Pruning Lemon Trees
A Beginner’s Guide to Pruning Lemon Trees
Pruning lemon trees seems to be one of the most frequent dilemmas of people who are new to growing lemon trees or any other type of citrus tree. One thing that may be a little confusing for beginners is that most citrus trees really do not resemble a tree at all, but look more like a bush.
Although lemon trees are fruit bearing, they do not grow like other fruit trees and shouldn’t be trimmed like them. They may resemble bushes, but they also cannot be trimmed the same way you would trim most bushes. One of the major differences between lemon trees and other types of fruit trees is that with lemon trees you want there to be an abundance of leaves. Lots of healthy leaves means that there will be lots of lemons to harvest. Something else that many people may not realize is that with a citrus tree, the fruit always grow better on the south side of the tree.
Due to the fact that more leaves mean more fruit, pruning lemon trees should only be done if it is an absolute necessity; in addition, you should always use the proper technique for trimming a lemon tree or any other type of citrus tree.
One of the first things that beginners tend to do with lemon trees is attempt to trim them in a way that will make them look more like a regular tree. Pruning a lemon tree of some of its lower branches isn’t too bad if you must have it look more like a tree, but you should take care not to trim the low branches that are protecting the trunk from direct sun. Direct sunlight on the branches and trunk will damage your lemon tree.
If you have lower branches that are hanging all the way to the ground it’s not necessary to cut them but you can prune some of them if you would like, but it’s important that you trim it to the trunk, and not just trim them back.
Of course there are reasons other than looks why you may want to know about pruning lemon trees. Sometimes the branches will grow too near your house or patio. In this case you should trim just enough of the tree to fix the problem. For trimming large branches it is important that you not do it except in the fall, about the middle of November.
Although it is not recommended that you trim your lemon tree in spring or summer, if you do find it necessary, you will need to use some white latex pain on the parts of the trunk that will be exposed to the sun. Simply use a mixture of 1 part white latex paint to 9 parts water; bush the trunk with the mixture. This should help to protect the tree from burning.
When pruning lemon trees at the top, you only have to cut the branches to the branch fork. It is important that you not leave any stubs while pruning, as this may cause disease that will spread to other branches of the tree. It is also essential that you never use pruning paint on a lemon tree. Not only will this not really serve any purpose; it can actually harm the tree by inhibiting its naturally healing.
While pruning lemon trees may help them to look better, it isn’t necessary and not even recommended for the most part. Lemon trees that grow naturally and appear to be more like bushes will always produce the best fruit, and an abundance of it. In addition to getting some great fruit, not trimming your lemon tree is a lot less work.