Post by david on Oct 15, 2019 9:27:54 GMT -5
Question: How does one train and prune citrus?
Answer: Let me say first that citrus requires little pruning. It will thrive and grow with minimal training and pruning. That being said there is a way to train and prune. Nothing says "this fellow loves his citrus" than looking over symmetrical trees that have been trained and pruned in the correct manner. To start with a new tree one must determine how much trunk and canopy he wants in his tree. When the new tree is about 2 feet tall is when I like to start. Start by removing any rootstock growth below your graft. In the top of the tree remove the apical bud at the place you deem you want to grow scaffolding branches. These are the branches that you want to be the main body of your tree. Removing the top gets rid of the hormones associated with the apical bud. The hormones that tell the tree to reach for the sky only. When this is done the hormones will be lessened and the lateral branches will grow. I like to pick 4 of the lateral branches that evolve and remove others that are smaller or pointing inward in the tree. Let these branches grow unfettered. When you have the supporting branches that you want you will get some shoots that come off the scaffold branches and reach for the sky. Let these grow until they reach a height that pleases you. Then top these so that they begin to put out lateral branches. At this time you should have good base of supporting limbs and a canopy. After this is accomplished you should need minimal pruning to keep the tree with the right shape and a healthy shape. You will from time to time need to remove any growth that points inward, rubs upon another branch, pest damaged or cold damaged wood. If you have a vacant place in the tree where you want a branch to grow I use the David method. I bend the branch downward and secure it. I make the stress curve in the branch centered on where I want a new branch to grow. This in most cases will cause a new shoot to emerge and go skyward. When it is of good height and satisfies you, then you can top this branch and it will become bushy and fill the void in the tree. This is a good way to get a good canopy on an Owari Mandrin. They take a drooping form and sometimes grow like a weeping willow. Use this method to get some taller, upward scaffolding in the tree. The goal in pruning is to keep an open canopy that allows air and sunshine into the canopy. Any place that is damaged is a place for pest and disease to enter the tree. The good scaffolding branches are to support a heavy fruit load. At times the fruit load is so heavy that it will bend/break even good scaffolding. The simple cure for this is to place support under the branches until the fruit is gone. Prune back any damaged/broken branches. Limitations on space for trees often dictate pruning. After the tree is bearing you want to be careful in pruning that you do not take off your fruiting wood. This lessens your harvest.