When do you prune lemon and orange trees?

when pruning lemon and orange trees is the best time

Orange and lemon trees are part of the most consumed citrus family in the world, so it is not uncommon to have one in your garden. One of the most outstanding treatments is pruning, since its main objective is to improve its production conditions. Although it can be said that this is a relatively simple task, several aspects related to it deserve to be studied in detail. There are many people who don’t know When are lemon and orange trees pruned?

For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to telling you when to prune lemon and orange trees and what to take into account for this.


Prune lemon and orange trees

plantation of orange trees

Due to the characteristics of these species, the pruning of orange and lemon trees meets the fundamental objectives of production problems. They have the property of bearing the greatest number of fruits at the ends of the crown, leaving the center full of leaves. Clipping helps counteract this behavior, promoting airflow and balanced production. Again, this is an action to avoid the waste of 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 for this 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 from frost.

Necessary tools

citrus grove

The main tools are two-handed secateurs, saws and, in very special cases, chainsaws. Each of these tools will be used depending on the thickness of the branch. For personal safety, trim 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 directed towards three different objectives: formation, production or renewal. Once you’ve identified the pruning to begin with, it’s time to assess the condition of the tree before looking for tools. This task is very simple because at the time of the recommended pruning, the tree is leafless, so the branches are easy to see. When you are going to carry out pruning work, you should clearly define which type corresponds to the characteristic of the tree.

When do you prune lemon and orange trees?

when to prune lemon and orange trees

training size

Pruning helps orange and lemon trees develop vibrant and productive structures and is applied early in their growth. The idea here is to ensure that each section of the tree serves its purposes within the plant.pruning efforts will therefore be directed towards:

  • Remove any shoots that may appear around the roots.
  • Cut off the suckers that form between the trunk and the main branches, which do not have a 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.
  • Pinch off secondary branches that stick out from the main branch to help them start the flowering process.

production size

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 in poor condition: brittle, brittle, dry. Also included are those that grow 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 a few branches and pinching those inside.
  • Remove any branches that are already in bad shape and germinated anyway.

renovation size

When it seems orange and lemon trees have run out of fruit, you still have the option of pruning them again.

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


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 particular moments depend mainly on the temperature of the site and are correlated to the activity of the trees.

If there’s anything you need to consider when planning the size of your orange tree, it’s whether or not there will be frost after 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 penetrate inside the glass.

Thus, whenever there is a risk of low temperatures (close to 0°C), pruning must 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.

Typically, when a tree is active, the leaves and branches fill with sap, which is responsible for transporting nutrients to different parts of the plant. If a major pruning is done when there is a lot of sap moving…

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

Due to all of the above, it is always necessary to try to make pruning coincide with times when the tree is inactive or very rare, that is, is in a dormant state. Here is one exception worth noting.

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, the right 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 for pruning is summer when plant growth stops. The tree will bear small fruits at this time, so it would be best to cut only the branches that are not producing (suckers) or old branches, respecting those who bore the fruit and thus protecting the harvest.

In the summer, you need to be careful what you prune, because if areas of bark are exposed to the sun, they may be damaged, eventually cracking and peeling off the bark, drying out the branches.

Hopefully with this information you can learn more about pruning lemon and orange trees.

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