How Long Before Lemon Tree Bears Fruit

Given the right conditions and care, a lemon tree needs approximately 2 to 3 years before it produces good quality lemons. Lemons cannot be harvested before they ripen, as the flavours and essential oils develop as the fruit ripens. Lemon trees can bear fruit even earlier, with some trees producing fruit in as little as 18 months. The time required to develop lemons depends on the age of the tree before it was planted, the variety, and the environmental and cultural conditions.

Age of Plant

In general, lemon trees bear fruit when they are about two years old. Younger trees may produce smaller, acidic fruits and the amount of harvest may decrease with age. On the other hand, older trees often have the best yields. High quality lemons can be harvested from trees that range in age from six to twelve years old.


The variety of lemon tree is also a key factor. Homeowners selecting a variety should consider their climate, tree size and potential yield. Eureka and Lisbon are two cold hardy varieties that do well in cold climates. Meyer lemons are an excellent choice for gardeners looking for fruits with a sweet-sour taste, while Femminello St. Teresa is an excellent choice for gardeners in hot climates.

Environmental Conditions

The environmental conditions must also be considered when planting a lemon tree. The tree needs full sun and regular watering to produce bountiful fruit. Too much sun or too little water can cause the tree to become stressed, reducing the yield. In addition, regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer should be provided. Organic mulches such as straw and compost should be used around the base of the plant to retain soil moisture and reduce weed competition.

Cultural Conditions

Cultural conditions also play a role in how quickly a lemon tree bears fruit. To ensure a good yield, lemon trees should be pruned regularly to maintain balance between fruit production and growth. Pruning should be done just after harvesting when the plant is still in its dormant period. In addition, trees should be protected from winds, which can damage the fragile branches and stems. Finally, lemon trees are susceptible to pests such as aphids, spider mites and citrus thrips. Homeowners should inspect the tree regularly and treat pests if necessary.


Lemons can be harvested as soon as they are ripe. When the skin turns yellow and the fruit is fragrant and juicy, it is ready to be harvested. Unripe lemons should not be harvested since these will not develop their full flavor and aroma. To harvest the fruit, use a pair of pruners or clippers to cut the stem and the fruit will come away easily. The harvested fruit can then be left to ripen further on the countertop or in a basket.


Harvested lemons should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. They will keep for up to 10 days if properly stored. The lemons should be checked regularly for signs of spoilage such as soft spots, bruises, or mold. Spoiled fruit should be discarded immediately and the remaining fruit should be used as soon as possible.


Regular fertilizing is important for lemon trees to remain productive. An all-purpose fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium should be applied in spring and again in late summer. The tree should be given a water-soluble fertilizer such as fish emulsion every two weeks during the growing season to ensure good growth and fruit production.


Lemon trees should be pruned regularly to keep them healthy and productive. The tree should be pruned in the winter while it is still in its dormant period. Pruning stimulates growth and ensures that an optimal balance between canopy size and fruit production is maintained. Branches should be removed if they are crowded, dead, or diseased. It is important to remove crossed branches and those that grow inward toward the center of the tree. Broken or diseased limbs should also be removed to increase light penetration and air circulation.


Lemon trees need regular and consistent irrigation to produce good quality fruits. If water is not supplied regularly, the fruits may become small in size and acidic in flavor. The amount of water needed depends on the climate and soil type of the area. Generally, a weekly application of 1 to 2 inches of water is adequate. The soil should be kept moist but not saturated, as excessive water can cause root rot and other diseases. In addition, it is important to water the tree in the morning to prevent the leaves from becoming wet during the hottest part of the day.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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