I planted this tree a few months back and it's been growing rapidly in the summer sun here in Cyprus. We have average daytime temperatures of around 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) at this time of year, and will for another two months or so before things start to cool down.

Should I be pruning this tree at this point in its life? I don't want it to get too gangly or take over the garden, and I eventually want a tree that has a canopy that I can walk under (to access other parts of the garden), so I'm eyeing the lower shoots as candidates at this time.

Can anybody advise me on this?

At its tallest point, this tree is now six feet tall.

UPDATED: As some have requested them, here are some more pictures to make it more clear how the tree is growing. Apologies for the state of the garden in general (work in progress).

Lower branch detail.

I was also advised to expose the top set of roots. A local cat and her kittens have done a pretty good job of it, but I've made sure they're exposed. Is this good enough? All I've exposed so far are the thin, spindly roots. I used some water to soften the soil. Thanks for the input on this. To answer a question, I'd love a tree that gives both shade and fruit, if possible.

1 Answer 1


Well I would, taking off the lowest branches certainly, and possibly the next tier, although the picture isn't very clear when it comes to judging which branches are coming from where in the lower parts. That would still leave some halfway down, but as the top is a bit sparse, and it's already July, I'd leave those in place till next year and remove them in late spring, or when the weather has warmed and growth is happening (which might be early spring where you are).


Cover those thin roots back up immediately - they should not be exposed like that. I think the point someone else was trying to make was that any mulch laid over the top of the soil should not be in contact with the trunk of the tree, but it's absolutely not a good idea to expose fine, thin roots like the ones in your picture. Don't allow the soil you replace to sit higher against the trunk, that's the only thing to watch for, along with the same rule for any mulch you choose to use. Much later on, as the tree matures, you may find large roots appearing above ground of their own volition (hopefully not because all the soil's been washed out by torrential rain, I don't mean that) and those roots should not be covered up. This, though, is unlikely to happen for some years.

Otherwise, my advice remains as above, that is, to remove the lowest tier of branches now, leaving any other pruning/shaping for next year.

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    I'd HEAD those lower branches so they aren't so long and heavy. The reason being those branches FEED the trunk. Later, they will be coming off. Definitely need more pictures as well as what you want for this tree. Fruit, shade? I am worried about the mulch/soil at the base of your tree. If any of that bark is covered by mulch/soil/rock/plants that will cause bacteria that will girdle your tree. Pull that mulch/soil away from the trunk until you can see the tops of the roots. Send picture! If that trunk has been buried too low (too high) the tree will die in a few years.
    – stormy
    Jul 11, 2016 at 22:41
  • @stormy I've added a few pictures and some details. Thanks for the input so far!
    – omannay
    Jul 17, 2016 at 15:29
  • Bamboo is correct with covering those fine roots with soil, but I am seeing quite a bit of damage to your trunk. Hey, plants are programmed to survive. They make their own 'bandages', chemicals to deter or reduce bacteria detrimental to their health. The sooner one prunes a young tree the better! Get rid of any branch that is unhealthy, grows towards the center of the tree, rubs against other branches and simply cut those long, heavy branches back until the weight is lessened and the branch rises upwards. Use sterilized bypass pruners. Chose a LEADER and leave it alone.
    – stormy
    Jul 17, 2016 at 20:15
  • @stormy (and Bamboo) Thanks, guys; I'm a gardening bonehead! The trunk damage might well be the kittens that live in my garden; they do love this little tree. I'll get pruning today and I'll cover those roots back up. Thanks again!
    – omannay
    Jul 18, 2016 at 9:16
  • Kittens couldn't possibly do this damage, I don't think anyhoo! This damaged area was under the soil, yes? Just need to cover those roots a half an inch to protect from sun and heat. Not a big deal. There are plenty more. Bypass pruners NOT anvil. Use alcohol to sterilize. Leave no stumps. Head those lower branches back to a bud and only as much as the branch needs to 'lift'.
    – stormy
    Jul 18, 2016 at 19:07

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