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Citrus Care 101: How to Prune a Citrus Tree

Pruning a Citrus Tree

Do you want to ensure your citrus tree produces as much healthy fruit as possible? If so, learn how to prune citrus trees below.

As storms and climate events caused billions in damage to the citrus industry this year, growers big and small got a crash course in how to prune citrus trees. When a tree has been growing and producing healthy fruit for years, it's essential to promote its continued growth. Healthy citrus trees can produce great citrus fruit for a lifetime if pruned and cared for carefully.

Here is everything you need to know about pruning a citrus tree.

Handling Sprouts

If you need to prune sprouts, this is one of the easiest tasks that you have as a citrus tree owner. Pruning sprouts is as simple as pulling them out by hand while they're still small. Removing sprouts can be a regular pruning task that should be undertaken to keep sprouts from growing too large.

Sprout removal is important to ensure that the mature branches aren't distracted from their producing.

Limit your pruning if it's starting to become late in the season. After May, don't remove sprouts. That's part of a larger pruning job and shouldn't be considered while you're trying to get fruit. 

Normal Sized Branches

If you have branches that need to be removed, a lopper or standard and pruner should do the trick. To keep your branch from growing back, it needs to be pruned to be flush with the collar, not with the trunk. This allows faster healing for your tree.

Proper pruning technique limits the potential of new sprout growth. Growing new sprouts means that the tree is using its energy to expand its branches, not to grow more fruit.

Most normal sized branches can be handled in a single cut. If your branch is no longer producing healthy fruit, incurs damage, or becomes diseased, handle it before it spreads to the rest of the tree.

Handling Larger Branches

Pruning a larger branch takes more effort than the normal or smaller branches. Get a curved tree saw to help you with this challenge.

Make three cuts to ensure quick healing and uninterrupted growth. Make one cut 12 inches from where you're going to remove the branch. Cut from the underside of the branch and stop when the cut is halfway through.

Then, start from the top of your branch, a few inches from where you made your first cut. This will leave a short branch. Now that your branch is more manageable and you won't be tearing from the trunk of the tree, make your final cut flush with the collar. 

Your citrus tree should return to health quickly and continue to grow healthy and abundant citrus fruit.

Learning How To Prune Citrus Trees is Important

It's vital for every citrus growers, big and small, to know how to prune citrus trees. When trees are cared for, diseased branches removed, and unnecessary sprouts kept to a minimum, citrus trees will yield a big payday. As climate change ravages citrus growers around the world, well-maintained trees can withstand storms and problems that arise.

For more helpful citrus tree and fruit information, visit the US Citrus blog, for articles on topics such as protecting your citrus trees from pesky pests.