How to Grow Osage Orange Trees

Overview

A commonly seen tree throughout the plains states of the United States, the osage orange tree (Maclura pomifera) is not even a real citrus tree. It is a deciduous, medium-sized tree, usually reaching about 30 to 40 feet in height. The osage orange tree is easily recognized by its 3- to 6-inch long leaves and oddly shaped, 4- to 6-inch wide, inedible fruit, which are called hedge-apples. It is a hardy tree that can tolerate cold, heat, wind, periods of drought and even poor soil. The osage orange tree can easily be propagated by seed.

Step 1

Remove the seeds from the osage orange (if you have access to an osage orange tree). To do this, spread out a sheet of newspaper onto a steady surface. Use very sharp knife to cut the osage orange in half.

Step 2

Place each half in a bucket of water and let the halves soak until they get soft, in about four to five days. Then pick out the seeds using a table knife or a pair of tweezers. If you're using purchases osage orange tree seeds, set the seeds into a bowl or glass of water to soak for 48 hours.

Step 3

Fill up 6-inch wide pots with a good potting soil. Pour water into each of the 6-inch pots to saturate the potting soil. All water should be drained away out of the 6-inch pots before you proceed.

Step 4

Poke one or two holes in the center of each 6-inch pot that are approximately 3/8 of an inch deep. Cover up each of the osage orange tree seeds with approximately 3/8 of an inch of potting soil.

Step 5

Mist the surface of the germinating media with enough water to thoroughly moisten the potting soil. Then, place the 6-inch pots in a warm location, approximately 65 to 70 degrees F. You can place them on top of your refrigerator, of if you have room, on top of a hot water heater. Try to also provide eight to 10 hours of indirect light a day.

Step 6

Mist the surface of the germinating medium as often as required to keep the media leaning toward the moist side, but avoid watering so often the media is soggy wet. Germination of osage orange tree seeds can be somewhat slow, with a germination rate of 50 percent within 30 days, according to the University of Georgia.

Step 7

Transplant the osage orange trees into their permanent location outside when they are 4 to 5 inches tall. Water the osage orange trees weekly during their growing season until they become well established.

Tips and Warnings

  • With prolonged contact, the sap or juice of osage oranges can cause skin irritation in some individuals.

Things You'll Need

  • Osage orange fruit or seeds
  • Knife
  • Newspaper
  • Bucket
  • Table knife or tweezers
  • 6-inch pots
  • Potting soil
  • Sprayer bottle

References

  • Great Plains Nature Center: Osage Orange Trees
  • University of Georgia: Osage Orange Trees
  • University of Florida: Information on the Osage Orange
  • Plants for a Future: The Osage Orange Tree
Keywords: osage orange tree, grow osage orange, osage orange seeds

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on gardenguides.com. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.