Question: Hi. What is necessary to increase our harvest for our nicely aged avocado tree? We are getting a nice harvest, however we request guidance on pruning and fertilizing and general care. And, how soon do we cut the tree back?

Answer: If your tree is producing fruit, about the only way to increase fruit production is to have a second tree. Here's why: Avocado flowers appear in January - March before the first seasonal growth, in terminal panicles of 200 - 300 small yellow-green blooms. Each panicle will produce only one to three fruits. The flowers are perfect, but are either receptive to pollen in the morning and shed pollen the following afternoon (type A), or are receptive to pollen in the afternoon, and shed pollen the following morning (type B). About 5% of flowers are defective in form and sterile. Production is best with cross-pollination between types A and B. The flowers attract bees and hoverflies and pollination usually good except during cool weather. Off-season blooms may appear during the year and often set fruit. Some cultivars bloom and set fruit in alternate years.

Without knowing which type you are growing, I can't make a recommendation for a second tree.

Young avocado trees should be fed four times a year, older trees twice a year (once in late winter and once in early summer). Use a general purpose tree fertilizer such as an 8-8-8 in amounts as recommended on the fertilizer label.

The skirts of avocado trees are sometimes trimmed to discourage rodents, but otherwise the trees are usually never pruned. Branches exposed to sun by defoliation are extraordinarily susceptible to sunburn and will surely die. Such branches should always be whitewashed. It is better to avoid pruning at all.

Hope this information is helpful!

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