How and when to prune meyer lemon tree


The meyer lemon tree or Citrus × meyeri, due to its characteristics, is one of the most cultivated varieties in pots, being capable of giving very abundant harvests. The flavor of its fruit is notably sweeter and less acidic than that of a common lemon, which is why it is highly sought after for consumption. Although we have already dedicated an article to how to prune a lemon tree, we have decided to dedicate a special post to commenting on everything about pruning meyer lemon tree, I hope it will be useful.


Although the most common is to opt for a Meyer lemon tree when we grow it in a pot, the truth is that they adapt perfectly if you plant it directly in the ground. In this post we will give useful tips on pruning for both cases, growing in a pot or in the ground. The biggest difference in both cases is that when we have a potted plant, we generally must prune more regularly to have better control of the size.

Pruning meyer lemon tree
Interesting fact: originally the meyer lemon trees were a cross between the traditional lemon tree and the mandarin, which was made and imported from China. But since these imported plants carried a very lethal citric virus for other plants, they were no longer brought from the Asian country. It was in 1975 when the University of California created the variety of meyer lemon tree that is currently on this side of the world.

1. How to care your meyer lemon tree


Let’s start by reviewing which are the care that you should pay attention to the most when growing one of these citrus fruits at home. You will see that it does not come out of the common care that you should have with any citrus.

  • Lighting: when looking for a place to plant it, try to do it where it has many hours of sun. At least 6 hours a day. If you are growing it indoors, place the pot near a window and turn it over every two to three weeks for more symmetrical growth.
  • Soil: it likes slightly clayey soils but with good drainage capacity. Regarding pH, it prefers acidic and neutral soils, with values ​​between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • Irrigation: it does not support droughts very well, so irrigation must be regular. To know when to water, note that the first few inches of soil are slightly dry. Never cause waterlogging when watering.
  • Fertilization: If you want a stronger and healthier Meyer lemon tree, it is good to fertilize it. This should be done from the beginning of spring and during the summer. About three fertilizations in that period will suffice.
  • Temperature: although citrus fruits in general do not bear the cold very well, the meyer lemon tree is somewhat more resistant than the average. It can withstand frost down to -6 ° C.
  • Propagation: although it is possible to carry out propagation by seed, the truth is that it is very difficult for them to produce fruit. That is why the best option to propagate these citrus fruits is through cuttings or grafts.
  • Pruning: in a citrus fruit such as the meyer lemon tree, pruning is very important, we will analyze this point in the following sections

2. Trimming meyer lemon tree: Tools


The tools that we may need to prune a meyer lemon tree will vary depending on the age of the citrus, and especially the type of crop (in the ground or in a pot). Obviously when we limit growth with a pot we can prune with fewer tools.

  • Pruning shears.
  • Handsaw
  • Chainsaw.
  • Ladder or scaffolding. (When we grow in the ground this citrus can reach 2 to 3 m in height)
  • Basic safety elements such as helmet and gloves.

In general we can list the following tools necessary to prune one of these citrus fruits. You will know depending on the size of the fruit tree which one you will choose for the task.

You may also be interested in knowing about pruning:

2.1 How to desifected tools

There are many ways that you can disinfect your pruning tools. Here we will see three of the most common and easy to do.

  • Method 1: rub the scissors blades with a cloth dipped in alcohol (ethanol). After cleaning, allow the tool to sit for a couple of minutes for maximum disinfection efficiency.
  • Method 2: prepare a mixture 1/9 of chlorine and water (one part of chlorine and 9 of water). Then soak the scissors for half an hour in that mixture. After those 30 minutes you can start pruning.
  • Method 3: this third method is effective but from my point of view not so recommended. Here what you should do is pass the blade for a few seconds through a flame. This will disinfect but also burn the blade.

You already have the three methods to disinfect your scissors before trimming your meyer lemon tree, which one do you choose?

3. Pruning meyer lemon tree


Once you have properly sharpened and disinfected your tools, we can start pruning, but how and when should we do it? We will answer those two questions in this section.

3.1 When to prune

Meyer lemon trees, like many other citrus fruits, ripen their fruits during the winter, and this detail will be the key to define the exact moment of pruning. Especially if what we want is to make the most of the harvest in our lemon tree.

The ideal time to prune your meyer lemon tree is when you are done with the harvest. Once all the lemons have ripened you can prepare to prune, this will be in the last days of winter.

Meyer lemon trees, like many other citrus fruits, ripen their fruits during the winter, and this detail will be the key to define the exact moment of pruning.

If you prune before harvest you will be cutting productive branches, so the amount of lemons that the plant will produce will be less. On some occasions, for example in very old citrus, this can be good. Since we reduce the effort that the plant must make during production.

If you have your lemon tree mainly with ornamental functions, you are not interested in its production, you can also prune before harvest.

3.2 How to prune

You already know what tools will be useful to you, how to disinfect them and when you should do the pruning, it is time for us to talk about how you should prune your meyer lemon tree. You will see that it is a fruit tree that you do not have many complications in this maintenance task.

Follow the steps below if you want to perform a successful pruning:

Step 1: Define the right time and age to prune. We have already studied the appropriate season in the previous section, in terms of age, it is best to wait until the plant is at least 1 m high.

Step 2: cut all those suckers that are generated below the graft. This point is essential, especially in the first years of life. If you allow these suckers to develop, the plant will be wasting much of its energy on shoots that will never bear fruit.

Step 3: cut all those dead and / or diseased branches. Take a moment to observe your plant and determine which branches are in poor condition. Once you have cut them, try to dispose of the waste properly, especially if they have pests or diseases. This will prevent a possible spread of the problem.

Step 4: If the foliage is very dense, leaving central areas where light does not enter, cut some branches selectively to allow light and air to enter.

Step 5: remove all those branches that are growing in a criss-cross way and those that have leaned too much (they can touch the ground).

4. Pruning meyer lemon tree in pot (video)


To finish this article, I have selected a video from the LogeesPlants channel, in which you can see how to prune a pot-grown meyer lemon tree. Hope it is helpful. 🙂

Cover image belonging to Wikipedia

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