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How to Transplant a Lime Tree

Lime trees produce tasty green fruits used for flavoring in numerous foods and drinks. Divided into two main branches, including the popular Mexican lime (key lime or West Indian lime) and the Tahiti (Persian lime and Bearss), lime trees transplant well, when properly done. These cold-sensitive evergreens produce beautiful white blossoms prior to fruiting on a bushy plant with oval-shaped dark green leaves.

Carefully consider the location to transplant your lime tree. Select a spot sheltered on the south side of a structure, if your area is known to freeze.

Limes prefer full sun and soils with good drainage. Sandy loam topsoil is best, but other types will work.

Clear the transplant area of all rocks, plants or other debris. Use a hoe and rake to clear an area at least three feet in diameter.

Inspect the roots of the transplant lime tree. Rinse with water and untangle or cut any overcrowded or tangled roots. Soak roots with water.

Use a shovel to dig a hole wider than the root ball, but the same height. Transplanted lime tree should be planted slightly higher and never lower than before.

Use a rake on the sides and bottom of the hole to loosen soil for root system. Spread roots out carefully in hole.

Slowly add half of the backfill soil around the lime tree. Gently press down on the soil to get rid of any air pockets.

Water the soil all around the lime tree. Allow water to drain.

Finish filling the hole with backfill. Remove air pockets again.

Create a watering ring or water basin around the lime tree. Use a shovel and soil to make a six-inch high (and wide) ring surrounding the hole.

Add between three to six inches of mulch with a shovel. Place it at least four inches away from lime tree trunk and go out three feet in diameter. Mulching prevents weeds and retains moisture.

Fill the basin with water. It should hold from seven to 10 gallons. Allow water to soak in.

Check to see if soil has settled too low exposing the roots. Add more soil to cover roots, if needed.

Carefully use a hoe or hand pull any weeds that emerge within a three-foot diameter of the tree, if mulch is not used.


Do not add any type of fertilizer or other organic matter to the soil used when transplanting a lime tree. Doing this can damage or burn the root system of the tree.

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