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Do Lemon Trees Have Thorns? (Explained)

Your kitchen likely has lemon on hand all the time. A lemon tree is simple to plant in your backyard or at home. However, thorns can occasionally make the harvesting process challenging. Your lemon tree can be readily pruned to reduce the number of thorns it has.

Lemon trees have thorns

The Lemon plant belongs to the citrus family. Most citrus plants naturally develop thorns. Thorns are present to defend the plant from predators, even if they make collecting lemons more challenging. Lemon trees without thorns are also possible, but they have different flavor profiles and outputs.

Lemon trees come in a variety and vary according to their characteristics. Considering the variations of following lemon trees,

Meyer lemon tree:

A hybrid variety of lemon is the Meyer lemon. It is a hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin orange. They can reach a height of up to 10 feet. The fruit of Meyer lemon trees is sweeter than that of other lemon trees, and the peels are also delicious and excellent for cooking. Additionally, they are rounder in shape and smaller. It is a tree that pollinates itself. Both indoor and outdoor planting options are available, and a heavy harvest will be visible in the winter.

Dwarf lemon tree:

A dwarf lemon tree evokes a sense of the tropics. The tree has hardly any thorns. It is a pretty house plant, and when fully grown, it will be between 4 and 6 feet tall. It can be planted both inside and outside. If you plant the tree indoors, you must hand pollinate it. When planted outside, it will be able to self-pollinate. The plant needs to be taken inside during cold weather and you must make sure it receives plenty of sunlight.

Lisbon lemon tree:

Lisbon Lemon is the most popular variety and prefers a hot, dry environment. Although the tree produces fruit all year long, it is primarily collected in the winter. The plant needs well-drained soil and direct sunlight. The tree has a 15-foot maximum height.

Ponderosa lemon tree:

A hybrid lemon tree between a pomelo and a citron is called a ponderosa. It produces enormous, pale green fruit with a thick, wrinkled peel that is the size of a grapefruit. Once a year, you will be able to harvest. The plant necessitates a warm, sunny climate.

Grafted lemon tree:

Attaching a scion from one tree to the stem of a tree seedling or rootstock is the definition of the horticultural technique known as grafting. Over time, the scion is incorporated permanently into the tree. Better variety traits will be inherited by the tree if the scion is of that variety.

Are lemon thorns poisonous?

Lemon tree thorns are a natural feature. Thorns serve as a deterrent to predators and to safeguard lemon and the branches. Lemons are frequently nibbled on by rats and rabbits. Lemon tree thorns may not necessarily contain any toxins that could hurt your body. You cannot, however, dispute the existence of bacteria on thorns. Therefore, any scratch that is painful or large needs to be treated by a doctor.

Lemon harvesting requires eye and hand protection. Wear full-sleeve dresses during harvest. If thorns make it hard to collect lemons, trim some to protect yourself. If you have pets, put a wire cage or steam guard around lemon plants to protect them.

Why do lemon trees have thorns?

Thorns on lemon trees may appear to be pointless. You might believe they are pointless and have no obligations. They have obligations to fulfill even though they appear to be dangerous. the like,

Defend Herbivores:

Lemon trees’ thorns deter herbivores. Rats, bunnies like lemons. They eat lemon leaves and branches. This could harm the tree. Lemon trees may lose productivity if they aren’t protected.

Storage Source:

Tips and leaves are the source of the thorns and spines on trees. Vascular bundles are inside of them. This indicates that these thorns are part of the plant’s internal transportation system, which moves water and food from one area to another.

Plant Variety:

Your lemon tree may or may not have thorns based on the variety. Meyer lemons have thorns and are more delicious. Eureka Dwarf lemon tree is thornless. Lemon trees usually have thorns. Varieties of lemon trees have different flavored leaves and fruit.


Different citrus varieties can be grafted. You can use the rootstock’s advantages. The rootstock might damage the graft union. A appropriate rootstock plant must be resistant to drought, frost, and citrus diseases.

Canopy Sprouts:

Especially on lemon trees, canopy or water sprouts develop above the graft union and are typically oriented at a 90-degree angle to the principal canopy branches. These slender, green branches could be covered in thorns.

These are the causes of the thorns on lemon plants. On lemon trees, thorns play a crucial role.

Which lemon trees don’t have thorns?

Naturally, most lemon plants contain thorns. Nevertheless, there are some plants that lack thorns. Lemon trees often have a small number of thorns,

Eureka Dwarf Tree:

Lemon trees from Eureka are almost thornless. The size of these lemon trees is average. This variety was created using bud wood from a propagated variety and seeds from an Italian lemon tree. They require an abundance of sunlight and are particularly sensitive to cold. Therefore, during cold weather, they must be taken indoors. The plant has fragrant flowers and glossy green foliage. This type is a classic lemon tree for the backyard.

Bearss Lemon Tree:

Bearss Lemon trees are preferred over other types of lemon or lime trees because they produce the fewest thorns. Consider growing a bearss lemon tree plant if you have children or pets in your house. In the early 1950s, Florida was the birthplace of the Bearss lemon tree. Lemons from these trees grow quickly, and they are quite juicy. This plant can be grown indoors or outdoors.

These are the thornless lemon trees. They would fit your house much better.

Should I cut the thorns off a lemon tree? How to?

Lemon tree thorns shouldn’t be removed entirely. It boosts plant productivity. In winter or spring, prune lemon trees. When citrus trees are blossoming and bearing fruit, avoid pruning them in July. Steps include,

Gathering Tools:

Gather all the equipment you will need to prune your plant first. Tools like pruning saws and secateurs may be useful. You can purchase them online or from nearby retailers. If you are new to the job, get in touch with your neighborhood nursery.

Protect Yourself:

You must first prepare by safeguarding yourself before beginning the process. Put on lengthy rubber gloves for your hands and eye protection. You’ll be more protected against being poked or scratched if you wear long sleeves and long pants.

Removing Tips:

Then, search for and cut off any sprouts that are at the base of your lemon tree. As soon as you see the tips, you must get rid of them. They frequently steal water and nutrients from the plant and grow quickly.

Removing Branches:

After that, cut off any damaged or nearly dried branches you notice. Keep a close eye out for any weak or insect-infested branches. Those that are infected need to be removed right away. You should routinely search for damaged branches and remove them.

Thinning Out Plant:

You must thin the branches of lemon trees in order to provide enough air and sunshine since lemon tree branches frequently begin to compete with one another for light and food sources. No branches should be interfering with one another in the overall structure. Leave at least 5 inches of branch in situ and avoid cutting any mature or parent branches. This will help the tree recover more quickly from the shock of trimming.

Giving a Shape:

When pruning a lemon tree, it’s necessary to think about the shape. A citrus plant with a shaped crown is especially beautiful. Cut out a few selected roots, paying particular attention to the left side of the plant. The cut should always be made above a leaf.

Using a Barrier:

Finally, add a wire barrier or stem cover to ensure the safety of the tree, your children, and your pets. Living organisms will be shielded from the thorns and unable to interfere with the lemon tree’s organic growth.

These are the procedures you can use to trim your lemon tree most successfully. Lemon trees can grow more and take on a shape by being pruned.

Final Thoughts

Any citrus tree will naturally contain thorns. However, some lemon trees are almost thornless. Trees are shielded from herbivores by thorns. The thorns on lemon trees can’t be entirely removed, but you can prune them and use gloves and eye protection when harvesting.