The citrus group of crops constitutes major fruit crops like sweet orange, mandarin orange and kagzi lime cultivated in a variety of climatic conditions. However, Kagzi lime is popularly grown in the kitchen garden, terrace garden and in isolated places. It is suitable to grow in small pieces of land or even in earthen or cement pots on terraces of houses.
Nutritive Value and Uses: Kagzi lime is an excellent source of vitamin C. It also supplies fruit sugar, minerals and alkaline salts as health promoting substances. By taking the juice of one small lemon every day through meals and tea, one can keep away from all skin problems.
Soil and Climate: Citrus lime can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from heavy black to shallow soil, moderate in organic matter content, but soil with stones, rocks and high ground water table are not suitable as the growth is stunted and nutrient deficiency symptoms are developed in trees. Slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 is considered highly suitable. Lime trees can grow in tropical and subtropical climates and can withstand cold waves and light frost to some extent. Average temperature for good growth is about 16 to 20 °C. Low temperatures below 10 °C and high temperature above 40 °C can reduce
production and productivity drastically. Heavy rains at the time of flowering can induce vegetative growth and reduce flowering.
Lime Varieties: Lime and lemon are used as fresh fruits that are grown as stand alone plants or in groups of plants. The important commercial varieties are Kagzi lime, Pati Nimboo, Eureka, Italian Lemon, Seedless lemon, Sai sarbatti, etc.
Propagation: Citrus lime can be propagated by seeds as well as by budding. However, plants propagated by seeds take more time to bear fruits. In commercial propagation, lime seedlings are grafted with T-shaped or shield shaped budding on Jambheri (Jambheri is wild tree plant used as root stock in propagation of citrus) root stock. Budding is carried out during July-September and January-March. However, it is always better to purchase and plant successfully budded seedling from a certified nursery to save time requires to perform budding operations at household level.
Planting and Manuring: The most suitable time for planting lime is August to September. Budded plants are planted in previously dug and filled pits measuring 45 x 45 x 45 cm 3 . The pits are filled with top fertile soil added with 20 kg of compost and mixed with 1 kg of bone meal and neem seed cake. At the time of planting, care should be taken to plant budded seedlings at the center of the pit keeping bud union 15 cm above the ground to avoid soilborne fungal infection to the bud joints. Soil around the plant is firmly pressed without damaging the roots and the plant should be watered immediately after planting. Organic manure like farm yard manure, compost or vermicompost supplemented with mineral nutrients results in a healthy growth and high yields in citrus lime. Manure and fertilizer doses should be increased by 25 percent every year till the maturity of plant is achieved at the fifth year. Care must be taken to irrigate the plant immediately after manuring and fertilization when there is no rain. Normally, citrus lime trees are moderately irrigated everyday in summer, twice a week in winter and as per requirements in the rainy season. If the basin of the tree, around the trunk, if covered with rice or wheat straw, irrigation intervals can be prolonged resulting in saving of considerable amounts of water.
Plant Protection: Citrus lime plant is comparatively free from frequent attacks of pests and diseases. Citrus Psylla is a major pest and Phytophthora and citrus canker are major diseases of citrus lime. Citrus Psylla is an insect pest. Adult insects and nymphs suck the sap from tender parts of buds, leaves and branches. In severe infestation stages, leaves get distorted, curled and fall down resulting in complete defoliation of the plant. The pest can be controlled by spraying a botanical insecticide like neemark at the rate of 30 ml in 10 liters of water and simultaneously mixing 2 kg neem cake in the basin of a growing tree. Phytophthora is a fungal disease causing stem rot, oozing out a gummy substance from the bark. Citrus canker is a bacterial disease that causes development of woody raised spots on leaves and fruits deteriorating the quality of fruits with a reduction of juice. These diseases can be controlled by spraying 1 g of streptocycline mixed with 0.5 g of copper sulphate in 10 liters of water. Drenching with neem cake solution in the basin can greatly reduce infection of
Harvesting: Flowering of lime and lemon trees occurs more than once a year and fruits require 5-6 months to mature after fruit setting. Fruits are harvested at full maturity when their color starts turning from dark green to light green or light yellow. One can get around 200-300 fruits from a full grown lemon plant.