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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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I have a 6 foot avocado plant thats grown scraggly. The top

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I have a 6 foot avocado plant that's grown scraggly. The top portion has very active new growth. Is there some way I can promote, or force, new root growth some 2 feet from the top so I can safely cut and replant my avocado?

I'm sorry to hear your avocado is having a problem. Unfortunately, avocados are not propagated in the method you've described. It usually works with only small cuttings, not the whole top of the plant. If you want to know how to try that I can tell you.

We can also try to figure out why the plant got scraggly. Is it an indoor plant in a pot, or does it grow outdoors?

If outdoors, how many hours of sun does it get each day? If indoors, how much light exposure?

If outdoors, are other plants nearby?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
it's an indoor plant that grew arm and top heavy. my mother watered it while I was away on vacation, and it toppled over, damaging and breaking off limbs that had to be lopped off. it's still very vigorous. the top is leafing profusely what can be done?
Thank you for getting back to me. The most common cause of this type of growth is insufficient sunlight. The plant eliminates lower leaves and branches when there isn't enough light to sustain all of them. To remain healthy, an avocado needs full sun. For an indoor plant, that means a south window with no shade trees outside that block the sun. There isn't a way to get an avocado to root higher up on the trunk. You can try re-potting it into a bigger pot, and then bracing it with a post or two, just as people brace young trees outdoors when the trunk can't support the top well. Then make sure it gets plenty of light. Without sufficient light, the problem will never be solved. Even when grown in orchards, this problem crops up when the avocados begin to shade each other.

If you want to try to start a new plant from a cutting, that's another possibility. In my experience, only about 50% of cuttings take root, so you may want to try several. Clip off a young shoot at the point where it joins another branch. Dip it in a rooting compound labeled safe for softwoods. Rooting compounds are available in nurseries and garden centers. Put the cutting in a pot of well-watered potting soil. It should then be covered with a clear plastic bag, and placed in a sunny window or outdoors in warm weather. It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for roots to develop if they are going to. Once there are roots, remove the plastic bag. I once got root growth by placing a cutting in a jar of water after dipping in rooting hormones, but this isn't standard practice. I only mention it in case you want to experiment with another method.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I feel bad that I can't give you a way to grow roots from the trunk, but I feel you deserve an honest answer.


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Thank you.
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