Avocado trees require less pruning than other tree species, but there are still benefits to the practice. Prune avocado trees to stimulate new growth, control their height, prevent frost damage, correct a growth pattern, open up the tree to more sunlight and encourage good health. Pruning is not about simply cutting anything and everything--it needs to be done in a controlled manner and at the right time for the best results.
Prune avocado trees in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Do not prune them in the late summer or early fall or you will make the trees susceptible to freezing injuries and encourage the growth of green foliage.
Remove deadwood as soon as it's noticed, no matter that time of year it is. Diseased and damaged wood can result in more widespread damage. Cutting it off where it meets healthy wood will encourage new growth.
Wait to prune avocado trees that may have suffered frost damage. They may rejuvenate in the spring, so don't make any cuts in the late winter until you know for sure that the damage is permanent.
Correct unruly or unbalanced growth. Cut off limbs if the avocado tree is growing tall without branching, growing sideways or forming an unbalanced shape.
Pinch back the terminal (end) buds on upright shoots to force them to grow out sideways, creating a bush-like shape. Pinching back the ends will promote immediate growth right next to the pinched section.
Go through the avocado tree and prune branches that are growing in a crisscross manner or rubbing against one another. Avocados tend to grow thick, preventing sunlight penetration. Cut 1/3 off smaller branches to encourage new growth.