Pruning Citrus

Good Evening~

If there is a scaffold branch that is larger than the main leader do I cut it off?

Our Washington Navel (2 1/2 years in the ground, stick at planting) is growing a little wonky…not sure on how to handle it. Will get a picture tomorrow.

Thanks everyone!

Jennifer, I would say possibly yes, but depending on what that scaffold branch looks like where it joins the main trunk. Don’t want the weight of a potentially high number of fruit to split that really big scaffold branch. I’ll let you know when I see the pic :slight_smile:

Is it on a standard or dwarfing rootstock?

It is grafted, but not a dwarf.

Hopefully these pics show what I am talking about. I only have my phone camera. The tree went crazy this past year with growth and I really did not know what to do with how it was growing.

Overall picture of tree. You can see the that the sides are dominant and the center is not. The side growth is from the two bottom scaffolds.

Bottom branches.

Center of tree.

Hi Jennifer,

Assuming all that growth is above the graft union, it’s not a sucker. It’s growing vigorously probably because the other side of the tree is getting shaded by the coop. I’d just lightly prune the tree for shape but not take any scaffold off. Citrus are supposed to have a dense closed canopy unlike stone fruits and are very susceptible to sunscald if opened up.

All in all, the tree looks in great shape. It must be loving the chicken droppings from the coop! :smile:

Yes all growth is above graft…no suckering. We just put the tarp on the coop for the rain storms. It typically is not shaded. It has a kind of “V” shape…so want to take care of anything now before it starts blooming.

Jennifer, I would definitely bring down some of those very tall branches. No sense letting the tree get overly tall. Tall enough to do its job in providing shade, but not so tall you’re having to use a ladder to pick fruit. I would also prune out some of the inside branches on the far left scaffold on the top photo that are going to cause that scaffold to carry a LOT of fruit weight. Plus, it will give the inside of the tree a little more air. Try to balance out your branches so both scaffolds have about the same number of branches, growing away from the inside of the tree. In the bottom photo, you’ve got a bent branch, I would prune out. There are a lot of branches emanating from that one area, which is going to weaken that part of the trunk, so reducing the branching there will make for a healthier tree. When you bring down the tall water sprouty branches, prune for shape as well when you drop crotch those really tall branches.

I forgot to update the thread when I whacked up ma tree :wink:

It is still a bit heavy on the right side but I am hoping this years growth will even it out. I did end up cutting off the 2 scaffolds, they were just out of control and taking over the tree. Also thinned it out and pulled up the middle branch. Hope I did okay. Time will tell!