Keys to fertilizing the lemon tree

Citrus fruits are undoubtedly in fashion and one of them is the lemon tree. Whether we intend to exploit it commercially on the farm or simply for the reason of caring for a few in our garden, here are some tips on a lemon tree fertilizer plan .


As we are hooked on fertigation and we consider it to be the best way to pay for a crop, we are going to provide all the nutritional needs of the crop through this method. Why?

Very simple, look at this:

  • It can be irrigated with low quality water, properly managing the water supply.
  • Virtually no labor is required to supply nutrients to crops.
  • We locate the essential nutrients for the crop in its wet bulb. Therefore, we speak of greater efficiency.

Two basic things, apart from many others, must be taken into account when making a subscription plan. See the fertilizer needs that said crop has and the irrigation dose that we are going to apply to the crop depending on the time in which we are.

The first thing, knowing the total needs of the crop, is a very easy parameter to obtain if we look at a little bibliography or even the internet. However, it is not so easy to distribute these needs throughout the crop cycle, since the nitrogen needs, for example, will not be the same at the beginning as at the end. And, of course, the same thing happens with phosphorus and potassium, if we talk about primary macronutrients.

This is the secret of a correct subscriber plan, to provide the exact amount of each nutritional product at the right time. Let’s see it.


Many farmers do not usually establish irrigation hours based on a technical aspect, they are simply based on their good work, and beware, many do not usually fail.

However, if you want to do it right, the Ministry of Agriculture in each area provides exact information on the water needs of each crop depending on the area where it is located.

Although it will depend on the area, these are average values ​​of the number of irrigations per month, in warm areas of the Mediterranean:

  • January: 2 irrigations per week.
  • February: 3 irrigations per week.
  • March: 20 irrigations per month.
  • April: watering every day.
  • May: watering every day.
  • June: watering every day.
  • July: watering every day.
  • August: watering every day.
  • September: watering every day.
  • October: 10 irrigations a month.
  • November: 14 irrigations per month (8 the first fortnight and 6 the second)
  • December: 2 irrigations / week.

This must be subtracted from the water contributed through the rain. If we have a rainy month we can reduce the water inputs to a minimum, or even cut them, as in the months of December or January.

Remember also the irrigation technique to reduce the damaging effects of frost .


The average production is usually contemplated at 45,000 kg / ha , although it will depend on the plantation framework. The normal is one of 7 × 6 or 6 × 5, with a number of trees per hectare that fluctuates between 250 and 350, as a general rule.


  • Nitrogen (N): 190-200 FU / ha
  • Phosphorus (P 2 O 5 ): 64 UF / ha
  • Potasio (K2O): 137 UF/ha
  • Calcium (CaO): 17 UF / ha
  • Magnesio (MgO): 10 UF/ha

[alert style = »yellow»] Now, the crux of the matter. How do we deliver this? [/ Alert]

  • JANUARY: 6.25 UF phosphorus / ha
  • FEBRUARY: 12.5 UF phosphorus / ha
  • MARCH: 18.5 UF nitrogen / ha + 14 UF potassium / ha
  • APRIL: 38.5 UF nitrogen / ha + 20.2 UF potassium / ha
  • MAY: 37.3 UF nitrogen / ha + 20.3 UF potassium / ha + 8.7 UF calcium / ha + 2.9 UF magnesium / ha
  • JUNE: 31 UF nitrogen / ha + 14 UF potassium / ha
  • JULY: 7.3 UF nitrogen / ha + 9.3 UF phosphorus / ha + 13.8 UF potassium / ha
  • AUGUST: 12.3 UF nitrogen / ha + 20.2 UF potassium / ha
  • SEPTEMBER: 37.3 UF nitrogen / ha + 20.2 UF potassium / ha + 8.7 UF calcium / ha + 2.9 UF magnesium / ha
  • OCTOBER: 4.6 UF nitrogen / ha + 13.8 UF potassium / ha
  • NOVEMBER: 9.4 UF phosphorus / ha

But … how many kg of conventional fertilizers are equivalent to?

Well, we can simplify this fertilization plan even more. Let’s see.

With these amounts added for months we cover the needs of the lemon tree. It is never a bad thing to make extra contributions of organic matter,  whose objective is to improve the structure of the soil and thereby achieve an improvement in moisture conservation and mineral exchange.

There are farmers who, for convenience, usually apply humic acids , seeking an improvement in rooting, a response in the crop and, of course, an improvement of the soil.

The application of solid organic matter such as manure is laborious and special machinery is often required. However, with humic or fulvic acids, being liquid, they can be applied directly to the irrigation system. Of course, be careful with the clogging of the drippers !


In this fertilization plan, only the contribution of essential macronutrients has been taken into account. These are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and calcium and magnesium as secondary. However, citrus fruits demand a large amount of microelements such as iron, zinc or manganese.

You will well know how many times we have mentioned iron chlorosis , very common in this type of crops. Depending on how you work, there are times when micronutrients are provided continuously, since there is a mix in the market that includes a large amount of them.


Advance of iron chlorosis in lemon

The iron chelates applied via the roots are also interesting to provide the remarkable needs of this mineral that citrus fruits demand, especially in areas of limestone soils.

When to contribute them? The best time to make these iron contributions (chelates or sulfates, for example) are usually in March and August.


very common mistake when cultivating is placing the drippers or sprinklers attached to the trunk. In this way we think that all the water that comes out will be used. Quite the opposite. The roots are distributed around the trunk, and come to occupy a surface that, in general, is similar to the aerial part.

If we have a young lemon tree crop, we will place the droppers at 25 cm, more than enough for the roots to develop little by little and gain surface area.

Every year, we will separate another 25 cm the distance of the droppers from the trunk. That is, we will place them at 50 cm (the 25 cm from before plus those from now). This is how we will continue the following year, as the crop grows, until we reach the total separation meter .

As a recommendation to say that it is interesting to place 4 low flow drippers around the entire trunk, than 2 higher flow drippers in a single part. With this we will achieve a greater response of the crop, a homogeneous dispersion of the roots and a better sanitary state of the lemon tree.

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