When do I prune my citrus if it is constantly fruiting?

Q.

Hi Tui, when is the best time to hard prune a lemon tree if it is constantly fruiting? Our tree has flowers, and lemons from green to ripe year round. We do get light frosts in winter. Thanks for any help.

Tom Knobloch

A.

Hi Tom, how lucky you are to have such an abundant tree. Generally citrus do not require pruning, but pruning can be done to keep the tree to a manageable size, make fruit picking easier, remove weak and diseased wood, and improve air circulation by removing branches crossing over. Typically citrus fruit in late winter, early spring and the best time to prune is after fruiting has finished. In frost prone areas prune after the risk of frost has passed, if you prune too early the new growth won't have time to harden off if there are late frosts. Summer pruning is also possible as long as it isn't too late into autumn and the new growth has time to harden off before winter. If pruning in summer, make sure all wounds are sealed with a water based paint or pruning paste to prevent the Lemon Tree Borer entering the tree to lay its eggs, it will cause significant damage and this native insect is very hard to control once it enters the plant, so prevention is the best cure. The Tui Team.

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