The most approved plan of pruning in European and American orange-growing centres is to form a low head and compact top when.the tree is young and up to the first stages of bearing. In transplanting the tree is trimmed to a straight shoot, as practised with the peach in Georgia, and tying to a stake.
All shoots that start above the bud are allowed to grow at first. This gives shade and favors the growth of the lower part of the stem. As a rule, the young tree is also shaded at first by stakes stuck on the south side. With a thick top the lower branches always give the first fruit. But as the top spreads the lower branches cease to bear or to increase in length and are gradually cut away so as to give a well-defined stem two to three feet in height. The after pruning is mainly in the way of taking out dead or sickly inner wood to let in the air and to favor getting into the tree.
The best time for pruning is when growth starts in the spring. At this time the vital forces are most active and the wounds heal over soonest. The greatest need of pruning is in the nursery, where care is needed to bring the tree into shape, as with the deciduous fruits (150. Pruning the Orange).