Pruning young avocado trees should be done sparingly. In fact, this is also true for mature trees. The type of pruning that will be required will solely depend on the variety of avocado. Varieties such as Hass and Zutuno have a habit of growing straight and tall with a medium sized canopy. Varieties such as Ricon have spreading canopies. Severe pruning will lead to lower yields of fruit and may take a year or two for trees of any age to recover. Care is required when pruning a young avocado tree.
Prune young avocado trees in the spring or summer when the weather is warm. Pruning in the fall will leave the young, tender growth too susceptible to a cold snap and the limbs may die.
Sterilize and sharpen your loppers or pruning shears. Dipping the blades into a 50/50 solution of bleach and water will be sufficient to kill any bacteria remaining on them. Otherwise, you may infest the freshly cut limbs with a disease.
Trim off any dead wood on the young avocado tree. Snip off the entire branch, if dead, leaving approximately a 1-inch knob still attached to the trunk.
Cut off any branches that are crossing over each other. Select one of the crossing branches you would like to remove and prune it flesh to the trunk to inhibit new growth.
Prune off any branches that are sprouting out right above the grafted area on the trunk. This will shape the young tree and eliminate low branches from growing out of the bottom of the trunk area.
Snip off the tips of limbs right above the leaf eye. This will promote the young avocado to grow bushier and contain its size. The cut area will develop several new branches sprouting out from it.
Cut any young branches that will develop making the avocado tree have a weak crotch area when fully mature. Open up the crotch by pruning off the offending limb, making the area a bit wider.