How to prune a lemon tree?

Hello all,
I have a lemon tree that really could use some trimming back. I've scoured the interweb and cannot seem to find out how I should go about this, I hear that if not pruned properly that I may not see any fruit for a couple of years.
The tree is about 15' high.
Thanks in advance!
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wrote:

In the orchards here they just top them, they use a machine that looks somewhat like a big lawnmower and cut anything off that is above about 6 to 8 ft. One consideration, don't do it too soon. the new growth at the top of the tree gives some frost protection, after frost is gone then cut at will.
Sunset Western Gardens book says for citrus, prune anyway, anytime. Of course not below the graft, but otherwise...
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This may be how they are done in bulk where costs are a major consideration but better results will be obtained by a more selective approach. There are plenty of detailed references about but it comes down to something like this:
At the right time of year and using the appropriate cutting technique:
1) remove any dead or decayed wood 2) remove clutter and admit light by thinning out 3) compact by shortening branches that are too tall or overly long and weak
David
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all the answers you need
http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu/general-pruning.shtml
http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu/links.shtml#care
Ten Basics of When and How to Prune Fruit Trees
1.. Prune fruit trees when the leaves are off (dormant). It's easier to see what you are doing and removal of dormant buds (growing points) invigorates the remaining buds. Summer pruning removes leaves (food manufacture), will slow fruit ripening, and exposes fruit to sunburn. Summer pruning can be beneficial, however, when used to slow down overly vigorous trees or trees that are too large. It is usually done just after harvest. 2.. Right after planting a new tree, cut if off to short stick 24 to 30 inches high and cut any side shoots, remaining below that, to one bud. This encourages low branching and equalizes the top and root system. Paint the tree with white latex paint to protect it from sunburn and borer attack 3.. Young trees should be pruned fairly heavily and encouraged to grow rapidly for the first 3 years without any fruit. Leave most of the small horizontal branches untouched for later fruiting. 4.. When deciding which branch to cut and where to cut it, remember that topping a vertical branch encourages vegetative growth necessary for development of the tree and opens the tree to more sunlight. Topping horizontal branches is done to renew fruiting wood and to thin off excessive fruit. Horizontal branches left uncut will bear earlier and heavier crops. 5.. Upright branches generally remain vegetative and vigorous. Horizontal branches generally are more fruitful. A good combination of the two is necessary, for fruiting now and in future years. Remove suckers, water sprouts and most competing branches growing straight up into the tree. Downward bending branches eventually lose vigor and produce only a few small fruit; cut off the part hanging down. 6.. New growth occurs right where you make the cut; that is the influence of the cut only affects the buds within 1 to 8 inches of the cut surface not 3 to 4 feet down into the tree. The more buds cut off the more vigorous the new shoots will be. 7.. Do most of the pruning in the top of the tree so that the lower branches are exposed to sunlight. Sun exposed wood remains fruitful and produces the largest fruit. Shaded branches eventually stop fruiting and will never produce without drastic topping and renewal of the entire tree. 8.. Make clean cuts (within 1/4") of bud; don't leave stubs. 9.. Use spreaders or tie downs to get 45 angles branches of upright vigorous growing trees. 10.. Peach and Nectarine remove 50% of last years growth. Fig, Apple, Pear, Plum and Apricot remove about 20% of last years growth. Cherries only summer prune the first 5 years. Pruning Abandoned or Neglected Fruit Trees Whether today's trees are remnants from yesterday's orchards, or simply abandoned for other reasons, pruning may look like an impossible task. In some cases, these trees can be rejuvenated and made functional in the home orchard or landscape. In others, planting a new tree may be more practical.

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Nicole does not know anything about citrus.
Nicole wrote [in part]:

The question was about a lemon tree. Citrus is evergreen.

That's a good way to kill any citrus. Never cut back a lemon to the point where there is no foliage.

Citrus never needs pruning for fruit production. An unpruned lemon or orange will produce very well. Citrus is pruned to remove dead wood and -- in a garden -- to improve appearance. Where snails and ants are a severe problem, citrus is sometimes pruned to eliminate any growth (other than the trunk) that touches the ground. Commercial orchards are pruned to make it easier to harvest (by removing growth that would require too tall a ladder).

As I indicated above, citrus does NOT need pruning for renewal.

For citrus, ALL branches are equally productive.
NOTE: For dwarf citrus grown in containers, it is sometimes necessary to prune in order to keep the foliage from exceeding the ability of constrained roots to supply moisture. Prune more than two months before the first frost and not before the last frost.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David, I copied this from a University website... just like I stated. What makes you more knowledgeable than UC Davis?
Unlike you, I don't have to talk out of my ass. Contact a cooperative extension that has extensive knowledge with citrus and argue with them. Stop trying to give HORRIBLE advice to novices. Dumb ass Nicole

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Nicole wrote:

You described pruning deciduous trees. Citrus are not deciduous. Unless you provide the link to the UC Davis Web page, I will stand by my comments.

How much citrus grows in the San Joaquin Valley? I live in Ventura County, where citrus grows extensively. I also have citrus growing in my own garden. Do you?
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Can you read??? From your response, it sure doesn't look like it. When was the last time you even saw a citrus orchard? Argumentative, wannabe know it all.
Nicole in the San Joaquin Valley
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