The Q&A Archives: Pruning for Bearss Seedless Lime

Question: I have a plant bought this spring that currently has fruit on it and I would like to know the app. time it takes for the fruit to mature and how to trim this plant back & when. It currently has about 3' of new growth & it is a container plant. Will it only bear fruit on each years new growth or on existing growth also? Can you suggest a book for pruning this tree?
Thank you.

Answer: Citrus may be pruned to any desired shape. Pruning is fine any time of year, except in the winter for outdoor trees. Pinching back tips of new growth is the best way to round out the trees without impacting future fruit. Citrus will look fuller with occasional pruning to shape leggy branches. Some trees may develop erratic juvenile growth above the graft. If so, prune for shape and balance. Any growth above the graft can eventually bear fruit. Do not be afraid to cut off branches. It will stimulate growth and multiple branches from the site you pruned. Well-pruned trees have higher fruit yields and are less prone to branch breakage.

For lemons and limes, the time from bloom to edible fruit is generally 6-9 months. Keep in mind that all citrus fruits ripen only on the tree, so you don't want to harvest until fully ripe. The best way to determine ripeness is to pick a fruit and sample it, since rind color is an unreliable indicator; watch for a color change. Sometimes an opaque sheen will develop on the skin; then check for a slight softening of the fruit. Ripe fruit will hold on the tree for months so there's no rush in harvesting.

Enjoy your lime tree!

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