When to Plant an Orange Tree
Orange trees, as with any other fruit tree, should be planted or transplanted during a time of year and season likely to cause a minimum of stress to the roots, foliage and blooms. As orange trees thrive in temperate to subtropical climates, this often translates into early spring or early fall, avoiding the heat of summer and the relatively cold temperatures of winter.
Plant or transplant orange trees in the early- to mid-spring before bloom, after all threat of frost has passed and daily temperatures are above 50 degrees F. Choose rich, well-drained soil and a sunny location, preferably with a southern exposure. Whether directly planted in the ground or in a container, choose an area with protection from frosts and cold winds, such as the southern exposure of a building or other protected and mild micro-climate. Water in the new tree well and do not allow the soil to dry out, but do not water so much that the roots are drowning in standing water. Wait several weeks to two months to allow the roots to establish themselves before feeding with a citrus fertilizer.
Orange trees should be planted or transplanted in the early fall after the hottest heat of summer has passed and the temperatures are still consistently above 50 degrees F during the day. As with spring planting, water in the tree well, maintain moist soil at the roots and fertilize with a high-quality citrus food a few weeks after planting.
Plant An Orange Tree
Orange trees need time to acclimate to their new surroundings. Early to mid-spring is the perfect time for citrus planting because they have the entire spring and summer to establish themselves in the soil with warm weather at their disposal. Your soil must be well-draining and fertile. A smart way to determine if your soil structure is healthy for orange trees is by adding water. If the water remains on the surface, you need to amend the soil with sand to loosen the compacted soil. The top of the root ball should stay 1 inch above the topsoil because it settles down into the ground once established. Fertilizers formulated for citrus, with high nitrogen levels, supplement the tree's nutrient needs for flourishing growth and fruiting.
- Purdue University Horticultural Studies: Citrus Sinensis
- Texas A&M University Extension: Citrus Sinensis
- Harlow Gardens: Frequently Asked Questions -- Citrus
- Sunset: Citrus Care
- The Old Farmer's Almanac: Lemons and Oranges
- Four Winds Growers: Growing Citrus in the Ground
- University of California, San Diego, Cooperative Extension: Citrus For The Home Garden