A lemon tree
Lemon is one of the most important Citrus fruits. It is cultivated all over the world and the fruits are used for both culinary and non-culinary purposes.
In India lemons are grown only in a limited extent in homestead gardens, mainly found in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andra Pradesh, Assam and north eastern region. Itís primarily used for its juice and pickles; apart from these the pulp and rind are used for cooking and baking. The lemon juice is used for cleaning and medicinal uses. The lemon juice content 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives sour taste in lemons
Soil and Climate
Lemons are adapted to a wide variety of soil. They may be planted in medium black, loamy or alluvial soils having perfect drainage. It requires soil depth at least 1 metre for its cultivation. It grow at pH range of 5.5 to 7.5 is considered as ideal. However, they can also be grown in a pH range of 4.0 -9.0. High calcium carbonate concentration in feeder roots zone directly affect the plant growth.
Flowers of lemon
Lemons are wider adoptability and grown in an areas receiving higher rainfall humid regions for its successful cultivation. Itís grown an altitude up to 1200m. It grows best in between the temperature range of 130c to 370c. They are much tolerant to heat and frost condition then limes.
Itís a seedling selection from Sicilian lemons. Tree is medium spreading and thornless. Its fruit colour is lemon yellow, obovate in shape, medium size, apex round medium thin small, solid, segments 8-10, juice acidic with excellent flavour and quality. Itís a heavy bearer and tendency of tip bearing.
A lemon fruit
Its appearance and yield is superior then Eureka lemon. Its resistant to frost, heat and high wind velocity. Tree is large vigorous with spreading shoots. It has upright thorny growth, lemon yellow fruit colour, smooth surface, medium size, pitted rind, small axis, solid, 6-10 segments with 0-8 seeds.
This variety is from India. Its hardy, medium, vigorous, spreading drooping, dense foliage, thorny, fruit colour is yellow, smooth, nippled apex, base round, thin rind, hollow axis, segments 10-12 and mature during November- February.
Pant lemon (Seville)
This is again an Indian variety. It is a selection from kagzi kalan. Trees are dwarf spiny, fruit size medium, juicy, heavy fruiting, tolerant to canker, scab and gummosis.
Indian style pickle made from lemon fruits
It belongs to Eureka group. Tree is vigorous, spreading erect, thorny, fruits oval to oblong, medium to large in size, colour bright lemon yellow, apex pointed, base rounded, rind thin, smooth, segments 8-12, flesh fine grained, juice colourless, seeds 25-30.
Nepali oblong (Assam lemon)
Plant medium sized, hardy, spreading drooping with irregular crown, fruit shape oblong ,colour lemon yellow, segments 10-12, seeds zero to few in number, ripen during December - January.
Fruits are roundish, juicy with less prominent nipple.
Tree semi dwarf, thornless, spreading cold resistant, fruit colour is light orange ,surface smooth, finally pitted, fruits obovate or oblong base rounded, rind thin, small axis, segments 8-10, seeds 8-12.
Dwarf compact bush, fruits small to medium, juicy with numerous seeds, commonly grown in southern state of India.
The best method of propagation of lemon is T budding. Apart from this stem cutting and layering also used for propagation. Trifoliate orange and Jatti Katta are compatible rootstocks for lemon.
Planting: Pits of 6ox 60 x 60 cm size are dug 5 to 6 meters apart each way and filled with 30 to 40 kg. Farm yard Manure or compost and Top soil along with 2 kg superphosphate. One year old, healthy budded seedlings are used for planting. Most ideal season for planting is the onset of monsoon (June - July) for lemon. However, in heavy rainfall area September-October would be appropriate planting season
the spacing in lime is varies with the varieties, rainfall, and soil. normal
spacing of lemon is 6m X 6m.
In lemon the nitrogen should be applied in the form of farmyard manure/compost (25%), oil cake (25%), and chemical fertilizers (50%). The fertilizer dosage for lemon plants are N, P2O5, and K2O at 500:300:500g/plant/year.
Ploughing, spading of basins, weed control, etc., are important operation for soil aeration and health. Chemical control of weeds with pre emergence weedicide like diuron (3Kg /ha), simazine (4Kg/ha), glyphosate (4 l/ha), paraquat(2 l/ha) used.
Leguminous crops like soybeans, peas, French bean, cowpeas, gram, groundnut etc., are grown in lemon orchard. Intercropping is done during initial 3-4 year after planting.
Training and pruning
Training system followed in lemon is open centre method. Trees are trained to form a low headed open centered crown which can harvest maximum sunlight. This can be achieved by removal of twigs annually. Very light annual pruning is advisable for lemons to remove dried and diseased branches, to stimulate new growth and to maintain optimum production.
It bears fruits almost throughout the year. The fruits are non- climacteric. Generally the lemons are harvested with the clippers. Mechanically by tree trunk shakers and abscission chemicals are used.
Economic life of plant is 15 to 25 years. The fruit yield is depends on the region, soils, climate, varieties etc., the average yield of lemon is 200-300 fruits/plant. Seville lemon yields 10Kg /plant in south Indian condition. Pant lemon-1 in Uttar Pradesh produces 32Kg fruits/plant. In north east India, Assam lemon produces on an average 150 fruits/ plant.
Post harvest management
After harvesting, fruits are stored at room temperatures for varying periods. The lemons are stored at 7-80c with 85-90% RH for longer period. Wax coating (12%)+ capton (0.1%) increase the shelf lime of baramasi lemon up to 35 days. In case of eureka lemon storage period is increased by use of 2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T in was emulsion.
Mahantesh K. Kamatyanatti