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Author Topic: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?  (Read 2621 times)

funlul

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Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« on: February 20, 2015, 04:46:00 PM »
Dear tropical fruit forum community, I am hoping to hear some advice as I am total new to gardening and this avocado tree is too precious to us. It's 25' tall with grafted variety on right side and rootstock on left side. We are contemplating to trim the tree down to more manageable size, the questions are:

1) In SoCal zone 10b, how risky is topping? It may involve 4-5' topping on the main rootstock branch (#2). We want to find the balance between easier picking and long-term damage. Minimal yield for couple years is expected.

2) The rootstock side may completely lose a major branch (#4), cut at approximately 5 feet from the ground, roughly 1 feet diameter. How realistic is it to graft a piece of scion from the "good side" to here? Grafting tutorials seem to talk about significantly smaller bark diameter (within 1/2 feet). Is it too much for the tree's health to trim and immediately graft?

3) There is a lot of weight on the good side branch, what would you recommend for a good support? Maybe put a 4x4 wood underneath?

Your help is greatly appreciated!


Edited to add photos of trunk damage :'(





« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 02:35:21 PM by funlul »
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gnappi

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2015, 08:37:11 AM »
Dear tropical fruit forum community, I am hoping to hear some advice as I am total new to gardening and this avocado tree is too precious to us. It's 25' tall with grafted variety on right side and rootstock on left side. We are contemplating to trim the tree down to more manageable size, the questions are:

1) In SoCal zone 10b, how risky is topping?

Gads, there are scads of youtube vids on top working avo. My Florida "watercado" has two trunks and got HUGE,  and one trunk snapped under the weight of fruit breaking my Geffner when it fell. I cut both trunks to 4' tall. It sprouted quite a bit since then so I just keep snapping the new growth off till it dies. I don't think you have any worries there. Search "top working avocado youtube" and you'll get a bunch of good info.
Regards,

   Gary

funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2015, 01:00:54 PM »
Ha newbie mistake... The tree is has not been pruned and no new woods are in sight. Flowering already and there are no dormant budwoods whatsoever! Now I have to look for scion wood too... Or maybe wait for new woods after the trim and do veneer grafting?

Still hoping to find out whether really big tree trunks are suitable for bark grafting... Can't find the source right now, but a grafting tutorial I read seemed to talk about significantly smaller bark diameter only (within 1/2 feet).

Gads, there are scads of youtube vids on top working avo. My Florida "watercado" has two trunks and got HUGE,  and one trunk snapped under the weight of fruit breaking my Geffner when it fell. I cut both trunks to 4' tall. It sprouted quite a bit since then so I just keep snapping the new growth off till it dies. I don't think you have any worries there. Search "top working avocado youtube" and you'll get a bunch of good info.

Thank you very much, I watched quite some videos but am still concerned because 1) total newbie, tutorial videos generally show smaller tree trunks, and 2) tree trimming services that came out to quote warned me against topping the tree AT ALL, citing reduced life span in the long term or the tree possibly dying in 5 years. That's sounds like a lot of risk :(

Off to search for "top working avocado" on youtube, thank you again Gary!!! 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 04:12:20 PM by funlul »
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2015, 02:34:18 PM »
Update: The middle main branch (#2) and one of the major branches (#4) are plagued by termites near the bottom, the newest advice we received is to remove the main branch completely as well because the half-dead trunk would be vulnerable to wind damage. Now that's two really conflicting approaches we heard from different tree trim services --- no topping AT ALL and complete topping!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 03:05:49 PM by funlul »
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simon_grow

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2015, 07:23:03 PM »
Where does the termite damage begin and how severe is it? Because your tree was not properly pruned when it was smaller, it leaves you with fewer options. Your tree is much too tall for easier harvesting. If the termite damage is severe, you may want to cut your tree down to 2 feet, which means your only left with rootstock, if your tree survives at all. After cutting down to 2 feet, you can try bark grafts or wait and see if new sprouts form so you can graft the sprouts.


If you don't cut down low enough, your tree will again grow very tall and be difficult to harvest. With the termite damage, you have to be careful that dead or dieing limbs don't break off and injure someone and this is part of the reason in my opinion it may be wise to cut back severely. If termite damage is from the ground up, you may want to start a new tree altogether. I'm not an arborist, this is just my opinion. Best to probably get an assessment from a professionally trained arborist.

Simon

Jsvand5

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2015, 07:57:48 PM »
I'd cut it down to a stump, let the water sprouts shoot up and then re graft it. You could do a couple grafts with type A and type B variety to help your fruit set. Carlos on the forum does it to a lot of trees in his grove. I'm sure he wouldn't do it if it shortened the trees lifespan.

funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2015, 08:24:35 PM »
Thank you all, here are some close up photos of the termite damage. So far people who came to quote would not mind completely removing #4, but topping #2 (the main branch in the middle) is a great concern.

Right now I am debating to cut down #2 #3 #4 almost down to ground, and keeping #1 (very fruitful branch growing sideways)... Would the tree survive?







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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2015, 02:39:09 PM »
Edited the original post to add photos of trunk damage. Upon a closer look maybe the trunk branch #1 is too damaged too. It's been supporting a LOT of weight. I really do want to keep it though...
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gunnar429

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2015, 05:12:49 PM »
I'd cut it down to a stump, let the water sprouts shoot up and then re graft it. You could do a couple grafts with type A and type B variety to help your fruit set. Carlos on the forum does it to a lot of trees in his grove. I'm sure he wouldn't do it if it shortened the trees lifespan.
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jcaldeira

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2015, 05:16:57 PM »
I'd cut it down to a stump, let the water sprouts shoot up and then re graft it. You could do a couple grafts with type A and type B variety to help your fruit set. Carlos on the forum does it to a lot of trees in his grove. I'm sure he wouldn't do it if it shortened the trees lifespan.
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2015, 05:25:46 PM »
Thank you all, I'll take my chances then... tears.
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2015, 08:59:43 PM »
I'd cut it down to a stump, let the water sprouts shoot up and then re graft it. You could do a couple grafts with type A and type B variety to help your fruit set. Carlos on the forum does it to a lot of trees in his grove. I'm sure he wouldn't do it if it shortened the trees lifespan.

Thank you again. My neighbor has like 9 mature avocado trees. Pollination should not be a problem, haha!

Well, not just one, two large stumps. And the tree is sending out new growth all over the place, including the fuerte branch that we kept. Now I can clearly tell the tree has 2 varieties, as greenwood has totally different colors! Tried to get some grafting done this past weekend. Fingers crossed crossed crossed.
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2015, 02:36:18 PM »
I had an extended trip and was thinking about my grafts the whole time, LOL!! Overjoyed to see the rootstock side has nice rate of success, while the fuerte side sent out new shoots like crazy, and so far a sharwill managed to take... should I prune off some shoots?

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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2015, 07:36:11 PM »
More photos.

JB in the back, then sharwill, then queen. Hope I won't have to make tough decisions in the future regarding which to keep!


On this photo I have three or four reed, one hass, one queen. The JB scion is still hesitating...

« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 07:40:41 PM by funlul »
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simon_grow

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 01:28:52 AM »
Congratulation, job well done. You should just let everything grow out a bit except for the rootstock. If you have multiple branches coming out of your Fuerte or grafted varieties, you can carefully remove some weaker or awkward growing shoots but be careful about injuring nearby new growth.

You may consider tipping known vigorous varieties to establish lower scaffold and fruiting branches.

Simon

funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2015, 03:52:22 PM »
Thank you Simon!

The tree is coming out with lots of new growth on the remaining fuerte branch (high up there). My mom thinks thinning / training is necessary, I am not sure when to intervene and to what extent?

The grafts are doing OK with 2 exceptions that are overshadowed by their immediate neighbors. Parafilm mostly broke down but the the grafting tape is definitely girdling some faster growers. I untied the knot on one graft today.
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2015, 06:28:12 PM »
Updates on the avocado tree... My mom trimmed off some "unwanted" growth, including a queen below graft, then went ahead and broke the only remaining queen scion in half. I used grafting tape to wrap the damaged queen, not sure if she can heal itself.


Queen in heavy bandage, haas and another reed in the background



JB and Sharwill in the foreground



Reeds
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socal10b

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2015, 07:36:31 PM »
thanks for the update Jane, those grafts look great and good job  8)

simon_grow

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2015, 09:05:05 PM »
Nice updates, you will soon have lots of different varieties of Avocado to harvest.

Simon

funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2015, 09:15:47 PM »
Thank you so much @socal10b @simon_grow

I am unable to visualize all the grafts turning into tree branches!
The goal is to keep them manageable, but how?  ;D
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simon_grow

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2015, 08:57:40 AM »
The Reeds are easy to control, they grow vertically but do not spread out very wide. Most other varieties will get quite tall and wide. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish, tall narrow tree or short and wide? I prefer short and wide trees for ease of harvesting so I simply cut the central leader to redirect energy. After about one season, one or more central leaders may pop up so you will have to repeat. If you want to control an avocado tree, it will require at least annual pruning.

Simon

fyliu

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2015, 03:35:35 PM »
Haha, my mom trims trees heavily during the summer too, and doesn't care if it leads to sun burn  of the branches once the leaves are gone. Add some white paint if anything's exposed on the south side.

The queen is the only branch with a fruit hanging for me so there's no chance it'll get trimmed by mistake, even if it's newly grafted. Hope yours will heal.

funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2015, 11:17:36 PM »
Newest update on my avocado.
The half-broken queen is healing, but somewhat overshadowed by super-vigorous hass.
Reeds are all OK, just growing in awkward positions because the way they were grafted. JB seems happy.
Sharwill... likely has the tastiest leaves and seems the most uncertain, but still pushing out new growth.

(I feel the strong verge of whacking the fuerte branch again, still too tall to manage down the road...)




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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2016, 08:44:51 PM »
Coming back to report that I did not further trim the Fuerte branch, decided to let it grow, let it grow... for now.

Fuerte is in FULL BLOOM attracting tons of bees, fingers crossed for good harvest later this year.

JB and Sharwill are trying to bloom. I may end up removing the fruits to encourage vegetative growth. (Also afraid the graft is not strong enough).
Hass and Reed seem to be the most vigorous growers. Queen (shadowed by Hass) still hanging on.
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2016, 06:51:51 PM »
Grafts are blooming heavily too. Sharwill and JB have dozens of tiny fruitlets hanging already. Will they drop themselves to a safe level or should I step in to thin them? If so, when? It's been a journey growing with these grafts!
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2016, 03:45:09 PM »
Sharwill seems to be a heavy producer. Too many fruits compared to the branch size.
When is a good time to thin avocados?
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2016, 04:18:11 PM »
I did not bother to thin anything. Avocados manage themselves well. Except the tree branches seems to grow in all directions, I may need some one experienced to advise me how to trim it down the road...

Alleged "Haas" branch turns out to be giving me round avocados, I guess it's a Reed after all? LOL no complaints!
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funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2017, 03:01:47 AM »
23 months passed since the grafting process:

Fuerte (original branch) produced well this year.
Sharwill had maybe 3-4 fruits from a relatively small graft
Reed had maybe 4-5 fruits between 3 grafts, they seem to grow relatively dominant
Jan Boyce flowers heavily right now (alarming that no fruits set from last year's bloom)
Can't remember what is queen doing, slightly shadowed by reed
No Hass graft after all
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 03:19:35 AM by funlul »
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simon_grow

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2017, 08:27:40 AM »
Congratulations on getting fruits from Few of your grafted varieties. Watch out for the Fuerte, it can get out of hand very fast.

Simon

funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2017, 02:42:37 PM »
Reed and fuerte both growing fast, sigh.
Oh correction, JB did produce one fruit.





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Dennis_No_Frost

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2017, 03:50:12 PM »
Congratulations, indeed.  Seeing your result give me some hope, I been meaning to do something similar to my unknown avocado tree for a while now.  Only problem is, I think tree is way too large now.




fyliu

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2017, 12:11:07 AM »
You'll lose a few years of fruit but it should come back if you stump it and paint it with dilute latex paint to protect against sunburn. That's what commercial growers in SD did when we had drought weather. Stump their trees to reduce water and then return to normal production in 3 years.

The only thing is the work it'll take you to cut that tree.

funlul

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2017, 12:41:22 AM »
The only thing is the work it'll take you to cut that tree.

Or $$
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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2017, 10:39:59 PM »
funlul,
That's great your grafts worked out and now fruiting.
The past 2 years went fast.

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Re: Trimming overgrown avocado tree then graft?
« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2017, 11:14:36 AM »
Nice job Funlul, your harvesting your en-joyful works  ;)

 

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