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How to Grow Orange Trees in Arizona

Orange trees are a citrus variety that does not grow well in areas with frost and cold temperatures. Orange trees need temperatures to stay mostly above freezing during the winter months. Arizona provides these conditions in the triangular area of Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma. Select orange trees suited for Arizona growing conditions for best results. Obtain varieties grown locally from nurseries or garden centers in your region. Select orange trees with a strong straight trunk, dark green foliage and little or no oranges on it. Orange trees usually require two years of recovery after transplanting and should not produce fruit during this time.

Plant your orange tree in the fall after the heat of the Arizona summer. Select a site providing full sun, well-draining soil and at least 20-feet spacing on all sides.

Dig a hole double the size of the root ball or at least 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide. Use a rake to loosen the soil on the sides and bottom of the hole.

Place the orange tree in the center of the hole. Verify the height of the tree and adjust if needed (dig the hole deeper or add soil to the bottom). The orange tree should be planted slightly higher than it was in the nursery to allow for settling.

Shovel in a blend of one part compost to four parts of the removed soil to fill the hole halfway. Fill the hole with water and allow water to drain. This removes the air pockets in the soil around the orange tree.

Fill the remainder of the hole to a few inches below ground level. Use the leftover dirt to create a wall surrounding the hole that creates a basin to hold water for the tree.

Fill the basin with water after planting and again every third day for two weeks. Fill the basin in the morning and at night of the same day on a weekly schedule through summer. Continue to water once monthly in the winter.

Use white latex paint to cover the bottom 4 feet of trunk on the orange tree. This will protect it from the sun.

Remove any sprouts that emerge around the orange tree trunk. Cut any dead, frail or crossing branches of the tree.


Monitor orange tree for any signs of diseases or pests. Check all areas of the tree for changes in color, texture or signs of chewing. Contact your local garden center or county extension office to identify the problem and for information on control, treatment and prevention methods to use for your specific dilemma.


Do not apply any type of fertilizer to a newly planted orange tree in Arizona. Fertilize three times a year beginning in the following season. Apply citrus fertilizer in March, June and September.

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