As one of the most popular fruits in the world, the orange has become a staple food. It is not only tasty, it is full of antioxidants and vitamin C, helping bolster the immune system. While the orange continues to remain a commercially important fruit, many backyard growers in states such as California, Texas and Florida also raise it. These states are often good for growing oranges, but there are challenges as well.
Warmer temperatures do not normally affect orange tree growth or production, but colder temperatures can be a killer. Generally, orange trees can withstand a few hours of temperatures in the mid 20s, but it is always good to take precautions. Blowing fans and saturating the soil with water before the freeze are two steps you can take to protect your orange trees during extremely cold times. Remove as much of the fruit as you can before the freeze.
Fruit flies represent one of the main pests affecting orange trees. The Mediterranean fruit fly poses the biggest threat, making the fruit inedible. If you or someone finds a Mediterranean fruit fly in or near your tree, you will likely need to destroy the tree; the government often requires it to protect others. Mealybugs, whiteflies, and aphids are other pests to watch for.
Whether they are fungi or bacteria, orange trees are susceptible to a number of diseases. Among the most serious is canker, bacteria that can cause the premature death of the tree. Greasy spot is a disease that can cause blackening of leaves and leaf drop, which could eventually affect the life of the entire tree. Various fungi can also cause root rot. If you suspect a disease, take a sample to a local extension office, which can recommend treatment options.
Though the soil should not change too much once a tree has been planted, orange tree problems may arise from various soil inadequacies. A leading issue is that the soil may not be sandy enough, leading to poor drainage and root rot. Another problem may be in the pH balance. Orange trees generally require a neutral to slightly acidic soil.
Though light is not often a problem, and orange trees can tolerate partial shade, you should always make sure your trees are in an area where they will receive a generous amount of sun. One of the most common places, especially if there are rolling hills, is on their south slope. That ensures that the trees receive light a great deal of the time. It also helps in cold weather.