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Avocado Tree: Can someone tell me what's going on here?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 45
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I have an avocado tree that is just under a year old (grown from the pit of one delicious avocado!). I pruned it about 4 or 5 months ago so that it would branch out. That worked out well enough, except that the new leaves on those branches are significantly lighter than the old leaves. At first I thought they would darken, but that has not happened.

A friend of mine suggested moving it to a sunnier spot, which I did... that still didn't help. And now the edges of the leaves are browning although it gets plenty of water. The only thought I have left would be that the container is too small... but I hardly think that a 50+ liter (15 gallon) container would already be too small for a meter high tree. What do you think?
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pollinator
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Location: Washington Timber Country
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Looks like a mineral deficiency of some kind to me.

Dr. Google suggests pale yellow new growth could be a symptom of sulfur deficiency.
 
Posts: 1644
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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It might be the taproot outgrowing the pot, either way I would transplant it into the ground.
 
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Yellow leaves with green veins can indicate iron deficiency/iron chlorosis- starts on new growth and eventually spreads to older growth, if severe enough the edges of the leaves then turn brown as the cells die. Iron deficiency stops the plant manufacturing chlorophyll- hence it stops being green.

Fastest way to fix is a foliar spray- such as a good compost tea or seaweed solution.
 
Joseph Bataille
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Location: Haiti
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Charli Wilson wrote:Yellow leaves with green veins can indicate iron deficiency/iron chlorosis



Thanks @Charli, I think that's the best diagnosis so far. If you look a the picture of the darker green leaf, you'll see that it's starting to grow faintly yellow as well. @Roberta may be right as well with the sulfur deficiency. I saw both suggestions in my searching, as well as a suggestion to check the soil pH, so I'm waiting on a soil test kit to come in to test everything. But in the meantime, I'll head to a garden store to see what they have that I can use to give my tree some iron and see how that helps.

@Bengi I've been reluctant to transplant it because I don't have enough soil in my yard (mostly concrete, unfortunately), and my (future) food forest is pretty far away. Until I am sure that someone that can take care of the transplant, this tree, and my beautiful fig tree, will have to stay with me.
 
pollinator
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You have access to seawater? It has every mineral that exists. Dilute 10 parts water to one part seawater. Water the tree with it. Whatever is deficient will be in there.
 
Joseph Bataille
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wayne fajkus wrote:You have access to seawater? It has every mineral that exists. Dilute 10 parts water to one part seawater. Water the tree with it. Whatever is deficient will be in there.




Hmmm... Never tried that for anything. Thanks for an "excuse" to make a weekend trip to the beach .
 
Posts: 57
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Joseph Bataille wrote:

wayne fajkus wrote:You have access to seawater? It has every mineral that exists. Dilute 10 parts water to one part seawater. Water the tree with it. Whatever is deficient will be in there.




Hmmm... Never tried that for anything. Thanks for an "excuse" to make a weekend trip to the beach .



Is 10:1 diluted enough? Salt is NOT a good thing for most plants.
 
garden master
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Sea minerals are wonderful for plants. The 10:1 ratio works very well for trees, veggies and shrubs.
Commonly, many people veer away from salt water use for plants but 30 years of research shows it is not as detrimental as common thought patterns think.

Sea-90 is sea salt with all the minerals, this has been applied to fields at the rate of 2.5 tons per acre for three years and the only thing that happened is that the plants grown grew better, were far healthier and tasted better than the control fields crops.
I use this stuff on all my fruit trees and my squash and tomatoes, it only takes about 1/2 cup for a tree (per year) and I use a table spoon for each vegetable plant, just sprinkle it around the drip line.
I also use it as the source for free choice minerals for our guinea hogs, dogs, chooks and as we get more animals, they too will have a free choice bin of sea-90.
It works great in our salt grinder on the dinner table too.

By the way, I'm not a distributor, just a user of the product.
I don't think it will be detrimental to our plants, so far my own experiments are all with positive results.
I use it on fig trees, pear trees, plum trees, mulberry trees, apple trees, squashes, onions, beets, and will be testing it on pumpkins and all our other veggies next spring.
It is not a "fertilizer" just a mineral supplement that we started using last year and were amazed at the results we got.
Soil testing is a recommendation since you don't want to get your soil out of balance if you can keep from it.
 
wayne fajkus
pollinator
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With all the regenerative abilities of earth, the ocean is the one that stumps me. It accumulates minerals constantly but never gives it back, at the expense of mineral depletion upland. So putting it back makes sense. For the earth to do it for us, we'd be looking at animals 2x2 loaded in an ark.
 
Joseph Bataille
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I found this article after a quick search. It has a cool chart that details the trace minerals found in seawater. It also makes a claim that the land that got hit by the 2004 tsunami in South East Asia experienced 2 years of bumper crops. @Wayne, maybe that's one way the earth gets some of those minerals back... That and coastal winds blowing ocean sprays...
 
Joseph Bataille
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wayne fajkus wrote:With all the regenerative abilities of earth, the ocean is the one that stumps me. It accumulates minerals constantly but never gives it back, at the expense of mineral depletion upland. So putting it back makes sense. For the earth to do it for us, we'd be looking at animals 2x2 loaded in an ark.



I was reading on volcanoes and randomly thought of your post... Strange I know, but when I realized that every eruption brings tons of minerals and gasses to the surface, I began to wonder if maybe volcanoes might have the ability to replenish the earth with what the ocean takes from it... Just a thought. Might wanna build a fireproof ark next time.
 
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It might be iron lacking......in Citrus is very common, but it happens in all kind of plants !! Use microelements enriched in Iron, water only when the upper soil is dried..
 
pollinator
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I use sea salt when I brush my teeth, now i can get a second use out of it.

I imagine urine has a good trace mineral profile too?

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Sea minerals are wonderful for plants. The 10:1 ratio works very well for trees, veggies and shrubs.
Commonly, many people veer away from salt water use for plants but 30 years of research shows it is not as detrimental as common thought patterns think.

Sea-90 is sea salt with all the minerals, this has been applied to fields at the rate of 2.5 tons per acre for three years and the only thing that happened is that the plants grown grew better, were far healthier and tasted better than the control fields crops.
I use this stuff on all my fruit trees and my squash and tomatoes, it only takes about 1/2 cup for a tree (per year) and I use a table spoon for each vegetable plant, just sprinkle it around the drip line.
I also use it as the source for free choice minerals for our guinea hogs, dogs, chooks and as we get more animals, they too will have a free choice bin of sea-90.
It works great in our salt grinder on the dinner table too.

By the way, I'm not a distributor, just a user of the product.
I don't think it will be detrimental to our plants, so far my own experiments are all with positive results.
I use it on fig trees, pear trees, plum trees, mulberry trees, apple trees, squashes, onions, beets, and will be testing it on pumpkins and all our other veggies next spring.
It is not a "fertilizer" just a mineral supplement that we started using last year and were amazed at the results we got.
Soil testing is a recommendation since you don't want to get your soil out of balance if you can keep from it.

 
pollinator
Posts: 944
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I was about to post that it looks like salt damage on those leaves . . . until I started to read everyone's posts above calling for MORE salt by adding salt water.  Can't say that i've ever heard that as a solution for avocado trees, but I'm certainly open to learning new things.

The brown at the tip of the leaf certainly looks like salt damage, and avocados are tremendously sensitive to salt in the soil.  If you flush the soil in the pot with a lot of water, it should flush that salt out of the soil.  Pull the plant out of the pot and look at the roots.  If the tips look brown and burned, you've got salt damage.

Avocados loose their leaves this time of the year, shortly after fruit set.  My avocados are about the size of marbles right now, and the leaves are starting to drop and are being replaced slowly.  It's kind of funny --- full branches with just a bunch of little marbles on them.  By late July the new leaves should be growing aggressively.

A couple of suggestions. 

1.  Flush the salt out of the soil.  Your soil salinity is a problem.

2.  If the pot is getting hit by the sun, you need to shade it.  A black pot getting hit by direct sunlight will heat up over 100 degrees on a clear hot day.  That's very tough on the tree.  Avocados are shallow rooted, so they naturally like a heavy mulch layer under a thick canopy which keeps the roots moderately cool.  I'd get that tree into the ground where the roots will not be subject to extreme heating and cooling of the pot.

3.  Young avocados need a bit of shade.  I build a little shade cloth structure over my young trees.  They get morning and later afternoon sun, but not the hot direct mid-day sun.  Your tree might be getting scalded with so much direct sunlight.  In year 3 they can take the full brunt of the sun, but for a year or two, give them a break.  That's why you'll usually see avocados under a shade structure at the nursery, giving them a protection from the hottest sun.

4.  A bit of nitrogen might help, but nothing too strong, particularly if the tree is still in the pot.  A bit of diluted urine would be good for the tree, but again, urine can be high in salt.  Commercial fertilizers also increase soil salinity.  Once established, you don't need to feed your avocado tree anything more than a nice mulch layer, as they'll do fine finding all the nutrients they need.  There is a bit of humor in people buying organic avocados in the store, since avocados are one of the most pest free and low maintainance trees that there is.  They don't need to be sprayed or fertilized.  If it were me, I'd plant that tree in a hole with backfill soil that's been well amended (with good compost). 

5.  Patience.  New leaves should come on in the next month or two.

 
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Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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wayne fajkus wrote:With all the regenerative abilities of earth, the ocean is the one that stumps me. It accumulates minerals constantly but never gives it back, at the expense of mineral depletion upland.



Plate tectonics is recycling between land and sea. We also take an immense amount of sea food out of the sea plus fish that are harvested purely for mincing up and using as fish emulsion fertiliser for crops (yeah vegans, your salad runs on dead fish).

But I suspect these above effects don't come close to replenishing the amount of minerals that run off into the sea. I wonder if there is a plot of salinity versus time for the oceans in general. We see this on smaller scale/shorter time scale for large lakes/inland seas some of which disappear in the course of a generation or two.
 
Steve Farmer
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what are the leaves at the growing tips like? If they are more healthy than the older leaves then I wouldn't be too worried.


A bigger pot would help in general, and that pot will be limiting growth already but it isn't going to kill the tree or cause it to be diseased.
It may be suffering from overwatering. How often does it get watered?


What is the temperature. My avocadoes don't grow any trees till temps hit the mid 20s C and until then the old leaves just slowly age. Maybe with a bit more heat the tips will shoot out some new leaves, and these are your indicators of health rather than old growth.
 
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