Learn to Grow Orange Fruit Trees

Gardening Advice on Choosing, Planting and Caring for Orange Trees

Orange tree

Choosing the best orange tree to add to your yard is an important decision that deserves proper consideration. These citrus trees can be a permanent addition if you live in the USDA zones 9A-11. If you do not live in one of these zones you can still enjoy you own orange tree, but you will have to plant a tree at home in a pot. Having a tree in a pot makes it possible to enjoy it indoors until the threat of frost has passed and outdoors thereafter. But during winter months potted orange fruit trees need a cool, bright room and may even need a growth lamp in order for it to get the eight hours of sunlight it needs.

Once you have determined the zone you live in, and whether you will plant your orange tree outdoors or in a pot, other choices will need to be made. Use this gardening advice to help you take care of your trees.

  1. Determine the time of year you want to enjoy fresh oranges off your own tree. Different varieties ripen at different times of the year so you'll need to keep this in mind when growing orange trees. orange tree plant
    • Macetera ripens from January through June.
    • Valencia ripens from mid-February through June.
    • Marrs ripens from mid-November through mid-March.
    • Diller ripens from mid-November through March.
    • Cara Cara Navel ripens December through February.
    • Hamlin, Robertson Navel and Washington Navel oranges ripen December through mid-March.
    • Trovita, Sanquinelli, Torocco and Seville ripen December through March.
    • Ruby orange trees ripen mid-December through the beginning of March.
  2. Choose trees that are healthy, have large trunks, have dark leaves and show new growth. Check for any signs that may lead to future problems such as root rot such as mushy roots.
  3. The size of the mature trees may also become a factor to consider when thinking about planting trees in your yard. Most of them will range in height from 12' to 16', but can grow as tall as 30'. They are usually 12' to 20' in width as well. There are a few dwarf citrus trees, such as Marrs, who are only 6'-7' tall and 12' wide when mature.
  4. What you desire from you oranges is also important. Are you wanting juice or fruit? Some of these trees are better for producing juice, such as Valencia, Hamlin and Moro. Others, such as Macetera, Washington Navel and Diller, produce fruit that is better for eating.

After deciding which one to buy, it is time to plant a tree using these few steps:

  1. Decide on the location in your yard where you want to plant trees.
    • These trees prefer full sun, but will thrive in partial shade such as under an oak or pine tree.
    • They thrive best in well-draining soil. This soil should be arid and gritty, allowing the roots to breath.
  2. Prepare the planting site.
    • Remove any weeds.
    • Rake the area.
    • Remove any old roots and debris.
  3. Prepare the tree. Moisten the roots before planting by soaking the tree in a bucket of water while preparing the site.
  4. Dig the Planting Hole.
    • The hole should be wide and deep enough to hold the root system. To measure this, spread the roots and measure them.
    • The hole should also be deep enough for the tree to set a few inches higher than it did in its pot.
  5. Bud union should be above the soil level when placing the tree in the hole.
  6. Back fill around the tree until the hole is half-full.
  7. Pat the soil around the orange tree to remove any air pockets.
  8. Fill the hole with water.
  9. Allow soil to settle and water to percolate through the hole.
  10. Backfill the remaining soil into the hole, almost to the top.
  11. Pat the soil again.
  12. Build a water basin around the tree capable of holding seven to ten gallons of water.
  13. Fill this water basin.

With these steps and some basic gardening help about caring for citrus trees, your tree should start bearing fruit about three or four years after your orange tree has been planted.


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