Florida orange trees grown in the home garden do not need regular pruning. Pruning is required only after freeze damage or to remove diseased or damaged wood. Older orange trees benefit from severe pruning to rejuvenate the tree and increase fruit size and quality. The amount to remove depends on how old or neglected the tree is.
Remove broken and diseased branches immediately, pruning back to the trunk or a major branch. Cut the branch away cleanly just above and parallel to the branch collar using a small saw.
Wait until spring to prune freeze-damaged wood. Look for the presence of new buds on live wood. When in doubt, scratch a small piece of the bark and look for green or white wood beneath. Brown wood indicates dead wood and should be trimmed away. Remove all dead wood back to just above the first live bud.
Remove suckers growing from the root. Dig down to root level and cut the sucker away where it attaches to the root. Removing suckers at ground level will stimulate more growth.
Prune away all growth that occurs below the graft union. Most Florida orange trees are grafted onto resistant rootstock. Growth below the graft union represents the root stock and not the desired plant variety.
Prune old trees just before a major growth flush, after all danger of a freeze is past. Remove enough of the tree to stimulate new growth and rejuvenation of the tree.
Remove large branches in three steps. The first cut is made about 15 inches away from the trunk. Saw up from the underside of the branch as far as possible until the saw binds up. Make the second cut from the top, about 18 inches from the trunk. The branch will split cleanly between the two cuts. The third cut is made just above and parallel to the swelling of the branch collar at the trunk.
Things You Will Need
- Small hand saw
- Do not prune orange trees during drought conditions.