The optimal pruning time for citrus trees is early spring, prior to the flowering and fruiting cycles. This can reduce the amount of fruit produced, but keeps the tree healthier by thinning out the canopy.
Remove dead branches and water sprouts, also called suckers, from the base of the tree throughout the year. Citrus trees growing in frost areas should not be pruned in autumn; leave as much bulk on the tree as possible to allow it to weather a cold winter. When pruning, shear branches off as close to a junction as possible. Stubs left on the tree become targets for insects and disease.