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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Moving Grapefuit Tree to New Location Means Cutting it Back

Thinning cut removes branch at a crotch
or where two branches come together.
Q. I have two, 3 year old grapefruit trees that I want to move to new area of yard.  How far back should I prune them before the move?

A. The purpose in pruning them would be to reduce the top because you need to destroy part of its established root system to move them. So by cutting the top back, you compensate somewhat for the partial loss of the root system. If you were moving them without destroying much of the roots, you would not need to prune them back.

            However, if you are digging them from the ground and you notice that you have to cut through quite a bit of roots, and larger roots at that, then I would take about one third out of the canopy. I would probably remove some limbs totally that might be a bit too close together.

            The type of cut you make will be important. There are two types: one where you remove a branch at the juncture of two branches leaving only one of the two remaining (thinning cut).

Heading cut is made anywhere along a branch just above a bud.
Heading cuts are not made where two branches come together.
            The second type is where a cut is made somewhere along the branch, NOT at a juncture (heading cut). It is best if you use THINNING CUTS (remove an entire branch or limb) if possible. These are cuts made at the juncture of two branches, leaving only one behind.

            This type of cut results in a general thinning of the branches (fewer branches in the area). The heading cut does not result in fewer branches, just shorter branches.

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