Why your avocado tree might not be producing this year – Press Enterprise

Q. I have an avocado tree that’s produced wonderful fruit for the past 3-5 years but recently stopped producing any fruit. It looks healthy. Any suggestions?

If your avocado has been reliably producing until this year, there could be one or several issues. This year’s unusually mild spring and early summer weather, although nice for us, negatively affected our fruit crop. The extra rain encouraged plenty of vegetative growth (lots of pretty green leaves and branch growth) but caused some of our stone fruit to come in flavorless or not at all. Avocado production can be negatively impacted by lower-than-normal temperatures as well.

The cooler temperatures also affected pollinating insects, which either stayed dormant later or emerged in a lackadaisical mood and weren’t as active. Reminds me of trying to get out of bed on a cold winter morning when I’d rather stay curled up under a nice down comforter.

If your tree has been productive in the past, let it enjoy a break this year and it should give you plenty of avocados next year.

Q. At the end of summer this year, I noticed this strange growth in my lawn. It appears to look like “Great Stuff” foam. It’s hard on the outside and seems to “grow” through the lawn. At the point I broke it off, inside of it, it’s dry and the color of hot chocolate. In the lawn it appears to be growing just below the surface like a spiderweb.

Your photo shows a whitish rhizomatous structure with stiff-looking grass-like leaves growing out of it. Since you report that it seems to have formed a web-like structure just underneath the soil surface, I’m going to say that it looks like the dreaded nutgrass.

Nutgrass is an obnoxious weed that is very hard to eradicate. It grows in all types of soil, produces tough, strap-like leaves with a papyrus-like ball structure on top. You can dig out each piece by the root, and the root looks like white, hard nodules. As you’ve discovered, it forms a massive, web-like underground structure.

Glyphosate weed killer will not work on nutgrass because most of the plant’s mass is contained in the huge underground rhizome. In some cases the root structure can be very deep, so digging the whole thing up is not feasible. Even goats will not eat it.

Insane persistence in digging up each plant as it emerges and disposing of it in the regular trash is the only way to deal with this awful weed. The whole thing gets its energy from photosynthesis in the leaves, so consistently digging out the emerging plant will deprive it of energy, eventually weakening and killing it.

If it makes you feel any better, we’ve been digging nutgrass out of our lawn for 20 years and it still keeps coming back. A little less each season, but it’s still there.

Los Angeles County

mglosangeleshelpline@ucdavis.edu; 626-586-1988; http://celosangeles.ucanr.edu/UC_Master_Gardener_Program/

Orange County

ucceocmghotline@ucanr.edu; 949-809-9760; http://mgorange.ucanr.edu/

Riverside County

anrmgriverside@ucanr.edu; 951-683-6491 ext. 231; https://ucanr.edu/sites/RiversideMG/

San Bernardino County

mgsanbern@ucanr.edu; 909-387-2182; http://mgsb.ucanr.edu

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