Many backyards have citrus trees. For your citrus trees to thrive, they will periodically require pruning and maintenance from your local tree services contractor.
Read on to find out more.
Why prune citrus trees?
It's important to have your citrus trees pruned for a number of reasons, including
- to keep them in shape
- to remove branches that are rubbing and causing damage to bark that could provide an entry point for disease
- to prevent damage to the tree during heavy cropping
- to ensure that the tree has sufficient air and sunlight, both of which are essential for a good crop and healthy tree
How to prune citrus trees
- Always use very sharp pruning implements and wash them in a mild bleach and water solution before use to reduce the risk of spreading disease.
- The best time to have your citrus trees pruned is during the winter months when the tree is dormant. This avoids stressing the tree when it is producing blossoms or fruit buds, and avoids the risk of the tree weeping excess sap that could attract insect pests.
- When pruning, always preserve the branch collar. The collar is the area at the base of a branch that has a wrinkled or ridged appearance. This area helps to defend the tree against invasion by disease and contains the cells that encourage new growth and wound repair.
- Try to avoid nicking the tree's bark on adjacent branches during the pruning process. Citrus bark is quite thin and damaged areas are an open invitation to insect pests and diseases.
- To bring more light and air to the tree's canopy, prune out dead wood first, followed by the smallest, thinnest branches, rather than the larger, healthy ones. Larger branches will be able to bear more weight than smaller ones when the tree crops.
- Start by making an angled undercut angled away from the branch collar to its outside. Make the cut about one-third of the way through the branch from the underside.
- Finish the prune by making a cut from above, a few centimetres up the branch's length, so that it meets the undercut and neatly severs the branch without tearing the bark.
Ensure a good crop every season by pruning your citrus trees correctly. If you're not confident enough to carry out this work yourself, always ask a qualified tree lopping service to carry out the job for you.