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I have a Meyer Lemon tree that I brought inside for the winter and am now ready to bring outside. The problem is that there's no good place inside where it would get 100% sunlight, instead only part of the tree did. As a result one branch grew towards the light and is now longer than the tree is tall and is very straggly.

I want to trim it so the tree is uniform but was wondering if there's anything special I need to do when doing this? I've never trimmed it back before and want to make sure I don't do anything wrong that will kill it. Do I just take the clippers and snip it at the right place or is there more to it than that?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Good news is that many things to watch for in deciduous trees are not an issue with citrus. Branches are able to bear heavy loads of fruit, the crop is about the same on pruned or unpruned trees and fruit is produced in all but the most heavily shaded parts of the tree.

Here is what you should do:

  • prune between February and April
  • prune to remove dead branches, crossing branches and, if the canopy is dense, to let more light into the interior
  • eliminate all sprouts coming from the main trunk. It's easier to remove them when they're small so this is more of a year round task.

This is a great pdf with many more details if you are still unsure.

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