Trim an orange tree in early spring by preparing the pruning tools, removing water sprouts, and cutting away dead and damaged limbs and thinning branches. You need rubbing alcohol, pruning shears and a saw.
- Choose the right time
Do not start pruning your orange tree until it is a few years old and has started to bear fruit. Prune in early spring, after the last frost and before the tree blossoms.
- Prepare the pruning tools
Sterilize all your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol to prevent the transfer of disease.
- Remove water sprouts
Use the pruning shears to clip away any suckers or water sprouts from the base or branches of the orange tree. Water sprouts are straight, twiggy branches that grow from the trunk or limbs.
- Thin the branches
Thin the orange tree branches to control growth. Remove small, crowded and crossed branches. Also, remove the branch down at the collar where it joins another branch by making a cut angled away from the tree. If it is a thick branch, cut the branch halfway through from the underside, and finish the cut from the top. Trim it off at the branch collar.
- Cut away dead and damaged limbs
Remove all dead and damaged branches.