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My sapling tree was a gift from a family member who grows them for sale. He prepared it for me, told me how to plant, water and care for it in my yard. I did exactly as he said. My tree was doing great. Growing well and healthy for the last year. However, we dug a spot and inserted a 2x4 wood post next to it to use for a 18' sail shade for the yard. A day later my little sapling began to shrivel into a yellow dry (almost dead) sad tree. I can only assume the wood post bothered the root but I did not see any roots near the post I put in. I do not know what to do to help it.

Any advice?

  • Probably your post had been treated (to prevent rot etc) with something that kills plants. In that case, there is nothing much you can do except shop more carefully next time you buy wood for use in the garden. – alephzero Aug 16 '19 at 20:31
  • oh. Wow. I feel so terrible about it. Thank you for the help. I truly appreciate it! – user26720 Aug 17 '19 at 1:21
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The avocado tree develops a shallow, wide spreading root system. Important roots will be in the top six inches of soil running in all directions. The roots are extremely sensitive to disturbance quite apart from any treatment of the wood post. There is a good chance you disturbed about one quarter to one half of important root volume when digging for the post and this is likely what caused most of the damage.

It is possible that the tree can recover. The recommended action is to give a little watering but not a lot and then ensure that it has a good thick mulch all around the tree. The mulch will decay and the avocado roots will grow up into it. The important factor is that the roots must not sit in water; there must be good free drainage underneath the tree.

Avocados require full sun; if your post casts shade of any kind on the tree then the shade will not be a good neighbour - the best action might be to contact your supplier friend and explain the situation and ask about moving the tree to a sunnier place. This would be an extremely risky operation due to major root interference and is best avoided. But the reader's impression is that the shade is more important than the tree, and the tree will have to do its best.

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I feel the stake is not the problem, but maybe hit a main root. So hard to grow. I have had two leafless trees survive.

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