Avocado "Wilt"

Asked September 5, 2015, 2:39 PM EDT

Avocado tree (1 1/2 year old)....
First, the older leaves turned brown and started falling off...was told it was the heat from sun....
Now recent newer leaves have developed on the tree AND now they are all wilting and apparently dying. (see pics) I have checked the water and it is OK...I have not watered the tree (water does from sprinkler system)....What could now be the problem ? What to do ?

Montgomery County Texas avocado tree

1 Response

Thanks for the submission. We have had a pretty irregular year as far as weather is concerned. The brown symptoms on the leaves that you see can be from sunburn or it can be from salts in the water.
However, the wilting does raise a little concern. Wilting can be a sign of root problem and is also associated with excessing sun and heat. When you combine the two issues, it does point to environmental stresses. High temperatures above 90 degrees on young trees and plants can initiate wilting. As temperature cool later in the day, the leaves should noticeably perk up. If not then we are lookin at other possible issues.
Over-watering and irregular watering can provide the same results. Also, trees that have major root issues will have similar symptoms. Hopefully you have a soil that does not stay too soggy. This would cause root rot issues.

The tree appears to be fairly young. I am including some watering tips to help with your situation.

The most active roots are within the first 12 inches of soil. Apply about 2 inches of water around the entire root zone of the tree. Water slowly and at a frequency of once every 5-7 days when the temperature is above 95 degrees. Young or newly established trees should get the same 2 inches of water once every 2-3 days. Make sure to regulate the water based on the temperature and the amount of rain recently received. Cooler temperatures and wet weather can allow irrigation to be spread out a few days or so. Also, since the tree is located (I am assuming from the picture) within a turf area, remember that turf only requires 1" of water per week during the growing season. As we move into cooler temperatures, turfgrass growth will slow tremendously and not require as much water.

This year, many plants never had a chance to adapt to the drastic climate changes this year. We went from cool, wet overcast days to very hot and sunny days in a very short period of time. This rapid fluxation caused sunburn on many plants around landscapes. During the fall & winter, the leaves will shed and hopefully mother nature produce some consistentcy in the upcoming year.

Thank you. If you have any additional information or need further assistance, I will be glad to help. MP