pruning potted lemon trees

babekakes's picture

pruning potted lemon trees (post #9269)

I have two young lemon trees in 14" pots - would like to know the best time and how to prune them for maximum heath and growth.  Thanks!

raggedrobin1's picture

(post #9269, reply #1 of 3)

I would also be interested in responses.  I bought a lemon two winters ago.  It had lemons (Meyer) that winter.  I set it out in the summer, and last winter it had ten lemons.  This year, nothing.  Not a flower even.  Is there a particular fertilizer I should be giving it?  Or perhaps it's root bound?  I haven't repotted it.


hortist's picture

(post #9269, reply #2 of 3)

Typically, you would prune most citrus to an "open center" habit as with apple trees, cherries and other fruit trees that don't have distinct central leader.  Remove any very small, twiggy growth that is growing near the center of the tree so that the larger branches are encouraged to grow and form a strong structure.  Other than that, a little light shaping and occasional pruning out of dead wood is about all you have to do.  I would do most of this pruning in late winter/very early spring just before new growth begins to appear.

If you are overwintering your citrus in a warm greenhouse environment, they will probably continue to grow throughout most of the year.  If you are overwintering them in a cooler environment (in the house, an unheated sunroom or garage, etc.) you'll need to keep them a little drier during the winter.  They'll usually go semi-dormant and don't like to be overly wet during their dormancy.  Also, watch for spider mites.  They can be a HUGE problem during the winter indoors where the humidity is generally very low and it's not unusual for them to take over an entire citrus tree before you even know you have a problem.  I put a big piece of plastic down and use Safer's Insecticidal Soap on them once a month during the winter whether they need it or not, just to be on the safe side.  Better yet, stick them outdoors on a warmer winter day and spray them, let them dry and bring them back in.


"The great wonder, in gardening, is that so many plants live!" Christopher Lloyd


babekakes's picture

(post #9269, reply #3 of 3)

Thanks very much for your response...appreciate this web site for great answers and terrific information from hands on gardeners!