Avocado trees thrive in tropical climates—places with sufficient rainfall and sunlight. So, if you are looking to grow yours in an area with little rain, you may have to work to keep them irrigated.
Do avocado trees need a lot of water?
Yes, avocado trees require a lot of water.
Just like every other tree that produces fruit, the avocado tree requires ample water to flourish and bear fruit. Avocados can be quite sensitive to the level of water in the soil. A little moisture stress at certain growth stages can cause leaf drop or fruit shed.
The subsequent paragraphs of the article provide information on watering avocado trees. We discuss how much water your tree requires and how to prevent overwatering and underwatering.
Do Avocado Trees Need Watering?
Avocado trees are native to the tropics, and as such, they need substantial watering to thrive. While the older trees can make do with 40-50 inches of rain yearly, the younger ones need even more water.
If your avocado tree is planted in a container, you may have to water it daily during the summer. The temperatures are higher, and water loss is faster. Hence, the need to water them at that rate. For avocado trees planted in a landscape, watering the section beneath the canopy is essential.
When watering an avocado tree, you must do so thoroughly and deeply while leaving the soil to dry before watering again. The roots of most avocado trees remain 6 inches beneath the topsoil and tend to dry out easily. Hence, the importance of the prescribed routine.
Do They Require a Lot of Water?
As we already mentioned, avocados require ample water if they are to thrive.
It is estimated that about 528 gallons of water are required per kilogram of avocados.
In dryer regions, the tree will definitely need more water to produce the same number of avocados.
Going by the values above, one can conclude that avocado trees require a lot of water.
When working with individual trees, it may sometimes be tough to ascertain how much water they need. This uncertainty can be problematic. However, there is a way to determine how much water the trees need.
First, you need to dig the soil around the tree to a depth of 6-9 inches. Next, test the soil by pressing it firmly against your palm. If the soil sticks together, there is no need for watering. But if the soil crumbles, then it should be watered.
While they require a lot of water, avocado trees do not thrive in areas prone to flooding. They need soil with proper drainage to avoid getting root rot. In fact, when the rainy season begins, you may not have to water the trees.
How Many Gallons of Water Do They Need?
Mature avocado trees with a canopy measuring around 20 feet require about 600-1100 gallons of water every month. This volume is typically lower during the months of extreme cold. But when the weather becomes very dry, the water requirement rises to about 1200 gallons of water per month.
The values above describe the water requirements of specific sizes of avocado trees under various conditions. But in general, you can expect to expend around 240 gallons of water for every pound of avocado your tree produces.
How Often Should They Be Watered?
You can water your avocado trees 2-3 times each week.
When the roots begin to reach into the soil, you switch things up. At this point, you can increase the volume of water and switch to watering once a week. When you water your tree, ensure you soak the soil and leave it to dry before you water again.
Just like most other plants, you should not let the tree become too dry. Do a soil check before watering to ensure it is a bit dry. If the soil surrounding the roots can form a hand impression when held, there is enough water.
For young avocado trees to grow well and remain healthy, they need extra water. An additional 2 sessions of watering every week for the first 2-3 months after planting is sufficient for the young tree.
Mature avocado trees need constant watering to help maintain their roots and canopy. Watering is particularly essential during fruit production and bloom.
Can They Be Overwatered?
Yes, avocado trees can be overwatered, and this is very possible because their roots are shallow.
Overwatering may lead to root rot in avocado trees. This, in turn, may lead to a disruption in the supply of water to leaves, leading to discoloration. If the tree eventually sprouts new leaves, they would likely be sparse and small while the stem becomes soft.
If you water your trees regularly and you notice the leaves are not healthy, it is a sign that your tree suffers from root rot.
Another sign of overwatering in avocado trees is the appearance of thin, curled leaves. Besides this, the depth of the roots can also indicate that the tree has been overwatered.
The growth of weed under the previously healthy and thick canopy of your avocado tree may also be predictive of overwatering.
Overwatering your avocado tree can also affect the bark of the tree. The affected trees typically emit gum that hardens on the bark and becomes small beads. You may also notice a white and powdery residue on the tree. When these signs appear on the tree bark, they tend to spread quickly.
Always conduct a proper soil test before concluding that your tree needs any water. If you can mold the soil into a ball, you can wait a couple of days before you water. If the soil falls apart, you need to water it.
Signs Your Avocado Tree Is Underwatered
Knowing if your tree is properly hydrated can be quite difficult at times. Your avocado tree can be underwatered without showing signs until things have gone pretty bad.
When an avocado tree is underwatered, you may notice any of the following signs:
- The tree canopy will start to look thinner than usual.
- You notice that the leaves have curled.
- The leaves wilt and become discolored at the tips or edges.
- Undersized and scorched leaves are visible.
- Premature leaf discoloration and early leaf drop at the change of seasons.
You should analyze the type of soil you use in planting the tree. This is necessary because the soil moisture and watering method may affect the water your tree receives.
Generally, avocado trees need a lot of water. When they are young, they need even more water than when they are older. But on average, avocado trees may need around 240 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of fruits.