When do you prune lemon and orange trees?

when to prune lemon and orange trees is the best time

Orange and lemon trees are part of the family of the most consumed citrus fruits in the world, so it is not uncommon to have one in your home garden. One of the most outstanding cares is pruning, since its main purpose is to improve its productive conditions. Although it can be said that this is a relatively simple task, several aspects related to it are worth studying in detail. There are many people who do not know When are lemon and orange trees pruned?

For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to telling you when lemon and orange trees are pruned and what should be taken into account for this.

Pruning lemon and orange trees

orange plantation

Due to the characteristics of these species, the pruning of orange and lemon trees responds to the basic objectives of productive problems. They have the property of giving the largest number of fruits at the ends of the crown, leaving the center full of leaves. Clipping helps counteract this behavior, promoting airflow and balanced output. Again, this is an action to avoid wasting energy and the possibility of being affected by different types of diseases.

For pruning to produce a good program, application time is critical. For this situation, early spring is best. The reason is that the tree is still in vegetative rest, which prevents the loss of sap.

Of course, it must be taken into account that there is no risk of late frosts, since a pruned tree, if it has new wounds, can die in the frost.

Tools needed

citrus plantation

The main tools are two-handed pruning shears, saws and, in very special cases, chainsaws. Each of these tools will be used depending on the thickness of the branch. For personal security, trimming with gloves and safety glasses recommended. Also wear appropriate clothing.

Two basic points to keep in mind are: the age of the tree and the type of pruning to be applied. In general, pruning is oriented towards three different objectives: formation, production or renewal. Once you've identified pruning to begin, it's time to assess the condition of the tree before reaching for tools. This task is very simple because at the recommended pruning time, the tree is leafless, so the branches are easy to see. When you go to carry out pruning work, you must clearly define what type corresponds to the characteristic of the tree.

When do you prune lemon and orange trees?

when to prune lemon and orange trees

Formation pruning

Pruning helps orange and lemon trees to develop vibrant and productive structures and is applied from the beginning of their growth. The idea here is to ensure that each section of the tree achieves its goals within the plant., so pruning efforts will be oriented towards:

  • Remove any shoots that may appear around the roots.
  • Cut off suckers that form between the trunk and main branches, which have no positive effect on the plant.
  • Build the 3 or 4 strongest branches that will form the structure of the tree, branches that will bear fruit from them.
  • Pinch off secondary branches that are sticking out from the main branch to help them start the flowering process.

Production pruning

Although it is well known, it is also used for tree maintenance, as part of it is designed to remove damaged areas of the structure. Therefore, production pruning tasks include:

  • Remove all branches that are in poor condition: brittle, brittle, dry. Also included are those that are growing in the wrong direction, either facing the center of the canopy or bumping into another branch.
  • Thin out the center of the canopy by cutting off a few branches and pinching off the inner ones.
  • Delete all those branches that are already in poor condition and have sprouted anyway.

renovation pruning

When it seems that the orange and lemon trees have run out of fruit, you still have the opportunity to prune them again.

Their goal is to rejuvenate the branching structure of the tree to motivate them to remain productive. The idea is to cut branches little by little (2 or 3 years) so that new branches grow. It is important not to remove them all at once. If you want to help your orange and lemon trees recover more aggressively from pruning, don't forget to pay them at the right time.

Aspects to consider

In most climates where orange trees can be grown, there are usually several days of the year when pruning can be done without damaging the tree. These specific moments depend mainly on the temperature of the site and correlate with the activity of the trees.

If there is something you should take into account when planning the pruning of your orange tree, it is whether or not there will be frost after the surgery. An orange tree, like other citrus and cold-sensitive trees, suffers tissue damage when temperatures drop too low, especially after recent pruning. since cold air can more easily enter the interior of the glass.

Therefore, whenever there is a risk of low temperatures (close to 0°C), pruning should be postponed until the risk disappears. In this case, it is better to prune late than too early, and the fruit tree will pay the price later.

Generally, when a tree is active, the leaves and branches fill with sap, which is responsible for transporting nutrients to the different parts of the plant. If important pruning is done when there is a lot of sap in movement...

  • Orange trees lose a lot of resources because the pruned leaves and branches are full of juice and nutrients.
  • You can try to compensate for pruning by releasing exuberant shoots that have to be pruned again, since they are not usually well positioned and therefore will not bear fruit.

Due to all of the above, it is always necessary to try to make the pruning coincide with times when the tree is inactive or very scarce, that is, is in a state of vegetative rest. Here is one exception that should be noted.

In most climates, orange trees typically have two plant growth points. One in winter, due to low temperatures and lack of light, and the other in midsummer, just in time due to heat and lack of water.

Usually, a good time to prune an orange tree is early spring, before the tree is fully awake, as long as there is no risk of frost. This date is interesting because it will not bear fruit or flowers, and because it allows the orange tree to be pruned for the rest of the season.

Another date to consider pruning is during the summer when plant growth stops. The tree will bear small fruits at this time, so it would be better to only cut the branches that do not produce (suckers) or aged branches, respecting those who bore the fruit and thus protecting the harvest.

In summer you have to be careful with what you are going to prune, because if the bark areas are exposed to the sun, they are likely to be damaged, eventually cracking and detaching from the bark, thus drying out the branches.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about when lemon and orange trees are pruned.


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  1.   Bertha Gonzalez said

    Bertha, I would like to know if in the cold weather, every now and then they put water on the lemon and rose plants so that they do not freeze because I would not like my lemon to elara my lemon has small lemons but the plant has many buds and they told me that that lemon blooms twice a year

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hey.
      It depends on the rains that you have in the area: if it rains from time to time, and the land is wet, there is no need to water. But if it feels dry to the touch, then it should be watered.
      A greeting.