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dying avocado

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Matt starts with ...
I purchased a mature 3 year old tree from Tass 1 trees which was very healthy and in one week of transplanting it wilted. Now 2 weeks on it has black tips and is dying. I have done everything as advised including not over watering and not adding too much salty fertilizer. Would like to know if you can test for rot or diseases in the soil here in WA. I will post pictures and you can see the very fast transformation from healthy to dead.
Help would be much appreciated.
Matt
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Matt
Perth WA
14th May 2011 12:43am
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Brendan says...
Hi Matt,
I'd spray it with Yates Anti Rot asap, you just might save it.

What variety is it?

I'd also give it some gypsum, and some Seasol. Is it dying from the top down?, and looks like it needs water or fertilizer? Could be Phytophthora root rot.

Peter from Perth (on this forum), had a method of testing for phytophthora.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
14th May 2011 7:13am
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Original Post was last edited: 14th May 2011 7:38am
Peter says...
Yes, spray asap., even if it works out later it is not Phytophthora cinnamomi (hope it isn't). You can think of injecting the trunk with Phosphite as well, hopefully someone can advise you on this method, but time is important, just spray the whole tree. Yates Anti Rot is easy to get such as Bunnings. Perfect weather now for spraying, do it preferably in the morning, so the plant takes it up during the day.
The other thing to think of is root disturbance - avocado hates it - but the tree would suffer not as dramatically as you described. Yes, pictures would help.
About the soil testing: The method I described earlier serves only as an indication, to be definite you have to submit it for laboratory testing - you could check with the Agriculture Department. Murdoch University has a Phytophthora research group, but I do not know, if they provide service to the public. I know, that once or twice a year the whole university has an open day with their Plant Pathology section, advertised as "Plant Doctor": Everyone can bring in samples and ask for analysis. Last time they had a Phytophthora detecting device, which works like a pregnancy test. Maybe there is an open day coming up again.
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Peter36
Perth
14th May 2011 11:57am
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Matt says...
Thanks guys. I pruned the whole tree right back and the insides of the branches were bright orange from a roting core. I sprayed the plant with yates anti rot and after one day it seems a tiny bit better. Can only hope that it keeps improving. Don't have access to injection kit but will buy some for future use just in case. Such a waste of a mature, established and healthy tree but all is well if i learn for next time. I will post pictures either way as soon as i get a cable for my camera.
P.S i am ordering phospite injectors from chemjet@powerup.com.au. Let me know if anyone has any experience with this company.
Thanks again matt
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Matt
Vic Park
16th May 2011 9:23pm
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Peter says...
Hi Matt,
I hope for a good outcome.
Sorry I know you asked about if someone has experience with the company you ordered from, but in case you also want to know more details about phosphite injection itself, I remember now, that there is Dieback Working Group assembled of volunteers. They are more into trying to rescue trees in Perth metro bushlands and parks, but they are probably more than happy to give you competent information on phosphite injection. This group can be easily found on the web - worth to contact them I guess.
Thanks for wanting to update on your tree, in that way everyone can learn from it.
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Peter36
Perth
16th May 2011 9:59pm
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Brendan says...
Hi Matt,
When you sprayed, did the tree have any leaves? Can you post a photo?
What avocado variety is the tree?
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
17th May 2011 6:36am
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Matt says...
The tree was/is a fuerte. It started at about 2m tall although is only about 1m now. The tree still has some leaves although almost all are brown with the stems black and wilted. Am still waiting on cable for digital camera and injection and test kit. Will post information as soon as i get it. Thanks again for the help. It seems that there are few people that are aware of this problem. I spoke to people from Tass1trees and greenlife soils who supplied the tree and soil and both just suggested it was just common behaviour for transplanted avocado trees. It's obviously something that doesn't happen very often and is hard to identify. Hopefully the soil test kit and fungicide will help to solve my problem while this forum helps to inform people of this particular potential problem.
Cheers
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Matt
Vic Park
19th May 2011 9:37pm
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Jason says...
Matt I bought a large Fuerte about this size once and it went downhill from the moment I planted it, never grew and eventually died. In my opinion the tree was just too large, now I never plant an avocado (or anything) from a pot that's taller than about 50cm tall
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Jason
Portland
20th May 2011 8:29am
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Matt says...
these are some pictures of the tree early on i.e. one week after transplanting. It showed heavy signs of wilting. Prior to transplanting it was very healthy and flourished in the large pot i had for it.
Pictures - Click to enlarge

Picture: 1

Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Matt
Vic Park
25th May 2011 11:02pm
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Matt says...
this is the same tree days or maybe a week later. I started to prune all the heavy black stems and flushing it with water. i was told that it was nothing to worry about as it was most likely effects from transplanting.
Pictures - Click to enlarge

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Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Matt
Vic Park
25th May 2011 11:05pm
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Matt says...
These pictures clearly show the rotting of the stems cut from the tree following it's steady decline. I still haven't got it tested however it is clear that it is a disease of some sort.
Pictures - Click to enlarge

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Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Matt
Vic Park
25th May 2011 11:09pm
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Matt says...
pictures of the stems as the disease progresses
Pictures - Click to enlarge

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Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Matt
Vic Park
25th May 2011 11:25pm
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Matt says...
yet another stage in the decline now about 3 weeks since being transplanted. By now i have added my first dose of Yates anti rot
Pictures - Click to enlarge

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Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Matt
Vic Park
25th May 2011 11:28pm
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Matt says...
And this is where the tree is at now. Almost completely dead. I have heavily treated it with Yates anti rot and can only hope that it will be enough. It hard to say whether it is helping or not. Clearly though it has been a very expensive lesson. I will post results of the Phytophthora tests in a few days. i also will experiment with some phosphite injections although it may not be conclusion given the state that the tree is in.
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Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Matt
Vic Park
25th May 2011 11:34pm
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Brendan says...
Doesn't look too good Matt, I think she's had it.
Anti rot spray works best on green leaves/living tree etc.
Fuerte is a type 'B', they seem a bit harder to grow than type 'A'? I wonder if Jason agrees?
(Pity the 'photo enlargment' is not working too :-( (but Correy is working on it!)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
26th May 2011 7:28am
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Peter says...
Hi Matt,
seeing your pictures it very much points to Phytophthora and would not wonder if the test yields positive. It also fits in the sad reality, that Phytophthora cinnamomi, amongst other Phytopthoras are by now widespread in the Perth metro area.
Which test are you using?
I found the website of the supplier of the Phytophthora detecting device I mentioned earlier: www.pocketdiagnostic.com.au

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Peter36
Perth
26th May 2011 9:51am
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Jason says...
Brendan, Type B tree's wont set fruit on cool nights but as for actually growing them and keeping them alive there doesn't seem any difference to me.

I just really think if you want an Avocado to grow you can't plant it in the grounds after so many years in a pot.

The only Avocado's I've ever lost were large trees moved into the ground. You can ask Jantina how small I like to plant them now. The last one I planted (another Hass) is in the ground freshly grafted and about 6 months from germination with a trunk still 100% red/brown, it's now starting a growth flush and I'm expecting it to be a very good tree, mostly because I planted it so small. Commercial sized grafted trees for Avocado growers (about 50cm tall) in plastic bags with green trunks are OK, anything bigger or older than than that I wouldn't go near
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Jason
Portland
26th May 2011 10:09am
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Original Post was last edited: 26th May 2011 10:10am
Brendan says...
Thanks for the tips Jason, I'll keep them in mind.
Ordered another Edranol two days ago :-)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
28th May 2011 9:15am
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Matt says...
Thanks for the input people. I intend on doing the tests tonight so i'll post the results later.
As for growing smaller trees i'd be more than willing to give it a go. Can i buy smaller trees like the one's you are suggesting and will they survive transport?
thanks again Matt
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Matt
Vic Park
28th May 2011 1:19pm
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Jason says...
Matt apart from in Nursery's where they've kept potting up plants to bigger pots each year all Avocado are sold in deep but narrow plastic planter bags and usually sold at the start of the next growing season after begin grafted. Transport is no problem, but try and find a tree with a cleanly healed graft (done by someone that's not a hack) looking young and juicy without hardened wood if you can. If you can find a place that grows Avocados for commercial growers it should be all the above anyway
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Jason
Portland
28th May 2011 2:14pm
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Matt says...
Hi Again everyone. Thanks for all the input. Just to let you know that the pocket test revealed a negative result for phytophthora. This has left me rather confused. I am now pursuing soil testing from Agwest. I would like to get to the bottom of this so that i can replant in confidence. I will also seek some new smaller trees to replace the basically dead avocado that i am left with.
cheers Matt
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Matt
Vic Park
30th May 2011 10:41pm
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Peter says...
Hi Matt,
what part of the plant did you test? Stempieces near the base or root material would be fine, but not leaves from the tree.
Yes, it is confusing. I admire your persistence in this.
When you hand in soil samples, I would fill a bag with soil from different spots within the planting hole and at different depths and mix it all together, so the sample is representing the planting spot. Try to include also a lot of root pieces from the spot.
Another way of soil testing is to plant just a avocado seed in that place and see what happen with the germinating plant after a while. Maybe this takes until spring, but if the seedling dies as well, than you know that there must be an agressive pathogen in the soil. If you decide for a quality fruit producing avocado, I would plant it not in the same spot just in case. I would also spray the phosphite every 6months, as this also acts as a preventative.
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Peter36
Perth
30th May 2011 11:59pm
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