Avocado Plant help!

joels2July 20, 2014

I have an avocado plant that I've been growing for about two years. Maybe one year ago, I chopped off the top of it (I read that this would encourage it to grow outward rather than upward).

It is indeed growing outward now, but only from the top... now it is shaped like a T. The two horizontal branches are getting long and heavy enough that I am worried it will split down the middle!

What can I do? Prune? Where?

Also: I have a stake in its pot, since the trunk is not very strong. Without the stake it would probably fall over. Is there anything I can do to encourage its trunk to grow thicker?

Picture related.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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christine1950

It does need to be pruned, you should have pruned it before it got that tall, its nice and full, you will get some great advice from Josh or Al and other members...
Christine

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 1:45PM
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christine1950

I found a post for you to check out.....
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/houseplt/msg111108016368.html?149
Christine

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 1:49PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello! Christine is right...and it can easily be pruned. The question to ask is where / how high do you want the branching to begin? In other words, you could whack it down low and start all over; or you could simply nip those long branches back to the trunk (leaving just a couple inches). Whatever you do, do it soon....the season's getting long already.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 8:39PM
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joels2

Hi Josh and Christine,

Thanks for the replies. I think that I will probably cut back the two branches then. I'm a little too nervous about chopping parts of it to cut it at the trunk!

If I cut each branch and leave a few inches on each, I'm guessing it will branch from each of those cuts - that would be great.

Will it branch out from anywhere lower on the trunk, or would I have to cut it off somewhere lower on the trunk for that?

Thanks again,

Joel

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:29PM
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joels2

Well I went for it, gosh I hope it ends up being OK, since I just hacked off a lot of growth!

The inside of the branches was pretty woody, hard to cut through. I hope I didn't mangle the cuts too bad.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:13PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It's very possible that it will backbud lower down the trunk, but the main new growth will occur from the area around the pruned branches....which means that it will still be a wobbly tree with the foliage concentrated at the top. I would take it off the stake, personally, and let the trunk stiffen a bit after the pruning. If it becomes imbalanced again, put the stake at the edge of the pot on the side opposite the lean, then loosely tie it. Allowing a bit of "play" in the trunk will help strengthen if not thicken it.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:14PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It looks fine. Even if those two cut branches don't backbud, I guarantee there will be new growth - and you should see it within 2 - 3 weeks. There are plenty of leaves left on the tree for photosynthesis, so have no fear.

Let it off the stake to see how it does.

How are you fertilizing?

Josh

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:16PM
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joels2

Thanks Josh! I read the thread that Christine posted. It certainly seems that you know what you are talking about. I appreciate the guidance and your reassurance. This plant is one out of many failed attempts to sprout an avocado pit, so it has some sentimental value to me :)

Since chopping it, it doesn't seem like it needs the stake, so I will pull it out.

When I re-potted it about a month ago I used miracle gro potting soil, it sounds like it has fertilizer in it. After re-potting it put on a LOT of growth in the branches I just cut.

Before re-potting, I was putting miracle gro "liquid houseplant food" (it says 8-7-6 on the back) every once in a while. No real schedule... just when I thought about it. Maybe once a month or so?

I can tell when it needs water, because it gets a little droopy. It's probably the thirstiest plant that I have.

Again - very much appreciate your advice.

Joel

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:49PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

You're welcome.
Yes, those large leaves will droop when the plant needs water. I recommend that you get yourself some different fertilizer, and then apply it according to the directions on the package.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 12:06AM
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christine1950

Good job Joel, I look forward to seeing pictures when it starts to grow. Its amazing how attached we become to our plants LOL...
Christine

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:32AM
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mcrespo

My potted avocado plant is about 7 feet tall and about 6 yrs old. It was basically a house plant; but last year I put it outside during the summer for the first time. So I put it outside this summer, and it started to droop. I have been giving it a lot of tlc, hoping it would recover. Its in partial shade and in some gentle rain but still has not revovered. It's only been outside for a week now.....help!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 3:36PM
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mcrespo

My potted avocado plant is about 7 feet tall and about 6 yrs old. It was basically a house plant; but last year I put it outside during the summer for the first time. So I put it outside this summer, and it started to droop. I have been giving it a lot of tlc, hoping it would recover. Its in partial shade and in some gentle rain but still has not revovered. It's only been outside for a week now.....help!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:19AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

How often - and how thoroughly - are you watering?
That tree has a LOT of leaf-surface and it is going to move a lot of water.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:13PM
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joels2

mcrespo, if it is drooping it is probably thirsty. Nice plant! I'd love for mine to get that sized.

Josh -
There is some back budding starting to show on my plant! I'm going to give it some more time to grow, then post some pictures.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:39AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Excellent to hear!
Be sure to give it a little fertilizer now that it is showing new growth :-)

Josh

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:02PM
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joels2

Well, here's a picture.

I think I pruned the branch on the right a little too short, but I'm not too worried about that. It's hard to tell in the picture, but there's a new shoot coming out a little further down.

I'm excited for what it's going to look like in a month!

Thanks again Josh! :)

Joel

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:32PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Very nice! Look at that new growth!
If you rotate the tree 180 degrees, you can get the growth to turn the other way (toward the light). Judging by the phototropism occurring, it could use a stronger source of light.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 3:09AM
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christine1950

It grew so fast, looks good,, you've done a great job.
Christine

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 7:30AM
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mcrespo

My tree has recovered, will have to bring it in before it gets too cold it may be too tall and wide too bring thru the door we will see.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 7:06PM
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mcrespo

My tree has recovered, will have to bring it in before it gets too cold it may be too tall and wide too bring thru the door we will see.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 7:07PM
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