Yuzu ~ Not branching out

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by micowave, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. micowave

    micowave Member

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    Hello,

    I got a yuzu plant and it has two branches, one branch is just going up vertical, would you pinch the top or let the plant work on its own.

    Attached is a picture
     

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  2. pmurphy

    pmurphy Active Member

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    How big / old is the plant currently? (hard to tell from the pic)
     
  3. Will B

    Will B New Member

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    I find pinching the tips is the best way to prune citrus and get them to branch out. Pinching the tips is the least disruptive. Of course, if the branch is too long that doesn't work and you have to cut back further, but that does not seem to be the case in the photos.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    My bearss lime had a similar problem earlier this year. The weight of the stem eventually caused it to bend over and as time went on three branches developed about half way down, each slightly off the vertical and pointing in different directions. Nature did a good job, as it turned out.
     
  5. Michigander

    Michigander Member

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    You need to establish an architecture, the sooner, the better. Decide what overall size you want it to be and begin to trim it within that imagined canopy. If you want it to be 4 ft tall then the lower branches will be considerably longer than they would on a 2 ft tree. Keep in mind that the height of a branch never changes. If it is 6 inches from the soil line when it's two years old, that branch will still be there when it's 50 years old unless it is shaded to death by the normal process of growth. Citrus tend to be leggy and the branches very straight and vertical. You can modify this habit by pinching as pointed out above. When you pinch the tip (the primary bud) you cause several buds below that to change from secondary to primary, so you get more primaries growing with shorter internodes. Where you would have had continuous growth from the continuing tips with long internodes you change that to 2 or 3 or 4 buds near that tip to grow. Unfortunately, citrus wants to grow straight up anyway and you will want to help the branches grow horizontal early while they are skinny. It never gets easier, --the thicker the branch is, the more likely you will break it when you force it horizontal. Hang a weight on the twig with paperclip for as long as it takes to point the branch where you want it.

    Back to architecture: Ultimately you want branches arranged like a spiral staircase, each ascending branch protruding horizontally and at least one fruit's diameter higher and 120° from the others. From the second spiral on, you want to insure that the branch is not directly over the branch below, so you alter the 120° to be ~90° to 150°. The plan is of course an ideal and very few trees will grow a branch exactly where you want it. Do the best you can. Each ascending branch is shorter than the branches below it. The spiral staircase will be shaped like a Christmas tree giving all branches as much light and air as possible. You want each branch to grow a flat fan of foliage; growth should be sideways with none straight down, and none growing into the branch above.

    I don't know how these grow, and you are in a marginal zone where I suppose it could be grown outdoors. I handle my wintered-indoor Kumquat thus: It flowers ~mid summer, sets fruit and then ripens from ~December through January. As soon as you remove all ripe fruit it will go into a rest period, prune hard to shape and control size. Anticipate the next growth cycle's long shoots: the internodes will always be longer than you want on a compact plant, so you need to prune it that much smaller so that after it has exhausted this year's growth, it will be the right size. It wants to grow straight up, so many new branches grow straight up like waterspouts. Tip prune these when you see one or two buds below the tip. for tips growing the right direction, let them have no more than 4 buds, then tip them. This rule applies everywhere, all the time, and will result in a compact tree. NOTE: Early in the growth cycle it will want to grow only one or a couple branches, like bull canes, and all the rest will do nothing. It is important to not allow this. Tip these strong growing branches with only 3 or even 1 bud below. It will ignore you and just switch to a different one or two bull canes. You keep doing your part until the whole plant begins to bud out all over at the same time. This will make it more compact and be easier to keep within your imaginary canopy.

    Mostly, to keep it your desired size you need to adhere to the architectural rules above. And that's all there is to it!
     

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