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

by Avocado Buddy

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.

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.

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