Avocado trees are evergreen so will have a full leaf coverage throughout the year if the weather conditions are right. Avocado trees can lose their leaves if the weather gets cold rapidly or if there are cold winds. Plant avocado trees in a full sun position with the protection of other nearby fruit trees. Planting more than one avocado variety will help to increase pollination.
This article will explore what you need to know about avocado tree leaf growth, whether they lose their leaves in winter and what you can do to help them to survive cold weather.
Do avocado trees lose their leaves in winter?
Avocado trees prefer warm sub-tropical or temperate weather and won’t lose their leaves unless there is a cold snap. Avocado trees can also lose their leaves if they suffer from very dry soil conditions. It is important if you are having a dry summer to water them deeply 1-2 times per week to avoid leaf loss.
Some varieties of avocado can tolerate cold temperatures as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius). Choose these if you live in a cold region. They still won’t tolerate frost and their leaves can turn brown or drop off altogether if they suffer from frost damage.
Cold Tolerant Varieties of Avocado
Bacon avocadoes are a popular cold tolerant avocado. Other cold tolerant avocado varieties that are less likely to loose their leaves in winter include Zunato, Shepard, Reed, Ryan, Sharwill and Rincon.
Will avocadoes tolerate frost?
Avocado varieties can tolerate cold weather but will not tolerate frost. Frost will damage avocado leaves and cause them to drop onto the ground. They can cause damage to the tips turning them brown. You can protect them from frost with some plastic thrown temporarily over the top of the tree.
Remember to remove the plastic in the morning before the sun comes up.
Are avocado trees deciduous or evergreen?
Avocado trees are not deciduous and will not routinely lose their leaves in the fall like peaches or cherries. Avocado trees will keep a full green leaf canopy
What happens to avocado trees in the winter?
Avocado trees will slow their growth during very cold winters. If you live in a cool climate with warm summers and cold winters you can expect your avocado tree to burst into life when spring arrives. It will put on lots of leaf growth during this time and will start to flower and fruit.
How to stop avocadoes from dropping leaves
Here are a few easy tips to help to stop your avocado plant from dropping their leaves over winter or during a cold snap. This will help to keep your avocado covered with leaves throughout the year and get them ready to produce more fruit.
1. Protect avocado trees from cold winds
Protect your avocado trees from cold winds by surrounding them with other fruiting trees. Creating a small orchard or planting avocadoes near a fence that will protect the young tree from wind is a great idea.
Another way to protect young avocado trees from wind is to build a small protective shade. You can put 4 stakes around the tree and drape 50% shade cloth around them. This will help to stop the leaves from dropping and keep the tree upright when winds come.
You can use plant ties to keep a young avocado tree upright while it establishes. Give the trunk enough room to move so that the trees roots can grow strong and stabilize the tree.
2. Choose a cold tolerant variety
Choose a cold tolerant avocado variety if you live in a cooler region. These species tend to originate from Mexico and can withstand cooler temperatures. Look out for varieties such as Bacon, Zunato, Shepard, Reed, Ryan, Sharwill and Rincon.
3. Improve the soil before planting
To help avocado trees withstand cold weather make sure they are planted in good quality soil. Improve ground soil with compost, aged cow manure, pelleted chicken manure and mix it in well. This will help to lighten the soil adding air pockets as well as increasing the soil’s water holding capacity.
4. Choose a full sun position
Plant avocado plants in a full sun position to help them to grow strong and establish. Large, healthy established avocado trees will be more tolerant to cold weather. They will have lots of leaves so that if any are damaged there will be others to replace them.
A full sun position will help the tree to photosynthesize, grow quickly and develop dark green healthy leaves.
5. Choose a grafted variety
Grafted avocado trees are a great choice for cooler regions. They will be grown on hardy root stocks that are tolerant of a range of soil types and weather conditions. Grafted avocadoes will establish quickly and will be quicker to fruit than seedling varieties.
6. Mulch avocadoes well
Add a good layer of mulch around the root zone of your avocado tree to help to protect it over winter. I like to use bark mulch but you can also use straw, sugar cane mulch, lucerne or a mix of mulch types. Layer 3 inches of mulch around the root zone, try to keep the mulch 2-3 inches away from the avocado trunk to avoid trapping water against them and causing rot.
Mulch will prevent water from evaporating from the soil as quickly and will help to feed worms and soil bacteria. They will break down the mulch releasing nutrients into the soil and mixing through the organic matter to lighten the soil.
7. Water avocado trees regularly
Avocado trees can lose their leaves if they dry out too much. Keep them well watered over summer and deep water them 1-2 times per week. You can lay out dripper lines around the root zone to make it easy or use a hose if you have a few trees.
Are Avocados Evergreen? | Summary
Avocado trees are evergreen and will not lose their leaves over winter if the temperature is mild, they are kept well-watered and protected from frost. Choose a cold tolerant avocado variety and plant them in a position that is protected from cold winds. Avocado trees are a beautifully shaped tree that will give you delicious fruit at the same time.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.