Orange trees thrive in temperate climates where temperatures stay above freezing all year long. They must be planted in a sunny location for the best results. These fruit trees often grow to be up to 30 feet tall. Orange trees typically produce an abundant amount of fruit. These trees may take up to three growing seasons to produce fruit, but once they produce they are consistent in their production. Knowing when to harvest your fruit is key to getting the most from your orange crop.
Pick some orange varieties such as Valencia oranges all year long. Other varieties such as navel oranges are only harvested in winter and spring.
Harvest oranges when fully ripe. Ripe oranges will be orange, and where the stem is attached it should be a brown star shape. Ripeness can not be determined by color alone--taste an orange to determine if it is ripe. Harvest oranges that look similar once you have determined ripeness.
Grip orange and twist it slightly to remove it from its branch. Use a ladder to reach fruit that is higher in the tree.
Handle oranges carefully to avoid bruising the fruit. Do not place oranges on top of each other; lay them side by side in a container.
Place oranges on the counter if you plan to use them within two weeks.
Place oranges that you will not use within two weeks in the refrigerator. Oranges may be stored in the refrigerator for up to eight weeks.
Peel, section and can or freeze orange sections if you do not plan on using the oranges within eight weeks.