If you have orange trees, giving them proper care is essential to ensure that they continue to thrive. Whether you already have orange trees on your property, or you’re debating hiring a landscape designer to help create a lush citrus oasis, you’ll need to learn about orange tree plant care. To keep your orange trees healthy and productive, follow the four tips below.
4 Tips for Orange Tree Plant Care
1. Give your trees the water they need.
Orange trees that have been recently planted will need the most water. It is best to provide water to new trees up to twice each week to keep the soil around the trees moist. In addition, newly planted trees should also have a ridge of soil around the base of the plant designed to ensure that the roots have a good supply of water. As it grows, the orange tree usually requires an average 1.5 inches of water each week.
Once your tree is mature, the exact amount of water it will need to grow depends on the amount of rainfall you receive each year, as well as other aspects of the climate. The depth of planting will also affect how much water your orange tree needs. Giving your trees too much water may affect the content of the fruit, while giving them too little can cause them to wilt. In general, you should water your mature trees regularly in the spring, but you should restrict the amount of water you provide in the autumn.
2. Fertilize your plants.
Different types of fertilizers exist, and the type you use will affect your crop. For example, using potassium fertilizer will reduce the amount of oil in the orange peel, while adding fertilizer with extra nitrogen will increase the amount of oil in the peel. In addition, adding nitrogen to the fertilizer supports the production of edible oranges. High nitrogen fertilizer is especially important during the first year of your tree’s life. In general, fertilizers also need to include phosphorous, potassium and various micro-nutrients. If you have a mature orange tree and you aren’t sure what ratio of fertilizer you need, consider performing a soil test.
3. Prune your orange trees.
Orange trees and other citrus trees don’t require much pruning. However, you will need to remove any branches that touch the ground or cross. Dead branches must be removed from the tree as well. Some caretakers also choose to remove some of the tree’s interior branches to encourage light and air to penetrate the innermost parts of the tree. You can prune your orange tree at any time during the year. However, if you are concerned about reductions in your orange crop, prune after harvesting.
4. Harvest at the right time.
You will notice that your oranges begin to turn color in the fall, but they should not typically be harvested at this time. Do not rely on color alone to tell you when the fruit is ready to be harvested. In general, oranges are ripe in the winter. The best way to determine if your fruit is ready to be harvested is to taste it. Keep in mind that harvesting too early will leave you with bitter fruit, while harvesting too late will cause your fruit to become dry. Oranges should never be left on the tree during freezing weather.
Caring for orange trees can be challenging, especially if your trees are young or you have not yet begun the planting process.