Avocado Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Los Angeles, Ca
Avatar for julie_becky
Question by julie_becky
August 30, 2010
I will be moving in to a home in October that has an avocado tree about 20 ft tall and it has branches hanging down to the ground. How do we trim this tree down by removing all branches hanging and making the tree smaller since it is a small backyard without damaging the tree?
Thank you :-)

Answer from NGA
August 30, 2010
Your avocado tree can be pruned in early spring (March in your region). Take a good look at your tree before you prune. The low hanging branches might be shading the trunk from hot sunshine and if you remove them completely, your tree may suffer sunburn. If the bark on the trunk looks mature, you can go ahead and remove the lower limbs but if the bark is still tender (you can push your fingernail through it), you may want to simply shorten the branches rather than remove them completely. If you do decide to remove limbs and branches, cut the branch just above the collar (swelling where the branch is attached to the trunk or limb) to prevent infection.
Once you have removed dead, damaged or crossing branches you can shorten the remaining branches to lower the height of the tree. The general rule of thumb is to remove no more than one third of the live growth in any one pruning session. If you need to reduce the size more than this, plan on pruning again the following spring. Enjoy your new home and landscape!

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