Pruning a lemon tree is a delicate process to enhance its shape, appearance, and growth production. The process involves removing dead branches, leaves, limbs, and eliminating hazards. When lemon trees are properly pruned, it increases the amount of sunlight and air penetration it receives. This promotes strong branches that produce an abundance of healthy lemons for years to come. The key to pruning a lemon tree is timing and knowledge of how lemon trees grow. For this process you will need shears and a ladder.
When to Prune a Lemon Tree
Lemon trees should only be pruned once every two years. Even though you can prune it any time it begins to produce flowers, it is best to do the procedure at the start of the fall harvest or anytime between March and August. Also, avoid pruning on extremely hot days. Prune only after the fruit has ripened and you have picked the fresh lemons from the tree.
The Process of Pruning a Lemon Tree
Before you begin the pruning process, you should carefully observe the tree and decide how you would like to shape it. Remember the key is to design the tree so that its middle will have lots of sun exposure. It is best to prune in a lateral direction and cut along the sides. This will also increase the amount of air movement which helps with eliminating pollutants that cause diseases. The extra growth should be cut down about one-quarter to one-third an inch. Trim close to the branch in a straight motion to make the cuts blunt to help the branches heal quicker.
When shaping, search for weak branches and twiggy buds that hinder development. You should get rid of all new growth to promote vigorous lemon production. Do not cut a branch that is in good condition unless it is blocking sunlight from the tree or growing in the opposite direction. If you trim more than is needed or you continuously cut healthy branches, this can damage the tree and cause it to produce slowly.
If you wait to long to prune or do it incorrectly, the trees will grow very large and it will be difficult to pick the fruit and the lemons will not ripen correctly due to limited sun and air exposure. But on the other hand, if you prune the trees on a regular basis and remove dead new growth, your lemon trees will create fresh, nourishing fruit for many years.