How to Trim an Avocado Tree


Proper trimming of an avocado tree helps keep the tree healthy by removing dead, diseased and damaged wood. It helps shape the tree and maintain tree size in the landscape. Trimming out interior branches opens the tree to more light and improved air circulation. Light trimming can be done at any time, but major pruning should be done during the winter months. Extensive trimming needed after frost damage should wait until spring, when the extent of the damage will be evident.

Winter Trimming

Step 1

Trim away dead wood. Use sharp pruning shears or a small hand saw to cut into the living wood just above a vigorous sprout.

Step 2

Remove the tallest branches as desired to control the height of the tree. Trees that are too tall are harder to harvest.

Step 3

Trim the outside of the tree only as needed to shape the tree. Avocado fruit are produced on the ends of the outside twigs, so remove these only as necessary to control the size and shape of the tree.

Step 4

Trim interior branches as needed to open the interior to air and light. Remove whole branches, cutting them off cleanly at the source.

Spring and Summer Trimming

Step 1

Examine the tree for signs of frost damage if a severe frost has occurred.

Step 2

Trim away dead wood. New sprouts will occur from live wood in the spring. Trim the tree back to just above these live sprouts.

Step 3

Trim away small twigs and damaged branches throughout the spring and summer as needed. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make a clean cut. Do not crush the wood. Use a small hand saw for larger branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, sharp pruning shears
  • Small hand saw, clean


  • Santa Barbara County Extension: Avocado Pruning
  • University of California Extension: Freeze Damage in Citrus and Avocados
Keywords: trimming avocado trees, how to trim an avocado tree, how to prune an avocado tree, prunning avocado trees

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.