To prune or not to prune...

redecoratingmom(8 GA)February 6, 2012

that's the question that's been rolling around in my brain lately. First let me say a big THANK YOU to Josh, Mike and Everyone who has helped me out with your suggestions. I took your advice and began fertilizing with FP and things have been amazing ever since. Exactly one week after I fertilized for the first time shoots of new growth came up on practically every branch. Yep, the same variegated pink lemon that hated me and that had done nothing for the last few months besides drop leaves is actually thriving. I was down to the last 31 leaves (that's right...I counted) and now the count is closer to 50! This may seem like small beans to some of you but its a big deal to me :).

So that brings me to my question. During that sad time of leaf drop, one branch that is about 18in long lost all of its leaves except one (about 7in from trunk). That same branch has the beginnings of new growth forming at the tip. Should I use this opportunity to cut the branch back to just above that lone leaf so that new growth will sprout from there and make a fuller branch? Does that make sense?

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

congrats! Its always nice to hear when someones tree starts doing well. One thing to keep in mind is that most time citrus grow in cycles meaning top growth then root growth. Not necessarily in that order but you get the idea. So having said that since your tree just had a good flush of leaves it may not sprout new ones immediately after you cut the branch. It should regrow from the cut but dont get discouraged if it doesnt right away.

mike

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 8:16AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

redecoratingmom, I would wait to prune that branch. You may get more new leaf flush further down the branch. Can you post a photo in a message for us so we can actually see?

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 10:42AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello! ;-)

I, too, would wait to prune until later in the Spring.
As Patty mentioned, more back-budding may occur. Also, those new leaves will mature
and begin making energy for the tree. Once the tree is in a fully vital state, prune with impugnity ;-)
And please do share pics.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 10:53AM
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johnmerr(11)

Unlike some other trees, citrus stores its energy in the form of carbohydrates in the trunk and branches. When the tree is healthy and growing well, it can be pruned for shape or to remove damaged limbs. Mike is right about growth spurts; but first the roots grow, and after that the leaves and branches. Unless you think your "nearly naked" branch is just too ugly to tolerate, I would not prune it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 11:31AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Not to go against the grain, but if were my tree I would cut it right now since it is just starting to push out new growth.

It doesn't matter what time of the year when I prune, but every time mine start to push new growth, the leaves come back in full force below the cut line. I have a feeling due to the unusual warm weather and your warm sun, your tree is getting ready to push new growth again and what a perfect time to NOT let it focus on your branch tips.

For many of us, a new flush of growth may not come until the 'spring', but for many exposing their trees to lots of sunlight and warmth, that starts now as in many of my trees in my greenhouse.

Mike

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 6:40PM
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