How to Care for Fruit Trees: Florida Oranges
Did you know that Florida is the nation’s leading producer of oranges? The ideal warm climate makes it perfect for growing orange trees year-round. Whether you live near central Florida or in the panhandle, your citrus trees can grow to be fruitful and healthy if you know how to fertilize them and care for fruit trees properly. Plus, having an orange tree right in your backyard is a conversation starter not to mention all the free fresh orange juice. If you are interested in planting a tree in your yard, here are a few things you’ll need to consider when caring for your orange tree.
The Perfect Spot
So, you’ve just received your beautiful Florida Orange Tree, but now what do you do? Certainly, there are some steps that you’ll want to follow to ensure that you’ll have many years of enjoyment from your newly planted tree. The first and most crucial step is picking the perfect spot. Why is this so important, you ask? Well, you want to ensure that your tree receives the right amount of sunlight throughout the year.
Some properties in Florida are riddled with tall trees that prevent the sun from reaching all areas of your yard throughout the day. Orange trees need about 5-6 hours of direct sunlight a day to thrive. With this in mind, you should find a spot that does not get consumed with shade during sunny days and will allow your tree to receive the right amount of light.
Creating the perfect environment for your growing orange tree is not as difficult as it may seem. You may be wondering what type of soil will be best? Well, Orange trees love sandy soil. This allows for water to drain through quickly and the roots to breathe. Orange trees are considered stronger growers, which means that you will most likely have to fertilize your tree 3 times a year with a high nitrogen formula. This will help the tree grow strong and create vibrant and tasty fruit.
What About Water?
Florida receives around 54 inches of rainfall each year, sometimes more in the warmer months. Typically, orange trees do great with 45-60 inches of rainfall a year. Instead of daily watering, always take into account the rain received throughout the day or week. It is always best to underwater rather than overwater your tree. Overwatering can cause root rot which can begin to affect the tree and not show signs until it may be too late to fix.
Pests and Disease
Pest and disease can wreak havoc on your beautiful orange trees, and before you know it, you could have a full-blown infestation on your hands. Some of the most common pests that can become a problem are mealy bugs, scale, aphids, mites, and whiteflies. These tiny creatures can destroy the beautiful fruit if they are not kept under control. If you ever spot an issue, it’s best to spray a safe insecticide around and on your tree, making sure to get under the leaves and between branches. Getting rid of these pests before it’s too late is essential when you care for fruit trees.
Harvest Your Fruit
Now comes the juicy part! When do you know what the best time is to harvest the fruit of your labor? If you are growing an orange tree from a seedling, then patience is critical. Unfortunately, it will take about 5-6 years for the tree to produce its first fruits. However, if you already have a fully grown tree in your backyard, you can expect to see some blossoming flowers around the end of winter.
It’s essential to understand the type of orange tree you have, which will help you determine when the fruit is ready to be picked. Some trees ripen in September after fruit set, and some mature in January. This will also depend on the growing conditions throughout the year.
Learning to care for fruit trees is not as difficult as it may seem. With the right growing conditions and care, you’ll be able to have fresh squeezed orange juice right from your backyard; if you’re interested in growing an orange tree or want to know the best way to care for it, contact us at SB Tree Service. Our ISA-certified arborist will help you keep your trees healthy year-round.