Growing a citrus tree in your backyard does not just create cooling shade, it may also offer you a fresh supply of fruit. The tree’s shiny, green foliage and brightly colored fruit help add interest to your lawn. Unlike many fruit trees, citrus trees don’t require regular pruning to remain healthy and produce fruit, but you might want to trim your citrus tree throughout the year to maintain its appearance and make fruit harvests simpler. If you choose to prune the citrus, knowing the best time — and also the best way to keep the tree healthy and disease-free while obtaining pruned — can ensure success.
Regular Sucker and Motion Branch Removal
Throughout this season, a citrus tree produces water sprouts, also known as suckers, from its foundation. To support a strong, central trunk and a stable, erect form, remove those suckers whenever they appear. Do this during the year, as needed. While removing suckers, remove any dead twigs, leaves and branches. Leaving dead branches on the tree increases the risk of some citrus diseases and might also attract various insect pests.
Once a year in the mid to late spring, before the citrus tree has started to generate flowers, inspect the canopy density of the citrus tree. If you see areas in which the branches are growing so thickly they are rubbing against each other, use pruning shears to eliminate one of both rubbing branches. This reduces the risk of tree injuries and also improves air circulation in the citrus tree. Increased air circulation helps reduce the risk of common citrus diseases related to fungal growths and chronically moist conditions.
Annual Height Care
While routine pruning does not raise fruit production in a citrus tree because it does in some other fruit trees, pruning does have a practical benefit for fruit harvesting. By keeping a citrus tree fast by pruning it at the very top, you are able to more easily harvest the fruit of your labors. This type of pruning is strictly optional but can make it much easier to get to the fruit through picking. If you opt to do so, prune in the spring before the tree puts out flowers, or in the summer season, after harvest time, to prepare the tree for the next year’s harvest. Otherwise, the trimming could interfere with the tree’s creation of blossoms.
Trimming Tips and Tips
Prior to redesigning a citrus tree, always dip the pruning equipment in a solution of 1 part bleach and 3 parts tap water. This aids sanitize the pruning equipment and lessens the risk of transferring diseases to and in the citrus tree. When trimming the citrus tree, make the cut the point where the division once linked to the tree is flush with the tree’s surface. Avoid leaving stubs.