Can I prune an old Citrus tree?
As spring approaches the sap starts to rise in citrus trees as their growth commences for the season. This makes it a perfect time to renovate plants such as citrus that may have become overgrown and therefore unproductive. Use secateurs to cut back any dead or dying shoots as well as leggy shots that have distorted or sparse leaf growth. For larger branches a pruning saw may be necessary to make clean cuts. Should it be necessary to remove whole branches cut them back to the trunk with the cut being made at the branch collar, a swelling that protrudes a couple of centimetres out from where the branch meets the trunk. To really assist the tree in its recovery remove any grass to within a couple of metres of the trunk and apply a 5-10cm deep mulch of well-rotted cow or horse manure and water well. Within a few weeks you will see masses of bright green new shoots appearing and it may even be necessary to thin these out if you think the new growth is becoming too crowded. It may take a couple of seasons before the tree bears a really heavy crop again but it will settle in to a much more productive pattern for the future.