Most of the bay trees in my neighborhood have been wiped out by Laurel Wilt disease over the last few years.
Here’s one in the middle of succumbing:
And here’s one that’s bit the dust:
I’ve also seen multiple avocado trees knocked out by this blight. It isn’t cool.
Growing avocados used to be easy provided it didn’t get too cold. No longer.
In the last few years we’ve picked up major problems with citrus (greening), avocados (laurel wilt) and ended up with a nasty and voracious fruit-tree eating beetle (Sri Lankan Weevil) as well.
I would love to cast blame somewhere, but the only thing I can really blame is international trade rather than local production.
And honestly, I don’t want to go without Colombian coffee, so I can’t cast blame as I’d like…
Anyhow, avocados are no longer a good choice for your yard. They tend to hit hit by beetles as they near maturity and really get into bearing age, say around 6 years or so. Younger trees are generally less affected.
No matter how hard we work at our gardening, there’s always something new right around the corner that wants to destroy what we build. Just another proof that this world isn’t paradise.
My two cents on fighting back:
Plant extra trees in case something happens to one or two of them. Plant a wide variety of crops. Don’t do monocultures. Start trees from seed and plant them everywhere. Keep an eye on everything. And don’t count on any one thing as a sure thing.
Going for a permaculture approach makes a lot of sense. If you’re looking for a place to start, I highly recommend Toby Hemenway’s book Gaia’s Garden. Buy a copy and prepare to be inspired.
Good luck keeping things alive. Savor that guacamole when you can get it.
Support this site: shop on Amazon using this link. It doesn’t cost you a penny and it helps pay for my hosting!
Ya man that disease wiped out a ton of Florida red bay trees near one of my dads properties in central Florida. Good thing is that there are tons of baby trees coming up. Hopefully the disease and beetles run their coarse before the little trees get large. Here in Sarasota there isn't many if any native bay trees so I cannot tell how the disease is effecting this area. Tons of avocado trees around but they seem as healthy as they've ever been really. Hopefully they continue to thrive. Some well producing trees around here. Luckily there are tons of other fruit trees here. The citrus though has taking a beating across the board. Most trees appear to be dying and or are just crappy looking. Yet they still produce for the time being. I only have a plumelo in my yard and two avocados. All are too young to produce yet. I assume next year maybe my seed grown star fruit will fruit. Approximately 3-4 years old and getting quite large. Fingers crossed!
Good luck. Extra nutrition may help with the citrus… I've heard that's one angle growers are using.
I have three baby avocado trees, which I am going to put in three opposite corners of my 1/3rd acre yard. I don't know if that will help but MORE TREES GOOD, right?
Can't. Stop. Planting. Trees.
Growing up in Volusia county bay trees were very common. My father was born in Ormond in 1912. His dad in 1890. They were old Florida crackers that taught us kids how to use bay to smoke mullet. Gives the mullet a distinct smokey flavor. These days with the developement and the wilt, I have stopped using bay to smoke fish. They are just getting to rare to use for smoking mullet.
Yeah… it’s really a shame. I bet they would be a great smoking wood.
There seems to be some kind of wilt, blight or black mold affecting everything here as well. It doesn’t seem to discriminate, either, as it affects gardenia’s, tomatoes, cherries, citrus, cinnamon basil, tomatillos, pears, peaches, apples and even my mulberries. I lost one Avocado seedling to it as well. I have since been spraying with Neem oil and it seems to be working. Effected plants are flushing new growth after one treatment and I’m spraying on a seven day schedule just to be sure. I know the pain of citrus greening, I lost my first citrus trees I grew from youth and several others since. They came back from their root stock but aren’t edible. Thinking about making a fruit cocktail tree.