Avocado trees are beneficial to a landscape, providing delicious harvest, aesthetic beauty and shade on hot days. These trees grow fast, with dense foliage reaching heights of 80 feet if they are not maintained or pruned properly. Different varieties can tolerate different climates or regions. For example, the Guatemalan can survive in freezing temperatures, but most avocado varieties cannot. When caring for an avocado plant, it is important to understand how to water the tree properly and fertilize.
Water avocado trees so that the top few inches of soil are wet. Let them dry out before watering again. Stick your finger into the soil to see if it is dry before you add water. Only water during the growing season, using a slow-drip system, if available, so the water will reach deep into the ground for two or three hours.
Mulch about 4 inches around the avocado tree each spring, mulching outwards all the way to the tips of the avocado tree's canopy. Never let mulch touch the tree's trunk.
Fertilize the avocado tree every spring, using a slow-release fertilizer that is formulated for citrus trees. Follow the instructions, depending on your tree's age. Do not fertilize avocado trees that are less than two years old.
Prune avocado trees only when you need to control the height, or if there is dead or diseased branches on the tree. Prune during the dormant season before flowering or fruiting occurs. Prune by cutting branches thicker than 1 1/2 inches in diameter with pruning shears, back to the base. Prune smaller branches smaller than this with pruning scissors.
Provide protection for avocado trees, if necessary, depending on the variety. For example, Guatemalan and Mexicola avocado trees can withstand freezing temperatures, but many other varieties such as the popular Hass cannot withstand temperatures lower than 32 degrees F. Protect from frost with a tree cover, which you can buy at garden centers. Take particular care to protect young avocado trees.