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How to Prune a Dwarf Lemon Tree

By Cleveland Van Cecil ; Updated September 21, 2017
Dwarf lemon trees are easier to care for than you might think.
Lemon tree image by Timo de Looij from Fotolia.com

Dwarf citrus fruit plants are specially cultivated to grow indoors. Scions, or samples of wood, from a grown lemon tree are cut away and attached to a dwarf tree root stock using grafting tape or glue. Over time, the lemon tree sample begins to grow as it would on its parent plant. A dwarf plant then produces the same type of lemon that its parent plant does. For the best lemons possible, regular pruning is required.

Remove suckers, or thin shoots, from the bottom of the tree, leaving one thick trunk. Suckers take away resources from the main plant and inhibit growth. Cut the suckers down at the level where they join the trunk of the main tree. . Check the tree weekly for new sucker growth.

Wait until the fall when the lemons have fully developed and are harvested before pruning the tree.

Prune back any long, wispy stems thinner than a pencil from the tree. These branches cannot hold fruit.

Remove any branches that are touching each other or crisscrossing each other.

Cut away any branches that are facing downward, towards the soil. Remove any dead branches or those that are broken from the tree.

Determine the height you wish the tree to grow to and trim the top of the tree to the desired height. Shape the tree in the same manner, stepping back from the tree, determining the shape and balance you wish, and cut branches away before the bud. This will encourage new bud growth.

Remove lateral branches and stems from the crown, or top, of the tree. This allows more light to enter the tree, encouraging new growth, allowing more air circulation into the plant and prevents disease from moisture.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Remove suckers, but do not trim branches until the tree is three to four feet in height.