How to Force Orange Tree Growth

Overview

There are many varieties of oranges, with the categories being navel oranges, blood oranges, round oranges and acidless oranges. Orange trees grow best in tropical and subtropical climates. In the United States, they are commonly found in Texas, Florida, California and Arizona. The more humid the climate, the thinner the rind skin and the more yellow the color. In less humidity, the oranges are bright orange and thick-skinned. Orange trees thrive in well-draining soil, especially loamy blends. Proper feeding and pruning techniques will force tree growth.

Step 1

Conserve water. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the orange tree. This will help retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.

Step 2

Water orange trees once a week in hot weather. Make sure your orange tree is getting as much sun as possible. If necessary, prune taller trees to increase the amount of sunlight hitting the orange trees.

Step 3

Feed orange trees once a month with a fertilizer made for citrus trees. This will promote new foliage and buds to grow. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 4

Cut water sprouts and shoots from the base of the tree trunk. These small branches steal nutrients from the rest of the tree. Make a clean vertical cut where the shoots connect with the trunk.

Step 5

Prune the orange tree to increase fruit production and growth. Every two years, prune the tree in early spring before the buds flower. Remove damaged or dead branches. Cut them where they meet healthy wood. Also get rid of weak branches because they will not be able to withstand the weight of the oranges.

Step 6

Thin the canopy to let more sunlight and air in. Trim off limbs that cross each other or grow straight up and down. The more nutrients that get in, the more the orange tree will grow.

Step 7

Cover orange trees in the winter to protect them. Growth will slow down if the trees sustain freeze damage. They can survive a few days of freezing temperatures but can suffer if the cold snap continues. Put burlap on them in the winter to ensure they grow the following spring.

Step 8

Check the tree over for disease once a year. Fungal growth, pests and disease will affect how much a tree grows if you leave it unchecked. Common ailments include phytophthora, greasy spot and citrus canker. If you see infected wood, cut it off where it meets healthy branches. Dispose of it in plastic bags. Leaving it near the tree or other plants will cause the disease to spread.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Burlap

References

  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Home Fruit Production
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Training and Pruning Fruit Trees
  • Rustic Girls: How to Prune Citrus Trees
  • Purdue: Orange
  • What Price?: Conservatory Orange Trees
Keywords: orange tree growth, orange tree care, prune orange trees

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.