The cultivation of the lemon tree in the orchard

It has a song, it serves as a dessert, as an ingredient for meals, as a dressing, as a perfume, etc. It has so many properties that it has become a multipurpose tree that can be used for any occasion.

In fact, of the new gardens that we sometimes see near the city, it will surely have orange or lemon or olive trees. Little more. Today we will only talk about the lemon tree .


Having a lemon tree in our garden can get us out of trouble on many occasions. Generally any fruit tree, but in this specific case, the lemon is a citrus fruit that is used on many occasions.

That you need lemon zest to make a cake, then you go out to the garden and take one. That you need lemon to season a meat, you go out again and take. That you want to make a lemonade, outside again. And so with many more options.

A resistant tree that does not give many problems (and if it did, we are here to tell you about it).

Its scientific name is  Citrus limon and it is considered a small fruit tree. It belongs to the Rutaceae family, in which around 160 genera and 1,600 species are grouped. Its origin is Asian and it was mentioned back in the III IV century in  Nabathae. The Arabs knew it very well and it adapted perfectly to the Mediterranean climate.

The most valued of this citrus fruit is the production of lemons, a highly valued fruit used throughout the world both for use in gastronomy (savory dishes and also in baking) and for the preparation of juices.

Thanks to the heterogeneity of lemon tree varieties, the different producing countries spread all over the world and the excellent conservation in the refrigerator, we can enjoy lemons throughout the year.In general, Harvesting occurs when the minimum juice content by volume is 28 to 30%.


Although there are many more varieties, the best known at a production level and by extension volume are Fino, Verna and Eureka.

  • Fine
  • Verna
  • Eureka
  • Lisbon
  • Interdonate
  • Femminello
  • Lapithkiotiki
  • Italian
  • Meyer
  • Genoa


The Fino lemon variety is one of the most cultivated in Spain. It is an early lemon with great productivity and is harvested from October to February. It is a large tree with a vigorous bearing, forming stems with thorns. Its flowering starts a few days later than the Verna variety.

The fruit is marketed under the name of Primafiori, and the most popular cultivars currently are Fino 49 and Fino 95.

  • Fino 49 – Offers faster production start-up and slightly higher production.
  • Fino 95: this option is somewhat earlier (approximately 15 days) and its fruits contain a smaller volume of seeds.


The Verna lemon is a variety that is also widely cultivated, but with a late harvest. Likewise, it is a large tree but its stems do not have as many thorns as the Fino variety of lemon.

It offers large fruits, with an average weight of 130 grams, few seeds and thick rind. The harvest season begins in February and ends in June. In addition, it offers an intermediate flowering that produces fruit in summer, where there is not as much lemon on the market.

The most popular cultivars are Verna 51 and Verna 62.

  • Verna 51: fruits with a more marked neck.
  • Verna 62: large and thorny tree, with larger fruits, with a higher percentage of juice.


This early variety of lemon tree was obtained in California (United States), it is a vigorous tree and lower production of thorns than the Fino variety.

The advantages it offers are a rapid entry into production, large production and the ability to offer a double harvest from October.

Read more:  citrus harvest calendar



The lemon tree grows very well in Mediterranean climates, where winters are not very cold and high temperatures are obtained in summer. Consideration about cold is important because the lemon tree is one of the citrus fruits that suffers the most with the drop in temperatures, so be careful with frost.

In fact, the main world productions are in the Mediterranean area, with warm temperatures, highlighting the southern and eastern areas of Spain, southern Greece, Turkey, Silicia and California and northern Argentina, among others.


It depends on the variety of the lemon tree, but in general, everyone needs a deep soil . At the time of making the hole we must loosen about 1 meter deep, in order to ensure a good settlement of the tree in the transplant and a good development of its roots, without finding hard and stony areas in the subsoil.

The lemon tree is quite sensitive to root suffocation . Be very careful with land with poor drainage because we can cause damage to the tree due to waterlogging. You can use some of the techniques that we discussed in our article on improving soil drainage. 

Also, if the characteristics of your drainage are not entirely good but not entirely bad, a technique to avoid problems of suffocation or gummosis is to make a raised bed on which the tree sits, such as a deep bed for trees.

As a preparation before placing the lemon tree (s) on our land. It is interesting to do some deep work to ensure rapid growth of the young roots. The looser the soil, the fewer obstacles they will encounter in finding the nutrients and moisture they need.

The basal dressing has proved to be a great help to reduce the time in which the tree is not producing its young state. Be very careful with excess humidity and humid lands at the beginning of the crop.


  • Traditional plantations: 5 x 5 m to 6x 6 m
  • New mechanized plantations: 7 x 5 m to 8 x 6 m
  • Optimized frame: 7.5 x 5.5 m

It is common to see in the traditional garden cultivation on benches or terraces, raising the land to offer productive advantages. This achieves a higher incidence of radiation, greater soil depth, water savings and less weed growth.

On the contrary, it complicates the collection.


To achieve the best production and fattening of the fruit, lemon trees require irrigation that keeps their roots constantly moist (without flooding). Beware of suffocation. We will notice that we are watering more if the tree acquires a yellowish appearance.

Another thing to keep in mind is the salinity of the water. In this aspect facing the lemon tree we will have to be careful, since it is not very tolerant to salinity .

At most, we can choose varieties that have a more degree of adaptation to these waters. Correcting a saline irrigation without modifying the quality of the water consists of watering in greater quantity to wash off the salts, or having localized irrigation, where a higher concentration is tolerated.

It is usual, for an adult lemon tree, to place 4 droppers distributed throughout the wet bulb and a minimum of 50 cm away from the trunk. The recommended emitter flow rate is 4 L / h.

Lemons are very demanding in water, where high productions exceed 8000 m3 of water and even more. For interesting productions, about 600-700 liters of water per tree is required during the entire annual growing cycle.

Watering the Lemon Fine


It comes in handy just before planting (when we have cut the soil) to apply a bottom fertilizer, especially for phosphorus and potassium, which depending on the structure of the land, may not be mobile in the soil. You can make this bottom fertilizer with manure or compost and it must be abundant and mixed with the soil. It will guarantee a rapid development of the tree.

The first year you can start with fertilizing with manure (20-30 kg) around the trunk of the tree and bottom (before planting) and complete the needs with some ammonium compound, and from the second year the proportions are increased. A recommended amount of manure can be between 30 and 40 kg per year.

To know exactly the needs of mineral fertilizer that must be incorporated, we leave you the following information:

Young tree (2 years)

  • Nitrogen: 5.1 grams / year
  • Phosphorus: 0.7 grams / year
  • Potassium: 2.8 grams / year

Developing tree (6 years)

  • Nitrogen: 1.5 kg / year
  • Phosphorus: 15 grams / year
  • Potassium: 87 grams / year

Adult tree (12 years)

  • Nitrogen: 4.5 kg / year
  • Phosphorus: 44 grams / year
  • Potassium: 2.5 kg / year


  • Citrange Carrizo and Troyer:  Good vigor and productivity. Tolerant to sadness, rapid entry into production and good fruit quality.
  • Cleopatra Mandarin:  suitable for soils with saline waters and limestone soils. Good quality fruit but the tree has less vigor compared to other patterns.
  • Swingle citrumelo CPB 4475:  is susceptible to iron chlorosis and high pH soils. It presents good vigor and productivity.
  • Citrus volkameriana: they  are usually more resistant to frost than the rest, tolerant to dry bad and Pythophtora. Often used for ornamental lemon trees.
  • Citrus macrophylla: they  are trees of great vigor and high yields. It does very well in soils with high pH, ​​but grafts are usually more sensitive to frost than others.
  • Bitter orange:  widely used, with good development and without grafting problems. Very sensitive to the sadness virus when grafted with orange, tangerine, grapefruit and lime, but resistant to iron chlorosis , salinity, drought and fungi.


The lemon tree is a very vigorous tree that produces branches annually and non-lignified suckers that deplete the tree’s energy. Therefore, it is necessary to prune every year.

In the process, dry, weak branches or those that go out of the pattern of the tree’s structure are removed.


Citrus fruits are a species of fruit trees subjected to a lot of pest pressure. There is a large presence of insects and mites that affect the crop throughout its growth, requiring a large battery of foliar treatments to reduce populations or looking for alternatives based on auxiliary insects.


  • Mealybugs : white louse, California red louse, snake louse, gray louse.
  • Pseudococcidos: c otonet, honeydew, cotonet de les Valls ( Delottococcus aberiae )
  • Diptera: fruit fly ( Ceratitis capitata )
  • Aphids: various species such as Aphis gossypii, Aphis spiraecola, Myzus persicae,  and Toxoptera aurantii .
  • Thrips  Pezothrips ( Pezothrips kellyanus ) and Orchid Thrips ( Chaetanaphothrips orchidii ).
  • Whitefly:  cottony whitefly and others ( Bemisia afer, Dialeurodes citri, Parabemisia myricae  and Paraleyrodes minei.

Read more:  Citrus wonder mite


  • Alternaria or brown spot ( Alternaria alternata )
  • Water, gum, or neck rot ( Phytophthora citrophthora )

Source of information:

  • Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research
  • Ministry of Agriculture of the Region of Murcia
  • Nurseries Alcanar

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