Lime trees flourish around the world in tropical areas. Two varieties, citrus aurantifolia and citrus latifolia, are commonly grown for commercial lime use, home fruit production and also as landscape trees. Numerous varieties are available, however. A relatively small tree, the lime only reaches a height of approximately 10 feet. The trunk adds landscape interest due to its habit of growing in a curving, twisted fashion.
The lime tree produces fruit that is widely used as a flavoring in juices, in cleaning products and as a scent additive. The citrus latifolialime tree produces a large green fruit with limited seeds and the citrus aurantifolia produces a yellow-skinned fruit with abundant seeds. Limes are often utilized as garnishments for their pleasing appearance. Each fruit normally measures from one to two inches in diameter.
Growth Location Requirements
The trees require well-draining soil. They will not tolerate wet roots for an extended time period. Soil that contains abundant caliche causes nutritional deficiencies in the tree, according to Texas A & M University. Plant in a location that offers full sunlight. A southerly location also offers better cold protection with extended sunlight exposure.
Lime trees from nurseries are sold in a soil-less medium. Care must be taken to remove the medium from the root system prior to planting. Use a hose to gently wash away the substance. The lime trees roots will need to be in full contact with the soil of the hole at the time of planting so the tree can establish itself. The trees bud union must remain a few inches above the soil at the time of planting.
The lime tree root system is relatively weak upon planting and even after establishment, so all weeds and grass need to be removed from around the trees base or the roots will be unable to compete for needed water and nutrients. Pull weeds around the base of the lime tree. Using a hoe or other mechanism can often cause injury to the tree's delicate fibrous feeder roots, according to the University of Florida. The root system needs to be kept moist but not water-logged to establish.
The lime tree will require four applications of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) in the spring and summer months. A small tree requires one cup to meet its needs, but as the tree grows the measurement should increase through the years. An increase of one cup per year is often adequate. Follow the directions on the label for application instructions. Avoid applying mulch around the base of a lime tree because the tree can often suffer fungal foot rot, according to the Texas A & M University.