Booyong Conservation RetreatCabin GardenGardeningOrchardVegetable Garden

Lemon and Lime Tree

My brother Andrew and his wife Kelly gifted me this Lemon and Lime grafted tree a few years ago and it was such a delight planting it in the orchard at Booyong. This is the first year we’ve allowed it to fruit as we wanted to enable the tree to gain some strength first. We couldn’t imagine a home without a lemon/lime tree – cordial, flavoured vodka, a squeeze of juice over salad or steamed veggies, zest in a cake or shortbread, citrus and chilli salt. Yum!

We leave them to stay on the tree until they are ripe for picking so please help yourself when you come to stay.

The Meyer Lemon/Tahitian Lime tree was purchased from the Fruit Salad Tree Company who has a wide range of grafted fruit trees to choose from including citrus, stone fruits, apples and pears. They are actually located in Rolland’s Plains which is not too far from Booyong. We also have a grapefruit and orange (I think) which has is considerably younger and has not yet beared fruit.

Each tree is grafted and the fruits grow independently from the others, retaining their own unique characteristics. The most important aspect of caring for the grafted fruit salad tree is keep it balanced and ensure it is pruned and maintained evenly otherwise the more dominant fruit will become bigger. Another important aspect of caring for the grafted tree is to remove any emerging rootstock from the main central stem of the tree and all-day sun is preferred.

We expect this tree to grow 2 metres in length and breadth now that it’s been planted in the ground. The soil at Booyong is quite heavy in clay so we will add a handful of gypsum here and there on top of the ground. It is recommended to keep the plant watered throughout the year and to maintain mulch around the plant to retain moisture. Like all citrus plants a weekly deep watering is best as it promotes a deeper root development of the tree. We fertilize our citrus trees twice a year at Booyong, in late Winter and late Summer. We will also add cow fertilizer and ensure there is no direct contact with the tree trunk. In addition, we will also prune back the tree after fruiting to maintain its shape and allow for the sunlight to enter.

Like many shallow rooted citrus trees, the Lemon and Lime tree doesn’t like anything growing around it. Jackie French recommends using chickens or geese around them to add the high nitrogen fertilizer they need. They also assist with keeping the pests at bay. We have not experienced any pest problems with the citrus tree at this time.

 

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