There is a right and a wrong way when it comes to pruning citrus trees. Read on to get all the tips you need to know before pruning your citrus plant.
Like all fruit-bearing trees, citrus trees require regular pruning. Removing branches and growth improves the health of your tree, and ensures that they continue to grow fruit. Understanding the benefits and basics of pruning citrus trees can help you maintain your crop.
Benefits of Pruning Citrus Trees
Keeping your citrus trees pruned can help their overall health. By maintaining a smaller size, you can keep rows of trees from interfering with each other.
Additionally, removing branches and leaves improves air circulation and sunlight penetration, which encourages growth and fruit production. Getting rid of plant matter also means that the buds and branches that remain will receive more nutrients, growing larger fruits.
By preventing branches from rubbing against one another, you also prevent fruit from being damaged or falling off the tree.
How Much Should I Prune?
The exact amount you should remove when pruning a citrus tree will depend on the tree itself. You should consider removing specific parts depending on the age of the tree.
For example, older trees should have their new shoots removed, allowing more nutrients to flow to existing branches. You can remove these by hand, or with hand pruners, depending on their size.
Newer trees should have thinner branches removed so that the stronger and thicker ones can continue to grow. Hand pruners are the best and quickest way to make a clean cut, but you may need larger trimmers for thicker branches.
You should also pay attention to where the fruit is growing on your citrus tree. If fruit only appears around the edges of your tree, you need to thin the interior branches to allow more air and sunlight in.
If part of your citrus tree is no longer shaded, you may want to consider covering it with tree paint, available at most hardware stores. This will prevent burning and sun damage until the tree can adjust.
Removing Diseased Branches
Another common reason to consider pruning your citrus tree is if you have spotted signs of disease. Black spots on your leaves or fruit, yellow scabs on the branches, and peeling bark can be symptoms of health issues.
Have a tree professional diagnose the disease before taking drastic measures. Sometimes, discoloration is nothing more than an aesthetic change.
However, if your citrus tree has become diseased, you will have to remove the affected branches and leaves. Trim entire branches off of the tree to prevent the disease from spreading. For mature branches, you'll need to make three separate cuts - twice on the branch to remove it and leave a stub, and on the stub itself - to prevent the bark from peeling.
You'll also need to dispose of any and all diseased plant matter. Leaving it in your yard can allow the disease to spread to other trees.
Learn More About Citrus Tree Care
Check out our citrus blog for more information about pruning citrus trees, citrus disease, citrus tree care, and more! We provide all sorts of insightful guides and articles about citrus trees, fruit, and related topics.