Avocados Beware: Protecting Your Growing Fruit From Anthracnose Disease

Taylor A Ritz

Avocado trees can take more than 5 years after you’ve planted a seed to produce their first fruit. So once the time for your tree to start producing delicious avocados comes around, you want to do everything you can to ensure a successful harvest. One of the biggest enemies when it comes to fruiting avocado trees is a disease called anthracnose.

What Is Anthracnose?

Anthracnose Disease is a fungal disease that affects a variety of shrubs, trees, and other plants. It is also known as the leaf, shoot, or twig blight. Anthracnose overwinters in dead twigs and leaves, then tends to attack plants in spring when the weather is cool and wet. The disease most often affects the external parts of the plant such as the leaves and twigs. Cool, rainy weather in spring provides the perfect conditions for the anthracnose spores to spread.

Anthracnose and Avocados

Unfortunately for avocado trees, anthracnose tends to attack during the avocado fruit growing season. Since the fungus affects the external portions of plants, this includes the avocado fruit growing on the trees.

When anthracnose fungus begins to infect avocado fruit, small dark spots begin to appear on the fruit skin. Over the next two to three days, as the fruit ripens. these spots rapidly expand. The skin of an immature avocado is less protected against infections such as anthracnose which means you could end up with a bad case without realizing it.

Once the fungus infects the inside of the avocado, the fruit becomes discolored and develops a sour taste. While the inside of the avocado may be compromised, the legions on the outside may remain small and unnoticeable, meaning you do not realize the extent of the damage until you harvest your ripened fruit.

How to Protect Against Anthracnose

To protect your avocados from anthracnose disease, there are a few steps you can take.

  • Prune dead limbs and twigs to prevent the spread of the disease. This also improves air circulation in the tree canopies, thus reducing humidity.
  • Spray your tree with a copper fungicide every two weeks after blossoming to protect your fruit throughout development.
  • Any crop residue should be properly disposed of to cut down on the spread of the disease.
  • Prune and harvest during dry conditions and consume ripened fruit quickly.

Protect Your Produce

After you’ve put all the work into germinating and growing an avocado for several years, you look forward to a successful harvest. To ensure your avocados are ripened and delicious, take care to avoid an anthracnose infection. Follow the steps above and protect your produce.