Pruning citrus fruits - Almost sounds like you own an orchard and it's time for you to go out, pick the ripe fruit, and make sure they reach the market on time. Not quite the case we will be dealing with here.
When I say pruning citrus fruits I mean diluting - what fruits you should pick, or how you should pick them in order to enjoy a better yield. Let me show you how you can get the most rewarding results. And it’s easy, requires only a few minutes of your time and most importantly – it’s fun :-) of course!
O.K. then - let's prune - See that cluster of clementinas in the image? It looks rich, healthy, attractive and tempting. But it holds within a small secret which may damage future potential. Here is why pruning citrus fruit, or even diluting this beautiful bunch, is important:
1. Overweight - the more fruits you have the more they weight down the branch carrying them. Naturally, too much weight will at some point break the branch, and you will end up with a bunch of fruit that are bruised on the ground and a broken branch.
2. Pests and diseases - when all the fruits are hanging in tight clusters, it allows less space for each fruit to grow to its full natural size and shape. These tight clusters are also a great breeding ground for mold, which attracts pests and diseases.
Let’s begin with the "when to prune" - dilution can take place as soon as you see more than 2 fruits touching each other. That's the start of a cluster, which you will want to dilute. And the sooner the better.
What you should do next - always prune or pick the middle fruit. This will create space for the fruits on either side to develop properly and grow as they should. By picking the middle fruit (as marked in the picture) you'll allow enough air, light and sun to join the citrus fruit party, and everyone will grow happier and healthier.
How to prune – first and foremost, please avoid tearing the fruit off the branch. Tearing the fruits off the branch will usually cause others to fall to the ground. This will increase the dilution and leave you with less fruit.
Please use one of the following methods:
1. The handy way – gently spin the fruit as you pull down. This will prevent other fruits from falling off the branch.
2. The pruning way - just prune a few millimeters above the fruit, and you’re done.
Bottom line - pruning citrus fruit, or citrus fruit dilution will not only take care of your tree, it is also important for your health. How? Well, who’s going to be bending over picking up all the rotten fruits from the ground? And whose back is it that will suffer...?? Dilute your tree and you'll be rewarded with healthy fruits AND no backache.
preferred pruning shears - As citruses are sometimes tough
to prune (even the small dried twigs can give you a hard time) I suggest using bypass loppers.
Providing general guidelines on 'how to prune' any kind of plant is important, but there are plants, and there is YOUR plant. So despite there being loads of information on this site, I also provide specific and personalized support. If something wasn't clear, or you're not sure of your plant's name, simply send me a picture with your question. Use the form below and I'll get back to you. In the mean time, see what others are asking.