The Q&A Archives: Frost On An Avocado

Question: I ask this for my mother-in-law, she has an avocado tree that was doing well but she recently had a frost in Florida and it froze the tree. It has discolored the leaves and some have fallen off. Is there any way to save this tree?

Answer: They are frost-sensitive plants. At this point, leave the tree alone. Don't prune back damaged leaves because they provide protection if there's another frost. Let the tree sprout new foliage on its own this spring and then you can determine what is dead or alive. Often times with frost damage, it looks worse than it is. Keep the tree appropriately watered so it isn't stressed, but I wouldn't recommend fertilizing until it looks like its coming back well on its own. When frosts are predicted, she should cover the tree with old sheets or frost cloth (never plastic), letting the cover reach all the way to the ground. Don't gather the cloth in and tie it around the trunk. The goal is to to trap heat radiating up from the earth. If possible drape the cover over a framework so it doesn't touch the foliage.

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