How to Prune a Kaffir Lime Tree


Kaffir lime trees will grow in the ground if you live in a warm tropical part of the country or in a container for regions that experience cool winters. These citrus trees produce bumpy looking limes that are frequently called for in Asian cooking. Pruning your Kaffir lime tree is essential for maintaining its small stature if container grown and for removing damaged or diseased areas off the plant. Diseased areas if left on the lime tree may result in the decline of the plant and reduced lime production.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Bypass shears
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Make a 45-degree angled cut near the branch collar of the tree with a pruning saw to remove branches that are rubbing together. The branch collar is the swelling that attaches the branch to the main trunk of the tree. Pick a time after the last frost in the spring to prune your Kaffir lime tree.

  • Remove diseased portions of the Kaffir lime tree. Kaffir limes are subjected to fungal diseases such as greasy spot and algal disease. Look for leaf discoloration, disfigured blossoms or spotted limes. Clean your bypass shears or pruning saw with a mixture of 70 percent denatured alcohol and 30 percent water in between cuts to keep from spreading and fungal spores.

  • Cut off branches that have died from winter damage. To know if a branch is dead, scrape the branch with a knife and look for greenish white underneath. If you see brown or black, cut off the dead area up to a living area of the branch or remove the entire branch.

  • Prune off any sprouts or small branches that are growing 10 to 12 inches above the soil line. Cut off any suckers that are growing from the root ball by digging a hole next to the vertically growing branch and making a flush cut to the root ball. Repack the soil.

  • Trim any branches that are growing inward or out of the Kaffir's designated growing location.

Tips & Warnings

  • Trained Kaffir lime trees that grow up trellises or espaliers need drastic pruning if they have experienced neglect and need rejuvenation.
  • Allow your Kaffir lime tree a few weeks outdoors before pruning to prevent causing sun scald or sun burn to the plant when pruning.


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