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What Type of Soil Do Orange Trees Grow in?

By Contributor ; Updated September 21, 2017
Photo by Flickr user Mihal Bojin. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mihaibojin/3471185117/

Orange trees won't grow just anywhere. Like other plants, orange trees are picky about their particular soil and climate conditions. For the best harvest and the most enjoyable citrus gardening experience, see if your garden soil fits orange trees' need for organic matter, well-layered soil and the proper pH balance before you plant.

Preferred Soil

Soil for orange all citrus trees should ideally be loose, rich in organic matter and well-drained. Your orange tree is likely to struggle in heavy clay soil or in soil that retains a lot of moisture. Sandy loam that drains well is an ideal soil for orange trees. If your soil doesn't drain well on its own, you can try planting the orange trees along a ridge to encourage water to drain away from the trees' roots. Avoid erosion on these ridges by using mulch or another soil cover to help hold the soil in place during rain and irrigation.

Climate and Soil

In hot and humid weather, the organic matter in your soil will decay more quickly, meaning that while your soil may be rich, it will also lose nutrients quickly. Add manure or compost to the soil to enrich it and help your orange trees gain ample nutrition from the soil. Organic matter in the soil is important not just for plant nutrition, but also to create soil layers that permit drainage and promote root growth.

Fertilizing Orange Trees

The pH of your soil is important for growing orange trees productively. The pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Orange trees prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. You can test your soil's pH using commercially available kits that can be purchased online or at a nursery. Adding compost or manure to your soil will help maintain a good pH for the orange trees.

Geographic Considerations

Orange trees grow especially well in Florida and in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, primarily because the soil and climate conditions in these areas best meet the needs of orange trees. If you're trying to grow orange or other citrus trees outside these areas, it's more likely that you'll need to adjust your soil's makeup to fit the trees' preferences. Try to use organic methods such as compost and manure prior to adding harsh chemicals to your garden.


Testing your soil's pH and adding organic matter are great ways to learn more about your soil and to prepare it for planting any trees, especially citrus trees. You can often obtain even more detailed soil analysis from your local university or agricultural extension service. This information will help you pamper your orange trees for a more productive harvest, as well as the rest of your garden.


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