Citrus Tree Pruning Instructions


Citrus tree pruning is an integral component to whether a tree will produce a good amount of fruit, or whether it will die quickly. Pruning from an early age will encourage one strong trunk and branches that neither crisscross nor block out light. Proper limb growth determines whether fruit will develop and how much develops, and promotes good air circulation throughout the tree, preventing the spread of fungal disease and bacterial infection.

Step 1

Pinch off sprouts from the base of a young citrus tree to promote the growth of one trunk. Use pruning shears to trim the shoots if it has become woody to the touch. Shoots compete for resources and inhibit the growth of a healthy canopy.

Step 2

Cut dead or broken branches away from the tree as the tree matures to prevent the spread of disease through decay. Make cuts at the shoulder of the branch, where it sprouts from the citrus tree.

Step 3

Remove small branches by making a cut into the underside of the branch about a third of the way through, about 6 inches out from the collar. Make another cut on the top of the branch that is 2 to 3 inches further from the first cut, again about one-third of the way through the branch. The branch breaks away on the second cut. Remove the rest of the branch stub up to the shoulder. This prevents the tearing of the branch and bark and makes a clean wound.

Step 4

Prune away branches that cross each other in the tree, removing the older branch to make way for new growth.

Step 5

Cut large branches away from the canopy to let more light into the interior of the tree. This prevents excessive moisture and the conditions for fungal infection. Use a pole pruner or a ladder to remove branches that are far from the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Ladder
  • Pole pruner
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves


  • University of California, Davis: Pruning and Care of Landscape Fruit and Nut
  • New Mexico State University: Tree Pruning Techniques
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Your Florida Doorway Citrus Guide--Young Tree Care
Keywords: citrus tree pruning, citrus pruning technique, pruning citrus trees

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.