How to Prune Citrus Trees


Citrus trees prefer tropical or subtropical climates and grow best in regions with mild winters and few nights with temperatures below freezing. Citrus trees come in all sizes and shapes to fit in any landscape. Citrus trees include orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, tangerine and kumquat varieties. Citrus trees produce ornamental foliage and beautiful, sweet-smelling blossoms before the juicy fruits. Select varieties suited for your location for best results, and prune citrus trees as needed.

Step 1

Prune citrus trees after the last chance of frost and before any spring growth, according to the University of Florida. The majority of citrus trees do not require annual pruning except for specific reasons.

Step 2

Cut off any shoots or suckers growing from the base of the citrus tree's trunk and branches. Rub away small growths when first noticed, or use pruning shears to remove.

Step 3

Prune any damaged, broken or weak citrus trees branches to live wood. Remove any diseased citrus tree branches, and disinfect the pruner tool used before using it again. Mix one part alcohol or bleach with nine parts water, and dip pruners to clean.

Step 4

Cut away branches, as needed, to retain size. However, allow the citrus tree to form a natural shape overall. Prune all citrus tree branches crossing over the middle, or touching other branches, to permit more sunlight to reach the middle of the trees, according to the University of Arizona.

Step 5

Wait several months after a major freeze to prune citrus trees damaged from temperatures, according to the University of Florida. Allow the citrus tree to grow, and prune any branches that show growth and then wither away.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning loppers
  • Pruning saw


  • University of Florida: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide-Pruning
  • University of Arizona: Pruning Citrus
  • Auburn University: Citrus for Southern and Coastal Alabama

Who Can Help

  • Texas AM University: Home Fruit Production-Citrus
  • University of Florida: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide
  • Tree Help: Citrus Tree Care
Keywords: prune citrus trees, citrus trees, pruning citrus trees

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.