How far to plant lemon trees apart

Citrus Tree Spacing ― Here's What You Need to Know

The Citrus genus, which includes orange, lemon, grapefruit and lime trees, among many others, is highly popular with gardeners in warm climates.

The majority of Citrus varieties are self-fertilizing and begin growing fruit when they are between three and six years old. 

Citrus trees flower during warm, rainy periods and look especially beautiful when they flower while growing fruit.

Citrus trees come in standard, semi-dwarf and dwarf varieties, and need to be planted different distances apart from one another depending on what variety they are.


How far apart should I plant my Citrus trees?

Most standard-sized Citrus trees grow to over 20 feet tall and should be spaced 12 to 25 feet apart. Dwarf Citrus varieties grow between 8 and 12 feet tall and should be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart. In orchards, rows of both standard and dwarf Citrus trees should be planted 10 feet apart.  


The basics of spacing Citrus trees

The two most important things to consider when planting Citrus trees are whether they will receive enough sunlight and whether their shallow but extensive root systems will have enough space. 

Citrus trees––of standard, semi-dwarf and dwarf varieties––need approximately six hours of direct sunlight in order to grow fruit.

When trees are planted too close together, their canopies will cast shade on one another, limiting the hours of sunlight that reach their leaves and thereby reducing their capacity to perform photosynthesis. 

Trees that cannot photosynthesize properly are less likely to grow much fruit, which means that how far apart you plant your trees can have a big impact on their productivity.


Leave enough room for roots!

You need to make sure that your Citrus trees’ root systems will have enough space to grow. While Citrus trees can happily grow against fences or walls––and these structures may even help protect them from the wind and act as heat traps––they need to be planted an appropriate distance away from them (between six and eight feet), so that their roots do not become cramped.  


Similarly, Citrus trees’ shallow-growing roots also need enough space to grow outwards without being cramped by the root systems of neighboring trees. If you are planting an orchard, you will therefore also need to consider the spacing of your rows. 


Orchard rows 

Orchard rows should be spaced at least ten feet apart, regardless of whether your trees are standard, semi-dwarf or dwarf varieties.

Where possible, plant the rows of your orchard in a north-south direction, as this allows for maximum sun exposure and will be most advantageous for fruit production.  


Planting Dwarf Citrus trees

If you do not have a lot of space available, you might consider growing dwarf varieties instead of standard ones.

Dwarf varieties can still produce full-sized fruit, but because they are smaller and can be planted closer together, you will be able to grow more trees on a smaller plot of land. Dwarf Citrus trees can be kept small through regular pruning. Just make sure you are pruning at the right time of year!


Planting a Citrus hedgerow

Another way to grow Citrus fruit in a limited amount of space is to train dwarf Citrus trees into a hedgerow. Hedgerows are a good way to keep the size of your Citrus trees in check. That said, hedgerows produce less fruit than lone-standing trees. 

To grow a Citrus hedgerow, you will need plant a straight line of dwarf Citrus trees four to six feet apart. You will want to train the limbs of the trees that are growing toward each other and to prune away the branches growing out in other directions. 

In order to encourage bushier, more hedge-like growth on the branches you are keeping, cut the final half-inch to two inches off of the ends of branches by making a cut at a 45-degree angle just before a leaf node.

Remember to regularly disinfect your pruning tools with a phenol-based cleaner to prevent spreading bacteria between trees.


Transplanting Citrus trees

If your Citrus trees have been planted too close together and your trees are still small enough to be moved, you will want to transplant them in order to give them the best possible chance at a long and healthy life.

Transplanting can be a tricky process, so make sure you are well-informed about how to transplant Citrus trees before you get started.

You will want to transplant them in the spring or early autumn so that they do not have to adjust to their new environment in the heat of the summer or the cool of the winter, which might lead to transplant shock.


Frequently asked questions about how far apart to plant Citrus trees


How far apart should I plant my Citrus trees if I want to grow different varieties of citrus next to each other? 

If you are growing a variety of different Citrus trees beside one another, you should always use the tree that requires more space as your reference point. When planting a full orange tree beside a dwarf lemon tree, for example, you should space them between 12 to 25 feet apart, as this is what the full orange tree requires. 


What will happen if I plant my Citrus trees too close together?

If you plant your Citrus trees too close together, they will produce less fruit, will not grow as tall as they otherwise would, and their soil will become depleted. Sometimes, Citrus trees that have been planted too close together will also graft onto each other naturally. 


Can some Citrus trees be planted closer together than others?

Some Citrus trees can be planted closer together than others. Tangerine trees, for example, are a variety of mandarin and only need to be spaced ten feet apart, rather than the usual minimum of 12 feet for standard-sized Citrus trees. It is a good idea to check the specific spacing guidance for the variety of Citrus trees you are growing before you begin to plant them.  

Here’s How Far Apart To Plant Your Citrus Trees – Couch to Homestead

We have several varieties of citrus trees, ranging from kaffir lime to tangerine, and while our backyard isn’t the biggest, we have them fairly spaced out. But we’re looking at getting more citrus trees soon and we’re wondering exactly how far to space them out. So, how far apart should you plant citrus trees?

When it comes to spacing citrus trees, dwarf trees should be 6 to 10 feet (1.83 to 3.05 meters) apart, semi-dwarf should be 12 to 18 feet (3.66 to 5.49 meters) apart, and standard trees need to be 18 to 25 feet (5.49 to 7.62+ meters) apart. Spacing out citrus trees is important to allow for growth and less competition.

Below, we’ll go over how close you can plant citrus trees together, whether or not you can plant different citrus species near each other, the best places to plant citrus, and how far citrus trees should be grown from the fence. Let’s dive in.

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How Close Can You Plant Citrus Trees Together?

How close you can plant citrus trees together depends on the size of the tree. The larger the tree, the more expansive the roots. Therefore, for their root systems to have enough room to grow, larger trees need to be planted further apart than smaller trees. Similarly, larger fruit trees will also have a greater width, so they’ll need more space for their branches and leaves to develop without obstruction.

Below, we’ll go over the different citrus tree sizes and how far apart you should plant each variety.

  • Dwarf trees are the smallest variety of citrus trees. They are approximately 8 to 10 feet (2.44 to 3.05 meters) tall and wide when they are fully grown. Depending on the environment, they usually start producing fruit sooner than the larger varieties. It’s best to plant dwarf trees approximately 6 to 10 feet (1.83 to 3.05 meters) apart. 
  • Semi-dwarf trees are 12 to 15 feet (3.66 to 4.57 meters) tall and wide. The semi-dwarf tree can produce twice the fruit as a dwarf tree without using up a lot more space. Trees of this size should be planted approximately 12 to 18 feet (3.66 to 5.49 meters) apart. 
  • Standard citrus trees usually grow to be 18 to 25+ feet (5.49 to 7.62+ meters) tall and wide. They are slower to produce fruit than dwarf and semi-dwarf trees, but they make a more considerable amount once they do. They need to be planted approximately 18 to 25 feet (5.49 to 7.62+ meters) apart. However, this varies depending on the type of citrus.

Can You Plant Different Citrus Trees Together?

Different types of citrus trees can be planted together, and in fact, it’s encouraged. Having various citrus trees will promote biodiversity, water retention in the soil, and better rates of cross-pollination. Whether it’s oranges, lemons, or any other variety, it’s completely safe to plant them near each other.

A common misconception about planting different citrus near each other is that cross-pollination between the different citrus species will change the fruit’s taste. This has shown to be false since cross-pollination will only affect the fruit’s seeds, not the taste of the fruit itself. 

In fact, for many kinds of citrus, cross-pollination is a good thing. Many citrus varieties are parthenocarpic, which means they can produce fruit without pollination (also known as self-pollinating). Since these fruits can fertilize themselves, they are generally seedless.

Self-pollinating trees often produce fewer fruits and drop their fruit earlier than cross-pollinated trees. However, when you cross-pollinate these self-pollinating trees with other citrus varieties, they tend to have a larger fruit yield and produce bigger fruits.

The largest downside to cross-pollinating is that the fruits can become seedier. Overall, if you can promote cross-pollination, even for self-pollinating citrus trees, it will most likely be worth it (even if you have to hand-pollinate with a toothbrush).

Where Is the Best Place to Plant Citrus Trees?

The best place to plant citrus trees is in an area that gets at least 5 hours of sun, doesn’t get frost, and has soil that is well-draining with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Additionally, citrus trees should have enough space from other trees as to not compete with them (usually between 6-18 feet, depending on the tree’s size).

When planting your citrus trees, you should consider the area’s climate, sunlight exposure, nearness to competing plants, and soil drainage. Let’s take a further look at what this all means for your citrus trees.

Warm Climate Year-Round 

Citrus trees originated in tropical and subtropical climates, so they prefer similar climates. Generally, citrus trees thrive in warm temperatures ranging from 55.4°F to 100°F (13°C to 38°C).

Naturally, this means that citrus trees do not do well in cold weather. If they are exposed to frost, chilling winds, or extreme cold, they’re likely to die.

So, if you’d like to grow citrus trees, but you live in a colder climate (USDA hardiness zones below 9), it’s likely best that they’re grown indoors in a pot or a greenhouse.

If you’re determined to grow them outside in a colder climate, then you can try different methods to keep them warmer such as covering them in the winter or planting them along a southern-facing wall for maximum sunlight and warmth (walls reflect a surprising amount of heat).

Direct Sunlight 

Citrus plants grow best in locations where they receive full sunlight at least 5 hours each day. When exposed to enough sunlight, more sugars can accumulate inside the fruit, making them taste sweeter.

So, when selecting a location for your citrus trees, remember, the sunnier, the better.

Similar to climate, if you want to maximize your citrus’ sun exposure, place them near a wall (ideally southern-facing). The wall will reflect some sunlight onto the citrus tree, giving it a bit more sun exposure.

Soil With Adequate Drainage 

Citrus trees do best with soil that is aerated and well-drained. If the soil is too heavy and holds water for too long, the citrus trees’ health will decline. Additionally, they prefer soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5 and are heavy nitrogen consumers.

To test if your soil drains well:

  1. Create a small hole where you plan to plant your tree.
  2. Fill the hole with 2 inches (5.08 cm) of water. If your soil is draining well, it should absorb approximately 1 inch (2.54 cm)of water each hour.
  3. Recheck the water levels in two hours. If there is any water left in the hole, you may have a drainage problem on your hands.

If you find that your citrus trees’ soil is high in clay, or isn’t draining well, feel free to check out this guide I made for how to make and mix your own citrus tree soil. I spent a few hours researching it and putting it together, so it should help when you’re planting your trees or amending their soil.

Away From Competing Plants

Even the largest of trees can have competition. While planting citrus trees too close to each other can increase unnecessary competition, other, smaller plants can also compete. However, instead of competing for sunlight, they compete for nutrients and water in the soil.

To lower the amount of competition your citrus tree has, remove any competing plants such as weeds or grass, from the area where you’ll be planting your citrus trees.

If you have other trees in your yard, make sure you place your citrus an adequate distance away from them since citrus roots don’t compete well for nutrients and moisture with other plants. A good distance to follow is the same distance provided at the beginning of this article.

How Far Should You Plant Citrus Trees From the Fence?

Citrus trees should be planted about half of their width away from fences and property lines. This means citrus trees that will be 14 feet tall and wide should be planted at least 7 feet away from the fence. Planting this way will reduce future issues such as disputes or invasive roots from damaging property.

The distance your citrus tree needs to be from the fence depends on its size. More extensive trees will need to be further from the fence, so their branches, leaves, and trunks will remain on your property when the tree is fully grown. 

Additionally, planting a citrus tree too close to a fence can damage it as citrus trees can have fairly invasive roots.

Planting your citrus trees too close to the fence may result in the limbs hanging over into your neighbor’s yard, which can result in legal problems depending on your state’s laws. Or, if you plant your tree too close to the barrier, you may be unable to harvest the fruits on the fence-facing side of the tree. Lastly, the shade from the fence can prevent your citrus trees from getting the sunshine they need to thrive, especially when they’re younger.

So, try to plant your trees at least half its width away from your property line. For example, if you have a standard variety of citrus tree (not dwarfed), the tree should reach 14 feet tall (4.27 meters) and 14 feet (4.27 meters) wide.

The goal here should be to plant it at least 7 feet (2.13 meters) away from the fence. If you’d like to be more cautious, then planting 10 feet or more in this case can help.

However, we know planting your trees this far from the fence may not be possible if you don’t have a huge yard. If you have to grow your trees closer to the fence, you should be fine, but be prepared to face the obstacles listed above.

Final Thoughts 

We’re currently shopping for our next citrus tree, and we now have a good understanding of how far to plant it from the others. While there are some variables to consider, it really isn’t too complex.

To recap, how far apart you should plant citrus trees depends on their size. Smaller dwarf trees need 6 to 10 feet (1.83 to 3.05 meters) between, middle-sized, semi-dwarf trees need 12 to 18 feet (3. 66 to 5.49 meters), and full-sized standard trees need approximately 18 to 25 feet (5.49 to 7.62+ meters) of space.

Citrus trees require this much space between them because they have extensive root systems that spread underneath the ground to get their nutrients and moisture. If another citrus is planted too close, they’ll compete for the resources, which means your trees won’t be as healthy or productive. Remember, if you have a fence or border wall, consider planting about half of the width of the tree away to avoid future issues!


  • Stark Bro’s: Fruit Tree Size
  • Stark Bro’s: Choosing a Location for Citrus Trees 
  • SF Gate: Cross-Pollination Between Orange & Lemon Trees
  • Wikipedia: Parthenocarpy
  • Laidback Gardener: Planting near property line

Lemon reproduction, planting, care. |

Lemon tree is a perennial evergreen cultivated plant that grows in subtropical climates. Frost lemon does not tolerate well, but in favorable conditions it grows year-round and bears fruit several times a year. The fruits of the same variety ripen in different periods of the year (there are summer, autumn and winter lemons ) and differ in appearance and chemical composition. In our latitudes, this crop is not grown in open ground due to climatic conditions that are not suitable for it. But dwarf varieties (up to 3 m in height) can be grown in greenhouses or in an ordinary tub in an apartment.


For growing lemon at home, it is better to choose varieties that are distinguished by a compact crown, for example, Pavlovsky, Novogruzinsky, Meyer and others. Lemon is propagated by seeds or vegetatively, by rooting lignified cuttings.

Seed propagation is technically simpler than cuttings, but it must be remembered that the seedling does not inherit the characteristics of the mother plant. Also, a tree grown from a seedling begins to bear fruit on the 8-10th year after planting (whereas lemons grown from rooted cuttings - on the 3rd). Of course, a seedling can be grafted with a varietal lemon and speed up the harvest by several years.

The main advantages of seed propagation are the quality of the plant itself, it is unpretentious, grows well, gets sick less, adapts better to adverse conditions, and is also more powerful and beautiful than a seedling grown from a cutting.

To obtain seeds, several healthy, fully ripe fruits of the same variety are taken at once. Seeds are sown immediately after they are extracted from lemons, so it is better to prepare planting boxes or pots in advance. Drainage is poured at the bottom of the planting containers, then a soil mixture of peat and soil for flowers in a ratio of 1: 1. Seeds before planting can be treated with a growth stimulator, for example, soaked for a day in a solution of sodium humate - this will accelerate the formation and growth of the root system in the future.

When planting, the seeds are placed at a distance of 3 cm from each other, at a depth of 2 cm - buried below, they can suffocate under a layer of soil, and above - dry out. Maintain constant soil moisture and a temperature of 22 ° C.
Shoots will appear in a couple of weeks. They are grown under indirect sunlight, covered with a glass jar or cap - to create a microclimate. Once a day, the jar is removed to air the sprouts.

After the sprouts have a pair of true leaves, they, together with a clod of earth, while maintaining the integrity of the roots, are transferred to ceramic pots of a larger volume (up to 10 cm in diameter) - each into a separate container. When the seedlings reach 15-20 cm in length, they are transplanted again - already in a "permanent" container.

To propagate lemon by cuttings, they are cut from lignified branches of last year's growth (length up to 10 cm, 4-5 mm in diameter), when rooting in autumn - from spring growth, but cuttings are not recommended in autumn because of the low survival rate of plants. It is best to cut lemons in March-April. The branches are cut slightly obliquely, the place of the cut is immediately covered with garden pitch. Each branch is cut into cuttings so that each has 3-4 formed eyes and 2-3 leaves.

Sections should be made at a distance of 3-4 mm from the upper and lower kidneys. The resulting cuttings are soaked for a day in a solution of heteroauxin (0.1 g per 1 liter of water), tying them into bundles of 10 pcs. and immersing in a solution of 2 cm. Then powder the lower part of the cuttings with crushed charcoal and proceed to planting.

They are planted in a mixture of humus, coarse-grained sand and flower soil (1:1:1), the soil is compacted before planting, then holes are made in it with a pointed stick 3 cm deep, given that the feeding area of ​​​​one cutting is 5 × 5 see. The cuttings are planted in holes to the depth of the second eye, the soil around the holes is compressed. Immediately spray the cuttings with warm water.

Greenhouse box is covered with a glass cap, removed several times daily for ventilation for 10 minutes, and illuminated. Until the roots appear and the plant itself cannot extract moisture from the soil, the leaves are sprayed 3-4 times daily. The optimum air temperature in the room for rooting is 25 ° C. After a month and a half, the cuttings will take root and the plants can be transplanted into larger pots.

To do this, drainage from expanded clay and charcoal is placed in ceramic containers, then a layer of coarse-grained river sand (1 cm), and on top - nutritious flower earth (2 cm). The cuttings are carefully pry off and removed from the box with a clod of earth. Planted to a depth of 1 cm and watered in several stages until all the soil in the container gets wet. Pots with plants are placed in a shaded place for 10 days, and then gradually moved closer to the light.


In order for a lemon tree to grow well, not get sick and bear fruit, it needs to create favorable conditions. The air temperature in the room that is comfortable for him is from 18 to 27 ° С. Lemon does not tolerate drafts, direct sunlight and dry air. Having chosen a convenient place for a pot with a tree, try not to move it - the pot can only be carefully rotated around its axis so that the plant, directing the growth of branches towards the light source, forms the correct crown. Lemon must be constantly sprayed from a spray bottle or a humidifier should be placed next to the pots.

In summer, the plant is watered twice a week, in the cold season, watering is reduced, making sure that the soil in the pot does not dry out. It is desirable to water with settled or melted water at room temperature. The plant also needs top dressing (with complex mineral and organic fertilizer, it is best to use a special fertilizer for citrus fruits), in summer they feed 1 time in 10 days, in winter - 1 time per month.

If possible, trees are additionally illuminated with ultraviolet rays, especially in winter. With proper care, a few years after planting, the lemon will bloom. In order for fruits to start at home, he needs help with pollination - with a cotton swab, transfer some pollen from the pistil to the stamen. The number of ovaries must be normalized - one fruit per 10-15 leaves, if there are many fruits, the plant will be depleted and may die.

Lemon tree at home also needs pruning and shaping. In the first year of life, 1 shoot appears up to 30 cm in height. In the second year, before the start of active growth, it is cut at a height of 20 cm, leaving four well-developed buds, from which 3-4 skeletal shoots (of the first order) are formed. When they reach 30 cm in length, pinch them. Shoots of the second order are cut to 20-25 cm. Subsequent shoots should be 5 cm shorter than the previous ones. The formation of the crown is completed on the shoots of the fourth order.

Fruiting plants are pruned to remove old, malformed or thickened shoots. This is best done in March or winter, after harvest. A short pruning causes the appearance of new strong shoots, and a long pruning stimulates the formation of fruit buds.

When caring for the crown, you can use tweezing, plucking out excess shoots, and in some - the tops after the appearance of 5 leaves.
They say that from any sour lemon destined by fate, you can make sweet lemonade. But lemon is good even without added sugar - a noble, fragrant healing fruit, all parts of which are edible, except for seeds. But from them you can grow new lemon trees. So if fate hands you a lemon, thank her for this wonderful gift.

Author; Olga DRAGANOVA, Zaporozhye region zh.o.1113

  • Author: Pavel