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How to Grow Navel Orange Trees

By Hollan Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Oranges on a tree.

Navel oranges are familiar to almost everyone as the oranges you find in the super market. While Valencia oranges are used for juice making, navel oranges are grown mostly for their fruit. While oranges are native to India, navel oranges are a hybrid of sweet oranges, created in Brazil. They are the hardiest of all oranges grown and do well in light frosts, so long as they are protected. There are a few varieties to choose from, many that will remain hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11. Navel orange trees are easy to grow in the right climate.

Choose a variety of navel oranges to grow. There are dwarf navel orange trees, but they do not grow much fruit. Pineapple and Cara cara are other varieties of navel oranges. Cara cara has pink flesh.

Choose a spot in your garden for the orange tree. The tree needs to be planted in full sun near the south side to protect it from cold. Planting near a wall is acceptable. Well-drained soil is a must. Plant orange trees away from grass and other plants.

Plant your navel orange tree in the spring after the last frost. Dig a hole for the navel orange tree. It must be deep enough to accommodate the root ball, about 2 to 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide. Place the tree in the hole and fill it with water. Allow the water to soak in. Fill the hole with soil and pat down.

Water your navel orange tree once a week for 10 minutes each watering. Be sure the soil absorbs all the water while it is young. Once it is more than a year old, water it only once every other week for 10 minutes each watering.

Add one cup of water-soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer to navel orange trees in the late winter.

Prune your navel orange tree in the spring while the tree is dormant before and new growth. Remove dead, damaged or crossing branches at the base of the tree. Give branches a space of about 6 to 8 inches. No other pruning is needed.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Full sun
  • Frost protection
  • Well-drained soil

Tips

  • Protect navel orange trees from the cold by wrapping them in blankets or clear plastic sheets during a freeze.
  • Fruit can be left on the navel orange tree without it over ripening.

Warnings

  • Navel oranges are susceptible to pests such as the Asian leaf miner, but this pest will not kill the tree.
  • Keep the soil around the navel orange tree moist while the tree is young.
  • Do not allow 1- and 2-year-old navel orange trees to produce fruit. Pluck off any fruit that grows to allow the tree to focus on growing.

About the Author

 

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.