Fertilizing Lime Trees – Learn How To Fertilize A Lime Tree

Water Droplets On A Lime Tree
(Image credit: Angel Di Bilio)

Got a lime tree? Wondering how to fertilize your lime tree? Lime trees, like all citrus, are heavy feeders and therefore need supplemental fertilizer; but the question is, when do you fertilize lime trees?

When Do You Fertilize Lime Trees?

As mentioned, lime trees are copious feeders that require not only additional nitrogen, but phosphorous to produce blooms as well as micronutrients such as magnesium, boron, copper, and zinc necessary for fruit production. 

Newly planted young trees should not be fertilized until after they gain 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) of growth. Thereafter, fertilizer should be applied around young limes in a 3 foot (just under a meter) ring. 

Be sure that the fertilizer does not touch the trunk or roots directly and avoid fertilizing lime trees with soluble nitrogen fertilizer when there’s likely to be heavy rain. The fertilizing of mature lime trees should occur three times per year. 

Fertilize once in the fall or winter, once in early spring, and again during late summer. If fertilizing a lime tree with slow release fertilizer, only apply every six to nine months.

Fertilizers for Lime Trees

Fertilizers for lime trees are of two different types. Lime trees can be fertilized with either a commercial chemical fertilizer specially formulated for citrus trees or if you are concerned about runoff, they can be fed with garden compost or animal manure. Natural fertilizer nutrients are made available more slowly than chemical fertilizers and may need to be applied more often. 

Chemical fertilizers for citrus contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in varying percentages. For instance, an 8-8-8 food is good for young limes that are not yet bearing but a mature fruit bearer will need more nitrogen so switch to a 12-0-12 formula. Slow release fertilizer that release nutrients slowly over time are also a great option, as the tree does not need to be fertilized as often.

How to Fertilize a Lime Tree

Scatter the fertilizer on the ground at the base of the tree, making sure to keep it a foot (31 cm.) or so away from the tree trunk. Water it in immediately. If using natural compost, apply 2 pounds (.9 kg.) of compost per month during the growing season. Again, scatter it in a circle at the base of the tree about one foot (31 cm.) from the trunk.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.