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For each cat’s head, select one or two of the strongest shoots: their role as “sap drawers” and the apical dominance they will exert will limit the onset of dormant buds next spring.
“My old lime tree was heavily pruned 2 years ago: the pruning shears left behind the beginnings of the large branches with a length of approx. 50 cm to 1 m. In fact, they cut beyond the already existing cat heads. Since then there have been numerous rejections. What should you do now to preserve the tree in the best possible way? Should we let all suckers grow or should we select the two largest suckers on each head and cut off the rest or, on the contrary, cut everything off?
Catheads contain a large number of dormant buds that wake up in the spring after pruning and have produced these multiple shoots.
If you remove them completely, other dormant buds will be stimulated again in the spring, creating an abundance of vertical branches: you have not solved the problem and run the risk of depleting your lime tree’s reserves in the long term.
I recommend that you leave only one or two shoots (the strongest) on each head, which will act as “sap drawers” and prevent the emergence of dormant buds when the good weather returns.
If you notice that you already have one or two very dominant suckers on each cat’s head (much larger in diameter and length than the others), it may not be necessary to remove the other suckers. The role of sap extraction from the two large branches and the apical dominance they exert will severely limit the growth of the weaker branches, which will eventually die off gradually.