Hi guys first post here and desperately need some help!
I purchased an 8' indoor avocado tree from an internet nursery about 2 years ago. I didn't notice it right away but it came with some little white cottony bugs (mealybugs is what I've assumed). I've tried many things from rubbing alcohol to dishwashing soap to actual insectides, but nothing seems to rid my tree of these filthy creatures. More recently I made the unfortunate mistake of bringing my tree in too late (cold weather in chicago), and most of the tree has lost its leaves, only bald branches remain.
Based on pictures I've found of container avocado trees, this tree has a very poor growing habit also. The trunk is barely an inch in diameter, the tree must be supported or it would hunch and break, and only has 4 major branches all at the crown and growing at uneven lengths/angles etc. (1 or 2 really short branches below the crown about half way up the trunk).
So that's all the background info and tree description. QUESTIONS:
1. At this point, there's barely any healthy leaves on the tree anyway, its a little too tall, and is too weak to hold itself up.... If I were to drastically prune, can I just cut off the entire crown, and change the height of the tree to about 6' safely???
2. If I did the above, would it be smart to remove all support, so when the tree re-grows its leaves/branches, it can support itself??
3. How can I make the trunk get thicker, it seems that's really the only part of the tree that hasn't grown at all. Do I need a bigger pot? (Currently using one that is 15" I believe)
4. Mealy bugs. If I can do step 1 safely all I will have left is the trunk. any suggestions on how to get rid of these bugs while the tree is completely bare?