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How to Prune Florida Avocado Trees

Avocados (Persea Americana) are well suited for Florida’s warm, tropical climate. Native to the tropical America’s, avocados grow well in the frost-free areas of the state. They were first reported being transported into the state in the early 1800s. The general rule of thumb with pruning avocados is less is better. Too much pruning can affect next season's fruiting. It is best to prune a Florida avocado tree when it is only necessary and allow the tree to grow in its natural form.

Clean your pruning shears or loppers with a solution of 50 percent bleach and 50 percent water, to sterilize them. This will remove any bacteria or fungus that might be present and keep disease from the avocado tree.

Prune the avocado in early spring through early summer. Pruning any later can stimulate new growth that will be susceptible to injury if a frost or freeze affects your area.

Cut each limb close to a lateral branch. This will stimulate new growth near the cut. If pruning part of a branch, make your cut right above a leaf eye.

Prune young avocado varieties that grow tall, such as bacon and Anaheim, to promote the tree to spread instead of putting its energy into growing tall and upright. Prune back to the terminal bud on any shoots that are growing upright. This will contain the tree's height and make picking the fruit easier.

Prune any branches that are hanging too low and will interfere with mowing the area around them.

Cut off any deadwood that is on the avocado tree. Cutting away deadwood will help prevent Dothiorella rot, which can affect the fruit and cause it to decay.

Prune trees that have produced fruit for several years, back to 10 to 15 feet tall. Cut back several of the taller limbs to their original crotch. This will help in the loss of lower limbs because of lack of sunlight and help control the tree’s size.

Prune the avocado tree once the fruit has been harvested, if needed. Severe pruning will not damage the tree, but can decrease the production of fruit for several seasons.

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