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Avocado Tree Diseases and Pests: A Comprehensive Guide for Young Gardeners

by Donna
4 minutes read

Avocado Tree Diseases and Pests: A Guide for Young Gardeners

Avocado trees are delicious and nutritious, but they can also be susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. It’s important to be aware of these potential problems so that you can take steps to prevent or treat them.

Common Avocado Tree Diseases

  • Sunblotch disease: This is a serious, incurable disease that can cause discoloration, scarring, and stunting of fruits and trees. It is spread by infected nursery stock, so it’s important to purchase trees from reputable sources.
  • Fruit rots: These are caused by fungal pathogens that can attack fruits that are damaged or stressed. Proper pruning and sanitation can help to prevent fruit rots.
  • Wilts and blights: These are characterized by dead areas in trees, especially when only a part of the tree is affected. Wilts can cause sudden wilting and death in branches, while blights may kill small branches or only affect the leaves. Pruning the symptomatic tissues from trees and providing good support can help your avocado recover.
  • Cankers: These are sores on tree trunks and branches that may ooze gum. Cankers can often be cut out of limbs, but cankers in trunks often kill affected trees.
  • Root rots: These generally appear in areas with poor drainage or in trees that are chronically overwatered. If conditions can be improved, the tree may be able to be saved.

Common Avocado Tree Pests

  • Borers: These insects tunnel into avocado trees, where they feed or lay eggs. Entrance holes are highly visible and may leak sap. Keeping your tree healthy can help to prevent infestation.
  • Caterpillars: These pests attack foliage, flowers, and fruits and can cause substantial damage in a short time. Sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis are highly effective, provided that you can reach caterpillars that feed inside protective nests.
  • Lace bugs: These insects damage leaves when they are present. Feeding sites cause yellow spots that soon dry out and stressed leaves will drop, exposing fruit and wood to ultraviolet rays. Sprays of horticultural oils or pyrethrin are recommended when symptoms appear.
  • Mites: These pests cause similar damage as lace bugs, but leaves may also take on a bronze appearance and the pests will be difficult to see with the naked eye. Treat them with horticultural oil; insecticides can cause population explosions.
  • Thrips: These insects rarely cause serious damage to trees, but will seriously scar fruits. Careful pruning and fertilizing will help to prevent thrips, who are attracted to tender flushes of growth. They can be destroyed with horticultural oil or pyrethrin.

Prevention and Treatment

The best way to prevent avocado tree diseases and pests is to keep your trees healthy and vigorous. This means providing them with the right amount of water, fertilizer, and sunlight. It also means pruning them regularly to remove dead or diseased branches and to improve air circulation.

If you do find that your avocado tree is infested with pests or diseases, there are a number of things you can do to treat them. For pests, you can try using insecticidal soap or neem oil. For diseases, you can try using fungicides or bactericides. It’s important to follow the directions on the product label carefully and to take precautions to avoid harming yourself or the environment.


Avocado trees are a valuable addition to any garden, but they can be susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. By being aware of these potential problems and taking steps to prevent or treat them, you can help your avocado trees stay healthy and productive for many years to come.

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