Correctly pruned orange tree
image by Jram: Flickr.com
Orange trees are deciduous fruit-bearing trees that were originally hybrids of tangerine and pomelo trees. Orange trees are grown commercially to produce oranges for consumption, but they can also grow naturally in yards and neighborhoods in warm climates. Orange trees do not require pruning to survive, but removing dead and crisscrossed branches is beneficial to the health of the tree.
Decide when to prune your orange tree. Most orange trees only need to be pruned every other year, or once a year at the most, depending on the number of dead branches. If the tree appears unhealthy, it should be pruned to protect the living areas of the tree and promote growth. Prune orange trees before the tree blossoms, just after the last frost has occurred in your area. This usually occurs between the months of January and March for most locations.
Wear gardening gloves. Although orange tree branches do not have thorns or prickers, protect your hands and arms from being scraped by broken or dead branches by wearing a good-quality gardening glove and a long-sleeved shirt.
Have a partner hold the base of your ladder. If your orange tree needs pruning in areas you can't reach, climb on a ladder, but don't use it unattended.
Cut off any dead branches with pruning shears. Cut off any branches that appear darker than the rest of the tree or that do not appear to be alive. Trim where the dead area starts as opposed to trimming at the base of the branch.
Trim away any branches that are tangled, especially branches that do not receive much light toward the center of the tree. This will open up other branches to more light.
Remove all cuttings from the area, and turn them into mulch or discard them. Leaving cuttings on the ground will prevent nutrients and water from being absorbed into the soil.