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Avocado Tree Transplant Shock (And How To Fix)

Transplanting can be tough on avocado trees, just like it is for most plants. This stress comes from disrupting the roots and placing the tree in an unfamiliar environment.

If your avocado tree seems shocked after transplanting, here’s what to do: Make sure it gets enough water, but be careful not to overwater. Protect it from strong winds and too much direct sunlight. You might also want to use a root stimulant to encourage growth. Be patient – you might see new growth in a few weeks, but sometimes it takes a bit longer.

Avocado tree transplant shock

How to reduce avocado tree transplant shock

1. Shade the tree

Providing shade is crucial for your avocado tree, especially after transplanting. The new environment might expose it to different light conditions than it’s used to. For instance, it could be getting more sunlight, or perhaps direct sunlight at different times of the day. This change can cause the tree to lose moisture rapidly. If it can’t draw enough water from the soil, its leaves might start dropping.

To prevent this, shading your avocado tree is key. There are a few easy ways to do this:

  1. Garden Umbrella: The simplest method is to place a garden umbrella over the tree for immediate shade.
  2. Shading Net: Another effective method is to create a makeshift frame using four sticks and cover it with a shading net. The net should block at least 50% of the sunlight. This is particularly useful for taller trees.

Keep the avocado tree shaded for at least 1-2 months. After this period, if the tree seems healthy, you can gradually expose it to more sunlight. However, be cautious during the summer heat. Start with short periods and observe how the tree responds.

2. Water the avocado properly

Right after transplanting your avocado tree, the next important step is proper watering. Even the most careful transplanting will result in some root damage. To help the tree recover, it’s vital to maintain the right moisture level in the soil.

Make sure to water the tree regularly, keeping the soil moist but not overly wet. Aim to prevent the soil from drying out more than an inch deep. Typically, watering once or twice a week should be sufficient. In times of severe drought, you might need to water a bit more frequently.

The amount of water will depend on the size of your tree, usually ranging from 1 to 2 gallons or possibly more for larger trees. However, be cautious not to overdo it – you don’t want to create soggy conditions around the tree.

3. Remove all fruits

Transplanting an avocado tree during its fruiting period demands a lot of energy and nutrients from the tree. If your tree has already started bearing fruit, it’s best to remove all the fruit to help the tree cope better with the shock of transplanting.

In case your tree is blooming but hasn’t yet produced fruit, you should also remove all the flowers. While this means you won’t have any fruit for the current year, it’s a necessary step to ensure the tree can establish itself more effectively in its new environment. This way, you’re helping the tree focus its energy on settling into its new location rather than on fruiting.

4. Don’t remove foliage and braches

Leaves play a crucial role in encouraging root growth in plants. Generally, at the start of the growing season, plants focus on developing their above-ground parts, like leaves and branches. As the season progresses, the root system develops to match the growth above ground.

If you prune away a significant portion of the leaves and branches, it could hinder the development of new roots. This might delay the rooting process by a year or more.

Moreover, pruning can be an additional stress factor for the plant. Therefore, it’s best to avoid removing any parts of the plant right after transplanting.

5. Use rooting hormones

Rooting hormones can significantly speed up the rooting process of an avocado tree and help reduce transplant shock. While it’s not essential, using these hormones can be very beneficial, especially in the early stages. When applied directly to the roots, these substances encourage quicker root development.

There are several effective rooting hormones available, including rooting powder and liquid rooting agents, both of which are suitable for avocado trees. When planting, you can sprinkle the rooting powder into the hole and around the root ball. After transplanting, water the tree with a liquid rooting hormone, and consider a follow-up application after some time.

It’s also important to avoid fertilizing the plant immediately after transplanting, particularly with high-nitrogen fertilizers. These can lead to excessive foliage growth when what you really want is to encourage root development. By focusing on the roots first, you’ll help your avocado tree establish itself more effectively in its new home.

6. Mulch the avocado tree

Mulching around your avocado tree is a great final step. Mulch helps retain moisture near the roots, meaning you’ll need to water less frequently.

For mulching, compost is an excellent choice. Make sure to use high-quality compost from reliable sources to avoid any issues.

Aim for a mulch layer about 2-3 inches thick. A layer thinner than this won’t retain moisture effectively, while a thicker layer might block air from reaching the soil.

The mulched area should ideally cover the same radius as the tree’s branches extend, but at a minimum, go for a 2-foot radius around the tree.

Remember not to pile the mulch against the trunk itself. Keep the base of the trunk, where it emerges from the ground, free from mulch to prevent any potential rot or disease.