The Natural Size of Avocado Trees
How big a fully grown avocado tree becomes depends on several factors. These include:
- The variety of avocado: Some varieties grow bigger than others.
- The type of rootstock: One variety of avocado can be grafted onto the rootstock of a different variety, and this affects the ultimate size of the tree.
- Pruning: Trees can be kept smaller by pruning.
- Soil type and fertilizing: Soil quality, drainage, and fertilization affect tree size.
- Irrigation: How much and how often the tree is watered influences the size of the tree.
Most varieties of avocado tree grow to 40 feet (12.2 m) in height, unless they are pruned for size, and there are even some individual trees, growing in optimum conditions, reaching up to 60 feet (18.2 m) high.
In addition, avocado trees have a spreading growth habit and naturally branch out, covering a circular area of a diameter of 30 feet (9.1 m). Because of this, avocado trees should be planted with a minimum of 15 feet (4.6 m) of space between trees so all branches receive adequate sunlight.
Pruning Avocado Trees to Keep Them Small
Many home gardeners and commercial avocado growers prune trees to keep them smaller. Pruning is done in winter or early spring by selectively removing or cutting back branches.
However, the amount of fruit an avocado tree produces is directly affected by how many leaves it has, so pruning must be done carefully, regularly, and at the right time of year in order to keep the tree growing vigorously while also keeping it to a smaller size.
Pruning trees to keep them smaller also makes fruit harvesting easier.
Planting a Dwarf Avocado Variety
There are many varieties of avocado, but only one is a true dwarf variety: the Wurtz, or Little Cado type.
Little Cado is a hybrid of Mexican and Guatemalan varieties of avocado and naturally only grows to about to about 10 feet (3.1 m) in height. While it is small in size, the Little Cado avocado variety produces abundant amounts of fruit when grown in optimum conditions, and grafted trees can produce fruit in only a few years.
Little Cado can be grown outdoors in the ground, and it is also a variety suitable for growing in containers in a sunny location in the house or in a greenhouse.