prunin an old avocado

Asked June 14, 2015, 1:45 AM EDT

my avocado tree is 40 years old, 35 inches tall with 3 branches at the top and bare wood below. One is 28 inches long. It's like this probably because I don't think I've watered it good enough. It's still, alive but needless to say it needs to be fixed. I've tried pruning. Now I really want to just whack the whole top off but the branches are wood. Can I do that? When it was about 5 years old, we whacked it off for a similar reason so that it was just a stick. My husband thought it would die for sure but it didn't. It came back wonderful. But 35 years later and I have let it get out of control. its top heavy, uneven & you have to be careful a branch doesn't poke your eye out. Can it be saved?

Snohomish County Washington

1 Response

Here's an article about taking care of indoor avocado trees, including pruning information.

I'd be hesitant to cut it to half its height. Yyou never want to cut more than a third of the length of any branch at a time. Read the article first, and make sure you are creating the best growing environment for it--regular feedings with a houseplant fertilizer, keep it evenly moist, and give it plenty of light. If you do any drastic pruning, you may want to do it in late winter or early spring when it's growing the most. Good luck!