Over the past few years, the issue of losing leaves of avocado trees has been increasing at an alarming rate. For instance, the statement of a gardener was like…
“I was about to go outside for a while, but I noticed that one of my avocado trees had lost all of its leaves. I freaked out because I wasn’t sure what was going on. Turns out, the tree was going through a tough time, and it needed my help.”
Thousands of Avocado growers like him are wondering, why is my Avocado tree losing leaves? Therefore, I did some research and found the main reason for dropping leaves of avocado trees is lack of water.
Even though water scarcity is the main reason for this situation, there are many other facts that can also be responsible for leaf drops. Let’s have a closer look.
Why Is My Avocado Tree Losing Leaves? Causes with Possible Solution
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are several reasons why avocado trees might lose leaves, and the problem can usually be solved by identifying and addressing the cause.
Here are some of the most common causes with proper instruction to prevent:
1. Lack of Water
Water is essential for the growth of plants and is one of the most common reasons for avocado leaves to fall off the tree. When there isn’t enough water available to the tree, the leaves will start to wilt and eventually fall from the tree.
Dropping leaves may indicate a lack of moisture, which can be caused by a number of factors such as low soil moisture, drought, or high temperatures.
According to some agriculturists, when the plant can’t get enough water, it sends out a hormone called ethylene to tell the leaves to close up so that no more water can get in. This makes the leaves heavy, and they fall off.
What to Do to Avoid Water Scarcity
When leaves start to drop and the tree appears to be thirsty, it’s time to water. If the leaves look wilted, the tree is already too dry and needs to be watered more urgently.
There are a few things you can do to help your avocado tree get the water it needs. First, check the soil moisture level. If it’s dry, pour water gradually until the roots can absorb it.
Watering with a traditional hose can cause more damage than good. Use a soaker hose or water can instead. If the soil is too dry, your tree is probably suffering from root rot. So, add some compost to the soil as well.
If you’re unsure whether your avocado trees need water, water them accordingly and observe for a few days. In case the problem continues, consider using an alternate watering technique such as drip irrigation or rain-water harvesting.
While lack of water is the main cause for dropping avocado leaves, overwatering is also similarly responsible for this issue. In many gardens, I’ve seen Avocado trees lose their leaves when they were overwatered.
This is because overwatering can lead the roots to become waterlogged and the leaves to sag. After all, the tree can’t spread its weight properly. In addition, over-watering can cause roots to rot, leading to yellowed leaves and stunted growth.
How to Check If Your Avocado is Overwatered
If you suspect that your avocado tree is over-watered, follow these steps to check if the tree is over-watered.
- Monitor the Soil Moisture Level
Dig a small hole at the base of the tree, fill it with water, and wait 10 minutes. If the soil around the hole is wet, your avocado tree is probably over-watered.
- Check the Soil Around the Tree
If water is running on the surface, it means there’s a drainage issue. Make sure all nearby shingles and rocks are removed, as they can obstruct proper water flow.
- Lookup for Root Problems
If you notice any signs of root problems such as root rot, or brown patches on the ground, you may need to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
However, if you’re just starting out, go slow with the watering, but do take proper steps to care for your avocado tree. Growth will show up swiftly.
How To Save Overwatered Avocado Trees
Follow these simple tips to help prevent over-watering and keep your avocado trees healthy and thriving:
- Check the Water Level Regularly
The water should be able to drain from the root ball without leaving a pool on the ground. If there is a lot of standing water, it’s time to adjust the watering schedule.
- Don’t Overuse Sprinklers
Over-fertilizing with too much water can also cause avocado trees to die. Aim for a light mist, rather than constant spraying, which will help conserve water and avoid overtaxing plants.
- Avoid Overhead Irrigation
This type of irrigation can quickly exhaust soil moisture and cause avocado trees to wilt
- Measure the Rainfall Amount
Use a rainfall gauge to measure the amount of rain that has fallen since your last watering. If the gauge indicates that there has been no rainfall for two weeks or more, then it is time to water your avocado tree!
3. Poor Soil Quality
Poor soil quality is also responsible for avocado leaf dropping. Researchers found that when avocado plants are grown in soil with low levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, leaves drop off the branches.
These nutrients are essential for plant growth and are typically found in well-drained soils. In addition, when soils are deficient in organic matter, they create an environment that’s hospitable to pathogens and disease-causing organisms.
These pathogens cause chlorosis, the yellowing of leaves, and eventually die off, leading to leaf dropping.
How to Improve Soil Quality
You can consider a few things to improve the quality of the soil: adding compost, amending the soil with organic matter, applying a balanced fertilizer, and watering properly.
By improving the soil quality, avocado trees will be less likely to droop and will have healthier leaves and fruit. The thing is, you must use the right potting mix for Avocado tree.
When an avocado tree is transplanted to a new location, its leaves may droop for a few weeks or months. This is known as transplant shock, caused by the rapid change in temperature and humidity.
The tree’s leaves are not used to the new environment and cannot adjust quickly enough. During transplant shock, the tree will produce smaller leaves and fewer new leaves on its branches.
So, if you’re noticing your tree losing leaves after transplantation, this is because of the transplant shock.
Things to Consider to Avoid Transplant shock
Transplanting avocado trees can be a daunting task, but you can minimize the chances of experiencing transplant shock with a little preparation.
Here are some tips to help keep you healthy and happy during your avocado tree replanting:
- Make sure your soil is well-drained. Poorly drained soils are common among avocado transplants and can lead to root stress and other problems.
- Fertilize before planting your avocado tree. A good fertilizer will help promote healthy roots and growth.
- Harden off the newly planted avocado tree before putting it in the ground. This will help it develop a strong root system.
- Give the tree lots of water when you first plant it, and then every week or so for the first few weeks. This helps the roots get established.
- While watering deeply after planting your tree, make sure you’re not overdoing it. Over-watering can lead to root rot or other problems.
- Watch out for disease, especially when temperatures are warm or damp.
- Be prepared for a delay in fruit production following transplantation. Avocados take up to two months to produce their first crop after being transplanted. So, patience is key!
5. Infestation of Insects
There are many types of insects that may attack your avocado tree. The most common is the yellow scale. Small insects called Phylloxera can attack avocado trees and cause them to lose their leaves.
Other insects that can affect your tree include the leaf miner, scale, red spider, mealybug, and aphid.
How to Get Rid of Insects
There are many ways to control these pests. If a mealybug or scale insect is found on the tree, rub a slice of lemon on it to kill it. Keep the tree well-watered. Some of the more serious pests are those that can cause an avocado tree to lose its leaves.
This can be caused by a fungus (Phytophthora) or a bacterium (Xanthomonas). To prevent this, treat the tree with a fungicide every year. If a leaf drop occurs and Xanthomonas cause it, you may need to treat the avocado tree with Silapycine.
In case the leaf drop is caused by a fungus, you’ll need to treat the tree with a fungicide to prevent future leaf drops, and yellowing leaves. This can be caused by a bacterial infection (Leaf Spot).
Fertilizer is often used to help improve the health of plants, but it can also be harmful. Too much fertilizer can cause a plant to lose its leaves. Avocado trees are especially prone to losing their leaves when they are over-fertilized.
How to Avoid Overfertilizing
As you know how overfertilizing can be responsible for drooping avocado leaves, it’s time to be mindful of the amount of fertilizer you use. Here are some tips to help avoid overfertilizing your avocado tree that I’ve found over the years:
- Read the label carefully before using any fertilizer. Make sure to identify which kind of fertilizer is being used and how much is needed.
- Monitor the amount of water your avocado tree is receiving regularly. Over-watering can lead to excess fertilizer being applied, which can harm your plant.
- Use a soil test if you’re not sure how much fertilizer to use or if your soil is deficient in nutrients. Test kits are available at garden stores or online retailers.
- Keep fertilizer spreaders at a distance from the trunk of the avocado tree. Fertilizers can seep into the wood and injure or kill the tree.
7. Disease Attack
A few types of diseases can affect avocado trees, causing them to lose their leaves or dieback. The most common is a fungal disease called Anthracnose.
Remedies for Leaf Falling Diseases
Anthracnose can be prevented by planting in well-drained soil and using a fungicide when needed. Use a solution of 10 percent sugar and 90 percent water for watering your tree.
If you notice that your tree looks unhealthy, cut off the top third of the tree, so it won’t spread to healthy trees around it.
Will avocado tree leaves grow back?
Yes, avocado tree leaves will grow back. However, they may be smaller in size than before because of the lack of sunlight.
Why are my avocado tree leaves turning brown and falling off?
There are a few potential causes for brown and falling leaves on avocado trees. One possibility is that the tree is experiencing a deficiency in nitrogen. A lack of nitrogen can cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off. Another possibility is that the tree is experiencing a problem with its water supply.
What does an overwatered avocado plant look like?
An overwatered avocado plant will look like a wilted, brown mess. The leaves will be drooping and the stem will be weak. The fruit will also be smaller and less ripe.
How often should you water an avocado tree?
Watering an avocado tree should be done 2-3 time per week in the spring and summer, and once or twice a month during the fall and winter.
From now on, each time, you’re going to think, “why is my Avocado tree losing leaves?” you might get the answer right ahead. I’ve tried to present the possible reasons encountered by avocado growers.
If you determine any of the reasons causing drooping avocado leaves, take quick measures by following my instructions. Make sure the tree is getting enough water, the soil is abundant with essential nutrients. If you notice pest infestation or disease attack, remove the affected area.