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Crop Cultivation Guidence

Limes and Lemons


Lime or Acid lime (Citrus aurantifolia swing) is more popular in India than lemon (Citrus limon). Acid lime is cultivated largely in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar and to a limited extent in other states.

Lemons are grown only to a limited extent in homestead gardens. Limes are available throughout the year in some part or the other in our country. They are used as fresh fruit or for the preparation of pickles and beverages. They are rich in vitamin C, minerals and salts.

Climate and Soil:

Areas with dry climate and low rainfall are best suited for growing limes. Lemons can be grown in heavy rainfall humid regions.

Lime and Lemon may be planted in medium black, loamy or alluvial soils having perfect drainage and devoid of calcium carbonate layer.


Commonly grown acid lime cultivar is Kagzi lime, but recently identified four high yielding cultivars Vikram, Prumalini, PKM, and Sai Sharbati are now gaining popularity. Commonly grown lemon varieties are Assam lemon, Italian lemon, Pant lemon, Galgal and Eureka lemon, Sevilla and Malta lemon varieties are popular in South India.


Acid lime can be propagated by seed, budding or air layer. Since it is highly polyembryonic. Seedlings are true to type and resistant to diseases. Propagation by seedling is recommended. Budded plants on Jambheri or Gajanimma are used for planting lemons.

Planting and Season:

Pits of box 60 x 60cm size are dug 5 to 6m apart each way and filled with 30 to 40kg. Farm yard Manure or compost and Top soil along with 2kg superphosphate. One year old, healthy seedlings of recommend acid lime variety of bud grafts of choice lemon variety is used for planting. Most ideal season for planting is the onset of monsoon (June - July) for both time and lemon. However, in heavy rainfall area September-October would be appropriate planting season.

Care of young orchard

Soon after planting plants to be supported with bamboo stick and irrigated thoroughly. Main stem of the young sapling be topped at a height of about one meter from ground level within 25-30 cm from cut end 3-4 well spaced branches be allowed to grow in different directions to form main limbs of the tree. Plants be protected against pests and diseases by spraying with pesticides and fungicides regularly.

Special Horticultural practices

Acid lime flowers and produces fruits almost all the year round, but there are three major flushes in June-July, Sept-Oct and Jan - February. These are known as Mrig Bahar, Hast Bahar and Ambia Bahar respectively. Fruits of Sept-Oct (Hast Bahar) flowering harvested during summer months are most remunerative. To achieve this irrigation be suspended for 1 to 11/2 months before actual flowering. During this period field may be cultivated and applied with manure and fertiliser towards the end and irrigation be resumed. Plants be sprayed with 1000 ppm cycoal twice during Sept-Oct which has been found to increase the fruit yield 2 times than the normal yield.


Young plantation needs regular watering during post-monsoon period at an interval of 10-15 days and at 8-10 days during summer months. Water is applied around the periphery of the tree in a ring and basin system so that tree trunk should not come in direct contact with water. The irrigation is suspended for 1 to 11/2 months during Bahar treatment. It is resumed during flowering. Bearing trees should get regular watering at 10-15 days during summer and 15-20 days interval watering at 10-15 days during summer and 15-20 days interval during winter.

Application of manures and fertilisers

For each completed year of growth till 5 years, 20kg Farm Yard manure 100g urea and 1kg Superphosphate be applied per plant in two equal split doses in June and December every year. Fifth year onwards application of 40kg FYM, 400g Nitrogen+200g Phosphorus+400g Potash per plant in two split doses in June-July and Sept-Oct be applied. In addition, 150g Nitrogen be applied per plant 15 days after fruit set. Manures and fertilizers are applied in a circular trench 20-30cm deep about a meter wide around the periphery of the tree. Manures are thoroughly mixed with soil, and the tree irrigated profusely.

Plant protection

The major pests affecting the Acid lime and lemon plants include Lemon butterfly, leaf eating caterpillars, whitefly, leaf miner and mealy bugs. These pests can be controlled by spraying with Monocrophos, Endosulphon or Phosphamidon 1.5 to 2ml per litre of water at an interval of 10-15 days. Instead of repeating the same pesticide different pesticide be used at each spray.

Among the diseases Gummosis and canker are very devastating. For control of Gummosis, use ring and basin system of irrigation to avoid contact of water with main stem so that the disease causing soil borne fungus will not attack the stem. If disease is seen, remove the affected portion of bark and 1 cm of surrounding healthy bark with knife and apply Bordeaux paste (one part copper sulphate plus one part quick lime and sufficient water to make paste) thoroughly on the wound.

Canker is caused due to bacterial (Xanthomonas sp.) infection, which develops considerably during rainy season. It appears as a minute yellowish-brown spots on stem, leaves and fruits which turn into corky brown specks. Affected leaves turn yellow and drop down. Remove all the affected parts and fallen leaves and burn them. Spray the trees with Bordeaux mixture 3:3:50 by using 1.5kg copper sulphate plus 1.5kg quick lime in 225 litres of water or 1250gm of copper oxychloride in 500 litres of water also can be sprayed. Repeat, if necessary at an interval of 10-15 days.

Harvesting and yields

Maturity of citrus fruits depends upon the climatic conditions, nutrition, heat units and moisture availability. The period of maturity is shorter in acid lime (5-6 months) and longest in mandarin and sweet orange. The lime and lemon fruits are harvested when they just start changing. They are harvested in installments as they ripen. Major harvesting period in July-September and November-January.

Post Harvest handling and Marketing

Harvested fruits are graded according to size and colour and packed in bamboo baskets or wooden crates lined with neem foliage. Sometimes fruits are packed in gunny bags and transported by rail or road to distant markets.