The Q&A Archives: Brown Tips On Avocado Tree

Question: I purchased a drarf Avacodo tree 3-4 months ago. It has recently started to not look so happy and it's leaves are tipped with dark brown. I'm not over watering, It does look like it need some nutrients though. What do you suggest? Also, what is the best soil for it to grow in? I'm planning to keep it in a container until I purchase a new home.

Answer: Avocado trees are fussy about having well-draining soil. They're also very susceptible to salt burn. The discoloring of the leaves indicates one, if not both, problems. If the container doesn't have adequate drainage, the soil can remain soggy long enough to cause the symptoms you describe. Avocado trees should be watered lightly and frequently. Fertilize lightly, and flood out salts that build up in the soil about every 4th watering. Avocado trees drop leaves quite heavily all year, and those leaves make a great mulch over the roots, so leave them if possible.

One of my most prized possesions is a book called Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, published by the University of California (Publication 3332). It gives cultural information on avocado trees, plus all of the fruiting trees and shrubs that are commonly grown in California. It also has comprehensive IPM tactics for dealing with pests. It's worth ordering from Publications, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, 6701 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94608-1239.

Another excellent resource is the following website hosted by the California Avocado Society:

Hope the above helps!

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