Avocado pest and diseases in Kenya are farmer’s nightmare! Growing avocados is a popular hobby for many gardeners. Avocado trees are beautiful, and the fruit they produce has a rich, buttery flavor that goes well with so many different dishes. In recent years, planting avocados commercially in Kenya has also become a popular endeavor. However, as with any other crop, avocados are susceptible to pests and diseases.
The pests and diseases can destroy all of your hard work in an instant, and see to it that all your efforts go down the drain. In this blog post, we will be discussing some of the most common avocado pests and diseases. We shall also look at ways to prevent and treat them.
Avocado Pests in Kenya
Pests are organisms that can cause damage to crops. They invade crops from other places and cause damage to the crops. Pests can be insects, birds, small mammals, or anything not a plant! Avocados are susceptible to several pests, including mites, scales, aphids, and thrips.
Common Avocado Tree Pests
Below are some common pests that you need to look out for when growing avocados.
Image Credits; UC REGENTS JACK KELLY CLARK
Mites are tiny, spider-like creatures that can cause a great deal of damage to avocado trees. They feed on the tree’s leaves and can cause them to wilt and die. Spotting mites with a naked eye might be difficult.
However, you might realize you have a mite invasion in your avocado farm if the avocado leaves are turning yellow or bronze. Additionally, the mites leave minor white marks on the leaves of your avocado tree. These are often left behind by mites when they feed.
Realizing them early on is an excellent way to prevent your avocado tree from dying. You can treat mite problems by using horticultural oils. Using insecticides might cause more harm than good, as the mites are often resistant to them.
Thrips are tiny insects that feed on the sap of avocado trees and other plants in your garden. The thrips cause damage to the leaves, flowers, fruits, and branches of different crops. The damage can result in stunted growth or even prevent flowering altogether!
Certain thrips species will infest avocado fruits, causing them to turn brown and dry. If you are growing avocados commercially, thrips can be a significant threat as they can cause significant damage to the crop.
You can treat thrips infestation by the use of horticultural oils. Pyrethrin can also be used, but it is more toxic to the environment. However, you can also take preventive measures to protect your avocado trees by proper pruning and fertilizing.
Stem borers are the larvae of different insects that burrow into the stems or trunks of avocado trees, feeding on the tissues inside. Borers can girdle and kill young avocado saplings or cause older trees to become stunted and produce less fruit.
You can cut off the infested branches and effectively dispose of them to treat borer problems. However, it is advisable to get rid of the borers naturally by introducing parasitic wasps into your garden that feed on them.
You could also plant marigolds around your avocado trees as they produce chemicals that will repel borers and other pests from feeding on your plants!
Lace bugs are small, sap-sucking insects that feed on the leaves of various plants. The bugs cause damage by producing a toxin in their saliva while feeding on your avocado tree’s leaves! The toxins cause yellowing and curling of the leaves.
The best way to get rid of lace bugs is to use neem oil, pyrethrin, or other horticultural oils.
Caterpillars are the larvae of different species of moths and butterflies. They feed on a variety of plants, including avocado trees. Caterpillars can cause extensive damage to avocado leaves, buds, and fruits.
The best way to get rid of caterpillar infestation is by using Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or other biological control agents. You could also introduce natural predators of caterpillars, such as birds and spiders, into your garden.
Mealybugs are sap-sucking insects that produce honeydew excretions. The honeydew attracts ants, which feed on the honeydew! Mealybugs can cause stunted growth in avocado trees, yellowing leaves, and other damage.
These pests are known for the high rate of spreading fungal diseases. The best way to treat mealybug infestation is by using horticultural oils, such as neem oil or pyrethrin. You can also use insecticides, but they might cause more harm than good as the mealybugs are often resistant to them.
Also Read: Avocado Farming; All You Need to Know
Avocado Tree Diseases in Kenya
Avocado tree diseases can be caused by various factors, including pests, environmental conditions, and poor cultural practices. Some of the most common diseases include:
Algal leaf spot
Algal leaf spot is a fungal disease that affects the leaves of avocado trees. Alga, a type of fungus, causes it. When the avocado tree is infected, you will realize raised leaves with orange-red spots on them.
To manage avocado tree diseases, you can use fungicides such as copper oxychloride or mancozeb. You should also ensure good cultural practices, including proper watering and fertilization.
Prune off diseased branches and dispose of them properly. Finally, promote good air circulation in your garden to reduce the chances of disease outbreaks.
Image Credit; Flickr
Anthracnose is a disease that affects the flowers and fruit of your avocado tree. It is caused by a fungus, which results in sunken lesions on the fruit. The flowers might also appear distorted, and brownish-black spots will develop on them. It also manifests as dark spots on fruits, causing them to become inedible.
The best way to treat anthracnose is by using copper oxychloride, fungicides, or neem oil sprays. You should ensure good cultivation practices, including proper watering control and fertilization techniques. Prune off diseased branches and dispose of them properly. Finally, provide proper air circulation in your garden to reduce the chances of disease outbreaks.
Root rot is a common avocado plant disease that affects avocado trees by infecting their roots. Oomycete, a type of fungus, causes the disease. As a result, avocado trees will become droopy and wilted as they begin to die slowly. The disease is commonly found in areas with poor drainage.
The most convenient way to treat root rot is by applying fungicides such as copper oxychloride or mancozeb. You should ensure good cultivation practices for your plants, including proper watering control and fertilization techniques.
Image Credit; Wikimedia Commons
This fungal disease affects the leaves, fruit, and branches of avocado trees. It is caused by fungus. When your tree is infected, you will see raised lesions on the leaves and brown spots on the fruits.
Using fungicides high in copper, such as copper oxychloride or mancozeb, is highly recommended when dealing with scab disease. You should ensure good cultivation practices for your plants, including proper watering control and fertilization techniques. Prune off diseased branches and dispose of them properly.
Image Credits; Avocado Disease Identification
These are sunken, discolored lesions on the bark of avocado trees. They can spread very quickly and kill your tree if not treated immediately.
The best way to treat these is by pruning off diseased branches and disposing of them properly. You should ensure good cultivation practices for your plants, including proper watering control and fertilization techniques.
Fruit rot is a disease that affects the fruit of your avocado tree. It is caused by bacteria which results in sunken lesions on fruits. When infected, the fruits start turning gray to black, accompanied by a foul rot smell on the avocado fruit.
To manage fruit rot disease, you should use certified seeds from trusted sources like Avodemia. You should ensure good cultivation practices for your plants, like disinfected tools and cuttings. It would help if you also considered proper watering control and fertilization.
Effects of Pests and Diseases on Avocado Plants in Kenya
Avocado pests are a serious issue and should always be controlled before getting out of hand. If allowed to run rampant, they can cause severe damage to the avocado tree. They may also have the following effects;
- A heavy attack may lead to crop failure because avocado trees are highly susceptible to pests and diseases.
- Reduced yields; Yields can be drastically reduced if pests and diseases are not controlled.
- Reduced quality of the fruit; Damaged leaves, branches, and fruits will lead to a decrease in the quality of your avocado crop.
- Virus transmitting; Avocado pests may also transmit viruses that could kill the tree. Bacterial cankers, crown gall, and powdery mildew are diseases that avocado pests can transmit.
- Reproducing Predators; Sometimes pests will harbor more significant and more dangerous predators than them! For this reason, it is always best to treat your Avocado tree as soon as you see the first sign of pest activity before it gets out of hand.
Pests and diseases can cause significant damage to avocado plants. It is essential to control them before they get out of hand. Using certified seeds from trusted sources, good cultivation practices like disinfected tools and cuttings, proper watering control, and fertilization are essential in preventing pests and diseases. Preventing pests and diseases will also ensure that avocado farmers who practice farming commercially have a good income stream.