How to Prune Kumquat Trees

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The kumquat is an easily grown evergreen shrub or tree (8 to 15 feet) with small yellow to orange colored citrus fruits that are entirely edible, skin and all. The leaves are dark green and glossy and branches have the occasional thorn. Originally from China, they are easily grown in tropical and subtropical climates. They take well to cooler climates but cannot survive temperatures below the 20s. Kumquat trees usually do not need pruning as they are naturally shapely. However, should your tree grow too tall and looks "leggy," you may need to prune the top to encourage growth on the lower branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Step ladder
  • Bypass lopper
  • Bypass pruner
  • Stand away from the tree and visualize how you want your tree to look. Some people prefer a rounder dense bushy tree while others prefer an open airy fruit tree appearance.

  • Remove the "water suckers" (long skinny branches growing straight up) and any damaged or dead wood using the bypass loppers. If the branches are too high and not easily accessible, stand on a step ladder.

  • Trim tree from the top using the bypass loppers for branches larger than 1 inch in diameter. For smaller branches, you may use the smaller bypass pruner. Shape as you move down the tree.

  • Prune branches that cross the center trunk to increase air circulation and let light in. This step is important regardless of the desired shape of your tree and helps maintain the overall health of the tree.

  • Step back and view your tree once again. Remove any branches you missed or that appear out of place. Regardless of its shape, a kumquat tree brings long-lasting beauty to your garden.

Tips & Warnings

  • The desired shape of your tree is a personal choice based on function or decorative use. If you want to harvest fruit, then a low to moderate height, open-style fruit tree is your best choice. If you desire a bushy landscape ornamental, then you might prefer a round bushy-style plant.
  • Pruning is stressful and should be kept to a minimum. Prune off no more than 25 percent of the tree as any more might kill the tree. Treat cuts with a latex sealer if insects or fungi are a problem in your area.

References

  • Photo Credit kumquats image by dead_account from Fotolia.com secateurs image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com
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