Citrus Tree Care – Shoot Pruning

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Thursday 26 February, 2015 by Uncle Spike

Pruning of the citrus trees is really only necessary every three years, when you can end up cutting large branches to bring light into the centre of the canopy. I did much of that last year, and so this season it’s more a case of checking and tidying as and where necessary.

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When pruning, we cut the branch as physically close to the base as possible, as if even one centimetre (less than half an inch) is left as a stub, a whole bunch of new growth will spout from the stub, causing a messy problem and wasted tree energy.

So the idea is to trim off any new growth to keep the centre of the tree open and airy. Most trees will generate from five to thirty shoots each year that need to be removed. Some are small, like in the next image, where others will already be over a metre tall (over three feet).

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The smaller trimmings are just left on the orchard floor to be ploughed back into the land, but the larger branches all need to be removed from the orchard all together (below is one of perhaps 40 piles). I just grab the pile in a bear hug and walk off… good exercise at least.

Later on next month I’ll attack the large mountain of offcuts, swinging the old machete to remove the foliage from any usable wood, which will be stacked for next winter’s firewood, and the rubbish all burned up in one huge bonfire. The ten buckets of wood ashes from the fire will go onto the rose beds.

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15 thoughts on “Citrus Tree Care – Shoot Pruning

  1. […] most of the citrus trees thankfully only needed a tidy up this year, a fair number of the olive trees required some serious […]

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  2. lamputts says:

    Do you let some of these new branches grow when the trees have been damaged over winter? As always, fascinated by all the stuff it would never have occurred to me has to be done on the farm.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ericrynne says:

    As a Tree Specialist I have to agree with Uncle Spike! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

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  4. How many trees do you have Spike? Sounds like a big job. Those trees look huge .. and I’m sure that your roses will love you for that wood ash!

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  5. Ah, the sweet cycle of life! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It looks like you make as much practical use of the trimmings as possible. Not that I know much of anything about raising crops of any kind. 🙂

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  7. What is that white stuff that you have applied to the trunk. I always wonder about that when I go to Greece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uncle Spike says:

      Ah, that’s a three week job for this May (required every two years). It’s lime paste, water and a dash of copper sulphate (Cu SO 4). It keeps the bark in good condition, with the copper sulphate specifically stopping lichen growth, and the lime also helps to keep the sap cool during summer.

      Liked by 2 people

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