Bearss Lime

Bearss limes are a wonderful variety for Sunnyvale that produces fruit in the late fall or early winter. You can grow it in the ground or in a container. If you grow in a container, you normally will select a dwarf rootstock. This variety can also be grown indoors. If growing in the ground, I recommend the semi-dwarf rootstock (because the standard rootstock will grow to 20 feet tall).

“Bearss” lime trees (Citrus latifolia “Bearss”) is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. “Bearss” lime trees are also known as Tahitian limes or Persian limes. These lime trees take their name from the grove where the first “Bearss” tree was produced, at the grove of T. J. Bearss in Porterville, California in 1895. “Bearss” limes have thin, light yellow rinds and seedless, acidic flesh.

How to Fertilize Lime Trees

Fertilize the tree by sprinkling ammonium sulfate over the ground beneath the tree after the growing season commences and the tree has begun to show new buds and growth. Trees in their first year require 1/4 cup of ammonium sulfate. Trees in their second year require 1/2 cup ammonium sulfate, and trees in their third year require 3/4 cup. Mature trees require 1 cup of ammonium sulfate.


Bearss limes are larger and sweeter
Bearss limes are larger and sweeter

Fertilize the “Bearss” lime again three more times during the growing season, at six week intervals, with the second application of fertilizer taking place six weeks after the first application mentioned in Step 1. Use the same amount of fertilizer as given in the initial application at the start of the growing season. Note that mature trees will require a slightly different fertilizing schedule, with 1 cup of fertilizer once per month, either until the end of the growing season or until the cups of fertilizer given equal the years of age of the tree.

How to Dormant Spray Lime Trees

Spray the tree with copper-based fungicide spray in mid to late summer to prevent red alga and citrus canker.

How to Harvest Limes

Harvest limes from the tree either after they have fallen to the ground or once they turn yellow. “Bearss” limes are sold commercially when still green, but limes left to ripen completely will turn yellow.

How to Protect Lime Trees from Frost

Protect the tree from the chill in winter by covering with blankets or tarps any time that frost is predicted.

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