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atheen_

Advice needed. Just repotted my two dying avocados in Tapla's 5-1-1

Atheen - 7a - in Maryland, USA
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

Hi yall,
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I got these two avocados on a promotion during the summer of 22. One Cold Hardy, and one Haas. They've done just ok the first year, and I know nothing about avocados. I was told to let them be and not even repot them until the next spring. Sounded weird to me, but hey, they were the experts, right?
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So, during the spring of 2023, I contacted the nursery and they gave me very specific instructions as to how to repot them, what to repot them into, and so on. Which I did.
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During the summer of 2023, they started to exhibit some serious brown leaves symptoms. I kept on taking pictures and speaking to their "avocado expert", but he kept on brushing me off, saying it was just some minor sunburn. Ok then.
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After the trees got brought in for the winter, the problem kept on getting worse and worse, until pretty much all leaves had fallen. Again, their "expert" told me it was just the shock of being brought in. Which was cute and all, but I knew something else was up.
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I asked if maybe the soil they sold me could be a little too slow to drain (sometimes it took over 2 weeks for the top 2 inches to dry out), I got brushed off. I asked if (maybe) I should repot the trees in a 511 type mix, again, brushed off.
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Then they told me the reason the leaves were browning and falling (even brand new, baby, leaves, btw), was that there was, and I quote, "too much light". Which is insane in the face of it because they did fine under the same lights the previous winter. Those are LED grow lights, the same lights I've been using on all my fruit trees (Meyers, olive, banana) for over 8 years, and they all love them.
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I was hoping my trees would make it to spring, so I could take them outside and repot them in either gritty mix or 511, but they were not going to make it that long.
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Two weeks ago, the main stem of the Cold Hardy, that had already lost all its leaves, started to brown from the top down, and it was going FAST.
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The Haas had lost many limbs to the black tips disease, and although it's still fighting and constantly making new buds, they start growing and then promptly die.
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This could've have come at a worse time for me. My right wrist and thumb are injured and I can't even lift a cup of coffee. I also knew I couldn't sift anything in my current condition, and that the ingredients of the gritty would be way too heavy for me to handle, let alone the planter. But my trees couldn't wait another minute.
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So, yesterday, I pulled on my big girl's panties, and I repotted them both into 511. I was in tears from the pain by the time I was done.
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I did wick both planters, because I remember reading a post from Al saying if you couldn't sift, then you had to wick. I also watered the crap out of both of them the second my husband brought them back in, and I will keep on doing it daily, since I couldn't soak the bark either, with my wrist. Typically, they would be raised on bricks inside of their saucers, but because I want to make sure they stay hydrated for the first week of two, they are currently not.
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They both had remarkably well developed root systems. Sadly, the Cold Hardy had clear signs of root rot. Not so much the Haas. The soil was also so hardly compacted (albeit wet) that it was very hard for me to depot them, and bare root them.
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I don't know what the root symptoms of fertilizer burn are, but with such a crappy potting medium, I bet that it was an issue as well.
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I now realize I have to unlearn everything these idiots at the nursery taught me about avocados and start over. Meyers and olive trees, I'm very familiar with at this point. I even got a damn banana tree to flower and produce bananas inside my living room (I'll snap pictures later, it looks so cool). But there is surprisingly little information out there on container avocados.
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I've been spending hours and hours researching, but there really isn't much info on avocados. Even the avocado board here, is pretty bare. It wasn't until I found Greenman28 old avocado threads that I regained some hope for my poor trees.
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Emboldened by what I read in one of his posts, I decapitated the Cold Hardy before I repotted it. It probably won't make it. It's on its last legs, it's the wrong season, from greenman28's post I read they generally hate being repotted to begin with. Add the severe pruning, and the root rot, this probably will end it. But at this point, a Hail Mary remains its best chance of comeback.
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The Haas still has more fight left in it, so I have better hope. Still, they've both been through the ringer. Fingers crossed.
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My husband, seeing how distraught I was about this all week, already bought me two more "big" avocado trees for my birthday, that are set to arrive at the end of March. Sadly, he bought them with the same idiots, not knowing any better.
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I'm not sure if I will repot the new trees in 511 or gritty. I've never done gritty. I finally sourced all the ingredients including turface, so I know where to get everything, but I'm still hesitant. I like the longevity aspect of it, but I'm dreading the weight and sifting, which will both be hell on my neck, back and wrist injuries. And my husband is a germophobe, so I'm on my own. I wish I knew of a way to modify the 511 to make it a little heavier (so planters wouldn't fall with the slightest wind), but I wouldn't know where to begin on how to do that. Anyway, that's not going to be an issue until sometimes in April, so I disgress. Right now, my focus is on trying to save Guac and Mole. (Dont look at me, my husband is the one who named them).
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If Al, greenman, Meyermike, or anyone else has some input as to what I should do (or not) at this point, let me know. As Mike will tell you, I listen, and I learn fast.
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Thank you for reading this novel of a thread. God bless.
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Atheen












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