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How and when to prune an avocado tree in Australia


Avocado tree pruning is something that only really needs to be done for aesthetic purposes, or because you want to keep or maintain it at a certain height. Otherwise, in their natural habitat, avocado trees thrive fine without it. That said, in a pot or in your garden, without regular pruning they can become a little out of control. In this article, we will talk you through what you need to know.

Avocado tree pruning in Australia

Pruning avocado trees in Australia is not so dissimilar to anywhere else. They will naturally grow into large trees, which can make harvesting your fruit a bit of a nightmare. Thus, you will want to keep it at a 2-3-meter height each year. If you are interested in when to prune avocado trees, we will cover that shortly. First, let’s look at the how…

How to trim an avocado tree

How do you prune an avocado tree? Well, avocado pruning is pretty simple really. Here is a list of the basic principles that you will need to follow:

  • Prune horizontal branches that are developing low to the ground as these can hinder your access when collecting fruit
  • Allow light into the tree’s interior but cutting gaps in the canopy
  • Tree’s that grow on a slape should be pruned lower than those on flat land
  • Remove any dead wood as often as possible (much like regular pruning)
  • Spacing the limbs 3 to 4 feet apart is handy for picking inside the tree
  • Eliminate any ‘V’ shaped crotches because these are prone to develop rot
  • Always make major clean cuts inline with the trunk’s contour
  • Always balance your pruning with the side shoot growth, removing strong shoots to allow a central leader
  • Pyramid tree shapes allow better light interception
  • Small pruning cuts made at the optimal time will make your life easier (keep an eye on it)

Pruning avocado trees Australia

Light pruning is the gentle shaping of a tree that can either encourage it to become bushier, or to control its shape. This can be done any time of year to be honest. If you are growing an avocado tree in a pot, be sure to pinch out the rosette leaves every 6” of growth encouraging side growth and giving it a fuller shape.

Light pruning for avocados grown outside will require removing dead branches and trying to keep it away from other plants.

Pruning avocado trees to keep them small

Pruning an avocado to keep it short is a popular choice among many gardeners as they can indeed growth incredibly tall if left unchecked. You should prune every year at least once in this case. That said, you will need to take a couple of cuts if you wish to keep the tree around 15 ft.

Pruning small avocado tree

Pruning small avocado trees may require heavy pruning if you wish to keep it from growing large. This is particularly important if it was planted within reach of power lines. It might seem like a fair distance away not, but if left unchecked your small avocado tree will no longer be so.

Avocado tree maintenance

Avocado tree maintenance is pretty standard to be honest. You must water deeply and regularly; however, let the tree dry out before you water it again. You should also avoid fertilising your avocado tree in the first year. You can afford to give it time to establish before feeding it anything other than water.

When do you prune avocado trees in Australia?

When is the best time to prune an avocado tree? Well, the best time is anytime! So long as you are doing light pruning that is. If you would like to do heavy pruning, then it is likely best that you wait until the late winter or spring time. This is because it is just before the active growing period for an avocado.

Can you cut the top off an avocado tree?

Can you cut the top off an avocado tree? The short answer is yes. You can snip the top off of the avocado tree particularly when it reaches around 12” in height. Cut it back by half. Once the tree has produced a number of fruit crops, you can remove the entire top of the tree and then keep it pruned yearly and at a reasonable height. Just remember that cutting the top off will encourage upward growth as opposed to stunt it, so you will need to keep pruning regularly after that.


A tree pruning expert may be your best bet if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by how much there is to learn about pruning avocados trees in Australia. That said, if you really want to give it a try then following the advice mentioned above should give you a pretty good start. In any case, a reputable arborist like Lakeside Trees and Stumps will be able to step in and assist you should you lose your confidence.

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