Out of all of the fruit trees, the lemon tree is one of the simplest to care for. The most important element of maintenance is trimming the tree so that it is able to generate new growth. Check out this simple how-to guide for more information on pruning a lemon tree.
Choose the Right Time to Prune: When to Prune Lemon Trees - There is an ideal time to start trimming branches on citrus trees. For lemon trees, it's best to leave the plant alone until after the fall harvest. Choosing to prune in the fall gives the tree time to rest before it starts generating more lemons.
Start Pruning- You need to trim your lemon tree in a certain way to avoid wounding the sensitive bark. To start trimming, begin with angled cuts that are 10-12 in. away from the central trunk. Never cut flush to the trunk, and always make incisions with the blade pointed toward the tree.
Use the Three Cut System- The best way to trim a lemon tree is by using three different types of cuts. You follow this with an undercut on the other side of the branch to weaken it. Afterward, move a few inches above the branch and slice above, severing it from the tree.
Adjust for Cuttings- Choose healthy branches that are between half an inch and a full inch thick when trimming a lemon tree. Avoid choosing ones that are too thick or seem unhealthy, as they will not grow when transplanted into new soil. If you are looking to get cuttings for propagation, select healthy branches with thinned ends.
If you have never pruned a lemon tree before, consider doing regular maintenance throughout the year to reduce how much work you have at the end of the fall season. Always remember to remove dead growth whenever possible, and top new trees so they receive enough sunlight.
Trimming a lemon tree does not need to be a complicated process. All you need to do is eliminate unnecessary growth and provide space for the lemons. If you are still not satisfied with your results, consider trimming a little more and checking on the health of the tree.