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Effective Tips For Pruning Avocado

Pruning avocado tree could be both easy and difficult, depending on your experiences and how much you know about it. For those who are new, there are certain things that you have to follow to trim your avocado tree correctly. Just several useful tips that you have to follow, let’s see the effective tips for pruning avocado below.

Why Pruning Avocado Tree?

You have a lot of reasons to prune your avocado trees, mainly because it is beneficial for the trees’ health. So here are some of the reasons why you should trim your avocado trees:

  • Knowing how to prune an avocado is a necessary process for its production.
  • Pruning keeps the trees at a manageable height for easy maintenance and increases fruit production.
  • When you prune the tree, you also remove damaged or dead branches from the trees. It helps avoid blocking sunlight to healthy limbs, and it also increases the aesthetic appeal of the tree as well.
  • When you prune tall branches, you encourage their growth to be at a more beneficial height. And the long branches that you prune also encourage the direction of energy into fruit instead of longer boughs.

General Avocado Pruning Principles:

Before anything, there are some ground rules that you have to know about. This is to ensure that you have an idea of what you should and should not do. Some of the basic principles of trimming avocado trees are:

  • Remove dead wood as much as possible.
  • If you want to trim back the height, trim the tallest branch off the tree.
  • Push light into the tree interior by cutting the “windows” in the canopy.
  • Prune heavily only during spring or early summer, and this is to prevent shock.
  • Make sure that each major cut that you make is clean and in line with the trunk contour.
  • If your avocado trees grow on slopes, you should prune them to a lower height than trees on flat land.
  • Prune horizontal branches that are developing low to the ground because they interfere with tree access.
  • When trimming, make sure to space the main limbs around 3 to 4 feet apart. This is to allow access inside the tree.
  • Remember that pruning needs to balance the side-shoot growth, and you need to remove strong upright water shoots. Doing so allows the trees to achieve a good central-leader shape.
  • It is common to see small limb breakages from time to time due to strong winds or other reasons. Fix the matter by cutting away the branch at its base, removing the entire branch completely.
  • Don’t fertilize the tree after a heavy pruning, especially when you prune it more than usual in a year. When you do heavy pruning, it already encourages more foliage naturally. So if you add fertilizer, it could lead to a dangerously high amount of leaf growth.

How To Prune An Avocado Tree

Some people grow avocado as a houseplant, and even so, the caring is not different when growing them outdoors. Simply put, pruning avocado tree indoors is not different from trimming avocado tree outdoors.

Preparation Pruning

Avocado trees take anywhere from 5 to 20 years to produce fruit, so you want to shape them well. During the years between planting and fruit production, you want to prepare them to be at their best. Every cut you make early on will affect the shape of your avocado trees in years to come. This is why it is important to decide what shape you want to encourage them to grow when they finally produce fruits.

Preventive Pruning

When it is still early, use your hand pruners to cut away any growing tips in areas where you don’t want new branches. This method reduces the need for major pruning which will be beneficial for your trees. Frequent thinning cuts are better when it comes to keeping the avocado tres’ growth in check. Mainly, because heavy pruning tends to lower the fruit yield and make the tree grow back faster. So it is better to frequently cut the tips instead.

Production Boost Pruning

One way to keep your avocado tree healthy and fruit-bearing for years to come is by pruning. All you need to do is prune them every year during the dormant season. Repeat the process every year, and you will see that your avocado trees are healthier and more fruit-bearing.

Renewal Pruning

The purpose of this pruning is to encourage new growths for far away avocados out there. This method simply gets rid of the old part and makes room for the new healthy part to grow. When each season comes, all you have to do is to remove one or two branches at their point of origin. Choose the tallest avocado tree or the one that is cluttering up in the middle then cut it right out. Don’t worry, and don’t leave a nasty stub or part branch of the tree. Cut it right back to the trunk of the avocado tree.

Then your avocado trees will react to this cut by shooting out fresh new growths from where you cut. The best part is that the next lot of fruits are going to be a lot and reachable.

Trimming Tips

  • You must know which branches that you should trim, and here’s how. You have to prune the branches that point horizontally or inwards. If they don’t point outwards, make sure to get rid of those.
  • Always clean your equipment or instruments between each individual tree when you cut them. Doing this is to prevent the risk of spreading diseases from one avocado tree to the next. You can spray the cutting shears or scissors with diluted bleach or rubbing alcohol, and that is enough.
  • The best time to prune an avocado tree is actually any time if it is light pruning for grooming purposes. In case you want to do heavy pruning, then you may want to wait until late winter or early spring. These times are right before the active growing period for your avocado trees. Another time is to prune your avocado as soon after harvest so that new growth is healthy.
  • Avocado trees come from a warm environment, so there are things to remember when you live in colder areas. If where you live is rather cold, then you should avoid pruning in fall or winter. That is because extremely cold weather can be dangerous for avocado trees when they have open wounds. The best way is to prune earlier in the year so that the trees can heal where you cut them. By the time the cold time comes, there will be some barks growing over the raw wood.

Trimming Avocado Tree To Promote Growth

There are many purposes of pruning avocado tree, and one of which is to promote growth. The best time to promote general growth is to do major pruning in the spring. And if you want your avocado trees to grow taller and wider, then do the heavy pruning in the summer. The methods below will be beneficial for your avocados, and those are:

Crown Lifting

The trick about this pruning method is that it is more beneficial for smaller trees as it is rather dangerous for larger trees. Crown lifting is the method of removing branches from overgrowing sidewalks or homes if they are near your house. You will only need to apply this method to groom several trees so that their branches start at the same aesthetic height.

Crown Reduction

It is quite normal for small twigs to grow out of larger branches, but sometimes they are out of proportion. This is why you need to do the crown reduction method so that you won’t have to worry about unnecessary growth. That way, you won’t have to worry about those little twigs weighing down the higher branches at all. No top-heavy branches also means healthier avocado tree growth, just the way you like it.

Crown Thinning

This activity can be done by removing smaller branches from the top of the tree. Doing so allows the canopy branches to get more fresh air and sunlight where the production is highest. It is a nice method to carry out when your avocado branches are too thick.

Dead Pruning

Just like the name suggests, dead pruning refers to when you remove all the dead, discolored, or diseased branches. As you probably already know, doing is important for your avocado trees’ health. At the same time, it is also safe for you, your kids, or your pets to be around. There are times when unexpected dead branches or limbs fall from above. This is not something that you want to happen so make sure to remove all dead limbs.

Staghorning / Stumping

As for this method, it is rather more common for large production companies when the avocado trees reach a certain height. Sometimes their fruits tend to be smaller and harder or more dangerous to get to. This is when you need to cut them off at around 15 or 20 feet of height. Doing so encourages nutrient flow to the lower branches to promote better fruit production.

Things You Need When You Prune Avocado Trees

For those who are new to avocado trees, there is certain equipment that you need to have. Proper materials mean convenient and safe pruning, and they are also the items that you should have for long-term use as well. Some of the most useful equipment for pruning are all below so take a look.

Hand Pruners

The great thing about hand pruners is that they are convenient and simple to use. This type of trimmer is comfortable in hands, and they are ideal for first-timers. Hand pruners allow you to pay attention to the details so that you can precisely trim the branches. There is a wide range of high-quality hand pruners for avocado trees out there, feel free to check them out.


If your avocado trees are tall, then you will need a ladder to assist you with the pruning tasks. Depending on how your avocado tree branches grow, you may need to choose the right ladder. If the trunks are large and sturdy, a straight ladder that allows you to lean on the tree trunk will do. In case the avocado trunks are narrow or if the branches are too many, get a step ladder instead. It is advisable to go for a step ladder because it is more convenient and safer to use. And if your avocado trees are tall, definitely choose a telescoping ladder.


So what are the differences between hand pruners and loppers? You can use pruners with one hand, and they are more for smaller branches and stems. Meanwhile, loppers are two-handed tools that you can use for medium-size branches and stems that are too big for hand pruners. Ideally, you need to have both hand pruners and loppers because trimming your avocado trees will require them too. Some branches or stems are big while others are small you can trim them with just one hand.

Outdoor Gloves

It is not easy to prune multiple avocado trees, and it does hurt your hands a lot during the process. This is why you need to have your outdoor gloves to prevent callouses, pain, and other inconvenience. They make things more comfortable and convenient, and you will definitely need garden gloves for your avocado pruning process.

Bottom Line

When pruning avocado trees, remember to always prune them with a purpose. At the same time, avoid over-pruning or under-pruning the trees. Proper pruning will result in healthier and better fruit-bearing quality for your avocado trees. As long as you do it right, the final outcome will be absolutely satisfying. I sure hope that the tips and tricks above are useful for you, be patient and you will love the results.

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