The lemon is an acidic citrus fruit with native links to India. This deciduous fruit tree is cold tender and thrives in warm, tropical-like climates. It develops dark green foliage and blooms fragrant white flowers with reddish buds. The lemon tree has many variations and hybrids that include the less acidic Meyer lemon and the somewhat sweet Dorshapo lemon.
Select a warm planting location for the lemon tree. Choose a location that receives at least eight to ten hours of full, direct sunlight each day. Select only well-drained locations that provide at least 25 feet of space between each tree for ideal air circulation.
Loosen the soil of the planting area prior to planting the lemon tree. Dig a hole that is slightly larger and deeper than the root system's spread. Position the tree in the hole and fill the hole halfway with soil. Irrigate the soil thoroughly to remove any air pockets. Fill the hole the remainder of the way so that the soil is slightly elevated from the surrounding surface. Irrigate the tree thoroughly to remove any air pockets and promote a good establishment.
Protect the planting bed of the lemon tree. Apply a two- to three-inch layer of mulch around the lemon tree. Keep the mulch about a foot away from the trunk. Replenish the mulch throughout the growing season to maintain a consistent layer. Remove any weeds from the area as they appear to prevent competition with the lemon tree.
Feed the lemon tree throughout the growing season beginning at the first bud swell. Use a well-balanced, slow release fertilizer, such as an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 combination. Feed your younger lemon tree approximately every 30 to 45 days throughout the growing season. Reduce the feeding schedule gradually over the course of the first five years to settle at three feedings per year, as recommended by the University of Florida Extension.
Irrigate your lemon tree at least once each week. Provide your tree with a slow and deep irrigation so that the water can reach the lemon tree's deepest roots. Adjust the irrigation levels for periods of rainfall and drought. Create a watering schedule that allows the tree to never dry out for more than one day, as recommended by the website Gardening Know How.
Prune your lemon tree annually in the late winter to early spring. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to remove water sprouts and dead or diseased branches and stems, as instructed by the Arizona Cooperative Extension. Thin out the tree's interior branches to promote increased air circulation throughout the tree.