Vol 120 (2007): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Krome Memorial Institute (Tropicals)

Pruning systems for tropical fruits in Florida

Carlos F. Balerdi
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2007
  • tropical fruits,
  • pruning,
  • formative pruning,
  • structural pruning,
  • maintenance/production pruning


Pruning has been practiced on deciduous fruit trees for hundreds of years. Florida citrus growers began pruning citrus in the late 1950s after the development of hedging and topping machines. In southern Florida, mechanical pruning was adopted in the 1960s by growers of limes, avocados, and mangos. In the early years of the southern Florida tropical fruit industry groves were planted at wide spacings with little to no pruning practiced. With the advent of high density plantings in the late 1960s and beyond, non-pruned groves began to lose fruit production and produce poor quality fruit. Picking costs became expensive as the area of fruit production moved to the top of the trees. Soon growers realized that tree size management was necessary. This paper reports on some pruning systems used by growers of tropical fruits in southern Florida.