3 Ways to Prune Citrus Trees - wikiHow

Опубликовал Admin
14-12-2022, 19:10
Pruning is an important part of keeping your citrus trees productive and healthy. At least once a year, perform a close inspection of your tree. Look for diseased, dead, or infested branches that need to be removed. Cut them out as close to the trunk as possible. Try not to trim down more than 20% of your tree at any given time. Following careful trimming practices will make it possible for your tree to grow and thrive.

Timing Your Pruning

  1. Prune at least once a year. Once a citrus tree is established and producing fruit, it needs to be fully pruned every 12 months. Go ahead and mark your pruning dates on your calendar, so that you don’t forget them. If your tree suffers from disease or damage, add another pruning session in.
    • If you’ve pruned a tree down to its base before, it may take a few years for it to recover fully enough to benefit from an annual pruning.
  2. Prune in the winter to early spring if you are in a warmer climate. This means that the tree will retain some of its foliage to protect against any general winter weather. Waiting to prune also means that you’ll be able to work without damaging any buds, which won’t appear until late spring.
  3. Prune in the mid to late-spring if you are in a colder climate. A citrus tree in a colder area will need all of its foliage, even the dead branches, to provide a frost barrier. Waiting until the late spring also means that any new growth that develops from your cuts will avoid the ravages of frost.

Tailoring Your Pruning

  1. Aim to remove 20% of the total canopy. It’s easy to get carried away when pruning, but removing too much of a tree can cripple its ability to bear fruit. Take a good look at your tree before starting, so that you’ll be able to estimate what a 20% pruning should look like. Pruning over the course of several days can also help to keep you in check.
    • Most of the best fruiting sites on a citrus tree lie on the outermost branches. If you cut more than 20% of these, you are cutting prime fruit bearing branches, even if by accident.
  2. Focus on the long, gangly branches. Take a step back and focus on the overall shape of your tree. Look for branches that are poking out from the canopy in an unsightly or obvious way. Target branches that block your walking path around the tree. On the top of the tree, trim back branches that bend over in a u-shape.
    • Gardeners also call these types of branches “leggy.” If your tree has “legs,” then it has long branches in need of trimming.
  3. Remove any low-lying “skirting” branches. When branches touch the soil or ground, they can rot or become a superhighway for pests. They also stop air from moving around the trunk, which can cause disease. Trim back low branches until they are at least 3 feet (0.91 m) off the ground.
    • For low canopy branches, you can sever them at any point. Just make sure that you keep your cuts clean without rough ends.
    • Trim your branches high enough off the ground, so that the leaves will not get wet from water splashes from rain or water sprinklers.
  4. Cut out any swollen stems. Adult wasps like to lay eggs deep inside the new stems of citrus trees. As the larvae grow, a “gall” forms where the stem begins to balloon outwards. Use your shears to snip these branches away from your trees. Gather and burn the branch clippings or place them in a sealed plastic bag.
    • If you see a number of tiny holes on a gall, the wasps have already come out of the stem. You can still snip off these spots or leave them alone.
    • In most locations, you’ll need to remove these galls prior to the start of August.
  5. Cut out any dead or diseased wood. Pull aside the outer branches and peer into the interior area of the tree. Scan the branches and look for diseased or damaged areas. Broken or split branches, limbs that are rotting, and spots with fungus are all potentially breeding grounds for additional pests and diseases. Clip them away from the tree.
  6. Cut out any wood laying on top of one another. As you look into the interior of the tree, you might notice some branches being fully or partially supported by others. This overcrowding limits airflow around the trunk of the tree and can weaken the tree’s overall structure. Prune them away close to the trunk.
  7. Trim back watershoots in young trees. These are strong, green branch growths that shoot upwards from the lower trunk of trees. Trim them off at the base. If let alone, these watershoots will suck vital nutrients from your tree.
    • Vertical shoots won’t produce fruit. You’ll get your best produce from horizontal branches.

Following Good Pruning Practices

  1. Wear protective gear. Put on goggles to protect your eyes from free-falling sticks or debris. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to keep yourself from getting scratched. Don thick, but well-fitting, gloves to protect your hands from citrus tree thorns.
  2. Be careful when removing large branches or foliage. It’s easy to get hurt by falling branches during the pruning or trimming process. To prevent this, attach larger branches to the trunk with a security tie before cutting them. You can also get a partner who will hold the branch as you make any final cuts.
  3. Stand back every few minutes to assess your work. Every 15 minutes or so, take a number of steps away from the tree and look over your progress. Use this as an opportunity to stop your work or to plan how to continue.
  4. Trim down to a single trunk to revive an aged tree. This is an extreme measure reserved only for the most unproductive or overgrown citrus trees. When you “skeletonize” a tree you trim back every branch all the way back to the trunk, leaving a stand-along stump. This will give your tree a chance to grow healthy, fruit-bearing branches.
    • It often takes between 2-3 years to go from a “skeletonized” tree to a productive one. So, this is a method for the patient.
  5. Paint the bark with a water-based whitewash. If you “skeletonize” your tree, or if you cut entire sections away due to damage, your tree might get sunburned as a result. Trees that are sunburned are more prone to splitting and infestations. To prevent this, paint the trunk of your tree with a 50% acrylic paint 50% water mixture.
    • To help the paint adhere, scrub the bark with a water and soap mixture prior to painting.


  • If you want to avoid pruning branches that are heading in the wrong direction, attach small weights to the ends of them. This will pressure them to grow in a different direction.


  • Go slowly when trimming, so that you’ll avoid cutting your fingers or hands.
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