UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

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Avocados

This year my avocado suddenly dropped all its immature fruit.

Summer drop of immature is normal since the tree sets more fruit than it can support. However, if all the fruit drops, then there could be several reasons why:

1- disturbing the surface roots under the tree. Avocado feeder roots are very near the surface, and if you disturb them by digging or raking, then tree responds  by dropping fruit. Allow any avocado leaves that fall off the tree to remain on the ground underneath the tree - they  form a natural mulch that helps protect the roots and helps keeps the soil moist.

2- water stress, either too much or too little, can cause the fruit to drop. Avocado trees require well-draining soil, so overwatering can cause root rot. Too little water, especially in hot weather can also cause stress and fruit drop.

 3- avocado thrips - if the stems of the fruit look damaged, consider avocado thrips.

Some of the fruit on my avocado tree is shriveling and turning black.

When the fruit turns black, consider a fungus infection. There are several fungi that can cause black spots or shriveled fruit. Consider Dothiorella or Phytophthora fruit rot, or stem end rot, all caused by various fungi. Review these photos that can help identify fruit problems.

When is the best time to prune avocado trees?

The best time to prune an avocado tree is really anytime, as long as you are doing a light pruning. If you wish to do a heavy pruning on your avocado tree, then you may want to wait until late winter or early spring, which is right before the active growing period for the tree. This will ensure that the tree regains its full shape faster after a heavy pruning.

If you want to trim back the height, don't do it all at once. The first year, trim the tallest branch off the tree. The following year, trim the next tallest, and so on. When it comes to the width of the tree, start with the longest, most unruly branch first, and work your way in each year with another branch. In either case, when pruning avocado trees, never cut more than 1/3 of a branch off.

 

Read more about avocado care.   Contact the Hotline.

If you can’t find the answer on the site, don’t despair! We also have the capacity to personally assist you through our hotline.  Just contact us by email at hotline@uccemg.com or by phone (voicemail) at 714-708-1646 and we will respond to your inquiry.
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