How Do You Prune a Lemon Tree?


Quick Answer

Pruning old growth from a lemon tree encourages new growth. Topping the tree encourages fruit to grow at a more accessible level. Gather tools for pruning, including hand shears, long-handled lopping shears, gloves and a ladder.

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Full Answer

  1. Choose the best time to prune

    Prune within a few weeks after harvesting the lemons to ensure the largest crop for the next year. If you miss this window, trim the tree when it is not forming flowers. Trim trees every one to two years.

  2. Choose the appropriate tool for each cut

    Hand shears are a good choice for small limbs, up to 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut larger limbs, up to 2 inches in diameter, using long-handled loppers. If you maintain the tree properly, you shouldn't have to remove larger limbs; however, severe pruning may require the use of a trimming saw.

  3. Select the limbs to trim

    Trim the tree to allow the maximum sunlight to reach its leaves. Leave approximately 1 inch of the branch attached to the main trunk of its limb. Cut at a slight angle away from the tree to encourage a general upward growth. Leave three to five of the main branches on the tree while removing any weak limbs. Avoid removing more than one-third of the limbs during pruning to ensure the health of the tree.

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