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Pruning Orange Trees in California

Updated on May 11, 2011

Pruning orange trees or any other citrus trees is not rocket science; you just have to know your varieties and the best time to prune them. As a rule of thumb pruning orange trees is basically best right after the harvest!

California is blessed by the weather for orange tree growing mainly in the south, some, putting it lightly, for ornamental purposes, but mostly for consumption.

For a few generations my family has always been farmers and for the past few decades orange growing has turned and become the main business. There has been reasonably a big learning curve here the past two generations now!

There are reasons in pruning orange trees and most think that pruning orange trees is just for aesthetics, or for a correct orange tree grower terminology, pruning orange trees for formation.

If you have an orange tree in your back yard, then this applies to you because you want to keep your garden neat looking as the rest of the various trees you have that makes your garden.

But there are two more reasons for pruning orange trees and I’ll get to that soon, so read on!

Now, if you got an orange tree plantation for revenue, pruning orange trees for formation, it essentially consists in cutting surplus wood to form your preferred form so all trees look the same and to enhance crop production, maintenance, maneuverability and harvesting.

An additional reason you have to consider in pruning orange trees for transplantation is because you will be reducing the amount of roots for absorption, to set up a sense of balance between absorption and leaf evaporation itself, you will have to get rid of at least most or in some cases all of the leaves. I know this sounds weird, but remember that the tree you are transplanting is right now under stress, so give it a chance to settle!

Fructification is another reason in pruning orange trees and in a common view, it is to trigger a high orange yield.

Weak branches and the ones that look deformed are cut off, branches that have various chutes grown in the same branch as well and the ones that are badly positioned and branches that are overlapping or touching another branch that could cause serious scraping thus leading to bacterial infection and the domino effect, yes, less yield!

As a conclusion, when you´re pruning orange trees, make sure that you leave the outer lower branches cut at about a foot and a half off the ground or a bit more, so that when the oranges grow and become heavier in time and full of juice, the branches will tend to turn towards the ground because of the weight, and not hit the earth and cause damage on the skin!


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