Grapefruit trees, along with other citrus trees, such as orange, lemon, tangerine and lime, are overgrown shrubs and must be cared for differently than other fruit trees and shrubs. The trimming procedure of grapefruit trees is also different. The bark on the grapefruit tree must be shaded from direct sun to prevent sunburn. If the tree receives too much sun it dies. Shading the base of the tree is also important so removing tree branches from the bottom of the tree is discouraged. Trim your grapefruit trees following a few simple rules .
Cut off a few lower branches that hang to the ground. Cut off the entire branch to the trunk. Do not cut off only a portion of the branch. The remaining branch will not produce fruit anyway.
Prune the branches that touch the house or block walkways in November when the sun isn't as hot. This gives the tree ample time to re-grow necessary stems that block the sun.
Paint a whitewash mixture of one part white latex paint with nine parts water to the tree's bark if the grapefruit tree's branches must be removed in hotter summer months--exposing the rest of the tree. The paint reflects the sun to prevent sunburn.
Trim back side and top branches to the fork in the branch. Only remove the lower branches completely; side and top branches can be trimmed. Refrain from leaving to many stubs on the tree that can rot and infect the entire tree.
Remove only those branches that are either too long or are damaged. Grapefruit trees do not require a heavy pruning and trimming too much can cause more harm than good.