Avocado tree, brown on tip of leaves

dooger2(z9 Rvsd,CA)August 16, 2004

The leaves on my avocado tree are turning brown. They started at the very tip and now have covered half the leave... What could be the cause? Your help would be appreciated...

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I know very little about Avocado but this is what I would do if I was in your shoes ...

Anytime I saw leaf tips turning brown as you are I would check carefully the root zone ( NOT SIMPLY THE SOIL SURFACE ) ... too much or little water ?? ... too much salts ?? ... poor drainage ( Smelly rotten egg soil ? ) windy spot ?? ... I would at least make a check in the "Sunset Western Garden Book" .. Avocardo trees are sensative to ... yep ... salts .. poor drainage and wind ... the biggest problems they face in your area ... don't do anything until you check the soil in your root zone with a digging bar or soil sampler ...

Lastly ... give your extension service a call ... there is a very good one in your area I believe ... it's free and they know their stuff ...

Chances are you are battling the end of summer blues ... it's very hard sometimes to balance water needs and drainage in the summer in our area of the world.

Good Luck ... Let me know what you find out.

Good Luck ...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 7:06PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Avocado is a difficult one to diagnose when the leaves brown in that pattern -- that is, from the tip upward.

If your plant is in a pot, or if it was planted in the past one or two years, I'd vote for short of water.

So, if that's your situation, check the potting mix/ground to determine how moist, dry,or wet it is. Then make appropriate corrections in your watering.

The other possibility is truly bad news. This time the diagnosis is avocado root rot. Could happen in pots, but more likely if in the ground, this because the disease-causing fungus is widespread in So California.

Again, check the soil. What you want is evenly moist, not wet, also not alternately dry then wet.

And, because aavocado roots are quite close to the surface, a mulch of several inches of compost on the soil surface is beneficial.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 10:15PM
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sacratomato70(9 CALIFORNIA)

I have several avocado trees still in pots which I bought a few months ago and have yet to plant. During the summer the leaves turned brown but the tree was still green and doing fine.
I have noticed the leaves turned brown from the intense sun. I have noticed every year when temps are 90+ degrees and the sun is unforgiving, my avocado leaves turn brown. I have since moved the trees to an area with filtered light in the afternoon and the leaves have since grew back.
Overwatering or constant wet conditions can also cause leaves to turn brown, but I also have seen the trunk and branches turn rusty colored and spotted when that happens. If you plant in an area where it is muddy or water exists all of the time, your avocado will not do well. They like to be watered and allowed time to dry.
Also young trees and seedlings are sensitive to wind. if exposed, they may lose their leaves, but the plant is still alive. Once the leaves are lost and it is not a pretty site at times, give it a little TLC and avoid windy areas. The tree will start regrowing leaves in no time.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 12:57PM
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I think I know the solution to that problem...

The brown tips are due to anthracnose! A big word for a small problem!

Being from France I don't know the English name of that blue powder that you need to duluate into water and spray onto the tree...

Anthracnose will go in no time!

I'm pretty sure you can find the name of that product now that you know the name of the disease!!!

Take care:

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 7:13AM
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It's called "Bouillie Bordealise" in French and the Engislh name is actually "Bordeaux Mixture"!!

It's actually the common name of cupric sulfate, it's blueish and needs to be sprayed on the top and bottom of the leaves as well as the branches and and trunc!

Hope i helped!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 7:31AM
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I am in Middle Tennessee and have 3 avocado plants started from seeds, they are approximately a year + old and I have had them outside in containers for the summer and they did well until just recently. The leaves are turning brown on the tips. I wasn't sure about the cause thinking maybe it had to do something with the cold. We have just had some cold nights, where the temp dipped into the 40's and 50's. I pulled them in for the night for the colder nights, now. Will the cold affect them that way? I don't know what my zone is, some sites say 7 and others say 6.

Any input would be appreciated, Thank you...

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 10:32AM
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I got one avocado tree that I brought in for the winter about two months ago and it has falling leaves and leaves with brown tips. It has ONE branch left with green leaves, some of those have the brown tips. The bare branches have black tips. Not a good sign! It did great in our central Indiana toasty summer and in my greenhouse.

I have had NO LUCK trying to sprout seeds in water OR in wet dirt. I actually finally BOUGHT this tree in the spring. Bought two of them, at $45 each, but thanks to a week of hard rain, the soil in the pots turned to mud and I had to replant them twice. One died. As much as I enjoy gardening, with all the fuss and money spent on this tree, I could have enjoyed lots of avocados from the store!!! If this one croaks, I'm done trying avocado trees!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 2:54PM
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Hi, I am in Maine. I just received an avocado tree from a friend. She is going south for the winter, so I taking care of it for her. The tree is about 1.5 feet tall. When she gave me the tree, 2 leaves had brown tips on them, now 5 of them do. What are causing these brown tips? And, is there anyway to "fix" it? Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 8:34AM
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UPDATE: My avocado tree finally croaked. I am DONE trying to raise the blasted things! I could have bought tons of avocados at the store for the money I put into buying them and trying to raise them. Live and learn!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 10:57AM
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Hello Friends,
I have been growing avocado seedlings for many years, but now I cannot manage to find the cause of the brown starting on the tips of the leaves and them consuming the whole leaf. I thought it might be an acid balance problem, and therefore added some pellets to help adjust it, but it is still happening even to the new leaves.
any suggestions please :-(

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 6:22AM
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I have an avocado tree that I planted about a year ago. It has been doing fine until recently. I noticed the leaves and then the branches and trunk turning black. Not totally but in splotches. Can anyone tell me what my problem may be?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 6:09PM
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Ray, did you figure it out, I have a tree, and the tip of the trunk is turning brownish black, dying. I was thinking of pinching off or cutting the top to try and save it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 7:24PM
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I just planted a 6ft winter hardy (14 degrees)tree(Lulu I think)that just started getting brown tips. They advised me that the tree with not survive 14 temps until after 3 years or so. It must be protected duing the early years. The coldest it may get is 16 degrees and that is rare in San Antonio.

Can anyone speak to their experience with the cold hardy varities?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 7:23PM
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I would think over watering and lack of drainage is the biggest causes of problems. They probly like very sandy fine rocks alot things to help drainage. I would plant in HUGE containers with alot of sand and rock mixed w soil or in ground. Try letting it dry untill wilt then feed a good compost tea applying to roots and leavs(they like to be dry for a while befor watering). After a few weeks then it will thrive.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 12:12AM
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I have a new avocado tree..just planted it. very careful not to overwater it. leaves are turning brown on the tips. I see a bunch of questions about this above....but I don't see any answers. Any advice? I live in Southern California/Riverside County.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 10:11PM
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Had brown leaf problem myself - to the point of my young potted tree nearly dying - from tips and through veins on most leaves .. Come to find out it was SALTY WATER ! The water in the San Fernando valley has too high minerals and it was killing my avocado (what a sensitive plant).

Decided to post to help people out who might have this problem, who are watering their tree - and in turn killing it with minerals!


- add 3 capfuls of white vinegar to 1 gallon of water every single time you water your plant
- use a water filter in addition to the vinegar above (water filter alone won't work)
- pour coffee / tea grinds on soil (avocados like that)

Got the 1st & 3rd idea from a flowershop nearby, and it's done wonders. According to my doctor mom Vinegar binds with salt in someway and deactivates it.. Has taken 6 months or so but all my avocado leaves are turning green and multiplying beautifully - !!! WOW !!! And the last of the brown ones are falling-off. Nearly lost my potted avocado tree - so good luck to all of you out there; may this help and your avocados thrive!!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:30AM
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been most interesting reading the letters about this problem, my avo tree came up all on its own less than a meter from my front door, started bearing fruit in the fourth year and has been bearing ever since, and we have COLD winters down to zero at times, its protected at the stem, but its about 5 meters above the roof already and has escaped destruction!!!!! Just all the leaves have varying degrees of dry brown from the tip up, 3 years going already and its bears very well, but l feel sorry for the tree and it looks miserable, will try the vinegar tip,hope it works,the avos are delicious!!!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 4:29PM
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Just a thought, $0.01 worth, but if you have a concrete slab driveway or house slab, the tree roots as they grow bigger run under your house,they may be affected by the alkaline soil conditions near concrete(potassium and sodium hydroxide ions).

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 10:36PM
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Could somebody please tell me what happens to the seed after the tree grows? say about 2yrs old?
My plants are indoors. We were able to keep the sprouted seed on water for over a year the leafs are about 11x4.5" and the tree itself is about 14" it hasn't drop any leaves! now is living in dirt, in a plastic plant pot 12"diameter x 10" tall, not to long ago I noticed very small flies, which doing some research and them turned out to be gnats...sad, so I replaced the dirt of my plant and rinsed throughly it's roots. Still looks kinda a sad to put it through such trauma...but I noticed it's pit is drying out. Is this normal?? As for now I'll check my planties dirt. Cheers!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 1:29PM
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I was having this same problem with my potted Hass seedling, until I tried Elaine's tips.

The combination of white vinegar and filtered water have worked WONDERS. The plant came back healthy and better than ever, and I haven't seen a brown tip since. *knock on wood*

I also just started mulching with crushed tea leaves. Jury's still out on that one.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 5:58AM
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Leaves of my avocados also turned brown after some time. I grow the plants in my appartment and try to keep the soil not to humid and not to dry although during the winter they like to have drier soil. Brown leaves turned out to be related to lack of potassium in soil (avocado itself needs a lot of it). I bought small sticks with minerals (they are called flowering plant fertilizing sticks) and put on of them in soil. The plants started giving new leaves and new branches! So far with no brown spots on it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Anthracnose is usually spottiness throughout the entire leaf.

Your problem is almost certainly nutrition, too much or too little.

I don't know about salts/ph, but in other tropicals zinc and manganese shortage/overage can cause this.

If it is in the ground and you are overfertilizing, not much you can do. If it is in a pot, you can try flushing it with water to wash away excess, just don't drown it.

If you are not fertilizing, do it, just make sure that it contains trace elements. Follow the guidelines for fertilizing avocados.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 2:26AM
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Hi. I went on-line looking for advice about my Avocado Tree leave tips turning brown, and I went with the advice about adding 3 caps of white vinegar per gallon of water. And it has worked! It seems my water is too salty for my tree. All the new leaves that are coming in on my tree, Coco, are staying green. And since he is in clayee soil, I only water him once a week. He gets 3 gallons of water and I'll give him used coffee grinds which he seems to love too. I am so happy, Coco is happy.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Perhaps the vinegar added to the water is simply lowering the pH into a more desirable range for your trees. I could see this working if your plants are in pots. You may want to test the pH of your soil.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 12:13PM
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My avocado tree is having the same issue. I have tried the vingear and it has made it worse. Today in the morning it lost about 10 to 15 leaves. It was growing really well for the past 2 months. any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:29PM
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What have you done different in the last 3 weeks. I would stop watering it untill its dry completely. Go to a lumber store and get a wooden dowel 3/16, sharpen the end and stick it down the sides of the pot then touch dowel with your fingers, you want no moisture before you add anymore water. When you add water, spour it slow on the sides of the pot not down the rootstock. Find a way to get the chlorine out of the water, shower filter at home depot $20, get the family off the chlorine.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 12:05AM
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thats a great idea cureno! i will try that... over the weekend I talked to the person who sold me the tree. And she said that is normal here in south texas as long as its giving out new leaves and fruit. Mine hasn't fruited yet but it does have alot of new leaves and stems. I usually leave my bucket filled with water for a couple days in the sun before i water my tree.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 12:39PM
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I'm in San Antonio, Tex and I have a 25 foot Mexican avocado tree that was planted in the front yard about 1988.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:22PM
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wow that's awesome tree!! I live in Harlingen. I just planted mine like 2 months ago. its about 4 feet tall. Here is a pic I took yesterday.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Your tree looks very fine to me, the infor I wrote was for trees in pots. the 25 footer in my pic was placed in a pot as a seed in 1980, then at 3 foot it was planted in the ground and six other stems came out of the ground, it would look dry dead after every freeze and it would turn all green every spring, at 8 foot it was freeze hardy and the freeze didn'nt effect it anymore.
Dont know the variety but good flavor and lemon size fruit, I also have in pots a Wilma 7', Fantastic 6', Joey 5', Brogdon 5' foot and a Brazo's Belle 5' and Mexican Grande 5'.
I repotted all of them 2013 spring to larger pots and was lucky not to lose one, The first two I bought was the Brazo and Mexicola G and they loss half their leaves because of to much watering, I learn fast not to do that with the rest. I used clean scotty top soil with play sand 50/50 to get better drainage, I kept the root ball in tack and add the new soil on bottom and sides of pot and only water on the sides of the pot. I hear the Nurseries down south Texas use Lula for rootstock. They use Lula because it can handle many different soils but they graft it to a more cold hardy Mexican variety. What varitey is your avocado?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:18PM
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sorry double post...

This post was edited by cuerno on Fri, May 31, 13 at 12:23

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:19PM
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I dug a large hole, about 2 to 3 feet deep and a 3 feet wide. I have a heavy clay soil. I was told to add play sand at bottom and on top so i did with topsoil and fertilized dirt (i forogt the maker). The first couple of weeks it was growing alot and then the leave were falling off but new ones are coming. I water it every 3 or 4 days. I dont know what variety I got. I think its a lula. I bought it at the flea market in Brownsville. I need to ask the lady that sold it to me.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:55PM
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I can't tell how large your leaves are, but on my grafted Joey avocado I have a stem growing out of the ground and it's from under the graft so I was told that the rootstock is a lula. The leaves from this 2 foot stem from the rootstock has very large leaves and when I crush the leaves in my hand, the smell was NOT licorice (as anise). They say all Mex variety will smell like licorice, the seven Mex variety I have all smell like licorice. See if your smells like green grass or Licorice... Here is a pic of the large leaves probably Guatemalan or Hybrid...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:33PM
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has anyone found anymore possible causes and solutions? i also tried the vinegar tip and it made it worse, just like sdelafuente said. anyone ever find out if the vinegar was effecting the ph, salts, minerals, all of those, or 2 of the three? i can always return them to home depot, but i would prefer to save them. ive grown attached to these 2 trees. also a side note, this week i went to home depot and all of their avocado trees, yes i repeat ALL of their avocado trees were browning up. when i bought these two all of their trees were green and beautiful with very little leaf browning. also another thing to note and may be significant is ive noticed as they got worse the bottom on the stump has a white residue that comes up 8 inches or so from the ground. these are in 24 inch pots and it came in a 5 gallon pot. i dont think it was the repotting or anything else i did due to all the trees at home depot having the same issues.

please help.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 2:38PM
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how often do you water them? That white stuff might be mold.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 5:41PM
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I've had a similar problem. This is my second avocado to do this, I have 2 others that are doing fine. I keep this indoors under 4 grow lights and now that fall is here the temp of the room gets down to about 60F. The tree is about a year old maybe less and about a month ago started browning. I wait for the soil to dry before watering and I have well water. I also use compost tea. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 4:28PM
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You are fighting several problems that are inherent growing plants indoors under lights as well as well water. Have you had an analysis done on your well water? The leaf looks like chlorosis so may not be getting certain micro nutrients or worse your soil Ph is off not allowing to roots to uptake the nutrients. If your soil is too alkaline from the well water chlorosis will occur. Check your water and soil Ph, the type(makeup of nutrients) of fertilizer you are using and the closeness of your lights (heat). Also post this thread on the fruit tree, container tree forum. Gl JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:28PM
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I have a six ft tall tree that I have to bring in every winter and the leaves do that every time it's moved, whether I'm moving it outside in the spring or inside for the winter. I've learned to accept it because it's always putting out new leaves and eventually recovers.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 11:21PM
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hi there, this thread has been helpful. here is my tree.
is very sad. i re potted it. although i think i need a bigger pot. I have had it for 10 years! i live in Vermont and I hate to see it die.
it was growing new leaves and the big ones are brow and yellow. every day at least 5 fall off.
today i watered it until it leaked.

i have clean mountain well water.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Hi! I'm an amateur gardener(?) This is my first time growing anything really... I grew this guy out of a pit. It's been about 5 months, give or take. It's about 2 feet tall now. He was doing really well, but he recently started getting brown spots on a lot of the leaves... Diagnosis?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:10PM
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I would ask this question on the tree forum or container forum. You also need to include some more details of how you are growing the tree. How much and frequency of watering, what fertilizer you are using and how much. What type of soil is the plant in. The more info the better the advice. The tree forum can give you info on what is the problem with the leaves and whether it should be indoors or not and when can it be moved outside and how quickly. It looks like you have done well so far. GL Aloha

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:02PM
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I've had the same brown-leaf problems with several potted avocado trees that are now over six feet tall. A couple months ago I began wondering if soil pH was a problem (soil too acidic). So I began mixing in powdered calcium (lime) with the water to sweeten the pH. So far, not a brown leaf in sight! I definitely think this has had a positive benefit.

If you want to try this, please note: The standard pelletized or powdered lime you buy for your yard grass is cheap but has much less calcium in it. Look for a "High-Cal" powdered lime (more expensive, but much better). I would mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup in a large watering can of water. Put the powder in the watering can first, then use a high pressure hose to fill the can so it can mix the calcium in well, then water the ago trees.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 2:35PM
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I have 2 trees. Have had 2 weeks. Mexicali and Zutano
They both had some small holes in leaves when I got them.
The Zutano had a new branch with nice leaves no holes.
After a week the holes got worse. I found the little moth things laying eggs in leaves' sprayed with Very Diluted malathion, and a bit of soapy water. I let set a couple hours then rinsed thoroughly. Now 3 days later overnight the spotting on the pretty Zutano. They also are more chewed and brown happening too. Please help me I so want to plant these trees next year.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 1:52PM
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Here's Mexicali

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 1:54PM
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Here's holes in Zutano

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Mexicali holes

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 1:58PM
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last pic of yellowing starting Zutano

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 2:01PM
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i was having some issues with leaves having holes last year. In the fall, I used fruit spray with malathion on all my trees in the spring. I haven't see as many holes on them. I see you are in the same zone 9, you shouldn't sprayed it only in the winter and/or spring.

I see that they are in a pot, I would suggest having them in the ground or in a bigger pot.

They look good!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 12:25PM
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My tree is still doing poorly. larger pot, moved outside part sun part shade..

i used neem oil on my roses last year, they had holes in the leaves and dark spots.

I will go to the Agway tomorrow and see what they have.

It seems i get new leaves and then they go bad so i suspect it is systemic. spider mites?

you all have been helpful!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Hi, we live in Sydney Australia (so I think we are in zone 11) and have several baby avocado trees, all from seeds which we've planted. They are less than 1 year old.

In the last month or so, we noticed brown or rusty colour on the leaves, and they don't necessarily started from the tip of the leaves. We usually water it when the soil feels dry to avoid overwatering. Soil drains very well. We did sprayed them once with Yates Scale Gun thinking it might kill whatever it is.

The plants are getting worse and we have no clue what's wrong, does anyone know? Please help.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2014 at 11:31PM
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Here is an interesting article that offers some solutions..


This is either an issue with overwatering, not enough water, the type of water (salt and mineral content), or the type of soil the tree is planted in. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2014 at 9:55AM
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looks like you could repot in a larger container. and place in a spot that has part sun part shade.

mine was doing well all summer and now it has been inside since end of September. and it is unhappy again. holes in the leaves and turning yellow and brown and falling off.

it is 6 foot tall!

this summer i gave it a new big pot and used the Rose RX / Neem oil spray and that took care of any fungus or pests. It was beautiful!
the last time i sprayed it was august.

I will try to buy some more spray and try that again.
I give it a quart of water every 5 days. Is that enough.? I thought i was over watering so i cut back.. i mist it with water.
maybe i should stop misting it?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2014 at 8:11PM
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here is another good article..

as i said before the Neem oil worked so i would try that.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2014 at 8:16PM
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There are calculators for irrigating these in different areas. Could you provide your general location? I.e. southern California. And the type of soil the tree is planted in?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2014 at 9:07AM
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people like to jump to a worst case scenario of arachnose or fungus or something----BROWN TIPS most likely cause is OVERFERTILIZING-----Avocado (and mangoes) are light feeders, they like small amounts of the same type of fertilizer with INCREMENTAL increases----start with 1 handful of 2-10-10 per month in the growing season,,monitor for 3 months,,the tree will tell you when its time for the incremental increase--- if you see no growth or yellowing on the oldest leaves probaly time for an increase to 2 HFs of 2-10-10----I went from 4-10-10 to 6-6-6 to save money one time and he did not like it and tips turned brown-----when you get brown tips,,,,DO NOT FERTILIZE for a long while (1-3 months) until he recovers with hopefully new growth(looks like buds) from the overdose-----I don't water either b/c the fertilizers are water soluble---JUST DO NOTHING, and I pray

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 9:56AM
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I live in Chicago and have an indoor garden. I have two 1 and a half year old avacado plants I grew from a seed. I use a Sunblaze 4-4 light. It's on a daily cycle from 6:30 am to 9:30pm at night. The avacados have been doing really well. They bud and grow like crazy. I use a spray bottle to water the leaves each day. However, Some leaves have brown tips, leaves that are drying and curling towards the stem. I water with a Ph level around 6.5 and fertilize with 3-2-4. I only water when the soil is dryish. Also the plants are in a mesh pot. Here is the problem. New leaves do well but then they get brown tips. How can I stop this? I attached a picture below of a leaf that has brown spots. I will also attach picture of the whole plant.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 12:26PM
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Here is another view.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 12:29PM
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Jay Part Shade (Zone 10B, S21, Los Angeles)

It looks like your avocado needs water -- they need far more water than most plants. Fast draining soil is a must. They're tricky trees to grow, but when the leaves start looking sad like that, it's usually water.

Also, avocados lose their leaves every season when they push out new growth. So it's to be expected that avocado leaves will start looking terrible at some point.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 2:14PM
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