How to Trim Orange & Grapefruit Trees


Citrus trees typically require no regular pruning once established, save removal and correction of damage, or to control the spread into utility wires, buildings or other plants. Mature orange and grapefruit trees grown as specimens can be trimmed very lightly into more decorative or symmetrical shapes but some flowering and fruiting will be forfeited in the process. Conduct pruning on oranges and grapefruit any time of the year or immediately after fruiting if you want to preserve a harvest.

Step 1

Cut away any dying, diseased or otherwise damaged branches from the trees and discard them. Make crisp cuts down to the point of healthy tissue with clean and sharp secateurs that do not harbor disease.

Step 2

Shorten branches that are interfering with adjacent structures or plants just enough to create the clearance your require. Place the cuts on the bias just above a leaf node.

Step 3

Cut away any vertical shoots or suckers that appear on the lower third of the trunk or within the canopy of the citrus tree. They will not bear fruit as productively as other branches, create crowding in the canopy and divert plant nutrients to unproductive growth. Make these cuts flush with the trunk or parent branch just outside of the branch collar.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs


  • University of FLroida: Citrus Culture In The Home Landscape
  • University of Arizona: When to Prune Citrus Trees
Keywords: trimming citrus trees, pruning orange and grapefruit trees, cutting back a citrus tree

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.