Upgrading technology for lemon production
A LEMON tree is a
sub-tropical plant, and in its natural habitat, its
fruit is green and only slightly acidic for the fruit to
develop its flavour and yellow color.
fruit is picked before maturity to preserve its acidity.
Most of the species under the genus lemon are native to
tropical and sub–tropical regions of southeast Asia,
particularly, India, China.
Lemon juice is valued in the home as a stain remover,
and a slice of lemon dipped in salt can be used to clean
copper-bottomed cooking pots. Lemon juice has been used
for bleaching freckles and facial cleansing creams.
Lemon peel oil is much used in furniture polishes,
detergents, soaps, and shampoos.
This citrus fruit ranks very high in its medicinal
value, having many therapeutical uses. Lemon juice is a
natural antiseptic which may be safely applied directly
to cuts, bruises and infections. Lemon juice is good for
asthma, headaches, pneumonia, and arthritis. It is a
good general blood and body purifier and a mild
diuretic. It is important in perfume blending and
especially in colognes.
Lemon is grown in both dry and humid atmospheres, the
latter being a disadvantage mainly in the processes of
curing and storing. The lemon tree has the reputation of
tolerating very infertile, very poor soil.
Recommended soils are sand, clay and sandy–clay–deep,
with high permeability and good drainage. Black soils
are also suitable if not lying over calcareous sub-soil.
Ph should be between 5.5 and 6.5. If acidity is high, it
is necessary to apply lime to achieve the optimum level.
Usually, lemon is planted in pits of 50 x 50 x 50cm or
of 75 x 75 x 75cm sizes in square system with spacing of
5 to 8 m depending upon the species and rootstocks. For
rough lemons or karana khatta wider spacing of 5 x 5 m
Though the planting is usually done during the monsoon
season, it is better not to plant at the time of heavy
rains to avoid any water logging near the planting pits.
Weather should not be too wet or too dry at the time of
The rough lemon is widely grown from seed. The ‘Meyer’
lemon is easily reproduced by rooting large cuttings in
the nursery and planting them directly in the grove.
They fruit two to three years sooner than budded trees
and have a long life, remaining in full production for
over 30 years, perhaps much longer. In case of lemons,
cutting and layering (air layering) are commonly
employed and plants thus raised develop shallow but good
Remove congested growth in early spring, and pinch out
shoot growing tips in summer. If renovation is required
prune back by two-thirds in early spring. Pruning lemon
trees should be confined to trimming extremely long
branches that become untidy or new branches that cross
over others, they do not require any special pruning to
encourage flowers as these will be produced naturally
shoot tips and wood old enough to bear them.
Irrigation is of vital importance to lemon orchard and
it is considered as one of the most critical culture
operations. About the method of irrigation, suggested
that young trees up to eight years may be profitably
irrigated by basin system. Other irrigation methods
applied are flood, furrow, sprinkler methods.
The application of irrigation in right time and in right
quantity is more important than the method of
irrigation. Usually, under local condition weekly
irrigation during March to June and fortnightly
irrigation during November to February are practiced.
For sustained production and to maintain proper orchard
health it is essential to apply manures and fertilisers
to lemon orchard regularly. For non–bearing tree,
fertiliser application may be done in an area more than
drip circle, leaving 15 -30 cm radius around the tree
The marketability of lemons depends on the stage at
which they are picked. Lemons were allowed to remain on
the trees until they became too large. It was realised
that early picking is necessary.
Some growers adopted the practices of picking at any
time after the fruits reach 25 per cent juice content,
and using rings to gauge the commercially acceptable
size, and repeated spot-picking with clippers.
Mechanical picking is impossible with lemons. The fruits
are highly prone to oil spotting (oleocellosis) and
cannot handle roughly nor picked wet.
In Pakistan, a 6-year-old tree bore 966 fruits and at 9
years of age, had produced a total of 3,173 fruits.
Courtesy: The DAWN