Should I cut off new branches on my 1 year citrus?

Growing from seed, my lemon tree appears to have slowed down in terms of height, now around 35-40cm, and is now growing branches out of the main stem.

It’s a year and 2 months old, and is becoming crowded due to the development of branches of such a young age/height.

I’ve been avoiding cutting these off on the assumption that the more leaves the merrier , assuming the more leaves the more chance it will grow further.

Now as pictured it’s getting quite busy, should I break off the lower branches? Some of the new growing branches have actually died off at the end half whilst the stem half is still green, should I remove any branches that are dead at the end? Please see pictures.

The small leaves on the soil I just took off as they were at the very bottom and presumably insignificant


Citrus naturally grow as bushes with branches all the way to the ground. No need to remove lower branches to force upward growth. That could result in a fast growing, but floppy leader that needs to be staked.

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