Prune young avocado trees (Persea americana) in the spring prior to blooming or in the first summer after fruit have set. Minor pruning can be done at any given time, but avoid heavy pruning late in the season to stop stimulating growth that is too vulnerable to cold weather. Avocado trees require little pruning, only to spread the shape of the tree or even maintain its health. Since avocados fruit on new development, severe pruning reduces fruit yield.
Clean pruning tools and dip them in a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water before use and between cuts.
Remove dead, diseased or damaged branches, cutting just beyond the branch collar. Start looking for healthy, green wood in the cut. If the wood is brown, more cutting is needed.
Prune back branches that rub or cross another branch. Choose one division to abandon in place and remove the other in a combined or the back.
Cut away branches which form a V shape in the crotch. These branches will be weak and vulnerable to wind damage, if left.
Trim the tips of branches to encourage branching and new development. Make this cut just beyond a grass.
Skirt the tree, removing the smallest branches and any branches that touch the ground.
Break off bananas that appear beneath the graft. These sprouts symbolize the main stock and sap strength from the tree.