Avocado leaves turning yellow

My Avocado’s leaf are turning brown

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Avocado leaves turning brown? This is how to save them. 

One of the main issues of growing Avocado trees is keeping them healthy enough to bear fruit. One frequent problem may end up running into is “tip burn.” Tip Burn is the browning of Avocado leaves starting at the tip and eventually working its way up until the whole becomes brittle and brown. There can be many reasons for this.

Fortunately, tip burn is not a permanent condition you have to accept when it comes to your avocado tree. However, it is very important to deduce the reason for your avocado leaves turning brown before being able to find a solution for the problem. There are multiple reasons avocado trees might turn brown. However, knowing the precise reason can lead to better solutions.

Table of Contents

Why do Avocado trees turn brown?

Avocado leaves tend to turn brown due to one of four reasons. Usually, tip burn happens because of specific characteristics of avocado tree biology. Below we have listed the most common reasons avocado leaves might turn brown.

Salt Accumulation

Sometimes avocado leaves turn brown because of the accumulation of chloride and sodium salts. This is very specific to avocado trees in general. Avocado trees are generally more susceptible to the accumulation of salts than other trees.

This results in damage and appears as burned leaf tips and even an early leaf drop. If your avocado leaves are turning brown because of salt accumulation, the reason is usually caused by irrigation. Other reasons may involve things like inadequate soil moisture, excessive fertilizer application, poor quality saline water, or light and shallow watering.

To prevent or reverse salt accumulation most people turn to leach salts out of the root of the tree every four weeks. Usually, people do this by turning a hose on to a trickle and placing it to run close to the base of the avocado tree for 24 hours.

Avocado Root Rot

Sometimes tip burn can be caused by the pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi. This appears in the trees canopy, taking the form of small, pale leaves. In some case, you might even notice wilted leaves with the typical brown tip.

If your avocado tree has this problem, growth comes out as limited, the canopy looks more sparse than usual and fruit may come out a smaller size. Avocado trees affected by this usually lack small roots or have small roots that are black.

If your avocado tree is affected by Phytophthora cinnamon, it may eventually decline and die. You can prevent this pathogen by planting your avocado tree in well-drained sites. You should also take care to provide your tree with a fungicide which encourages growth.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency in avocado trees tends to happen in alkaline soils. Inadequate iron frequently appears on avocado trees as tip burn. Sometimes you can notice yellowing between veins and leaf drop.

Iron deficiency is made worse by poor soil drainage. You can address the problem of soil deficiency by correcting soil drainage, applying a foliar spray.


Avocado anthracnose is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. If you notice changes in your avocado leaves, you might notice that the leaves turn yellow before they acquire tip burn and turn brown.

This disease may also cause shoot lesions, leaf drop, lesions on fruit and fruit decay. Usually, fungal spores spread by splashing water. This is why people turn to prune the tree to improve circulation, removing infected leaves, fruit, and twigs in the process.

However, pruning should only be done in dry weather. Another solution is treating the tree with a copper compound which prevents the infection of any healthy tissue on the tree.

How to save browning avocado leaves?

The first thing that is important to access regarding tip burn on avocado leaves is the amount of tip burn. A minor amount of tip burn on avocado leaves is no not a big deal and usually nothing to worry about.

If less than 10 percent of the canopy is brown there should be no problem or reduction when it comes to fruit yield. This means your avocado tree is in relative health. A little tip burn on avocado trees is pretty frequent. In the flowering season, avocado trees drop dead leaves and their healthy one’s flower.

This is why keeping tip burn to ten percent is recommended. Excessive tip burn and brown leaves may end up in fewer flowers, meaningless fruit. The most common reason for tip burn is salt accumulation, more specifically, chloride.

The answer to saving a tree with salt accumulation is watering. This is because chloride tends to move with water. Avocado cultivators tend to turn to leach to fix this problem. Essentially, by overwatering extra water carries the chloride that has built up in the soil leading to tip burn.

How to leach?

There are two different ways to leach. This depends on the frequency of watering and the time. Some people will use micro-sprinklers and run them for up to 24 hours once a month during the summer.

This is typically done by farmers and by avocado tree cultivators rather than by people who do not have a lot of avocado trees and other vegetation to worry about. Some people simply add a little extra water whenever they irrigate. This is known as adding a “leaching fraction.”

Usually, the fraction should be 10 to 20 percent upon what the tree usually needs to grow well. This method is somewhat easier and has been known to produce better results when focusing on only a few trees. When it comes to irrigation and leaching, you should probably stick with sprinklers rather than drip irrigation.

Although drip irrigation is fine for younger trees, better results can be seen with adding a leaching faction using sprinklers. Typically, most tip burn is because of chloride and leaching should solve the problem in most cases. By adding the proper amount of water you should not have a problem with reversing tip burn in your trees.

leaves turning black

Hi. Your question got passed along for more help.

First, Lynne was spot on with her assessment of the most frequent causes for the leaf damage in your photos — soil or disease. Most indoor avocado trees die from too frequent watering. But avocadoes also have specific needs, so lets address some of those.

You say you have changed out the soil – but have you change other conditions too? Avocadoes are very salt intolerant. Do you have a water softener? Do you live in an area of hard water? What type of water are you using when you water the plant? Signs of salt in the water would have been light colored crusts forming on top of the soil or pot rim. Since you changed out the soil, did you see that before or on your other plants?

Also, there is no indication where you live – just outside the U.S. The tree may be naturally going dormant for the winter because of lack of bright light. If so, stop watering and fertilizing until the new growth emerges. Dormancy makes it drop all leaves and overwinter as a bare stem. New growth starts when there is sufficient bright light again. Avocadoes need very bright light and window glass and short days may not allow enough light. Also, indoors in winter can be very dry. What you are seeing could be the result of low humidity. It may need to be regularly misted or moisture added to the air.

Some other things you mentioned sometimes have negative effects on avocadoes. Use of soil from the garden could introduce pathogens. Soil fungus can infect the root system. Did you sterilize the garden soil and compost before mixing? Also, plastic pots seem to impact avocadoes, and the recommended type is clay.

Some further notes: I see you appear to be growing it as one tall lanky stem with a support stick. Houseplant avocadoes benefit greatly from repeat pruning to keep them short and bushy — unless you specifically want it to be tall and lanky. It may now be too tall to prune back, since that should have started when it was only 6-12 inches tall.

Here is some info from the folks who know avocadoes best — the California Avocado Growers. This is their info for growing them indoors:

Hope that helps some. The symptoms you describe indicate some type of plant stress, but finding the cause is not always easy. Good luck.

Avocado leaves with dry brown edges are usually due to dry air. Source: cantikalami.club

Question: I grew an avocado tree from seed this summer and now the edges of the leaves are turning brown. Why? The plant is 30 inches (75 cm) tall and has only one main stem.


Answer: The avocado tree (Persea americana) rarely does very well under the conditions that prevail in the average home. True enough, it’s relatively easy to grow one from a pit harvested from a store-bought fruit and that’s kind of fun. Plus, it does grow vigorously at first, but it tends not to stay attractive very long … and that’s normal. Indoor conditions are not really much to the plant’s liking. It would really prefer full tropical sun and intense atmospheric humidity, things that are hard to give it indoors.

The plant most often shows its displeasure in the fall and winter, when its leaf edges start to turn brown and dry out, a condition that engulfs more and more of the leaf surface over time.

And the main cause is dry air.

The avocado comes from a humid tropical climate where the atmospheric humidity is usually at least in the 70 to 80% range and often well above that. Indoors, though, relative humidity drops seriously during the heating season. In many homes, it remains below 30% throughout much of the fall and winter. And when the air is too dry, evapotranspiration (loss of water from leaf cells) increases. Soon, the large but thin leaves of the avocado begin to lose water more quickly than the plant can replace it and when that happens, the cells begin to die, leading to browning.

Humidifier to the Rescue

To keep the leaves in top shape, you need to try increasing the humidity as much as possible and the easiest way of doing so is with a humidifier. If you can manage to keep the humidity in the 45–55% range (also, a good level for humans and pets), that will make a huge difference. Of course, this is far from the 70 to 80% the plant really wants, but at least it ought to keep all but the oldest leaves from browning at the edges.

A humidity tray can help too, although it’s more efficient on shorter plants. The humidity it gives off often diffuses into the air around before reaching the lofty leaves of indoor trees like the avocado.

Spraying the leaves with water is just a waste of time. Montage: laidbackgardener.blog

And there is no point in spraying the leaves with water in an effort to increase humidity. The concept that spraying helps plants to cope with dry air is one of those garden myths that refuses to die.

For “perfect” growth (i.e. no browning at all), grow it in a humid greenhouse or seal your avocado tree inside a large clear plastic bag during the fall and winter. The humidity inside will be 80% and above, just perfect for your avocado. Yes, it will be able to breathe inside a sealed plastic bag. Just watch out for too much condensation. If that occurs, open the bag for a few hours … then seal the plant in again.

Note that, even if you increase the humidity, the damaged leaves will not turn green again, but rather new leaves will not turn brown. In other words, high humidity doesn’t cure browned leaves, it only prevents future damage.

Some Additional Suggestions

First, can I assume that your plant is growing in potting soil? If not, pot it up without delay. Many people start their avocado pit over a glass of water, but it won’t live forever that way. In fact, as soon as you see the first signs of root growth, you really should transplant it into a terrestrial environment.

If you let the leaves of your avocado wilt, that too can lead to brown leaf edges, especially if the air is dry. Source: brbdyer420,www.houzz.com

After it has been potted up, regular, deep watering will be necessary. The root ball must never dry completely, because that too can lead to leaf browning. So, as soon as the soil seems dry to the touch, it is time to water again.

Also, hard water is not good for avocados. They prefer a more acid soil without excess minerals and for that reason, the water would ideally be soft. However, not only can tap water be hard, depending on its source, but the chemical treatments given to municipal water to keep it drinkable can increase its hardness. And hard water can also result in browning leaves, especially in combination with dry air.

Ideally, the water would have a calcium carbonate concentration of less than 60 mg/l: i.e., it should be soft. If your water is considered hard or very hard, it would be better to water your avocado tree with rainwater, dehumidifier water or distilled water.

Or Just Ignore the Problem

The good news is that even if you do nothing at all, the condition of your avocado tree should begin to improve all on its own in the spring, as the damaged leaves will eventually drop off and will be replaced by fresh, healthy leaves. And in the spring and summer, the air indoors in most climates is much, much more humid than in the winter: certainly at least in the 50% range. The result is that the new leaves should remain in fine shape … that is, until the next heating season.

Avocados: fun to start, but not such great houseplants. And they really hate dry air!

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