The Avocado is Branching Out

Remember when I wrote about chopping the top of my avocado off? (No? You didn’t read that post, you say? Well, here’s the link in case you need a reminder.)

Here’s what the avocado looked like after its haircut:

And here’s how it looks today!

(Ignore the sunburnt citrus trees behind it.)

It’s branching out! How exciting! I really wasn’t sure this would work, given my last experience with cutting the top off of an avocado. I think the important difference between last time and this time, is that last time, I followed instructions that said you should prune it back by half when it gets 12-inches tall. This meant cutting off all the leaves which seemed odd, but…. I did as I was told. And it definitely didn’t work. The tree survived, but it didn’t branch, it just created a new single leader.

This time, I waited until there were over 10 leaves on the avocado, and it was about 2 feet tall, and then I cut off just the top along with the top four leaves.

Success! Now that I have three stems or branches instead of one stem, next year, I can prune the tips off of these three stems/branches and create three more branches off of those branches. That will give me nine branches, which, the following year, I can prune the tips off of and get 27 branches (!)…that’s how it works right? This will be fun experiment.

Making A Bushier Avocado

My avocado plant is growing pretty tall, and everything that I’ve read about avocados tells me I should cut down the stem to encourage side shoots.

I tried this once with a different avocado. Something that I read said that once it gets to be about 6 inches tall, cut off the stem to encourage side shoots. I tried that, and this is what happened:

Not exactly what I had in mind.

I ended up giving that avocado to my dad. It’s doing fine, but just looks a little funny with the kink in its trunk.

So, with my current avocado, I decided *not* to cut it off when it got 6 inches tall.

….But then….the peer pressure got to me. It seems like everyone says you should prune it to encourage bushier growth. And I do want a bushier plant.

This excerpt is from Plants from Pits (it’s not my favorite book, but I got it from the library before COVID-19 happened, and now the libraries are closed, so I’m working with what I’ve got):

My tree now has 14 leaves, so I decided today is the day to prune it.

Eeek

Be brave…

Blurry again. My camera is focusing on the wrong thing.
I’m trying to take a picture of the plant, obviously, not the side of my neighbor’s house.

I initially just took one leaf and the top off, like the book said. But Stuff You Need to Know says “Prune the tree in such a way to leave many leaves, but prune enough above a leaf so that there are budding areas around the stem.” There were two other leaves very close to the cut I made, and I’m not sure there were any “budding areas” around the stem up there.

So, I took off a little more:

That should leave plenty of stem with budding areas, right? Let’s hope so.

Here’s the final product:

Do you think my avocado tree will ever look like this?