Orange Trees - Most Favored in the Citrus Family
The orange tree plant, Citrus sinensis, is one of the most favored of the citrus fruits grown in the world. It is a fruit of the citrus family. Orange trees are considered a subtropical plant because they can withstand colder temperatures during their dormancy periods. Mature orange trees can withstand below freezing weather for short periods of time. Orange trees have rounded crowns and slender branches.
Gardening in the warmer climates would be complimented with an orange tree. But if gardening is done in cooler climates, orange trees can be grown in containers and moved inside during cold weather months. Some orange trees can get quite large, so if the landscape is not suited for a larger tree, use a dwarf orange tree. Dwarf orange trees can quite easily be kept to 8 or 10 feet tall. Gardening with an orange tree in a landscape will provide the grower with an evergreen tree that is long leafed, attractively shaped, has sweet orange blossoms, and wonderful fresh fruit.
Orange juice has been used and promoted as a breakfast juice for a long time. Navel oranges have been carried in lunch boxes by school children for a century or so. Orange juice is sweet and tangy, and it delivers a healthy, refreshing drink at any time during the day. Naval oranges are easy to peel so, therefore, are favored by children with small hands, or even older folks, because of the ease of orange peel removal.
Oranges have long been a citrus fruit of choice. Portuguese sailors packed oranges for their long sea voyages to help prevent scurvy, which was caused by lack of vitamins. Orange trees were planted along trade routes of mariners so access to fresh oranges was available to sailors.
The orange and its juice contains large amounts of vitamins and minerals. Oranges contain high amounts of vitamin C. They are also high in dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, potassium, vitamin A, and oranges are low in calories. Being sweet and tangy, high in vitamins, and having lovely white blossoms, what is not to like about the production of these great citrus trees? Recent publications have also touted the orange as containing healing phytonutrients such as citrus flavanones, which have been reported to have antioxidant qualities.
Growing citrus trees, such as the orange, depend on several factors. Water, soil quality, and pH levels are three of the most important. Ideally, soils for orange trees should be loose, rich in organic material, and well drained; sandy loam soil is ideal. Water can filtrate through loose organic soil and reach roots at all levels. Excess water can easily drain away from these types of soil.
Orange trees are heavy water users. Water deeply every 7 to 10 days in the summer and water less often if it rains or the weather is cool. Allow the soil to dry out between water applications. Orange trees prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. When choosing fertilizer, add compost or manure to maintain a good pH level for the sweet orange tree. When placing a tree in a landscape, where all the ground has been moved or filled, consider amending the soils before trying to grow citrus trees.
Pruning orange trees should be accomplished before the orange blossom arrives. Prune out dead or diseased branches and remove any suckers in the lower trunk area. Cut any branches crossing over the center in order to open up the center of the tree for light and air circulation. The orange tree is an asset to a property. With little effort, it offers lovely fragrant blossoms and produces a healthy fruit that is juicy and flavorful.