What Happens If You Don’t Prune an Avocado Plant?

Leaves of young avocado trees close-up. Hothouse plant

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What happens if you don’t prune an avocado plant? It is a question I get many times each week. Many individuals who have planted an avocado seed are curious about the best approach to care for it. 

In their search for information, they have undoubtedly come across Pinterest infographics stating that once a young avocado tree reaches a certain height, it is pruned. Trimming your avocado tree, a plant you have seen develop from seed may be extremely unsettling. 

Should you thus prune your new avocado plant? Keep reading to find out.

Will Anything Happen If I Don’t Prune an Avocado Tree?

Hand cutting a plant with scissors

Lack of trimming your avocado plant, risk ending up with a tall, slender tree with most of its leaves at the top. Fewer leaves result in less photosynthesis, producing less energy for new growth.

Should An Avocado Plant Be Pruned?

Pruning an avocado plant is often a beneficial practice. As previously stated, the avocado plant’s dead branches and leaves serve no use. Consequently, it is better to remove them using pruning shears or sharp scissors.

Of course, you should refrain from going wild with the pruning since avocado trees naturally lose their leaves. However, you are more than free to eliminate anything that seems brown and otherwise wilted.

A few of the bigger branches near the tree’s crown are pruned down for the lower portions of an avocado tree to get enough sunlight.

It is not required for smaller plants; size is also a factor. In addition, limit severe pruning to once or twice per year to not shock your avocado plant.

How to Properly Prune an Avocado Tree

Valley Rio De La Miel Avocados Tree Andalusia

Based on the season and climate, avocado tree trimming/ pruning may be preventive or heavy. In reality, only in the early summer or spring can skilled gardeners do heavy pruning on avocado plants.

Because if they deplete trees of their leaves during cold seasons such as autumn and winter, temperature dips and frost may damage the trees’ bare trunks.

Major trimming is thus saved for warmer seasons, such as summer or after the tree has just awakened in the early weeks of spring.

Additionally, it is acceptable to do mild pruning throughout the year to assist the tree in shedding dead wood. Let’s examine two approaches to care for your trees and how to trim avocado trees according to the season:

Heavy Pruning

Thin the Canopy Out

Avocado trees are characterized by lush canopies of smooth, dark-green leaves. They cast a shadow on lower branches, preventing them from receiving sufficient sunshine. First, you must prune the top branches to create “windows” within the canopy.

Ensure that you avoid making a large hole in the center. The tree gets distorted and barren when exposed to excessive sunshine. You may build a pyramidal tree form or symmetrical conical for optimal sunlight exposure.

Regulate the Height

Avocados in farm

Each summer, remove just one large branch, beginning with the tallest.

Younger avocado plants with poor root systems shouldn’t increase height much in their first few years, so prune the top carefully using loppers.

You may need to continue this technique over three to four years. Still, eventually, your avocado will be big and solid enough to support a massive edifice without difficulty.

Aim for Symmetry

Like a talented artist, sometimes take a step back and see your work from afar. Be careful while removing branches from both ends, and always track how many you trim.

Creating a symmetrical design and even making mirror-image cuts on both sides is vital.

One of the issues associated with asymmetrical trees is imbalanced fruit-bearing, which makes the tree stand unevenly and more vulnerable to high winds and severe weather conditions.

Remove Dead Branches From Their Bases

It is a straightforward endeavor. Simply use loppers or hand pruners to remove dead twigs and branches above their connection to the branch collar or trunk. These undesirable branches use more nutrients, attract pathogens, and may inhibit future development.

Modify the Sides

A large tree may cause issues such as tangles with neighboring trees and roadblocks. Your tree may grow too rapidly and get broader than you can accommodate. Continue trimming wild branches in this scenario.

Focus your pruning shears first on the smaller branches on either side.

Remember that excessive pruning may have a detrimental impact on fruit production for the first 2 years, but the plant will be more prolific after 2 years and compensate for the loss.

Extreme trimming may make the tree permanently incapable of producing fruit.

Preventive Pruning

Avocado Tree background

Occasional minor pruning in all months reduces the need for major pruning, which is achievable only in the summer and spring. When avocado plants are excessively pruned, the fruit output is reduced, which may be problematic.

Therefore, regular light pruning is a much safer kind of treatment:

Using hand pruners, remove growing tips from locations where you want to halt growth.

Before spring, you may prune the base of water shoots. Without these leafy branches, they may grow in the bark vertically. Thus, you can maintain lateral and controlled avocado development.

Unanticipated wind or fruit weight may cause fractures. Broken branches are removed from their base to address minor limb damage.

Thinning cuts” is A technique that allows you to control rapidly growing branches and pare them down to their principal subtending branches.

Wrap Up

Always prune with a reason and avoid over-and-under- and pruning avocado plants while doing tree pruning. Also, remember that what appears to work for one plant may not work for another; pruning must be conducted case-by-case since no two avocado plants are identical.

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Willow Dunham

Willow Dunham

Hi, my name is Willow Dunham, and I'm an avocado tree grower. I live in Florida with my girlfriend, Jane, and we have a big yard with 5 avocado trees. Avocado has always been one of my favorite foods. I love the taste and how versatile it is.

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