Navel oranges are the most popular oranges for eating out of hand. This type of orange is sweet and easy to peel. The most recognized navel orange is the Washington naval orange. Each tree bears an average of 100 oranges a season. Naval orange trees are medium-size trees and are not the most vigorous growers of the orange trees. Washington naval orange trees do not need a pollinator and are for the most part seedless. Navel orange trees are hardy in USDA planting zones 9 through 11.
Water the tree every three days for the first two weeks after planting. Then cut the watering back to once a week for the rest of the first growing season, unless there is sufficient rain. From the second growing season on irrigation will be needed during times of heat and drought.
Keep a 2-foot diameter around the trunk of the tree weed-free. Place heavy-duty aluminum foil around the trunk of the young tree and treat the diameter with a contact herbicide. The foil will protect the trunk from any damage from the herbicide and from sun scorch.
Apply a citrus tree fertilizer once you start to see growth in the first season and in the spring each year thereafter. After spreading the fertilizer over the roots system; water to leach it into the soil. Follow manufacturer's directions as to amount to use per size and age of the tree.
Spread a 2-inch of layer of compost over the root system in mid-summer. Water thoroughly to leach the compost into the soil and supply needed nutrients.
Prune off any dead or damaged branches whenever needed. Pruning to shape or train navel orange trees is not necessary.
Remove any fruit that sets in the first or second year after planting so all the energy will be directed to the growth of the tree. Using the energy to produce fruit too soon will produce a weak tree and shorten its life.