Tangerine trees do not require much pruning. However, when they do need pruning, GardenGuides.com suggests removing all suckers, cutting branches that rub or cross other branches, removing branches that appear dead, diseased or damaged, raking up the debris at the bottom of the tree, watering the tree until a puddle forms and painting all newly exposed areas of the tree bark.
The suckers that are to be removed are the young sprouts that grow from the soil at the bottom of the tree or from the lower part of the tree's trunk. The suckers may be able to be pruned by hand. However, other suckers may need to be pruned by the use of a pair of shears. When painting the exposed areas of the tree after cutting branches, paint with tree paint or a white latex paint. This helps to prevent scalding. Paint the exposed areas on the same day that the tree is pruned. Additionally, GardenGuides.com notes that too much hard pruning can damage tangerine trees. The tree branches of a tangerine tree can break if the fruit gets too heavy due to its weak wood. If this occurs, this is the optimal time for pruning. Pruning is typically done from February through April.