How and When to Prune a Lemon Tree

Like other fruit trees, lemon trees need to be pruned regularly. Especially in the first two years of planting, you need to prune the young lemon trees as necessary to shape their structural framework and stimulate their germination and growth. Scientific and reasonable pruning can make lemon fruit bigger and get rich returns. If you want to know when and how to prune a lemon tree,  here are some important tips for pruning a lemon tree.

When do you prune the lemon tree

The best time to prune lemon trees is in spring or autumn.

It is very important to prune the lemon tree at the right time. If you live in a warm climate, you can prune before you start growing every spring (February to April). Or prune the lemon tree after the autumn harvest so that there is enough time to recover before the next season harvest. Try to avoid pruning lemon trees in winter and summer cycles.

When is the Best Time of a Year to Prune Trees

Pruning tools

The tools you need to prune lemon trees are pruning shears or small hand-held saws. Before using the tools, please use 10% bleach solution to disinfect the pruning tools. Because the lemon tree has thorns, please wear protective gloves when working.

How to prune lemon tree


Look at the lemon tree and find dead and broken branches, as well as the extra branches crossing each other.


Remove dead and broken branches

Use sharp pruning shears to trim the dead and broken branches on the lemon tree at a 45 degree angle. Do not cut the branches flush with the trunk or the mother branch. Keep the branch collar (wrinkles around the branches). Branch collars can heal the wounds of branches and prevent the trees from being damaged or rotten by diseases.

Remove crossed or rubbed branches

Remove rubbed or crossed branches from the lemon tree and branches growing toward the center of the lemon tree to ensure that all buds grow outward. This will help increase air circulation and direct sunlight to all branches.

Prune main branch

Encourage the development of several major branches and cut them in front of the outward buds, which will make the branches thicker. And allow it to grow more secondary branches, these branches will produce more fruits and have a better shape.

Prune the downward growing branches

Prune all drooping, downward-facing branches that extend into the soil.

Remove root sucker

Removal of root suckers at the bottom of the trunk promotes the preferential development of lemon branches and shoots. These root suckers can be removed at any time throughout the growing season.

Watering and fertilizing

After pruning the lemon tree, water and fertilize it to facilitate the normal growth of the sapling. If the pruning is improper and the water and fertilizer are not added in time, the lemon tree will often only bloom, and the probability of the result will not be too much.


When pruning a lemon tree, do not prune more than a third of the branches.

The method of pruning a lemon tree planted in a container is almost the same as that of a lemon tree planted in a home garden. In either case, please pruning carefully, and only remove dead, broken, crossed branches and new shoots.

Lemon trees planted in containers are placed indoors, and they need to be pollinated before they bloom. Lemon trees grown outdoors usually do not require artificial pollination.

Normally, the greener the lemon, the greater the sourness, so if you want to make the lemons sweeter, please wait until they turn yellow.