How to Prune Lemon Trees

Prune your lemon tree correctly. image by Cruccone:


Lemon trees are fruit-bearing trees that usually grow in warm environments. Although it is not necessary to prune your lemon tree, it allows for more healthy growth to begin and keeps the weight of old, dead branches from stunting the tree.

Step 1

Start pruning at the end of winter or the beginning of spring, before new buds begin to bloom. Wear gloves while pruning and have a partner spot you if you are using a ladder.

Step 2

Identify dead branches that need to be trimmed. Dead branches will stop growing leaves and the bark will turn dark brown or black. Trim off any branches that appear dead with your pruning shears, but only prune to the area where the color begins to darken on the branch.

Step 3

Focus on trimming to clear the center of the tree so it can grow outward and upward. Trim any branches that seem tangled together or are growing crisscrossed with your pruning shears.

Step 4

Don't overprune. Less is more when it comes to pruning. Only remove branches that appear dead or tangled.

Step 5

Remove all cuttings from the area. This will allow the tree to have ample sunlight and water absorption from the ground around the lemon tree. You can mulch or discard these cuttings.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear gloves while pruning with shears.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Ladder


  • Gardening Tips and Ideas: How to Prune a Lemon Tree
  • Orchard's Edge: Pruning Questions and Answers

Who Can Help

  • Ace Hardware: Premium Pruning Shears
Keywords: prune lemon tree, lemon tree care, fruit tree care, pruning lemons, when to prune

About this Author

Megan Smith has been a freelance writer and editor since 2006. She writes about health, fitness, travel, beauty and grooming topics for various print and Internet publications. Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from New York University.

Photo by: Cruccone: