The Valencia orange, also called Murcia orange, is a sweet variety used for making juice. This variety of orange is harvested late in the season once the navel orange harvest is completed. Valencia oranges are hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 9 and 10 where the winters are mild.
Choose a planting location for a Valencia orange tree that has a well draining soil which allows for deep root penetration. The tree grows well in most soil types as long as there is no standing water. Sandy soil will require more frequent watering. The location must provide full sunlight conditions and temperatures than range from 55 to 100 degrees F during the growing and fruiting season.
How to Plant
Prepare the Valencia orange tree for planting by watering the root ball to moisten the roots and soil. Dig a planting hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and the same depth. Mix an equal portion of organic compost into the removed soil to increase the nutrient value and moisture retention. Place the root ball in the hole so the top is just above ground level and roots are gently spread in the open space. Fill half the hole with amended soil followed by a generous soaking of water to settle the soil around the roots. Fill the remaining hole with soil once the water absorbs into the ground. Gently tamp the planting area to remove air pockets around the roots. Build a berm around the tree with the remaining soil that will hold approximately eight gallons of water.
Care and Maintenance
Water a newly planted Valencia orange tree every other day the first 10 days after planting stimulate root growth. The tree is considered established once the berm built around the tree absorbs into the ground. Apply supplemental water to the tree every one to two weeks during the hot summer months. Sandy soils may require more frequent water during dry periods. Fertilize orange trees with a 21-0-0 fertilizer at a rate of one cup for each year of age of the tree. Split the amount of fertilizer required into three applications; February, May and September. A three year old tree should receive one cup of fertilizer at each application period. Remove grass and weeds around the orange tree at a diameter of one foot. Apply a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch over the root ball area of the tree, making sure to leave a one foot gap between the start of the mulch and base of the tree. Valencia orange trees only require pruning to remove branches lower than one foot to the ground or dead and damaged branches.
Provide frost protection to the Valencia orange tree when the temperature drops to 28 degrees F. Place an oil burning heater near the tree to warm the surrounding air or spray water on the tree to slow heat loss in the soil. Large fans can also be placed on poles around the tree to push the warm air above the ground toward the tree and soil.
Monitor the Valencia orange tree for an infestation of leafminer insects. The insect will attack new tree growth causing leaves to produce a distorted shape and become stunted. The insect leaves a serpentine trail on the leaves as they feed on them. An infestation can not be treated with chemicals and does not harm the tree. The leafminer insects do not over-winter.