How to Prune Limes


Limes are tropical citrus fruits that grow in the southern portion of the U.S. Proper care of the lime tree is in direct relation to the size and quantity of the fruits. Pruning the lime tree is one of the key elements to proper care. Pruning the upper limbs increases fruit production, improves airflow to the interior of the tree and reduces insect problems. February through April is the best time to prune a lime tree.

Step 1

Begin pruning the lime tree at the bottom. Remove all water shoots that come from the base of the trunk. You can remove water shoots at any time of the year.

Step 2

Cut all dead wood from the upper limbs after the blossoms have set fruit. Dead branches will be self-evident by early summer. Remove the dead limb by cutting back, several inches, into the green, healthy portion of the affected limb.

Step 3

Thin any branches that are rubbing or crossed on top of other limbs. As the fruit begins to get larger, the weight of the maturing fruit will damage limbs where they cross.

Step 4

Remove larger branches to open up the interior of the tree canopy. Use a pruning saw on limbs larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Make the first cut under the branch 12 inches from the main trunk. Cut a third of the way into the limb. Make the second cut on top of the branch, 1 inch forward from the first. Allow the branch to bend down as the saw cuts through the limb. Make a third and final cut on the short stub, left from the first two cuts. Position the saw next to the main trunk on top of the short stub. Cut the stub from the main trunk. The wound will naturally heal.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw


  • University of Arizona: Pruning Citrus
  • University of Florida: Growing Fruit Crops in Containers

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University: Home Fruit Production Limes
  • Purdue University: Mexican Lime
Keywords: remove lime shoots, pruning lime trees, increase lime harvest

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.