or see ants crawling over your tree, this could be a sign of borers. If so, you will need an insecticide to kill the borers in time to heal the tree.

So what to do?

Well, it depends on how far the dieback has progressed. If the brown is just on your leaves then your tree will probably be fine. Keep it well-watered and it should bounce back. It is a good idea to get your soil tested to see if it needs any additional nutrients.

If your branches and trunk are browning, you’re going to have to do some rescuing. Find out exactly how far your tree’s dieback has progressed. Cut into the wood just a bit to see where your tree’s brown turns into fresh green. You’re going to need to cut everything dead off at this point. It’s tough love, but someone’s got to do it!

Before you go hacking off half of your tree, visit your local garden center or contact your extension service for a true diagnosis of your tree. We do the best we can with a description and a photo, but you need to be sure before taking any drastic measures.

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Caring For An Avocado Tree

Ask the Expert: Soil for Avocado Tree
I have been growing an avocado tree from a pit and its doing very well. The leaves and root system are quite large now, and I want to pot it before the roots start to deteriorate. The only problem is, every website i go to for help gives me a different answer on the right soil to pot it in! I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me the best soil for it. Thank you!!!  Ains



If the avocado is planted in a container use a general purpose potting that is sand, bark and perlite based rather than an a heavy peat based potting soil.  This type of soil will give the plant what it needs along with the drainage it needs. It is imperative that your container drains well.  Be sure to place it in a container that has drain holes. Ceramic or natural (breathable) containers are preferred over plastic containers.  Keep it sheltered from strong winds but exposed to full sun if possible.  Water lightly during the winter months and heaver during the growing season.  It is important that the plant isn’t exposed to temperatures under 55 degrees for any length of time.

I have always wanted to start an avocado from the pit, so please keep me posted.  It might help me get the courage to try growing my own.