The Proper Way to Prune an Orange Tree


Pruning, according to the Purdue University Extension, is not required to shape young orange trees, but the pruning of mature trees is required to increase fruit production and to prevent disease. The best time of year to prune, says Arizona Cooperative Extension (ACE), is between February and March for desert growing varieties, and late February to March for cooler areas. Pruning is done prior to blossom.

Step 1

Remove sprouts as they appear recommends the Texas A & M Extension. Sprouts appear at the base of the tree and steal valuable resources such as water and nutrients from the main tree. Remove sprouts at the base using pruning shears, or by breaking them off by hand. ACE recommends keeping the lower 10 to 12 inches of the trunk free of sprouts.

Step 2

Remove branches that are dead or damaged. These branches may cause disease if left on the tree, according to ACE. Remove them using hand pruners or loppers.

Step 3

Remove branches that are crossing each or rubbing against each other to increase fruit production. Cut smaller branches using hand pruners or loppers. Remove branches larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter using the three-cut method.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Ladder
  • Work glove
  • Safety glasses


  • Purdue University Extension: Orange
  • Agrilife Extension Texas A & M: Home Fruit Production - Citrus
  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Pruning Citrus
Keywords: prune orange tree, pruning citrus, pruning citrus tree

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.