How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Monitoring Diseases and Disease-Promoting Conditions

(Reviewed 1/07, updated 1/07)

In this Guideline:


Look for conditions that favor pathogen infection and disease development, such as inadequate cultural practices and mechanical injury to plants. Especially look for, and remedy, inappropriate irrigation.

Look for signs and symptoms of disease, and record the date and location of problem trees or sites.

  • Signs (visible pathogen structures) include Armillaria mushrooms, Ganoderma fruiting bodies, and white fungal mycelium growing beneath bark.
  • Symptoms of diseased plants include:
    • Leaves that are downward-hanging, necrotic-tipped, pale or yellow, or wilted.
    • Premature leaf drop or a sparse canopy of drooping older leaves.
    • New shoots of small pale leaves.
    • Abundant small fruit.
    • Fruit that are blotched, discolored, spotted, streaked, or rotted.
    • Cankered, cracked, discolored, or oozing bark.
    • Black, brittle, or dead roots and relatively few small roots (rootlets).


If a tree looks unhealthy, examine as many of plant parts as possible.

  • Brush away mulch to examine the appearance of small roots.
  • Remove soil from around the root crown and cut beneath unhealthy looking bark to expose cankers or small patches of white fungal mycelium.
  • Look for discolored or oozing bark on main limbs and trunks and examine beneath damaged bark to discern cankers.
  • Use appropriate tools, such as a chisel or knife, to cut away bark and view deeper cankers. Keep monitoring tools, including a chisel, hatchet, hand lens, pocket-knife, and shovel, close at hand.


Inspect several nearby trees, which may show earlier, more characteristic or subtle symptoms. Patterns in symptoms among trees can provide clues to the cause. Do not rely on a single symptom. Compare your observations to photos of common trunk and root diseases. If cankers are present, distinguish among the causes of cankers, which include:

  • Abiotic disorders
  • Various pathogens
  • Certain vertebrates

Send samples to a diagnostic laboratory or consult an expert to help diagnose the cause. Keep records of testing results.


Record the date and location of problem trees or sites.

  • Mark problem spots on a map of the grove or using a hand-held GPS (global positioning system).
  • Use florescent spray paint and colored plastic flagging to mark trees.
  • Mark maps and trees or both with symbols or color codes keyed to symptoms or the suspected or confirmed cause of disease.
  • Repeat monitoring at intervals to document the progression or seasonality of symptoms and to assess whether management practices are effective.


Improve growing conditions, use good sanitation, and provide appropriate cultural care as the primary means of managing:



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Avocado
UC ANR Publication 3436

General Information

Acknowledgment for contributions to General Horticultural Information:
M. L. Arpaia, Botany and Plant Sciences, UC Riverside
M. L. Bianchi, UC Cooperative Extension, San Luis Obispo County
C. J. Lovatt, Botany and Plant Sciences, UC Riverside
P. Mauk, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County
G. W. Witney, California Avocado Commission, Irvine, CA

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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