Author Topic: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.  (Read 582 times)

orangedays

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Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« on: November 08, 2021, 01:13:16 PM »
I have a Mayer lemon in a pot that has a weeping form. It sends out long sender branches and blooms and sets fruit on the branch tips. It then the branches bends and drops to the side and destabilize the pot. Its cumbersome to move about and doesn't look as nice as it would if the branches were sturdier and shorter.  I noticed and treated it for scale this spring which made it grow more vigorously but still the same long slender framework with fruit at the tips of the branches.

Is there a general practice for pruning potted citrus you can recommend. Thanks!

brian

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2021, 02:59:31 PM »
I have been re-grafting all of my citrus onto dwarfing rootstock because I run into this problem with some. 

My meyer lemon hasn't been all that vigorous, though.  I cut it back about a third every year, removing a whole section rather than just the newest growth (most citrus flower on new growth, so I assume this true meyer lemon).  My other lemons are extremly vigorous and I have to prune most of the growth regularly, so they have poor yields.  I am going to ditch the originals once the dwarf grafts take.

Millet

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2021, 09:58:08 AM »
You can prune as little or as much as you want.  But as Brian wrote, citrus produce fruit on the new growth, and pruning removes the new growth.  Therefore, the trees fruit production will greatly suffer from pruning.

orangedays

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2021, 11:02:15 AM »
I am wondering if by pruning that would create new growth that was bushy and more compacted and establish a strong frame to support future fruit.  I guess I should try and see but that means pruning off all the current fruit and flowers to get to an eventual hopefully better end-state. 

brian

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2021, 01:22:31 PM »
It is difficult because the new growth tends to be in the exterior which increases the size steadily.  To maintain a constant size for a vigorous tree I think you would need to prune every other year, sacrificing the years' crop as a reasult. 

My "remove a major limb" pruning approach gives a yearly crop but the trees end up misshapen and unattractive.


Tortuga

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2021, 10:32:37 AM »
I have had good experience pruning about 1/3 back or less and I usually get more vigor and more fruit after pruning. I usually prune early fall and in spring the next year the pruned off sections grow fast and flower and fruit. I usually prune almost half the total number of branches at one time and the following year prune the other half that was not pruned

Plantinyum

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2021, 03:04:39 PM »
Can a new shoot be top pinched after it reaches the desired lenght in order for it to send new branching growth from the same shoot the same year ?
I found this method works very well with avocado, which on its own seem to also make spindly growth without much branching.
I also have two lemons which are my most vigorous cutrus by far ,that are making long single point branches . The plants are young still so i do not have size problems with them for now, maybe next year haha...

Millet

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2021, 04:15:32 PM »
Yes, works well for additional side branching.

luak

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2021, 08:13:03 AM »
Grow this Meyer lemon thatís 5 years old, not more than 3 feet tall, not including container. Very productive. Have pomeloís thatís either 3 or 4 feet tall. I like minni treeís.







« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 08:21:16 AM by luak »

Plantinyum

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2021, 12:58:11 AM »
Grow this Meyer lemon thatís 5 years old, not more than 3 feet tall, not including container. Very productive. Have pomeloís thatís either 3 or 4 feet tall. I like minni treeís.








Nice plants ! Are your mini trees grafted on flying dragon ? I have one pomello and a kumquat that seem to be very slow growing, staying very compact since they almost do not make any new growth.
I tend to like plants that are vigorous..however i can see the benefit of the smaller size of them, for space reasons.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 01:06:17 AM by Plantinyum »

luak

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2021, 07:59:01 PM »
I donít need larger trees because we give away a lot. Just like to stay busy, 15 gl containers are max.
Media has to be as light as possible. 12 gl containers would be better yet. Has to be squat containers!!
Rootstock I use are mostly mandarin, no dwarfs, except the Meyer lemon. A little wider now.
I do have a few 6 footers.

Walt

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2021, 03:27:02 PM »
I read above that people are pruning to make their trees more compact.  That works of course, but it isn't hard to keep trees compact, potted or not.
I learned from someone in North American Fruit Explorers that the apical bud, the bud at the end of a twig, gives off a hormone that reduces bud break below it.  Making a notch just above a lower bud will prevent the hormone from going down to that bud, and it will (usually) turn into a twig, then a branch.  This is done by hobby fruit growers to control their tree growth.  Commercial fruit growers find this method too expensive when growing hundreds or thousands of trees.
I haven't tried this on citrus yet.  But I tried this method on a seedling wisteria and got a branch at EVERY leaf axil.  Ordinarily wisteria don't branch at all until they are bigger.  I had a branch for every leaf since germination until I quit doing the notching.  Then it stopped further branching.
I'm not doing this on my seedlings because seedlings don't bloom until they get a certain height.  That certain height is different for each unique seedling.  I presume each nucellular seedlings of the same variety would bloom at the same height.
Grafted plants and rooted cutting could be notched at any time as they are from mature wood.

Plantinyum

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2021, 02:15:15 AM »
I read above that people are pruning to make their trees more compact.  That works of course, but it isn't hard to keep trees compact, potted or not.
I learned from someone in North American Fruit Explorers that the apical bud, the bud at the end of a twig, gives off a hormone that reduces bud break below it.  Making a notch just above a lower bud will prevent the hormone from going down to that bud, and it will (usually) turn into a twig, then a branch.  This is done by hobby fruit growers to control their tree growth.  Commercial fruit growers find this method too expensive when growing hundreds or thousands of trees.
I haven't tried this on citrus yet.  But I tried this method on a seedling wisteria and got a branch at EVERY leaf axil.  Ordinarily wisteria don't branch at all until they are bigger.  I had a branch for every leaf since germination until I quit doing the notching.  Then it stopped further branching.
I'm not doing this on my seedlings because seedlings don't bloom until they get a certain height.  That certain height is different for each unique seedling.  I presume each nucellular seedlings of the same variety would bloom at the same height.
Grafted plants and rooted cutting could be notched at any time as they are from mature wood.

woudn't it be easier to just trim the terminal bud?? Do the remaining buds that are just below  the trimmed one take its function and become terminals themselves?

Walt

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2021, 12:25:54 PM »

If you don't want the terminal bud, trim it.  But having many side branches will slow down the terminal bud.  Either way works.  One way leaves a central leader, the other doesn't. 
Yes, the end bud on a branch does act as a new terminal bud, but to a lesser degree.  And I think that in general, the more horizontal a branch is, the less effect the terminal bud has.  But this isn't always true.  We have all seen weeping willows, weeping cherries, etc.  Twigs are growing straight down yet not branching much.

brian

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Re: Pruning potted citrus to make them more compact.
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2021, 01:19:22 PM »
Walt your bud-notching suggestion is actually really interesting and something I hadn't thought of before.  I am going to try this on some of my more vigorous trees.

If it results in more growth inside the canopy instead of at the tips of the branches, it is a huge improvement for keeping trees small and productive

 

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