Orange trees require a lot of care to stay healthy. Without the correct environmental conditions, orange trees may fail to produce fruit or will be inhibited in growth. Proper site selection for the plant, as well as the correct aftercare, helps the orange tree produce the best fruit possible with the highest yield.
Orange trees require planting in a well-draining soil with a low salinity, or salt content. Clay soils should be avoided when planting orange trees. According to Texas A&M University, most citrus trees, including orange, require a soil pH of between 6 and 8.
Weeding and Mulching
Mulching of the orange tree is required when the plant is young with a small canopy to prevent sun from drying out the soil closest to the roots, according to the University of Florida. Organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves and black plastic will reduce the need for watering and weeding. Mulch should be placed between 12 and 24 inches from the tree trunk to prevent diseases from transferring to the young tree.
Pinching off shoots from the orange tree as it grows will reduce competition for nutrients. Spouts are young branches that appear at the grafting point of young orange trees and usually have a different appearance from the rest of the tree. Sprouts that are young and green are twisted off by hand, while woody sprouts are removed with pruning shears.
Pruning of orange trees is required in the spring between February and April. Branches that rub up against each other require removal to increase fruit production. Dead or diseased branches also require removal to prevent the spread of disease. Larger branches in the canopy may require removal to increase the coverage of light within the tree and increase air flow. This aids in pollination and fruit growth.
Young orange trees require watering one to two times per week during the first few weeks after planting. After the orange tree is established, water is required as soon as the top inch of soil is dry. Mature trees require a larger amount of water. Placing 2-inch-high cans throughout the yard, covered with mesh to prevent birds and animals from drinking out of them, will inform you when the orange trees require watering. Once the water in the cans has evaporated, water the orange trees with 1 1/2 inches of water.