How to Grow Productive Lemon Trees


For beginner and intermediate farmers, one of the more irritating things about trying to grow citrus fruit trees is that they may not produce the amount of fruit that you want, if any fruit at all. A lemon tree may also not produce fruit the size you want, providing little key lime-sized lemons. This happens a lot, especially with first crops from fruit trees. The key is to encourage quick new growth of the tree in order to produce a productive lemon crop.

Step 1

Pick a lemon tree that will be well adapted to your area, or at least is known for growing within your region. For example, Eureka and Lisbon lemons are the easiest varieties to grow, while Meyer lemons grow best in the south and southwest.

Step 2

Plant the lemon tree in a well-drained area with full sun, but make sure the soil isn't too alkaline. Allow nutrients to flow through the tree evenly by mulching around the lemon tree trunk's base. This will also provide an even amount of water throughout the tree roots. Water the lemon tree each week if you live in a dry area, and every two weeks if you live in a wet area. If it is raining regularly you do not need to water it.

Step 3

Thin out the lemon tree when it is a young sapling in a process called "fruit-thinning." Using the pruning shears, it will encourage new growth. When the lemon tree first produces a crop of lemons, remove the small fruits right away. The general rule is to remove about a third of the smaller citrus fruits in order to make way for plumper, larger lemons.

Step 4

Space out the lemons from each other while you are cutting them back. It may sound weird because everyone likes to have a tree heavy with fruit, but this is a process called "fruit spacing." It helps each lemon get enough nutrients and room while growing. It is ideal for each lemon to be spaced out from each other about 6 inches. If you choose not to do this, your fruit tree will be O.K., but it will make the lemons grow smaller and less juicy.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • Growing Lemon Trees
  • Types of Lemon Trees
Keywords: productive lemon trees, growing citrus trees, caring for lemon fruit

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.