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How to Prune Kumquat Trees

kumquat tree with fruit and leaves image by ann triling from Fotolia.com

Kumquat trees produce a steady crop of fruit from November through April. Prune the tree after harvesting the fruit, but before new flowers appear. Kumquat trees are small, growing to approximately 10 feet tall and suitable for landscape or container growing. The trees have a naturally strong shape that does not require regular pruning, but pruning can be done to shape the tree and remove weak or damaged wood.

Prune away dead or damaged branches with hand pruners or a small saw, cutting cleanly away flush with the branch collar. For large branches use the three cut method. Make the first cut from below the branch approximately 12 inches from the trunk. Saw upward until the saw binds. Then cut down from the top approximately 3 inches closer to the trunk. The branch will split cleanly between the two cuts. Make the third cut flush with the branch collar, cutting the stub away cleanly. (reference 2)

Cut diseased branches back completely. Make the cut in healthy wood. Dark wood visible in the cut indicates diseased wood and should be removed. Clean pruning tools with rubbing alcohol between cuts to avoid spreading the disease.

Remove branches that cross or rub against each other or nearby structures.

Remove sprouts from the trunk. Snap them away by hand when they are small or use pruning shears on larger sprouts. Remove small branches from near the trunk that crowd the interior.

Remove suckers arising from the roots. Dig around the sucker, down to the root and cut the sucker away at the root junction.

Prune Kumquat Trees

The kumquat is an easily grown evergreen shrub or tree (8 to 15 feet) with small yellow to orange colored citrus fruits that are entirely edible, skin and all. They take well to cooler climates but cannot survive temperatures below the 20s. Kumquat trees usually do not need pruning as they are naturally shapely. Remove the "water suckers" (long skinny branches growing straight up) and any damaged or dead wood using the bypass loppers. Prune branches that cross the center trunk to increase air circulation and let light in. This step is important regardless of the desired shape of your tree and helps maintain the overall health of the tree. Step back and view your tree once again. Remove any branches you missed or that appear out of place. Regardless of its shape, a kumquat tree brings long-lasting beauty to your garden.

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