If you live in one of the USDA zones, 9A-11 and have an annual rainfall of at least 40″, then you can include orange trees on the list of trees to add to your yard. Not only are these trees great to have because of the fruit they produce, but they are a pretty tree year round. These trees are evergreen and grow to heights of up to 30′ with umbrellas of 20′.
If you have made the decision that you would like to have one or more of these trees added to your landscape, then you will have to know more about the location where the orange tree will grow the best meaning what area will afford it the best growing conditions. It might also be important to know which trees will produce fruit during which months.
Knowing when to expect fresh oranges straight from your own orange tree can be important. It is possible to have fresh oranges year-round if you plant different tree varieties. Macetera produce oranges from January through June. Valencia produces oranges from mid-February through June. Marrs produces oranges from mid-November through mid-March. Moro produces oranges from mid-November through March. Diller produces oranges from mid-November through mid-April. Cara Cara Navel and Chet Noel Navel produce oranges from December through February. Don Shaw Navel, Hamlin, Robertson Navel and Washington navel produce oranges from December through mid-March. Trovita, Sanquinelli, Torocco and Seville produce fruit from December through March. Ruby orange trees produce fruit from mid-December through the beginning of March. Knowing when these different types of orange trees produce fruit makes it easy to plan to raise oranges year round.
After deciding what types of orange trees to you would like to have, it is time to head to the nursery to purchase them. When choosing the orange trees to buy, be sure they are healthy; that they have large trunks, have dark leaves and show new growth. It is also good to check the roots for root rot. One sure sign of root rot is mushy roots.
The orange trees have been decided on and bought; now it is time to plant them. But before actually putting any orange tree in the ground, you will need to decide on the location in your yard that will best suit the orange tree. The location where the orange tree will be planted should have full sunlight, but orange trees will tolerate partial shade. Orange trees need well-draining, arid, gritty soil that allows the roots to breathe. After the area has been determined that will meet these requirements, the orange tree will need to be removed from its pot and sat in a bucket of water so the roots can soak. This should be done while the planting hole is being prepared. Once the perfect site has been located, it will need to be prepared for the planting. To begin, remove any weeds or grass, rake the area real well, then remove any roots or other debris.
The site has been prepared and the orange tree has been allowed to soak, so now it is time to dig the planting hole. The planting hole must be wide and deep enough for the root ball to easily fit. This hole should look like a bucket, not a funnel. It should have steep walls and a flat bottom. Measure the root ball if you need to so that it will fit in the hole easily. The hole should be deep enough so that the root ball sits a few inches above the top of the hole, so the tree will drain properly. The bud union must be above the soil level. After placing the tree in the hole correctly, back fill around the orange tree until the hole has been half-filled. Tamp the newly backfilled hole to remove any air pockets. Now fill the hole with water. Allow the water to seep out through the hole completely, then backfill it the rest of the way. Tamp the soil again.
Orange trees appear to do better if they are watered using a water basin. Build this water basin after planting the orange tree. This water basin should be large enough to hold 7-10 gallons of water.
Orange trees can grow up to 50′, but usually on average they will grow 22-30′. Protect these trees if temperatures drop below 24’F.
If you carefully follow these instructions as well as any that the nursery may give you, you should be enjoying your own homegrown oranges in 3 to 4 years.