The Q&A Archives: Miniature lemon tree

Question: I bought a home that had what I thought was a miniature lemon tree. The tree keeps growing very high, even though it is giving fruit very low on the trunk. I can't tell if maybe I'm wrong and it isn't a miniature citrus tree, or it is actually a regular sized lemon tree. I read that I shouldn't cut the branches, that at this point are about 1/2 to 1 inch in diamater, when it is too hot (now). I don't want the tree to die, but am really confused at this point as to what I should be doing.

Please help!

Thank you.

Answer: You probably won't know for a few more years whether your tree is miniature, dwarf, or full sized. You can prune it, though to keep it small. In fact, I've seen full sized citrus trees that are trained into a 6' shrub and they're loaded with fruit. Wait until early next spring to do any pruning. If you prune now, all you'll encourage is lots more tall and upright stems. If you wait until spring just as the new growth spurt begins, the tree will put its energy into developing flower producing stems. Start by reducing the size of the tree all around, but don't cut off more than one-third of the live growth or you'll send the tree into shock. You'll be able to watch and see how your tree reacts to pruning which will guide you in doing additional pruning in the coming years. Again, early spring is the best time to prune so it may take a few years to get your tree into shape. But, while you're doing that, your lemon tree should continue to produce fruit. Enjoy!

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