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Horticulture/Pruning a kumquat tree


We have a tall, skinny kumquat tree about 12-15 feet tall that has grown that way trying to find the sunlight to escape from the shade from trees blocking its access.  It takes a tall ladder to pick fruits.  Well, now the neighbor cut those trees to build a house and the kumquat now has a lot of sun.  A pruning of branches would still leave the fruiting bush part way out of reach.  Would cutting the trunk of the tree at a lower level kill it?  If there is even a chance to start to reshape it, I am willing to try.  As it is, we hardly ever bother to harvest the kumquats to enjoy.  We pick up a few ripe ones that fall to the ground.  That's about it.

Hi Art,

Don't cut it too low all at once.  You need to gradually bring it down to size.  I wouldn't do it until after fruiting.  Maybe early spring, before flowering.  If it has only one main trunk, don't cut that.  Most fruit trees like kumquat are grafted onto a hardier rootstock like tri-foliata, sour orange, or rough lemon - all very thorny with inedible fruit.  You could wind up with only that if you just whack the tree down.  Try cutting it back by 1/3 to start.  Also there are several guides and videos on the internet about pruning citrus.
Hope this helps.


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Susan Tabor


Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.


35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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