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Problem Solver: Thorns

Thorns are removed from rootstocks when citrus trees are propagated. As the young trees grow, it is not unusual to see thorns on the juvenile fruiting (scion) wood. This is a young plant's way of defending against grazing animals. Usually as the tree matures, thorniness of the fruiting wood decreases. Thorns may be pruned off without harming productive potential. Yuzu is a particularly thorny variety that may warrant this treatment.

Growth from the root stock will always tend to be thornier than the fruiting wood. If all of the foliage appears to be thorny, check to be certain that a rootstock sucker has not taken over. All growth below the graft line should be removed. Be sure to keep all rootstock suckers trimmed off as they appear, so that the energy essential for fruiting is all directed to the fruiting wood. See this link for more on suckers.