Norman from Saudi
The closest North American growing zone comparable to where you are would probably be Arizona, so I'm going to base my advice to you on that. I'm assuming that you're growing your plants outdoors, so temperatures are definitely going to be a factor. If possible, you will probably want to offer them some protection from the sun (and wind) during the hottest part of your day. This is especially true for young plants. Temperatures in excess of 115ºF can be a problem for most North American varieties, so a lot of TLC is going to be necessary to see your plants to maturity.
I have no idea what your soil is like there, but avocados do not care for salty soil, which is often associated with deserts. In general, these plants are very sensitive to salt burn. Long deep watering will help flush excess salt if it build up becomes problematic. In terms of a watering schedule, I would recommend following something similar to a turf-watering schedule.
Avocado plants grow very slowly. As far as cutting them back goes, some growers recommend cutting back stems to three inches in length when plants reach six inches in height. The thought is that this will encourage them to produce more leaves. Others growers disagree. Either way, cutting them back isn't going to speed up their growth, but it may young plants sturdier in the long run.
Be careful with fertilizer to reduce the potential of excess salt build up. In fact, skip it altogether for the first year. After that, fertilizing once or twice throughout the year (depending on soil fertility) is probably plenty.
Here are some great links that should help:
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Wow, I know nothing about avocado growing, but I wish you the best at enduring conditions like that. There's a link at http://www.avocado.org on how to grow. God bless you. (04/14/2008)
I grew an avocado tree in my home for 6 years. I let it get to the desired height and then cut the top off about an inch. It then started to "bush out" more. Whenever a branch started "wandering" I'd just trim and new shoots would appear.
Avocados don't like direct or hot sunlight - mine got sunburned when I tried to moved it outside for a summer. The edges of the leaves got brow and dried up. I fertilized with used coffee grounds once a month, and had 6 earthworms in the pot to keep the soil soft.
Hope this helps.
Katina - Nebraska
By Katina H - Licoln, NE
My tree from seed is now over 12 feet tall, fertilized 2 times each year for 9 years and still no buds or fruit so I'm guessing it's not going to happen. (07/11/2009)
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