When to Prune Orange Trees
There are various reasons to prune an orange tree. Pruning could be for future transplantation or relocating that same tree, for formation in its first years of growth, this is guiding its branches, and for fructification, this is pruning in a way that will give a better yield or aiming for high productivity. These three reasons are in my other hub that I have written, Orange Tree Pruning. Now coming down to “when to prune orange trees” is a totally different matter that should be taken seriously.
Basically altogether citrus trees can be pruned in the season that goes from end of harvesting all the way until just before they flower. This is the basic rule, but it is best to prune when sap exchange is at its minimum throughout the tree.
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There are many varieties of orange trees, each and every one with different fruit maturation seasons, resulting in different pruning seasons.
If you prune an orange tree on its off season the result could be that it takes the tree a year or two for it to re-establish, being stressed this whole time until it naturally synchronizes itself and in the meantime giving a weak and low yield.
Find out what variety of orange tree you have and follow the list below as a safe guide on when to prune orange trees.
Washington Navel – Fruit maturation in November, can be pruned January onwards after harvest until flowering.
California Navel – Same as Washington Navel variety.
Newhall – Same as Washington Navel variety.
Naveline – Fruit maturation from October till February, can be pruned March/April onwards after harvest until flowering.
Smith Orange – Same as Naveline variety.
Lane Late – Fruit maturation from March until June, can be pruned June/July onwards until flowering.
Navelate – Fruit maturation from February until May, can be pruned June onwards until flowering.
Barnfield - Same as Lane Late variety, but be careful because this orange tree variety can hold its fruit two seasons before naturally dropping them. Prune carefully this variety in July/August if not harvested yet. Best to have it harvested first before pruning.
Rhode Oranges - Fruit maturation from March until June, can be pruned from June to August onwards until flowering.
Valencia Late - Fruit maturation from April until August, can be pruned September/October onwards until flowering.