When it comes time to plant fruit trees you should always add a lemon tree. Lemons are great for you. They support heart health, are a good source of vitamin C. But that’s not all. Lemon’s are perfect for any kitchen. There are so many recipes they can be added to. The sweet, tangy flavor of a lemon works in both sweet and savory dishes and even just a squeeze can bring all of the flavors in a dish to life. A good cook will always have a few lemons on hand.
Sadly life doesn’t just give us lemons, we have to grow them first. So once you plant a lemon tree, you’ll need to prune it regularly, especially in the first few years.
When is the best time to prune your lemon tree?
Young lemon trees are pruned as often as needed to shape their structural framework. For mature lemon trees, the best time to prune is after every harvest once or twice a year.
Some experts say that you should prune your lemon tree when the moon is waning as the sap will not be rising at this time. No seriously, the sun, the stars, and the moon believe it or not, actually directly affect everything in your garden. Plant fluids are pulled back toward the earth during the waning and descending phase of the moon, pruning cuts to retard growth are more effective.
The moon is called a waning moon when it is in the phase in which its visible surface area is getting smaller. A waning moon occurs between a full moon (when the visible surface is fully round and lit up) and a new moon (when the surface that faces Earth is completely covered in shadow).
How to prune a lemon tree
You can look at your tree to see if it needs some work. If you see weak branches and small growths near the base of the trunk, it’s a tell-tale sign that you need to prune it right away.
All you really need to prune a lemon tree is a pair of pruning shears and in some cases having a small hand-held saw on hand will help, when your tree gets bigger and you have some unruly branches that need to be removed. Make sure that your pruning shears are sharp as to not damage the tree.
Before you get started look for unhealthy parts and stray branches. Then start by removing the deadwood from the branches of the tree. Take out any thin branches to give the bigger ones a boost! Any cuts you make should be at a 45-degree angle, making sure not to damage the main stalk. This video shows you precisely how to prune correctly and explains how cutting the wrong part of the branch could badly affect your plant.
Sometimes a tree’s trunk doesn’t rise elegantly from the ground. Small sprouts or stems stick up around the base. These are called “suckers,” and it’s best to cut them off close to the ground. Removing suckers, water sprouts, and basal shoots are just as important as removing stray branches.
These small leafy growths come from the base near the roots, and sometimes indicate that the soil bed is too shallow. Prune them off so they don’t suck the nutrients from your lemon tree!
Now let’s talk about skirting. This simply means you need to rid of the bottom growth to prioritize fruiting at the top of the canopy. As wasteful as it may seem, you may have to get rid of any underdeveloped fruit if you want the top batch of buds and lemons to be healthier!
Skirting also helps prevents the leaves from touching the soil and getting contaminated by fertilizers or herbicides. Having your tree a few feet away from the ground keeps pests from climbing onto the tree and spreading diseases.
When it comes to the top of your lemon tree you want to cut only a little bit off of the top. Don’t overdo it. Make sure that the ratio of branches matches the density of its roots, so try to give it a more rounded, symmetrical shape.
Don’t over-prune. The most important part of the pruning process is knowing when to stop. If you prune too much you could overstimulate or stress the lemon tree and end up doing more harm than good.
also don’t forget about those lemon tree thorns. It might be a good idea to wear gloves when pruning your lemon tree.