How to Trim Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit Trees in Florida


Growing citrus trees in Florida is one of the many gardening pleasures associated with living there. Orange, grapefruit and lemon trees bear fruit four to eight years after planting and require minimal maintenance. Consult your county extension office for varieties well-suited to your area, especially if you live in an area that experiences occasional frosts. Plant your citrus tree in a protected, but sunny location like the south-facing side of your home and fertilize with an 8-8-8 balanced fertilizer in early winter, summer and fall.

Step 1

Cut to the ground any sprouts that grow up from the soil around the base of the young tree. These sprouts won't produce fruit and will interfere with the growth of your citrus tree. Snip through them with pruning shears.

Step 2

Cut out any dead or diseased branches to open up the canopy, allowing more light into the tree's interior. Remove branches that grow vertically or rub against each other. Cut branches larger than one-half inch with your pruning saw. Cut smaller branches with your hand pruners. Make cuts flush with the tree, as stubs invite pests and disease.

Step 3

Snip off any suckers that grow up vertically from the branches with your hand pruning shears. These soft, vegetative growths take energy from the orange, lemon or grapefruit tree and become a tangled mess if left untended. Snip back any branches that touch the ground.

Step 4

Paint a pruning compound on cuts on branches thicker than 2 inches with a paintbrush. Citrus trees are susceptible to numerous diseases, and open wounds are vulnerable entryways.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Pruning saw
  • Pruning compound
  • Paintbrush


  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Office: Oranges
  • University of Florida Cooperative Extension Office: Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape

Who Can Help

  • Sunkist: Recipes
Keywords: growing Florida citrus, pruning Florida citrus, growing oranges

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a full-time freelance writer and former teacher with writing credits from several regional and national publications, such as Colorado Parent and LDS Living. She specializes in parenting, education and gardening topics. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College, and spent 20 years as a teacher and director in university and public school settings.