Pruning Citrus - Knowledgebase Question

dana point, Ca
Question by melissagaspa
February 27, 2009
We recently bought a home with several citrus trees. I've read that the best time to prune is Feb-March. The trees already have flower buds and new growth~is it still ok to prune? I have never pruned trees before and do not want to injure or kill them so any tips would be helpful. Thanks in advance.


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Answer from NGA
February 27, 2009

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February through March are the recommended times to prune, but I usually prune my citrus trees immediately after harvesting the fruit, which is December or January. This gives the tree an opportunity to resume growth and to develop flower buds for the next flowering/fruiting cycle. Now that your tree is opening flowers, you will lose some of your harvest if your prune right now. Even when you do not see flower buds, they are there, in their undeveloped state. If losing some fruit is not important, go ahead and prune now. If you'd rather harvest a treeful of fruit, wait until after you have harvested to prune. You can safely remove up to one third of the canopy without harming the tree. Many commercial orchards shear their trees into short, round shapes to facilitate harvesting. Since I don't know how large your trees are, I don't know how much pruning you need to do. The above is just a guideline. Hope this information helps!

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