Pruning your avocado tree?

January 31, 2016

Hi folks!  Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted here.  I hope I remember how to use WordPress (I’m kind of a Tumblr person now).  Anyway, I’ve received so many comments and questions about how to care for avocado trees, that I wanted to post the results of how extreme trimming of my tree Xavier went last year.

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This is how Xavier looked on January 13, 2015, right before I pruned him.

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This is how extreme the pruning was.

Xavier always looks kind of bad in the winter time.  I live in a cold climate, and my home gets very chilly.  There is always a lot of leaf drop when it gets cold, but last winter, I felt like Xavier was getting really unhealthy and needed to “start over.”

I am not an expert on plants or anything, but I have had great luck with Xavier and many of the plants I have, so I decided to give it a try.  I was careful to prune with my clean Felco Pruning Shears to make good cuts.  (I clean the shears with rubbing alcohol after every trim – I can’t tell you whether that’s a good thing for the shears or not – only Felco knows for sure, but that’s what I do.)  I didn’t water him very much at all during this time before the leaves grew back, because I felt he was dormant.

It took many weeks for leaves to grow back, but they grew back abundantly, just as when Xavier was healthiest!

I am proud to report that Xavier looks great.  I just took this photo today (January 31, 2016).  You can see Xavier is a lot healthier this winter than he was last winter.  Sure, there are some brown leaves, and there’s been a bit of seasonal leaf-drop, but still!  Just look at my guy here!  I didn’t add any fertilizer or compost this year, either.  Just water!

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Xavier on January 31, 2016.  Looking good!  (I’ve got to lose that Diamond Armor Minecraft mask I made for my son for Halloween years ago!  JEEZ!)

 

Other avocado tree-related posts of mine:

How to grow an avocado tree from seed

Should I prune my avocado tree?

 

 

 

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Should I prune my avocado tree?

March 25, 2013

Avocado tree ready for pruning.

Avocado tree ready for pruning.

Yes.  You should.  I have never had a successful tree past 24″ if I didn’t cut back the tree to encourage multiple branches and a thicker stem.  However, I wouldn’t do it now (in the spring, when buds are forming and new growth is happening).  You may be tempted now, but don’t do it.  Put it on your calendar for the late summer or early fall, or whenever you can really see that the growth has slowed.  I pruned this tree in July.  (I tend to see the most growth on my avocado trees from March – June.)  If there is a compelling reason to do it now, such as the plant is dying, or it’s very tall, but very weak and thin, then use your judgement.

Start with a clean, sharp pruner.  I use a Felco Model2.  Not exactly cheap, but it does a great job.  I’ve had mine for 10+ years now, and it’s still going strong.

Getting ready to prune the avocado tree.

Getting ready to prune the avocado tree.

Prune the tree in such a way to leave many leaves, but prune enough above a leaf so that there are budding areas around the stem.

Leave some leaves on the plant, and cut far enough above a leaf stem so you're not too close to the budding areas between the leaf stem and the main stem.

Leave some leaves on the plant, and cut far enough above a leaf stem so you’re not too close to the budding areas between the leaf stem and the main stem.

Post pruning

This is what the tree looked like post-pruning.

 

New growth, new branches.

In a few weeks, you should see healthy new branches developing!

I really should have put this post out in the late summer, but I just couldn’t wait.  My big guy, Xavier, is in bloom, and I got my mind on my ‘cados and my ‘cados on my mind! (Xavier is not the plant in the pictures above, and as beautiful as his blooms are, I haven’t seen signs of a fruit yet — he is around 5 or so years old, I think.)  Due to a recent move, I got rid of a lot of plants (gave away or composted/otherwise disposed of, depending on the health of the plant, but I just pruned a few feet off Xavier to help him through the move), but Xavier is a true keeper!

Spring 2013 avocado blooms!

Xavier in bloom!

More blooms to come!

More blooms to come!

ALSO SEE:  How to grow an avocado tree from seed and How do you grow a mango tree


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