I prune my trees regularly to keep them out of each others’ way. Occasionally I lop a limb off. Mine is a miniature orchard with many trees in a small space. Last weekend I saw a collector of citrus trees demonstrate his management on TV: shape, not prune. It involves using a large pair of hedging shears and chopping off any stems you don’t like the look of, en masse. Think Edward Scissorhands. Think topiary.
This collector knew everything there is to know about citrus and owns hundreds of species. There they were, all lined up like terracotta soldiers in their neat columns, standing to attention, staying in their places, well separated from each other.
As I have said, there is no right way or wrong way about how you garden. The gardener decides. I am contrary, as my name suggests so of course, I disagree with the expert.
It comes down to the purpose of your garden. If it is to collect and display your specimens, then the clay warrior method is impressive and effective. If you like your trees to intermingle, don’t mind their disorderly conducts that you must constantly referee, then let them be. Nib any stray growth in the bud in spring and if you miss that opportunity, prune as required. You can also tie them back, or anchor them down. It’s less disciplined and more creative, the way I am.