Proper Citrus Tree Care—Spring Pruning Basics
Citrus trees have strong wood that requires minimal pruning. A healthy tree can bear the load of heavy fruit. A common misconception is that a heavily pruned citrus tree will result in new growth and improved fruit quality. In fact, the opposite is true; minimally pruned citrus trees can produce fruit that is of better quality than heavily pruned trees.
Spring is Citrus Pruning Season
If your citrus tree requires pruning, the best months in Arizona are February to April. Best is after the danger of frost has passed but before the tree flowers. Pruning between April and October can expose the tree to sunburn damage, and November to February exposes the tree to potential frost damage.
Regular Maintenance with Minimal Pruning
Citrus trees produce the least fruit in areas of the tree canopy that are most shaded. Thus, your citrus tree may only need to be pruned in the spring to thin out those deeply shaded sections inside the tree canopy, opening them up to sunlight for fruit production.
Year-round maintenance of citrus trees involves regularly snipping off suckers and removing branches that are weak, diseased or dead. As with other trees, a limb that crosses another should also be removed to prevent damage to and consequent disease in the other limbs it touches.
Citrus trees, like roses, are most often grafted varieties onto a base rootstock. Shoots growing up around the base of the trunk or in nearby soil are rootstock suckers that should be removed. They are characteristically thorny and will not produce the desired citrus variety.
Thorny, unproductive varietal branches higher up in the tree can also be removed as part of regular maintenance.
Protect Cuts with Paint
Especially for large cuts, protect the exposed citrus wood by painting it with a 50%/50% mix of latex paint and water. Never use an oil-based paint on citrus.
Want to know more about how you can maintain the investment in your landscape and improve its value? Call ELS at any time at (602)-243-1106 or fill out a request a bid form on our website at www.elslandscapeaz.com