Pruning to create limbs

RBurlAugust 3, 2014

I have started a number of Calamondin trees from seed and shared most of them with friends who live in Florida. I kept one for myself, but I live in Maine. It is currently 30" tall and is growing straight up with no limbs. I'd like to limit it's height and force it to start growing limbs. Can I pinch off the top growth to accomplish that?

I can post a picture if that would help at all.

Thanks for the help. All I can find out about pruning citrus trees has to do with trees that have already branched.


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If it was a seed grown tree I had, I would tie a string to the top and anchor the other end. So the main stem would be at a 45 degree angle or about, and the sunlight would hit it, and the lower nodes would begin to grow upwards! I wouldn't pinch the top.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:57AM
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Thanks for the advice, I must admit, that never occurred to me. Can I ask why you wouldn't pinch the top? I have seen pictures of severely trimmed citrus trees that seem to be doing fine.

If I do as you suggest, once a limb has started on one side, would I bend the tree over the other way to encourage a limb on the opposite side?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:05AM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

I would tip th pot at a 45 degree angle and stake the tree with a tick also inclined at 45 degrees. I would also rotate the pot each day so the top does not bend up. My mistake was letting my seed grown trees grow tall as a single trunk. The fell over and sent side shoots any way.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:42AM
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Of course you can prune/pinch the top to limit height and to encourage branching. I see no good reason for all the bending and tying. FYI the Calamondin has a strong tendency to be a rather columnar tree.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 2:56PM
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i have 2 cals grown from seed, they are 6-7 years old.
i don't really expect them to fruit, but may be bloom? sometime. i prune them mercilessly for shape, sev times a year and a couple of times hard to be able to overwinter/spray easier.
i just want a small ornamental tree that i can easily overwinter in small quarters - which might be different from your intent.
it's just an example of how a tree would look after some time when it's pruned continuously for shape only.
here's my better looking popcicle that lost almost all its leaves(watering spike failed) last feb and basically came back within 6 weeks (indoors). it's going into a 4th flush since mar this year.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:06PM
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and as far as cal being a columnar tree, here's what happened with the 2nd one:
it produced a super strong water sprout early on and i let it grow. then i pruned and pruned and it totally refused to flesh out on the bottom and continued upwords. finally after 6 years it had 3 tiers, the top heaviest, the bottom 2 sparse. i did not like the look, so air-layered the top large portion on the main trunk. and cut it off about a month ago. it had since fleshed out on both.
here's 2 top pics of just now trimmed up left-over (one side looks much better, but on the other you can clearly see 2 tiers). the bottom left is the popped off top, on the bottom right you can still see it attached.
johnmerr, can you perhaps comment on my trees? as far as whether they look ok? and perhaps, if this type of pruning will delay if not eliminate blooming?
Maine is colder then NYC (where i am), and both OP and i obviously have to keep the trees for half-a-year indoors.
mine only get 3-4 hours of NE sun outside and western part-sun in winter.

This post was edited by petrushka on Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 14:42

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Thanks to all you guys,

I will untie the poor tree and prune the top and then see what happens.

I plan to take it to FL with me in the winter, so it gets to stay outside for about seven months a year.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 2:53PM
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well, there is citrus quarantine in fl - for all incoming citrus. if they'll find it - they'll take it.
people say they inspect all vans/trucks at agri-stations on all highways. don't know about cars/ local roads.
and am not sure about taking it OUT of fl either.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 4:43PM
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And at times the quarantine people monitor these sites; so you could get a knock on your door.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 5:18PM
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Dear Rburl,

It would be very uncool of you to move this tree around Florida. Please read up on citrus greening.

Almost 100% of the Asian Citrus Psyllids that are pervasive in Florida are infected with citrus greening bacteria, so it is likely that your tree would be infected with greening and infested with psyllids if you were to take it there.

If you were to then drive it back home, you might be dropping off some "hot" psyllids along the way. That is not something you want to do to any homeowners and farmers along your route whose trees are not already infected with citrus greening.

Please don't move citrus. Please spread the word.

Thank you,
Dan Willey

Here is a link that might be useful: Save Our Citrus

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:22AM
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NICE trees Petruska!!! every time I see a tree thats a tangle of dead and lanky limbs I shake my head. Yours look very happy. thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 6:24PM
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