Have you ever wondered about the amount of water you should be giving your citrus tree or, more specifically, your orange tree? Especially as a new orange tree owner, this is a great question and one that might seem a little bit confusing at first. So, how much should you water an orange tree?
A young orange tree should be watered every few days, but a more mature tree can be watered anywhere from weekly to about once a month. If it’s during the dry season, you should water your orange tree every few days or when the soil has dried up. During the rainy season, you may not need to water your orange tree.
To understand the needs of an orange tree, we should first briefly discuss what this tree is, exactly and, later, how to care for your tree beyond watering practices. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get into it!
How Much Water Does An Orange Tree Need?
Orange trees are citrus trees and are related to about 60 other species within that citrus genus. This type of tree may be known for growing in drier, more tropical environments but what does that mean in terms of the amount of water and other support you give your growing tree?
Citrus trees, by nature, don’t need quite as much water as other types of deciduous trees.
However, while overwatering is a genuine concern, in this case, so is underwatering.
You’ll want to maintain a good balance when it comes to how much you decide to water your citrus tree, as well as how often watering is to occur.
A young orange tree, for example, is going to need much less water than a larger and more mature tree.
While a young orange tree should be watered every few days, a more mature tree can be watered anywhere from weekly to once or twice a month.
This is all contingent upon what kind of soil the tree is planted in, how hot the temperature may be, and what other environmental factors may need to be considered.
The University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture notes that the method known as basin irrigation is the easiest watering method for a homeowner.
This method entails a simple process, which includes building a basin around the tree that is at least as wide as the canopy.
If you extend the basin a bit further, about a foot beyond the canopy of the tree, you’ll have a higher chance of covering the majority of the roots.
Then, you will just simply fill the basin as the orange tree needs water. This method helps to ensure that your tree will retain the water it is given, as opposed to losing much of it to the soil around the tree.
What Else Do Orange Trees Need Besides Proper Watering?
There are some important things to consider when looking at the success of your orange tree which, in turn, leads to the quality of the oranges you will see being produced.
If you’re hoping to produce great oranges and know that your tree is growing at the best rate with the strongest possibilities for success, then you’ll want to consider a few factors.
Alright, so let’s get into it!
1. Good Soil
What exactly does this mean? Is there a certain type of soil that orange trees will do best in?
Since an orange tree is a citrus tree, it is going to do best with soil that is slightly acidic, anywhere from 5.0 to 6.5 on the pH scale.
You can use a product like this Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Kit to check the pH of the soil you’ve already got.
If you are looking to add soil that has the correct pH and other properties, you could begin with Soil Sunrise Citrus Plant and Tree Soil, which comes in an 8-quart bag and is hand mixed.
On that note, the location in which an orange tree is planted will have a huge effect on the way it can grow and flourish.
2. Good Climate And Location
The location that your tree is planted in has a lot to do with the overall success of the tree and the fruit it can produce.
If you’ve never heard of USDA Hardiness Zones, these are going to change your tree-growing life!
They refer to regions across the United States with varying average annual minimum winter temperatures.
That’s a mouthful, huh? Really, they offer an easy way to differentiate the minimum temperatures in a certain region.
For example, USDA Hardiness Zone 9a refers to any region whose average minimum temperature in the winter months gets down to about (but not below) 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Orange trees can thrive in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, meaning that minimum temperatures from 20 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit are the lowest range of temperatures that will not cause undue stress on the tree.
The entire southern United States, from Southern California to Florida, has the proper environment for growing orange trees.
3. Limited Weeds
Keeping weeds away from your trees might seem simple, and maybe even a little obvious, but you’d be surprised by how often this step is overlooked.
Weeds require water and nutrients that are quickly sapped from your tree, making you orange tree watering efforts less worthwhile.
So, take a minute and wack those weeds every once in a while!
We’ve got even more on tropical trees, check out our article on palm trees 5 Reasons New Orleans Has Palm Trees (Plus Growing Tips)
Promote Healthy Orange Tree Growth By Watering, Fertilizing And Trimming
There are a few more easy steps that you can take to keep your tree maintained on a regular basis, not just when you are trying to make sure it is being properly watered.
So here are a few more things you can do to have a happy tree!
1. Monitor Your Orange Tree
One aspect of general tree maintenance is the simple act of keeping an eye out for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
By checking your tree every once in a while, you’ll be able to notice early signs of disease, infestation, malnourishment, underwatering, and more.
This can be crucial when it comes to preventative measures, as well.
2. Hydrate Your Orange Tree So It Can Create More Oranges
Speaking of preventative measures, watering should be done regularly based on the size and age of the tree. Remember, a young tree may need to be watered every couple of days, while a more mature tree that retains more water (if it is healthy and properly cared for) might only need to be watered twice a month or so.
3. Promote Growth Of Your Orange Tree By Fertilizing
As you probably know by now, especially if you are an avid reader of ours, fertilizing is one of the absolute best things you can do for your plants.
This is an especially important tactic when you are trying to promote healthy and sustainable growth in your tree.
So, what kind of fertilizer would be the most beneficial for an orange tree?
Have you ever heard of an NPK value? If not, it stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, and refers to the balance of these three different elements in any given fertilizer.
As a citrus tree, orange trees will tend to need a balanced fertilizer, NPK 6-6-6 for example, that also contains other minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, and others.
If you want to opt for a fertilizer that is citrus-oriented but also won’t break your bank, you can trust Miracle-Gro Shake’N Feed Citrus, Avocado, and Mango Plant Food, this is a game-changer!
4. Prune The Branches Of Your Orange Tree
Pruning is another important tactic when it comes to making sure that your tree is in tip-top shape. By removing any dead, weak, decaying, or infested orange tree branches as needed, the rest of your tree can put its energy into growth as opposed to fighting off any sort of issues that come from damaged branches.
Orange You Glad You Stuck With Us?
Sorry for that one, but we had to.
Anyway, thanks for sticking around to learn about some methods to best care for your orange tree. We wish you the best of luck as you continue along your tree journey.
May your tree produce the best, juiciest oranges while you endure the least stress and work!
Until next time friends, see you soon.
Learn more about tropical trees in our article Here’s How Tall Coconut Trees Actually Grow!
González, Z., Rosal, A., Requejo, A., & Rodríguez, A. (2011). Production of pulp and energy using orange tree prunings. Bioresource Technology, 102(19), 9330-9334.
Phogat, V., Skewes, M. A., Cox, J. W., Alam, J., Grigson, G., & Šimůnek, J. (2013). Evaluation of water movement and nitrate dynamics in a lysimeter planted with an orange tree. Agricultural water management, 127, 74-84.