If you’ve chosen to plant a citrus tree in your yard, you probably enjoy its glossy green foliage along with the free fruit. But you might also have chosen it because they’re easy to grow here in Southern California, and they usually don’t require intensive care. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prune it at all! Taking care of your tree can improve its appearance and provide a healthier harvest of fruit each season. Luckily, pruning citrus trees is not overly difficult.
Remove dead branches. Throughout the year, you might notice dead twigs and branches on your citrus tree. It’s important to remove these when you see them, because dead branches can attract certain insect pests. They also increase your risk of certain diseases that strike citrus trees.
Remove suckers. If you want to encourage a strong central trunk and a stable, erect form, look for emerging water sprouts (suckers) around the base of the tree. Remove these as needed.
When to thin your citrus tree. You won’t always need to thin your citrus tree every year, but it sometimes is necessary. Each spring, before your tree begins to produce flowers, take a look at the canopy. If the branches are so thick that they’re rubbing together, use pruning shears to thin them so that each branch has space to “breathe”. Improved air circulation between branches can reduce your odds of diseases such as fungal growth.
Should you prune your citrus trees to increase fruit production? With many types of fruit trees, pruning increases fruit production. This isn’t the case with citrus trees, as reducing their height or removing limbs doesn’t seem to have any effect on the size of your harvest. However, keeping your trees shorter can make it easier to gather fruit.
So, this issue becomes a personal choice. If you don’t mind climbing a ladder to collect your bounty, then there’s no need to worry about the height of your citrus tree. But if it grows so tall that it’s blocking your view or otherwise looks out of place, then you can certainly trim it back. Just make sure you do this in the spring, before the tree flowers, or in the autumn after all fruit has been harvested.
If you have questions about trimming your citrus tree, or any other tree in your yard, give us a call. We can help you decide upon the best time to prune, and get the job done safely and professionally.