How to prune mandarin tree nz

How + When to Prune Citrus ⋆ Edible Backyard

No matter what tree you prune, or how confident you are – always begin with a ponder. That is, go walk around the tree and study it. Pay attention to 2 things in particular – imbalance – ie one side stronger/ taller/ wider than the other and clutter ie an absence of light penetration.

Then consider other factors, external to the tree, that you need to prune for. Perhaps the lower branches need to be removed to better accommodate the driveway/ fence/ path. Or the height reduced to keep away from overhead wires. Or the width reduced to allow better access between neighbouring trees.

If you are a beginner pruner, or need a refresh – read this post here. It runs through the very basics and teaches the 2 different pruning cuts – thinning and heading. Understanding the difference between these 2 cuts is paramount, its the difference between creating an open, fruitful tree or not.

A small annual prune is all citrus need – small, but meaningful. What a difference it makes! Citrus can take a hard prune if needs must and you’ve inherited an overgrown old tree. The next few years will be light cropping as a result of all that fruitful wood being removed, but they’ll come back.


Citrus fruit on new growth

Timing is everything with citrus. If you live somewhere warm and mild, then prune late winter – right after harvest. If it’s frosty at yours, delay pruning until risk of frost is over – mid to late spring is fine. Beware of summer pruning though, as this is when the pest, citrus borer is out and about.

Meyer lemons bear fruit nearly year round. Pruning a tree covered in fruit can be mentally hard. Just get it done and once you settle into a rhythm of an annual prune, you’ll only be taking a small amount off each time reducing the concern regards removing fruits.


These thorny, angular shoots are coming from the graft and need to be removed.

Choose a lovely, dry day and begin your prune by removing any dead and damaged wood. Cut it back to healthy clean wood.

Remove all growth that starts from below the graft. The rootstock is a different variety which is why it looks so different and may well be thorny to boot.

Drag out the removed wood and begin a stack. Put all successive prunings on this pile so as you can keep it real about how much you’ve removed.


Before pruning, this young mandarin has a bit much clutter down below

Though trimming around the outside (heading cuts) of the tree feels safer, it removes most of the fruiting sites and creates a very twiggy dense canopy through which light and air cannot penetrate. This is because heading cuts fork after pruning.

Make the majority of your cuts thinning cuts, and good airflow will be yours. At the same time you’ll inspire new shoots for future fruits, while leaving much of the fruitful wood intact for the forth coming season. Fresh shoots coming on each season is what you want – this is what creates a compact, yet productive tree.

2 very small cuts later and now the tree can breathe freely
  • Remove dominant, upright shoots completely. They clutter the tree and aren’t productive.
  • Lift the skirt up – pruning off all lower branches in the 1 metre (ish) space above the soil line. This airflow gap is super important to help prevent pests/ fungus.
  • Then, get right inside the canopy, removing the occasional whole branch to de-tangle and open. Where you can, remove the long branches, the ones that are causing imbalance by being too tall or too wide. Love me a 2 for 1 deal!
  • Stand back and check for balance. You may need one or two heading cuts to equalise the shape. Take it easy on those heading cuts to avoid loosing too many fruits.


Citrus restore beautifully, so if you’ve got an old, dire tree – take heart. Either follow along the process I’ve just described, and slowly restore it over a few years. Or if the tree is way too tall with very little lower growth (or you just want it sorted now!), lop it off to about 2m and it will sprout away again. You wont get fruit for a goodly few years while it rebuilds, but such is the quid pro quo of life.

How to Prune a Mandarin Tree

November 30th, 2020 Fantastic Team Growing Food

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Every avid gardener wants to have a strong, healthy tree that provides them with amazing fruits with each harvest. However, these results depend on many things – good soil, proper temperature, protection from pests, and one of the most important ones – pruning your mandarine tree properly.

This important process will stimulate the growth of new, healthy branches and keep your tree strong. So let’s get started!

In this article:

  • How to prune a mandarin tree
  • Pruning a dwarf mandarin tree
  • The best time to prune mandarin trees
  • Takeaways

How to prune a mandarin tree

By pruning your mandarin tree, you’re keeping it more manageable in size with bigger and higher quality fruit. Skirting (removing low-hanging branches) allows light to penetrate the canopy and letting air circulate under the tree. With that, you prevent fruit damage and also increase the size and quality of the fruit.

What you will need:

  • Tree-pruning clippers
  • Sharp pruning saw
  • Household bleach (for disinfecting tools after cutting diseased branches)

Here is how to prune a mandarin tree:

  1. Shape the tree

    Pruning a mandarin tree by hand on an annual basis will ensure the base is strong and the upper canopy provides shade and protects the underlying branches. Think of an opened umbrella, and that’s the shape you want to achieve at the top of your tree.
    At the base of the tree, you need to locate any suckers that consume nutrients your tree needs and don’t provide any benefits at all. Any sucker growing below the graft union should be removed as their quick growth can take over the tree. Snip them back with sharp, sterile pruners, or you can simply snap them off if you prefer.

  2. Cut branches that can’t support fruit weight

    Next, you need to consider which branches to cut. From the base up branches need to be 12-18 inches off the ground to avoid the potential risk of fruit touching the ground and rotting. Remove any branches below this height.
    Straight up shoots also need to be removed as they take the most nutrients leaving the rest of the shoots lacking. Random shoots, known as water shoots, grow vigorously and don’t produce fruit, so these need to be cut away too.

  3. Clear out the centre of the tree

    Inward growing and crossing branches can be cut with sharp pruners to ensure a clean cut. Cut at a 45-degree angle at the collar of the trunk to avoid gaping wounds that take a longer time to heal. This also causes less stress on the tree. Rubbing branches can be removed at any time. Look if there are any arched branches – this is due to the weight of the fruit – after harvesting, you can bend and train these to keep an open canopy.
    For extreme pruning, use the sharp pruning saw to make an undercut so that the bark doesn’t rip when the branch is removed. Remember that the harder you cut back, the better the new growth will be.
    Trusting the process means understanding that a skeleton prune will see a healthy fruit-bearing tree within two seasons. During the first season, the tree will be focusing all its effort on making new leaf growth.

Pruning a dwarf mandarin tree

Dwarf mandarin trees also benefit from annual pruning. And although the process might be similar to the normal mandarin trees, there are some differences. Here’s how to prune a dwarf a mandarin tree:

  1. Take your clippers and wash the blades with a bleach solution of one part water and nine parts bleach. Rinse off and dry thoroughly before starting.
  2. Take off any broken or damaged branches, and those that have signs of disease. These branches need to be carefully disposed of, and the clippers washed with bleach after cutting each diseased branch.
  3. Find the new growth on the ends of the branches and clip off the tips of new growth at the leaf closest to the tip. Get rid of any new branches that are growing toward the centre, or that look unsightly. Three to four main branches will encourage a good branch architecture.
  4. Concentrate on the branches growing into the centre or across the trunk – this vase shape will open up the inside, letting light into the branches. Check for suckers growing off the root system and on the lower trunk and cut them off. Bear in mind these shoots aren’t suitable for propagation.
  5. Cut off are any thorns on new wood growth or on a branch.

The best time to prune mandarin trees

Indoor trees

Pruning of indoor mandarin trees doesn’t depend that much on seasons. However, the ideal time to do so it is after the fruit appears or after the harvest. This way, you avoid cutting healthy branches that are still able to produce fruit.

Outdoor trees

You should prune outdoor mandarin trees heavily during winter months. This will help to avoid potential sunburn risk on the open pruning wounds. During the summer, mandarine trees should be pruned lightly so that no shade is lost. You will see that all the effort you’ve given during the winter months when the trees are dormant and after the risk of frost has passed, will definitely pay off.

If the trees are not pruned at the right time, you might not see the full benefits.


  • Healthy citrus trees are the easiest trees to look after due to low maintenance.
  • Pruning clears out the interior of the tree and keeps fruit within easy reach.
  • Growth should be encouraged to come from the primary truck and in an outwards movement.
  • Bark burn can be prevented by dense leaf cover.
  • Removing interior dead branches twice yearly will keep your citrus tree hygienically healthy.
  • Pruning helps train the size of your tree and directs the growth.
  • Proper pruning techniques allow for good light penetration resulting in an increase in fruit production.
  • Regular gentle pruning improves fruit quality of the current year’s crop.

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How to prune a tangerine tree at home, when to prune indoor tangerine for the first time, pinching and shaping the crown, is it necessary

Exotic tangerine tree adapted to home conditions. In order for it to please with its appearance and bear fruit, it needs proper care. Particular attention is paid to pruning the tree. From the article you will learn how to prune a tangerine tree at home and what to do after the procedure.

Contents of the article

  • Why prune indoor mandarin
    • Is it necessary
  • Types of rubble
  • Duration of pruning
    • When for the first time to cut the rooms of the tangerine
  • that it is necessary for this
  • Instructions for pruning mandarin at home
    • What are the branches and how to remove
    • How to form a tree
  • Care after the procedure
  • How to pinch a tangerine
  • Conclusion

Why prune indoor tangerine

Pruning is an important procedure in the care of your home tangerine tree. Timely and competent removal of branches allows:

  1. Set the size of the tree. The acceptable height of a domestic tangerine tree is 40-50 cm.
  2. Create a decorative crown that is compact and attractive.
  3. Protect the plant from diseases. This is facilitated by the removal of dry and affected branches and leaves.
  4. Improve fruiting. Pruning stimulates the formation of ovaries and subsequently - the ripening of fruits. Unpruned trees tend to bear little or no bitter fruit.
  5. Speed ​​up tree growth. Healthy branches are gaining strength, as they are not interfered with by weak and unviable ones.

Is it obligatory?

Neglecting the procedure of pruning branches not only leads to a neglected appearance of the plant, but also negatively affects its fruiting.

To grow a healthy and beautiful tangerine tree, regular removal and shortening of branches is essential.

Trim types

There are several types of trim:

  1. Shaping. Promotes the formation of the correct crown. Required primarily for a young plant. In an adult tangerine tree, using this procedure, the volume and shape of the crown are regulated. Formative pruning also accelerates the onset of flowering and fruiting.
  2. Sanitary. Aimed at keeping the plant healthy by removing damaged and withered branches. Branches that are affected or showing signs of disease are pruned to prevent the spread of disease.
  3. Rejuvenating. Used to renew an old plant that has lost its ability to grow and bear fruit. Signs of the need for anti-aging pruning are weak growth, poor flowering and fruiting. Rejuvenation is carried out by strongly shortening old branches, which leads to increased growth of young shoots, from which a new crown will form.
  4. Revitalizing. The purpose of this type of pruning is to restore the neglected crown and return the ability to bear fruit. It is required for tangerine trees, the crown of which is either not formed, or is formed incorrectly, or has lost its shape. Also, this type of pruning is necessary for damaged trees.

Timing of pruning

Any time of the year is suitable for pruning a tangerine tree. It is required only during the period of active growth:

  • when a new plant is formed, they wait for maximum branching and the appearance of branches of a higher order;
  • while maintaining the shape of the crown of an adult plant, elongated and dry branches are removed.

The recommended period is from the end of February to the beginning of March. This is the time of active vegetation of the tangerine tree. In the spring, those branches on which there were fruits are removed, as they begin to dry out. In cases of wilting, the procedure is carried out in the fall, preferably in October. When pruning in autumn, the plant needs additional artificial lighting.

Pruning is carried out either before flowering or after the tree has faded.

Important! A newly transplanted tangerine tree is not recommended for pruning. Better to wait 3-4 weeks.

When to prune indoor tangerine for the first time

The first pruning of a tangerine tree is done on a young plant when it reaches an average of 30 cm.

During this period, the first leaves begin to appear on the tree. Pinch each branch after the formation of four leaves on it.

What you need

Pruning requires tools such as pruning shears or a grafting knife.

Before the procedure, the instruments are disinfected with a solution of potassium permanganate and checked for sharpness.

You will also need a tool for processing the cut - garden pitch, tree resin or paint based on natural drying oil.

Mandarin tree pruning instructions at home

After the first pinching, observe the growth and development of the tangerine tree and perform formative pruning as it branches. Also, cut off excess branches in a timely and correct manner.

Which branches and how to remove

To be removed:

  • small, thin shoots that prevent the full development of side branches;
  • powerful shoots growing from the root and taking a significant amount of nutrition and strength;
  • thick branches growing vertically and sideways or directed inward of the crown - they deprive the plant of an attractive appearance;
  • overgrown, stretched branches, giving the plant a neglected appearance.

Remove branches step by step:

  1. Carefully cut the branch or its part above the bud.
  2. The cut point is treated with garden pitch or tree resin and covered with foil.
  3. During the healing of the wound (approximately 3-4 weeks), the plant is not touched. After the film is removed.
  4. A month later, new shoots are inspected, leaving the strong ones and removing the weak ones.

For uniform development of the trees, early and extra buds are cut off. In large quantities, they take away nutrients from the plant and slow down its growth.

Important! Calculation of buds and leaves: for each future fruit there must be at least 10 leaves.

How to form a tree

The tangerine tree is formed as a low shrub that forms a beautiful spreading crown. It is recommended to make it spherical and evenly developed, leaving the length of the main stem up to 20-25 cm.

Attention! The crown is formed in the first 2-3 years of growth. After that, circumcision is carried out less frequently.

Formative pruning consists of the following steps:

  1. In a young plant, which is a single shoot, the top of the stem is shortened. It has no decorative value and does not bear fruit. The top is cut so that under the cut there are 5-6 developed buds, from which branches of the first order will grow.
  2. From the branches of the first order, 3-4 strong, symmetrical shoots are left, directed in different directions. After regrowth, they are also cut off, leaving 4-5 buds on each branch.
  3. Branches of the second and third order are formed on the side branches, they are also cut off.
  4. Branches of the fourth order are left, growing in the horizontal direction. On these shoots, flowers are formed and subsequently - fruits.

This completes the formation of the base of the tangerine tree.

Attention! The formation of the tangerine tree must be carried out before the first flowering. Flowering before the appearance of branches of the fifth order leads to the termination of the vegetation of the plant.

Care after the procedure

In order for the tangerine tree to recover faster, it needs full and competent care after pruning:

  1. Provides enough light. Light day - at least 12 hours. In autumn, the lack of sun is compensated by special garden lamps.
  2. Water the tree thoroughly 2-3 days after removing the branches. Irrigation with warm water from a sprayer is preferable.
  3. Feed the tree 7 days after the procedure, using complex fertilizers for citrus fruits.
  4. For uniform development of the crown, the tangerine tree is periodically rotated around its axis.
  5. In winter - a dormant period - they are placed in a cool place (for example, on a balcony) with a temperature in the range of + 12 . .. + 16 ° C and a humidity of about 60%. Watering is done 2 times a week, top dressing is not required.

If the procedure was radical, the leaves on the tree may be absent for a long time. Therefore, it is recommended to carry out alternate cutting of branches, without removing all the shoots at once.

How to pinch a mandarin

Nuances of pinching a tangerine tree:

  1. Pinching the top of a young plant is the first procedure to form its crown.
  2. Pinching is done by removing the top of the branch.
  3. If the replacement bud develops an upper shoot and not side branches, repeat pinching.
  4. The procedure was successful if a young growth appeared on the trunk.

Pinching promotes the growth of side branches, the formation of the correct structure and direction of shoots.


What is the difference between clementines and tangerines and what is more useful.

How to get the most out of tangerine peels.

Benefits and harms of tangerines for health, energy value and rules for use.


Pruning and pinching a tangerine tree is essential for healthy and productive plant growth. It is important to carry them out competently and in a timely manner, and then provide quality care for the quick restoration of the tree.

How to shape, tangerine, the easy way.

Watch this video on YouTube

Mandarin pruning at home: how to form a tangerine tree



  • Need for procedure
  • Basic recommendations

Any woody plant with a beautifully decorated crown will decorate your interior. Indoor tangerine tree will not be an exception.

Need for procedure

In nature, the mandarin is a full-fledged tree, reaching a height of 4 m. In natural conditions, no one prunes the mandarin, only obsolete branches are removed as needed. At home, few people can afford to keep a full-fledged tree, so the optimal size for it will be a height of 40–50 cm. Timely and competent pruning of a home tangerine can help with this. Not many beginner citrus growers know how important it is to form a crown and how to properly prune tangerines in order to get a beautiful and healthy tree.

Proper crown development is very important, because without proper pruning the plant will not bear fruit or the fruits will be small and taste bitter.

This procedure allows you to remove weak and unviable branches in time, allowing others to gain strength. Frequent and competent pruning favorably affects the active growth of the tree.

Basic recommendations

Experienced gardeners use the pinching (pinching) method. The main tool is garden shears or pruners, which should be disinfected before starting work. Open wounds of a tree should be treated with garden pitch or tree resin.

Initially, the young plant should be allowed to grow to 15–20 cm, and then the top should be pinched. This will allow side shoots to grow. Citrus fruits have a peculiarity: after the first removal of the top, the side branches may not begin to grow immediately. If the upper shoot reappeared instead, cut it again until the desired branches appear.

Further developments should be closely monitored. Be sure to remove overgrown shoots and those that are overstretched. The crown of the plant is very important to form in 1-2 years of life. Even if flowers appear on unsuccessful branches, they must also be cut off. In the future, this procedure should be periodically resorted to before the flowering period or immediately after it ends. The shape of the crown should be spherical and evenly developed.

In the spring, prune those shoots that have had fruit, as their tips begin to dry out.

If the crown is too dense, it must be thinned out. Do additional pinching as needed. Leave the length of the main branch no more than 20–25 cm.

When pruning yourself, it is important to consider a number of principles: