How to Prune Meyer Lemon Tree – Ultimate Guide

If you have a Meyer lemon tree at home, you probably have some doubts about its care, how, and when to prune a lemon tree. In this article, we will explain how to prune the Meyer lemon tree.

The lemon tree is one of the most popular fruit trees. Lemons are one of the most versatile fruits in the world, but they are also one of the most widely used decorative garden trees.

When to Prune Meyer Lemon Tree?

When to prune Meyer lemon tree is one of the most frequently asked questions among amateur gardeners. There are three main stages for pruning a Meyer lemon tree with the general pruning season being the one that will be frost-free in your calendar, i.e., summer or spring.

  • Shaping your tree: When your tree is small, shaping pruning is done in spring. This pruning is highly recommended because it will allow you to give the ideal size and shape to your Meyer lemon tree.
  • Maintenance and post-production: Another common stage for Meyer lemon tree pruning is after harvesting your lemons. Of course, the best time to prune the lemon tree is when there is no frost because frost can damage your lunar lemon tree.
  • Recovery: After a pest or many harvests, a citrus tree pruning is recommended for its recovery. Remember that the best time to prune is when there is no frost because it dries out the lemon tree since it is a tree that does not have dormancy periods.

Before you start pruning your Meyer lemon tree make sure you have the right tools to avoid damaging it. Below are some quality tools.

Corona Tools 13-Inch RazorTOOTH Pruning Saw | Tree Saw Designed for Single-Hand Use | Curved Blade Hand Saw | Cuts Branches up to 7' in Diameter | RS 7120
Corona Tools 13-Inch RazorTOOTH Pruning Saw | Tree Saw Designed for Single-Hand Use | Curved Blade Hand Saw | Cuts Branches up to 7" in Diameter | RS 7120
IDEAL FOR LARGE BRANCHES: 13 inch blade ideal for cutting 7 inch diameter branches; LONG SERVICE LIFE: Impulse-hardened teeth extend durability of the saw sharpness
Gonicc 8' Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears (GPPS-1002), Tree Trimmers Secateurs,Hand Pruner, Garden Shears,Clippers For The Garden, Bonsai Cutters, Loppers
Gonicc 8" Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears (GPPS-1002), Tree Trimmers Secateurs,Hand Pruner, Garden Shears,Clippers For The Garden, Bonsai Cutters, Loppers
Ergonomically designed non-slip handles are strong,lightweight,and comfortable.; Sap groove design to help keep pruning shears from sticking by channeling off sap.
when to prune lemon meyer tree

How to Prune Meyer Lemon Tree Step by Step

In addition to getting the right tools, depending on the size of the tree and the pruning to be done, we must make sure that they are perfectly sharpened and disinfected.

The idea is to “prune” the tree so that its growth is better, if we use inadequate tools or in bad condition, it is likely that we will cause more problems than benefits.

To prune your Meyer lemon tree successfully, you have to follow the following guidelines:

1- You should only prune Meyer lemon trees older than 3 years. Unless it is growing disorderly, and we want to eliminate a very specific branch.

2- As with any tree or shrub, the first thing to do is to remove dead or damaged branches.

3- When pruning for formation, you should select the strongest main branches, which will maintain the structure of the Meyer lemon tree and the weight of the fruit. The number will depend on our choice, the normal is to leave three main branches.

4- Next, we must trim the secondary branches, which grow from the main branches. Ideally, they should be cut about 8” (20 cm), unless they are entangled or grow in an inappropriate direction, in which case either cut more or remove them.

5- In older trees, overgrown main branches should be cut back to the junction with a new branch.

6- Then proceed to remove or trim all the branches that rub the ground. First of all because if they bear fruit, the lemons will end up rubbing the ground and deteriorating, but they can also be a source of possible pests and infections.

7- As the tree is more vigorous, pruning should be lighter, unlike if it is weak, which we prune more intensely to encourage the branches that we leave, to be much stronger.

Tip: We recommend using a tree pruning sealer after pruning your Meyer Lemon (Order here).

Bonide (BND225) - Tree Pruning Sealer with Brush Top Applicator (16 oz.)
  • PROTECTIVE SEAL - Bonide Pruning Sealer is a fast, easy, and effective dressing designed to aid in the healing of any kind of pruning cut, graft, or wound.
  • INSECTS AND DISEASE - Provides a protective coating to prevent the entry of moisture, development of diseases, insect attacks, and the excessive flow of sap.
  • BREATHABLE DRESSING - Protective layer of material can be applied to pruned or damaged trees, shrubs, and roses.
how to prune meyer lemon tree

Types of Meyer Lemon Tree Pruning

Depending on the Meyer lemon tree’s age, health status, and location, there are different types of pruning.

Young Lemon Tree: Formative Pruning

As I already mentioned, a young tree needs formation pruning, especially if it is a potted lemon tree. This is because the formation pruning is in charge of giving it the perfect size to develop inside a pot.

According to experts, when to prune the lemon tree is between January-February and June-July just before or after flowering. Take care of the branches that you are going to cut because you must form a strong and vigorous framework of branches designed for future crops.

lemon meyer flower garden
Lemon Meyer flower.

Pruning an Adult Meyer Lemon Tree: Maintenance Pruning

In maintenance pruning, you must know how to prune a Meyer lemon tree so that a balance is achieved between the natural development of the plant and product development. There are two basic forms of citrus pruning.

The first is maintenance, for example, to maintain its size and health. The second is fruiting pruning, which seeks to encourage the growth of fruit, i.e. lemons. This is one of the most difficult types of citrus pruning to distinguish because there is no clear division between stages 1 and 2.

Old Meyer Lemon Tree: Rejuvenation Pruning

If you have decided to buy an adult Meyer lemon tree, you should know that rejuvenation pruning is essential. Restoration, regeneration, or rejuvenation pruning will help you recover your lemon production and the health of your tree with more effective actions.

The cuts are deeper and more intense and are usually made due to frost, disease, tree abandonment, age, etc. In other words, if you don’t know how to prune an old lemon tree, here is your answer: more numerous and deeper branch cuts to make it recover.

citrus meyeri tree garden

Pruning Meyer Lemon Trees in Pots

Pruning a potted Meyer lemon tree is almost the same as pruning a lemon tree out of the pot, the only difference is that here you will have to pay attention to the size of the tree. That is, training pruning is usually more constant to keep the tree small.

The ideal is to create a single stem structure so you will have to cut the lower branches of a tree. Consider the timing of tree pruning is important.

Learn more about Lemon Tree Yellow Leaves: Causes and How to Save It.

pruning citrus meyeri in pots
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgan family, Henry, and Morgan, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.