Understand the Avocado Growth Cycle Before You Prune

  • Apr 22, 2013

When pruning avocado tree it’s important to understand the avocado tree growth cycles.

  • The most productive leaves grow on the outside of trees, as avocado leaves respond very slowly to changes in light levels
  • Leaves on the outside of the tree are exposed to light for most of the day and, therefore, contribute the most photosynthate to the tree. Hass avocado trees have natural tendencies as broad-spreading trees, as they only have moderate apical dominance
  • Avocado trees grow in a rhythmic pattern, where the main branch forms identical branches and flowers are borne laterally, with little effect on the vegetative-shoot system
  • Shoot growth is periodic — shoots grow, then stop, and grow, then stop. This is important to recognize, as when shoots stop growing, flowers are established.
  • Shoot growth can be unbranched (proleptic) or branched (sylleptic), depending on different growth patterns
  • Unbranched shoots (proleptic) occur after a period of bud dormancy, once the shoot stops growing
  • Multi-branched shoots (sylleptic) have no dormant period, and branches simultaneously grow with the shoot tip (the shoot does not stop growing)
  • Shoot growth appears to be predetermined, with only a certain number of nodes (leaves and buds) produced before the shoot stops growing