Save or replace these avocado trees?


First time trying to grow avocados. I planted these 6 months ago.

After a month, older leaves started turning brown around the edges. Tree is still alive and trying to push new leaves but those again turn brown starting from the edges. Pictures of the tree taken today.

Google search showed Salinity to be most likely cause - tried watering with a hose to wash off salts, also added lots of gypsum 4 months ago. Nothing seems to help.
If its the salts in my water, there is not much I can do…

Should I try to save these avocados or replace with some other tree? May be avocados are hard to grow. No other fruit trees in my yard or neighbors have this issue. All other fruit trees seem a lot easier to grow.

Thank you!

Help reading my soil test reports

Salts in the soil are likely the primary issue. Salt in the water can cause that if you water during the day with water getting on the leaves. A soil test will tell you if the soil has excess salt buildup.

If your water has salts and most has some it builds up in the soil over time. Applying excess water can leach out part of the salt from the soil. Lots of rain is even better. Much of CA has water with some salt and not enough rain to cure the issue. Water restrictions don’t help.

Avocado are very sensitive to salts. If your location isn’t suitable as you say there are easier things to grow.


Thanks Fruitnut!

I guess a professional soil test is long due. What is the best place to do the test? Is there a test that includes salts as well?


A soil test will give you an electrical conductivity, EC, reading that is a measure of total salts in the soil solution. My last three soil tests showed conductivity in umho/cm of 427, 651, and 1350 which equals none, slight, and moderate salinity. Sodium values were all low to very low. I don’t know what is suitable for avocado trees.

If you send a sample in to a CA lab indicate it is for avocado production. That will give you specfic recommendations.

When I moved here I planted trees in old horse pens. The trees had leaves like that. A soil test showed salt buildup from the horses. They recommended 12 inches of clean water to leach out the salts. Problem solved. But I have permeable soil that leaches easily.


Searching this site, I found these 2 places for the test soil. IS there a lab in CA that is recommended or is one of these OK?



I haven’t used al labs but there are a well known operation. They can do the job for you. I’m sure either one could. A simple soil test isn’t difficult.

Taking a good sample is important. Get the depth right and combine many subsamples before mixing them together well. Then take what they need out of the mix.


was wondering if you’ve driven around your neighborhood and actually found a neighbor with an avocado tree?

if it will take a while to get soil tested and your avocado’s condition gets really worrisome, consider pulling it up and plant in a pot, then drench with distilled water, or just use household water if you have reverse osmosis.

it would be so wrong for anyone in so cal NOT to grow avocados, so maybe at a later time, and if you’re handy with grafting, there’s an avocado rootstoc from the caribbean supposedly immune to salt spray and salinity inherent to the tropical isles.

also, seeds from grocery bought avocados are generally viable, so if you eat avocados often you can try germinating the seeds and plant them directly on the ground with a darwinist approach. In the hopes that at least one will have the maritime gene, or alkali tolerance, or both. The healthiest ones would make good rootstoc, and perhaps even good eating varieties on their own. You could experiment with cali and florida grown seeds to increase chance of winning the gene lottery


Thanks fruitnut and jujubemulberry!

Yes, my opposite house has a huge tree in their backyard. A few days ago they gave me a grocery bag full of avocados! Its a huge old tree and they have done nothing for it!!!


now that just made it so easy! Possible that there’s something wrong with just that one spot of earth you have your avocado growing on, but even more likely is that your neighbor’s rootstoc is well-suited for the quality of water and soil in your area, as seriously doubt if your neighbor even irrigates it with reverse-osmosis water…

Hopefully your neighbor planted the tree and that still remembers where it was obtained from.


If it were me, I’d settle for the free avocados and take out the trees for good. Way too much effort, time and water needs IMO


Has that spot ever been treated with a herbicide like round up? The effect may linger in the soil for a long time…


wouldn’t want for OP to give up now, considering that next-door neighbor has an old, unsheltered, trouble-free, and bumper-cropping avocado tree…
imo, neighbor’s huge yearly success with that one tree supersedes minor setbacks OP is experiencing now. Neighbor’s tree isn’t just outright proof of reliability, but may also be indirect proof of pollen availability in their area, which would be mutually beneficial and enriching to that neighborhood if OP should plant several varieties(early, mid, late), and may-- in turn, gift neighbor with ripe avocados at the time neighbor’s tree will be out of season.

an avocado utopia :grin:


jujubemulberry - Love your enthusiasm :smile:

Thanks Christo! Not round up, the spot had roses that were doing well.
Duh, I should have thought about this sooner! While digging I noticed the contractors had left some construction debris. Could it be that? Also the dogs that walk may be peeing on the tree, its on the side walk, may be salts from that…:slightly_frowning_face:

Have collected soil samples. Will send it off for soil tests.


Tempting :slight_smile:


a guacamole fiesta, would love to ‘take a dip’ myself if i was your neighbor!

fruits and fruit trees are in many ways like money. Have this urge to generate as much as you can, and once you’ve amassed decent amounts, you feel so good giving them away for a good cause/camaraderie :slightly_smiling_face:

ground up concrete can add points to the ph scale.

that sure is salty!


Avocado trees in the California climate don’t require cross-pollination to produce huge crops.

Unfortunately, if an avocado tree is regularly “fertilized” by dogs, it’s unlikely to do well — too much salt and too little rain to wash it away.


yeah, california has specialized in self-fertile avocados. An established and constantly fruitful avocado nearby is quite encouraging for any backyard grower to try other varieties which may not be as self-fertile, or may have type a/type b issues. Facilitates a longer period of harvest.


Round up ( glyphosate ) does not linger long in the soil , a week or so.
Dog pee does linger longer


The dogs need another area or issues will likely continue. Dogs don’t pee much volume. They probably have very strong pee.


Avocados require extremely good drainage. What you got? They won’t grow in clay.