How to Grow Lemon | Details on Cultivation and Harvesting

Lemon is the most important fruit belonging to the family Rutaceae. It can be grown in the backyard for household use or a crop. It is also the most popular fruit of the citrus group.

how to grow lemon

Lemon has many benefits like

  • It is a good source of Vitamin C and has 27 % of the protein content.
  • Drinking lemon juice with honey and water will cause a reduction in weight.
  • Lemon also reduces the incidence of heart diseases.
  • It is useful in improving skin quality. 
  • As the peels are rich in pectin, they are also used for the preparations of jellies, marmalades, etc.
  • Used in preparations of mouth fresheners. Lemon juice is also used in the preparation of juices and beverages etc.

Details on How to Grow Lemon

Our first goal should be to select a suitable variety of lemon

  • Eureka
  • Libson
  • Plant lemon – 1
  • Villafranca
  • Kagzikalan

Climate requirement

  • Areas which are relatively dry with low moisture content in the air are most suitable for lemon cultivation. 
  • Lemon cultivation requires an average rainfall of 750 mm. The areas prone to high wind velocity are not suitable for the cultivation of lemon.
  • High rainfall and high humidity will not favor its cultivation as they cause uneven flowering at uneven times.

Soils selection

  • Deep red soils with proper drainage are suitable for lemon cultivation.
  • The required pH for citrus cultivation is between 6.5 – 7.5.
  • Soils with high lime content need to be avoided for lemon cultivation.
  • Do not cultivate lemons in soils that are rocky and shallow.

Propagation of lemon

Lemons are mainly propagated by seeds, or they are also propagated by budding on trifoliate orange or mandarin lime.

Care should be taken while procuring the planting material as the life span of the orchard will be affected.

Planting tips

Dig the pits of 1 × 1× 1 m size before one month of planting and allow the pits to dry for some days.

Add 20-kilo grams of farmyard manure, 1-kilo grams of single super phosphate, along 1kilo grams of neem cake for a pit.

Note:

Planting should be done during evening times.

Provide support for the seedlings by staking.

Avoid plating weak, unhealthy, and diseased seedlings.

Spacing:

The General recommended spacing in citrus fruits is 6 -8 m × 6 – 8 m. So, the same order can be followed here.

Irrigation

  • Lack of proper irrigation leads to poor growth and reduced flowering, fruiting.
  • So, proper irrigation should be provided whenever it is necessary.
  • Provide frequent irrigations for plants during the summer season at the juvenile phase.
  • Flowering and fruit development are critical stages for water requirements.
  • Irrigate the crop immediately after fertilizer application. Irrigation through drip will save water, increase the growth of plant and fruit quality.

Inter cultivation

In the early years of crop growth, we can go with intercrops like chickpea, chili, onion, brinjal, and tomato, etc.

Growing intercrops will decrease the nematode population. Grow green manure crops and plow them during flowering will increase soil fertility.

Fertilization

It is an essential operation in the lemon orchards. Lack of good proper fertilization leads to the attack of different pests and diseases.

In lemon, 25 % nitrogen should be applied to farmyard manure, 25 % should be provided in the form of neem cake, and the remaining 50 % should be applied in the form of chemical fertilizers in two splits the first dose during December – January and the second split during June – July.

Phosphorous should be applied inform of single super phosphate; potash should be applied as muriatic of potash.

During the first year: 375: 150: 200 grams of N: P: K per plant.

During the second year: 750: 300: 400 grams of N: P: K per plant.

During the third year: 1125: 450: 600 grams of N: P: K per plant.

During the fourth year: 1500: 600: 800 grams of N: P: K per plant.

During the fifth year and after 1500: 600: 800 grams of N: P: K per plant.

Stop irrigation a few days before flowering, apply the recommended fertilizer dose, and irrigate the crop sufficiently.

Flowering regulation

  • In lemon, there will be flowering around the year.
  • But a major part of flowering occurs in 3 seasons from January to February, June – July, and September to October.
  • We can regulate this flowering and take up the crop in any one season depending upon market demand and pest and disease incidence etc. by adopting crop regulation (water regulation).
  • In crop regulation, we will stop the irrigation before 1 – 2 months of flowering, and roots were slightly pruned and exposed to the sun.
  • By doing so, plants go into dormancy whenever they met favorable conditions they start flowering.
  • By adopting crop regulation we can get uniform flowering, high yield, and quality fruits.

Controlling flower and fruit dropping

  • Fruit and flower dropping may happen due to various reasons like changes in the temperature, high rainfall and chemical changes inside the plants, etc.
  • Avoid plowing during flowering and fruiting in the orchard.
  • Mix Alpha naphthyl acetic acid 1 ml per 4.5 liters of water or 2 – 4 D 1 ml to 100 liters of water and spray during flowering and fruiting when fruits are pea-size will control this problem effectively.

Training:

  • Training is an important operation in lemon orchards to develop a good canopy structure.
  • Generally, lemons are trained as low-headed plants.
  • An open leader system is followed in lemons, which can get abundant sunshine.

Pruning:

  • Pruning is mainly the removal of diseased, dried and extra growth.
  • In lemon, orchards practice light pruning every year to remove the previous season’s fruiting branches.

Harvesting

  • In lemon, first, harvesting can be done after 3 – 4 years of planting.
  • Fruits come to maturity after 5 – 6 months after flowering.

Yield:

  • Yield will depend upon various factors like the type of soil, variety, pest, diseases, and climatic conditions.
  • We can take around 2000 – 5000 fruits from a single lemon tree. Do not keep the harvested fruits under the sun.
  • Harvesting during and after rain is not advisable. Yield varies depending upon the various factors like variety used, climatic conditions and soil fertility, etc.

Storage:

Lemons can be stored for 8 – 12 weeks at 85 – 90 % relative humidity at 7.2 to 8.6 ̊ C.

Major pest and diseases:

Pests:

Leaf minor:

Management:

Employing natural enemies.

Spraying phosphamidon at 1 mi per liter 2 -3 times.

Spraying of NSKE 5 %

Citrus butterfly:

Management:

Spray  Nuvan 1 ml per liter.

Hand-picking of larvae.

Employ parasitoids like Trichogramma etc.

Fruit sucking moth:

Management:

Removing weeds that act as hosts for the insect.

Grow trap crops like a tomato.

Hand-picking and destroying the larvae.

Bagging of fruits with polythene bags reduces the damage of fruit sucking moths.

Thrips:

Management:

Spraying of malathion 0.05 % or carbaryl 0.1 %.

Collect and destroy the affected plant parts.

Termites:

Management:

Apply facial 2 % near the base of trees.

Spray chlorpyriphos 4 ml per liter on the affected branches.

Nematodes:

Management:

Apply 50 grams of carbofuran granules per plant near the base.

Avoid cultivation of tomato, tobacco and brinjal, etc., crops as intercrops.

Apply 15-kilo grams of neem cake or castor cake per plant.

Mites:

Management:

Spraying Dicofal at 2 ml per liter or Propargite 57% 1 ml per liter once in September, October, and November.

Diseases:

Canker: The most serious problem in citrus fruits.

Management:

It is mainly controlled by controlling the leaf miner by which it will spread.

Spraying streptomycin at 500 ppm will provide better control.

Color rot:

Management:

Maintain proper sanitation in the field.

Carry out pruning operations at timely intervals.

Spraying of the Bordeaux mixture will also control collar rot.

Scab:

Management:

Spraying of copper oxychloride along with white oil.

Greening:

Management:

it is mainly propagated by psyllids; controlling psyllids by spraying chemicals like Monochrotopus is advisable to control greening in lemons.

Powdery mildew:

Management:

Collection and destruction of affected plant parts.

Two to three Cabendizem sprays at 20 days intervals.