As you know, when it comes to pruning there are several ways: training, flowering, drastic pruning... Most trees receive this type of pruning throughout their lives. But, How to prune a young lemon tree in a pot?
If you do not know when, how and whether or not it is necessary to prune a young lemon tree, then we will tell you about everything you have to take into account about this care.
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Prune a lemon tree in a pot, do you have to do it?
First of all you have to consider how old that lemon tree is. If you just planted it, it is most likely that you will not have anything to prune because the tree is so small that what it needs is to grow to have the formation (you know, the three-branched guide).
When it's younger, and in that formation, you don't really need to prune it; It is only done when it is essential to do so. And it is that, in a pot, a lemon tree can produce many lemons without even pruning it, as long as you change its location according to the season of the year.
Now, it is true that over time, its shape, its silhouette, can become unbalanced, to the point where it will look more unkempt and uglier than if you were to prune it.
When to prune a young potted lemon tree
The exact time to prune a lemon tree is not known for sure because it will depend on where you live and where you have it. In general, experts recommend waiting until the frost is over to prune them, that is, between February and March. But in the case of having it in a pot, many think that it is better to wait a little longer, until mid-spring (April-May).
Our recommendation is that you be guided by time. If you see that the frost season has passed and that your tree is beginning to become active, it is time to prune to help it grow more vigorously before the sap is fully activated and causes, if you prune it, the leaves to grow more than it should (because it keeps flowing).
One of the characteristics of pruning a young lemon tree in a pot is that it will not be unique. Normally a first one is carried out, in those months mentioned, and then, between June and October, 1-2 more prunings are done to maintain the tree and, above all, its silhouette. Of course, these must coincide with the rest period of the tree (you have to be aware of when it stops growing).
How to Prune a Potted Lemon Tree
Before talking about the steps, you have to take into account how a lemon tree grows in a pot. The most normal thing is that it does so in the form of a bush, that is, it has a short and branched trunk from the very base. Therefore, for get it to get a little big, and to make it look compact, without protruding too much from the pot, You have to trim the branches to give it a ball shape. And that implies pruning those shoots or branches that come out of the base and that take energy away from others.
Another point to keep in mind is that lemon trees usually grow from February-March to November. But it does not do it continuously but in phases. It has a growth phase, which lasts approximately one month, and then it stops to resume activity again.
What tools are needed to prune a young lemon tree
Because we are talking about a young lemon tree, the branches will not be very thick, so only with scissors you can prune it.
Also, by having it in a pot, it will not grow so much and you will not need a ladder either. Simply, and to protect your hands, we recommend that you Wear gloves, not only because lemon trees can be prickly, but also to prevent the sap from irritating your skin.
When using the scissors, make sure they are disinfected to prevent the lemon tree from getting sick from contact with another plant that could make it sick.
What branches to prune on a lemon tree
Now that you have everything set up, it's time to start pruning a young potted lemon tree. If it is the first time, it is most likely that you will find that it has many stems, so you must choose one to give it all the strength. What some do is cut little by little, in order not to stress it too much. The objective is manage to give it the shape of a tree, that is, a thick trunk and three "mother" branches from which the others will emerge.
The next branches to cut are those that look diseased, dead, or weak. They also have to go outside.
Finally, you will have the last branches, which we recommend cut a few centimeters only. This would be at the beginning, as growth progresses, you will have to cut more (in a young-adult tree the branches should be about 20-25 centimeters long so that they diversify).
Another important thing to do is sanitize the interior of your lemon tree, that is, eliminate branches that grow inwards or those that cross each other. The lemon tree must have the greatest possible ventilation so that the light penetrates throughout the tree and thus nourishes it adequately.
After pruning it we recommend that you do not put it in direct sunlight because it will be stressed and the sun may damage it. For 2-3 days it is better to keep it in the shade and then place it in the sun as usual. It is also important to water it after pruning.
Can I always have a potted lemon tree?
Having a lemon tree in a pot implies controlling its growth, and that this it will not exceed a height of approximately one meter or one and a half meters. But, for this, it is necessary that it has all the nutrients it needs to develop correctly.
That is, you have to transplant it every several years to change the land to another with nutrients and fertilize it several times a year. Even so, the tree would continue to grow and, unless you cut the roots when you see that they no longer fit in the pot, the other option you would have would be to plant it in the ground and let it grow.
Have you ever pruned a young lemon tree? What was the most difficult for you?