Care of Navel Orange Trees


Navel orange trees thrive in a subtropical climate. Though this fruit tree will survive in a tropical climate, too much humidity and water can cause diseases and poor crop production. This tree is not cold hardy and will not survive a hard freeze outside. Few endeavors are as rewarding as bringing an orange tree to full production, it's fruit warmed and sweetened by the sun.

Step 1

Plant your navel orange tree in an area that gets full sun and has sandy, well-draining soil. Orange trees are particularly susceptible to root rot if they are planted in heavy, water-logged soil.

Step 2

Water your navel orange tree using a drip irrigation system if possible. The slow release of water into the ground keeps the area moist without causing saturation and standing water. If you don't have a drip irrigation system, water thoroughly one or two times a week during hot dry weather and as little as once a month during wet, rainy weather. Discontinue watering in the fall to prevent the tree from putting out new growth when it should be entering a dormancy period.

Step 3

Fertilize three to four times a year. Schedule fertilization applications for early spring, late spring, early summer and late summer. Avoid fertilizing in the fall because you don't want to encourage new growth that may suffer damage when cooler weather sets in.

Step 4

Prune your tree in the spring. Remove any dead wood and branches damaged by cold or disease. Take off any suckers that are springing up from the trunk of the tree. Remove any branches that are growing or hanging down a foot from the ground. In general, orange trees shape themselves naturally and need little pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • Drip irrigation system or water hose
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Purdue University: Center for New Crops & Plant Products
Keywords: citrus trees, fruit tree care, subtropical fruit trees

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.