Why Are My Limes Turning Yellow? Causes and Effective Solutions

5/5 - (12 votes)

Why Are Limes Turning Yellow

Have you ever wondered, “Why are limes turning yellow?” It’s a question many gardeners, both seasoned and amateur, find themselves asking. That vibrant green hue you associate with limes begins to fade, replaced by an inexplicable yellow. Is it due to some disease, or perhaps a miscalculated aspect of your gardening care?

Understanding this phenomenon is essential for maintaining the health and vitality of your lime trees. Join us as we delve into the captivating world of citrus health and color transformations.

Why Are Limes Turning Yellow?

1. Ripening process

Description : When limes turn yellow, it indicates the ripening process occurring due to certain physiological changes.
Solution Increase exposure to sunlight and provide adequate water and nutrients to promote healthy fruit development.

Ripening Process: When limes turn yellow, the primary reason is the ripening process. Limes naturally transition from green to yellow as they fully ripen on the tree. While this color change doesn’t generally impact the taste, it’s an indicator that the lime is past its peak of ripeness, reducing its shelf life. It can also suggest that the lime is starting to lose its acidic flavor. Limes are best consumed when green and moderately soft to the touch.

Solutions: To prevent your limes from turning yellow, it’s recommended to harvest them as soon as they reach the desired level of ripeness. This stage is usually when they are a vibrant green color and are slightly soft when squeezed. Once harvested, they can be stored in the refrigerator which can help extend their shelf life and preserve their color for several weeks. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s not harmful to consume a yellow lime, the flavor just might not be as tart.

2. Nutrient deficiency

Description can cause chlorophyll breakdown, resulting in yellowing leaves.
Solution Increase soil pH to optimal level and provide adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

The nutrient deficiency in citrus trees, particularly of iron, zinc, and manganese, can cause yellowing limes. These deficiencies occur when trees cannot absorb these nutrients from the soil, directly affecting the normal growth and fruit production of lime trees, including the color of the limes. Iron, zinc, and manganese deficiencies cause a condition called Chlorosis that leads to the yellowing of lime fruits alongside the leaves because these nutrients are essential for chlorophyll production, which gives limes their vibrant green color.

Possible solutions involve regular soil testing and adding the required nutrients. Soil pH levels should be kept between 6.0 and 7.0, as more acidic or alkaline soils can limit nutrient uptake. Applying chelated iron, zinc, and manganese can be beneficial. Soil application is elementary; dilute the chelated nutrients in water as directed by the product instructions and then pour the mixture at the base of the tree. Foliar sprays can also be used; they offer a quicker but more temporary solution. It’s important to ensure trees are watered correctly because both under-watering and over-watering can influence nutrient uptake. Regular pruning ensures that the nutrients aren’t wasted on unnecessary foliage. Addressing the nutrient deficiency problem will gradually improve the color of your limes. Remember, the secret to healthy lime trees is balanced nutrition.

3. Overwatering

Description Excessive water disrupts chlorophyll production, causing leaves to turn yellow in limes.
Solution Reduce watering to prevent root rot and allow the plant to recover and regain health.

Overwatering affects lime trees by causing the roots to become saturated and starved of air, a condition known as ‘root rot’. This condition will eventually cause the tree to suffer from nutrient deficiencies, which in turn, will cause fruit discoloration, turning your limes from green to yellow.

To rectify overwatering, firstly, reduce your watering frequency. Monitor the soil’s moisture level by sticking a finger approximately 2 inches deep in the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. Moreover, ensure your tree has efficient drainage. This will prevent water logging and excess moisture from staying around the roots.

Alongside these steps, consider treating your tree with a fungicide. It is crucial in preventing the spread of fungi that might have developed due to the initial overwatering. Lastly, use a citrus-specific fertilizer, which can rectify any nutrient imbalances and promote healthy fruit growth.

4. Pest infestation

Description Excessive water disrupts chlorophyll production, causing leaves to turn yellow in limes.
Solution Reduce watering to prevent root rot and allow the plant to recover and regain health.

When limes turn yellow, a common cause could be an infestation by pests, such as aphids, mites, or scale insects. Pests typically suck sap from the lime trees, leading to a yellowing and wilted appearance. These pests could be injecting toxins or diseases into the trees, impacting their health and causing the limes to turn yellow instead of maintaining their vibrant green color.

To mitigate this issue, begin by thoroughly inspecting the trees for any visible pests. You can handpick any that you see or blast them off with a jet of water. Using natural predators like ladybugs is another effective approach. They are known to feed on aphids and other pests, which in turn promotes the health and vibrancy of your lime trees. In case of severe infestation, consider applying a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap, making sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. Regular monitoring and implementing an appropriate pest management strategy will be helpful in maintaining the natural green color of your limes.

Why Are Limes Turning Yellow

5. Disease or infection

Description Reduce watering to prevent root rot and allow the plant to recover and regain health.
Solution Ensure proper watering, sunlight, and soil conditions for healthy growth.

Limes turn yellow due to diseases or infections. This problem generally occurs when a lime tree is affected by bacterial or fungal pathogens, impairing the tree’s ability to produce chlorophyll for photosynthesis. The disruption of chlorophyll production also alters the fruit color, causing the limes to take on a yellow hue.

To combat diseases and infections, it’s crucial to maintain good hygiene around your lime tree. Regularly remove fallen foliage and fruit from beneath the tree to help minimise the chance of disease spreading to the tree.Use organic or copper-based fungicides, which can help to prevent and control potential infections.

Proper care and maintenance also come into play. Ensure your tree gets full sun exposure, gets irrigated properly and is sheltered from winds, which can spread diseases. Also, make sure you provide the right nutrition balance. A lack of necessary nutrients can weaken the lime tree, making it more susceptible to diseases and infections.

6. Exposure to extreme temperatures

Description can disrupt chlorophyll production, leading to the breakdown of green pigments and yellowing of leaves.
Solution Avoid exposing limes to extreme temperatures to prevent them from turning yellow.

Limes are typically green while they’re developing and become yellow when they’re fully ripe, but this is not the only reason that would turn a lime yellow. Another reason could be exposure to extreme temperatures.

Exposure to extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold, can affect the chlorophyll production in limes. Chlorophyll is what gives limes their characteristic green color. When a lime tree is subjected to extreme temperatures, it could disrupt the chlorophyll production, causing the lime to turn yellow prematurely.

As a solution to this problem, it is crucial to provide lime trees with optimum growing conditions. The optimum temperature for limes is in the range of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and not less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Planting your lime tree in a location that offers some protection against extremely high temperatures or frosts may also be helpful. Using a thick layer of mulch on the soil around your lime tree can also help to moderate soil temperature and moisture levels. Additionally, during times of extreme heat, increasing irrigation can also help keep the tree healthy and reduce heat stress.

7. Sunburn or sunscald

Description Excessive exposure to sunlight damages chlorophyll, leading to yellowing of the leaf.
Solution Apply aloe vera gel to soothe and heal sunburned skin, while keeping it hydrated.

The primary reason why limes turn yellow is due to overripening. Essentially, limes are classified as a citrus fruit, and similar to other citrus fruits, they change color as they mature. In their early stages, they appear green but will eventually turn yellow, indicating that they are entirely ripe.

Overripe limes may lose their tartness and become sweeter. Consequently, their bright green color, expected of quality limes, fades to a lighter or yellow hue. The alteration in color is usually caused by the lost chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green pigmentation in limes.

Solutions for this issue include regular monitoring of your lime trees and picking the fruits as soon as they reach their optimal ripeness. This optimal period is usually when they are bright green and firm to the touch. If you wait until the limes turn yellow before picking them, you are allowing them to overripen, thus affecting the fruit’s taste and color. Also, ensure your lime tree has the proper care, including sufficient watering and necessary nutrients through fertilizers.