Navel oranges are delicious. So it's no wonder you want a navel orange tree of your very own. But, before you plant, make sure that your yard is a suitable location. These tropical trees can only survive life outdoors in tropical and subtropical growing zones with mild winters that rarely, if ever, fall below 35 degrees F. And they need fairly nutritious soil to grow. To make sure yours is suitable, pick up a soil testing kit from your local county extension office. The results will reveal any nutritional deficiencies in your soil. Add these to the planting area in the fall before you plant to make sure your navel orange sapling starts its life on nutritious soil.
Dig a hole that is three times as wide and just as deep as the container that your navel orange tree is currently growing in. Dig neighboring holes at least 20 feet away.
Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain.
Carefully remove the navel orange sapling from its container.
Loosen the tree's roots. Gently pull them away from the root ball with your hands until the root ball is no longer quite so compacted.
Examine the tree's roots. Use a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears to prune away any broken roots or any that look diseased or unhealthy (darker than the others).
Plant the navel orange tree in the hole so it sits in the hole at the same level that it did in the container. The best way to do this is to back fill the hole with soil until the tree sits at the desired height when set on top of the soil. Moisten the soil with water when the hole is roughly halfway full, before filling the hole the rest of the way. Do not cover the sapling's roots with more than 1 inch of soil. Pat the soil down with your hands to firm it when you are done.
Water the planting area with a slow-running hose placed over the soil at the base of the tree. Water until the entire planting area is moist. Continue to keep the planting area moist until the orange tree establishes itself and produces new growth. Water it every day or so during the first month that it is in the ground. Then gradually increase the watering interval to once a week over the next few months.