How to Prune an Avocado Plant: Expert Tips for a Lovely Look

Trimming avocado leaves to keep them small

Although avocado plants need pruning, they don’t need a lot of it, just minimal pruning to maintain their shape, balance, easy access, and encourage high fruit production. That’s why knowing how to prune an avocado plant is important for an avocado grower.

We encourage gardeners to prune their avocado trees from late winter to early spring so your tree can recover quickly from pruning stress as it enters its active growth. Remember, always avoid under-pruning or over-pruning your avocado plant. 

How to Prune an Avocado Plant

Before you even start pruning your avocado plant, ensure it’s the right season for pruning, which is late winter to early spring when the plant is about to enter its active growth phase. Pruning during winter or fall can expose your avocado plant to frost and cold temperatures. 

Additionally, ensure your pruning tools are clean and disinfected. Another thing to note is that sick trees should be pruned separately from healthy trees to prevent the spread of bacterial or fungal diseases. You can use hand pruners for small trees and loppers for avocado trees with thick branches.

  • Assess the CanopyHow to trim avocado leaves


Begin by assessing the overall structure and shape of your avocado plant. Get closer to the tree trunk so you can observe the inside part of the canopy. This will help you identify the areas that need pruning.

  • Remove Any Diseased or Dead Branches

Remove all the diseased or dead branches. This will help prevent the spread of diseases and encourage healthy growth.

  • Thin Out the Canopy

Avocado trees tend to develop dense canopies. This inhibits the sunlight from reaching the lower branches. So, thin out the overcrowded areas to allow sunlight to penetrate and reach the bottom branches.

However, be careful not to create too many open areas in the canopy, as this could expose some branches to harsh sunlight. A pyramidal or conical tree canopy shape is best for even sun penetration. 

  • Remove Competing Vertical Shoots 

Remove any vertical shoots from branches or stems. This will help to encourage a strong trunk, maintain a balanced structure, and prevent your tree from becoming top-heavy.

  • Balance Branch Length

Trim branches that are longer than others. This will make your avocado tree look proportional and aesthetically pleasing. 

  • Spot Fruit Bearing Branches

    Heavy pruning avocado tree


Prune the foliage around your fruit-bearing branches to ensure they receive ample sunlight, thus enhancing fruit production. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Cut Off the Top of My Avocado Plant?

Topping or cutting off the top of the avocado plant is not recommended because it can lead to several issues, like developing vertical shoots that can lead to an imbalanced tree. Furthermore, this can also lead to reduced fruit production, as an avocado tree needs a balanced structure to support fruit-bearing branches.

How Much Can You Prune an Avocado Tree?

When pruning an avocado tree, you should not remove more than 25% of its canopy in a single pruning session. Over-pruning can lead to reduced growth and a decline in your plant’s health.

Why is it Important to Prune Avocado Trees?

Pruning is important for several reasons: It helps maintain a desirable shape and structure of the tree, allows sunlight to penetrate easily to the inner parts of the tree, stimulates new growth in older trees, and controls the size of the tree.

Final Thoughts

Pruning your avocado tree is an important task that enhances the beauty and health of your plant. By knowing how to prune an avocado plant, you will create lush and vibrant trees that yield delicious fruits. 

Prune your tree at the right time, and to avoid under-pruning or over-pruning, use techniques like selective pruning, which is pruning the areas that need trimming. 


Author Profile

🌿 Hello! I'm Mary, the nature-loving soul behind Serene Eden. Gardener, plant whisperer, compost connoisseur, sun-soaked plant enthusiast, and avid bee-watcher. Let's cultivate beauty, one bloom at a time. 🌱🌼