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How to Prune a Meyer Lemon Tree

By Cleveland Van Cecil ; Updated September 21, 2017

A lemon tree will provide fruit all throughout the winter and can make an attractive addition to a decorative garden. Meyer lemon trees can be kept to a small pot, restricted to the size of a small shrub or can grow up to a full-size lemon tree. Wait to begin pruning your tree until it has grown 3-4 feet tall. Do not prune until most of the fruit has matured and has ripened before pruning in the spring.

Pruning the Tree

Cut out any dead wood from the tree as well as any that look diseased or damaged. If any are branches hanging inside the lemon tree, remove them. Choose three to five branches inside the tree that will act as your scaffold branches. Prune around these branches. Choose the lowest scaffold branch so that it's higher than 3 feet from the ground.

Cut all the branches off the tree that are lower than the lowest scaffold branch. Make a cut on the bottom of the branch about a quarter of the way in. Cut at the top of the branch to make it collapse downward.

Cut all branches that are not part of the scaffolding of the tree and are growing vertically, back to about 4-8 inches. Thin out other branches until the lemons are receiving substantial sunlight.

Train the tree to grow to a certain height by trimming any branches that grow higher than you wish. Doing this often will keep the tree trained to the height you cut it. Cut away any branches that are not part of the scaffolding so that they are 4-6 inches from the trunk.

Step away from the tree and look at the shape. If the shape is not to your liking, even it out with your shears. Doing so regularly will keep the tree growing to your liking.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears or scissors
  • Ladder