When grown outdoors lemon trees can take over 5 years to produce fruit in spring and summer. Lemon trees can start to bloom in late fall to early spring and will set fruit ready to pick in summer. Lemon trees that get at least 6 hours of sunlight will produce fruit faster with bright yellow skin.
Lemon trees will usually start to produce fruit once they are 5 years old or more. It can happen earlier in some circumstances but to be sure, choose a grafted lemon tree on a mature root system to get fruit faster. Planting in well prepared soil and feeding your tree every season will give it the nutrients it needs to keep producing fruit.
How to get a lemon tree to produce more fruit and faster
To get your lemon tree to produce fruit early in the season and for longer follow these easy tips.
1. Plant a mature lemon tree
The best way to get a lemon tree to produce fruit as soon as possible is to buy a mature tree. Choosing a tree that is as old as you can afford is a good way to get fruit fast. Lemon trees need to be at least 5 years old in most cases to produce fruit.
2. Prepare the soil
Before planting a lemon tree it is essential to prepare the soil. This will make sure it establishes a good root system to support it to produce fruit. Dig through aged cow manure and compost in a dish shape around 1 foot deep where you are planting to plant your lemon tree.
Lighten the soil to allow for good drainage and plant your tree at the same soil level that it was at in the pot. Establishing the plant in the ground with a good, strong root system will allow it to carry more fruit in the future as it grows.
3. Plant it in full sun
To get as much fruit as possible on your lemon tree plant it in full sun. make sure it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight in summer but more is better. This will help the tree to produce blooms earlier int eh season and will encourage pollinating insects to visit.
This will help the flowers to set to fruit and give you more lemons.
4. Choose a grafted variety
To get lemons as soon as possible on your tree choose a grafted variety. These lemon varieties will be attached to a healthy and strong root system which will be mature and ready to grow.
Grafted lemon varieties will be a selection of the best fruiting lemon varieties with the strongest root system. This will give you a tree that establishes fast and will grow fruit sooner.
5. Feed the lemon tree at the start of each season
Fertilizing your lemon tree regularly is essential to get more fruit throughout the year. To replace the nutrients used up in growing fruit you need to give your tree a good quality citrus food.
I like to give mine citrus food at the beginning of each season. I will also add some extra pelleted chicken manure in spring to help with rapid growth.
A good quality citrus fertilizer will contain iron, magnesium, calcium and other trace elements which will give the plant the nutrients it needs to grow big and fast.
A tree that has enough nutrients to thrive will produce fruit over and over again.
6. Avoid adding too much nitrogen
Avoid adding too much nitrogen to your lemon tree if you want more fruit. Adding loads of nitrogen will give you lots of leaf growth but your fruit production can suffer as a result.
Once your tree has established avoid adding high nitrogen fertilizer. I like to stick to a small amount of pelleted chicken manure in spring to keep the tree growing but not to interrupt fruit production.
If you have already added too much nitrogen, and some flower and fruit fertilizer. This will help the tree to balance the nitrogen to potassium ratio and encourage flowers.
What time of year do lemon trees produce fruit?
Lemon trees produce fruit anywhere from spring to summer. Lemon trees grown in warmer climates will produce fruit earlier in the year and it will ripen faster.
How many times a year do lemon trees produce fruit?
Most lemon trees will produce fruit twice per year. A crop will start in late spring and again in late summer.
Lemon trees will start to flower in late fall and early spring. They can produce another bloom in late summer to produce more fruit at the end of the summer season.
In mild climates lemon trees can produce fruit almost all year round. They can even produce flowers and fruit in late fall, even into early winter.
Lemons do not need to be picked as soon as they turn yellow. They can last fresh on the bush for a lot longer if you need to and just picked when you need them.
Do you need 2 lemon trees to produce fruit?
You do not need 2 lemon trees to produce fruit. Lemon trees can self-pollinate as their pollen is transferred from one flower to the next by insects or the wind.
If your lemon tree is indoors you will need to hand pollinate the flowers to make sure that they produce fruit. Take a small paint brush and gently move the pollen from one flower to the next.
If your lemon tree is still not producing fruit check out my article here for more tips: Lemon Tree Has Flowers But No Fruit | 6 Reasons and Easy Solutions
When Do Lemon Trees Produce Fruit? | Summary
Lemon trees will usually produce fruit once they are at least 5 years old and are well established in a pot or in the ground. They will start to grow flowers in late fall to early spring and can have ripe fruit ready as early as the start of summer. In mild climate without frosts lemon trees can produce fruit most of the year.
Feed them with citrus fertilizer at the start of summer to keep them fruiting longer.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.