Characteristics of lemon
The lemon is an evergreen plant, of varying height depending on the climate and cultivation. The leaves are oval, shiny and very rich in various aromatic substances. They persist for over two years on the plant. The flowers are white, very fragrant and have 5 petals. They are present at different times of the year, usually gathered in bunches. The fruits have a rough skin with the underside being white and spongy and enveloping the juicy pulp. The plant is mainly cultivated by those who deal with fruit and vegetables, for the production of lemons. In this case the lemons are placed in a well-cultivated orchard, but they can also be grown in the garden or in pots. The lemon is generally grown in temperate areas and, due to its ornamental value, it is also grown in the apartment or on the terrace. Cultivation does not give major problems if it occurs in areas with a suitable climate: instead in temperate / cold areas it is good to cultivate the lemon in pot by transferring the plant from the garden to a heated or protected area in winter. The important thing for a good growth of the plant is to prune the lemon correctly and at the right time.
How and when to prune lemons
The pruning of lemons is generally practiced during the summer, that is, in that period of pause between two blooms, generally in July, since then the plant is in a moment of vegetative rest. The branches that produce the flowers and fruits are those that were produced during the previous year and therefore must absolutely not be touched with pruning. Instead, only the very small branches, the dry ones and the branches whose development has brought them to the center of the crown of the plant, must be removed. Furthermore, those branches that have already borne fruit must be shortened. If, at the time of pruning, there are still fruit, we can prune the branches easily, as the lemons can ripen even if they are no longer on the branch to which they were attached. Instead, in order to rejuvenate a lemon plant, it is advisable, every three / four years, to prune the lemon in a particular way: it is necessary to shorten the branches that are older and larger, to favor the development of new shoots on the branch: these will produce , the following year, new branches that will bear their fruits.
How to grow and fertilize a lemon plant
The main condition for the cultivation of lemons is the temperature which must never drop below 0 ° C, since the optimal one falls between 7 ° in winter and 28 ° in summer. In order to favor the development of both flowers and fruits, it is very important to water the lemon well in the event of a prolonged period of drought and to give it a correct fertilization. Traditionally, the lemon is fertilized with a fertilizer made of broken lupins that is easily found in a nursery. This type of fertilizer releases mineral salts and amino acids in the earth, which are also useful for any other plants present in the orchard. In addition to this, the lupins also provide a soil improver, that is, they help to make the soil softer and improve the mixture. Generally, a pound of ground lupins is used for every square meter of earth and must be lightly buried with a small hoe. Lupins, given once / twice a year, do not exclude other fertilizations, using fertilizers that dissolve in the water with which it is watered, or with slow release fertilizers, to be spread around the lemon every 4 or 5 months.
Pruning lemon: The adversities of lemon
Lemons are subject to various environmental diseases such as deficiencies of necessary substances. In ferric chlorosis, for example, the leaves gradually turn yellow from the tips to the base. In critical cases the plant does not bloom or has poor flowering or prematurely loses its fruit. In these cases the plant must not be pruned, but suitable fertilizers specific for citrus fruits must be used. Other causes may be: - a lack of light, with poor flowering and no or poor fruiting, as well as minimal plant growth: it is advisable to place the plant in a place with 4 or 6 hours of sunlight; - pollution: it is not recommended to place lemons in street furniture in areas with intense traffic; - Summer or winter thermal stress: in cold winters it is advisable to place the plant in protected places. In summer it is advisable to keep it in a shady place during the hottest hours; - Excess salinity in the water and soil, which leads the plant to debilitation: it is advisable to use "energetic" products promptly, in order to quickly recover vegetative efficiency and to promote harmonious development.