Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Satsuma Orange Trees

Now that the holidays are upon us, have you considered giving a fruit tree as a Christmas gift?  We have two Satsuma orange trees, received as gifts many years ago, and they are heavy producers with the oranges ripening at about the same.  The Satsuma orange trees are small and will do very well in containers.  They are cascading trees and the branches, laden with fruit, touches the ground.

The Satsuma oranges are also known as tangerines or mandarins and a mix between the two.  They are also known as Christmas oranges, better make that Thanksgiving oranges.  These oranges don't last very long and therefore don't ship well.  That is one reason people outside of the growing regions such as Florida have not heard about this sweet and juicy fruit.  I know that our oranges many times hardly make it from the tree to the kitchen.

Some growers recommend that the citrus trees be planted in the spring time.  This is the time for growth and blooms.  Others believe that the late fall/early winter is the preferable season for planting because the trees are dormant and the shock of moving may not be so severe.  The trees will have a chance to grow into the much warmer season.  As long as the trees are initially grown in containers, the planting season doesn't matter.  We have planted citrus trees in winter time as well as in summer time.

As with all trees, a wide hole needs to be dug deep enough to cover roots but shallow enough to leave the graft area above the soil.  The roots grow very close to the surface and it is important to keep the area free from weeds and mulch.  The area will eventually be as round as the tree with all the branches within the circle (the drip line).

The citrus trees do require much care, watering, and fertilization several times a year.  The fertilizer must be specifically for the citrus and containing trace elements such as magnesium, boron, copper, iron, zinc and many more.  We used common garden fertilizer one time and the harvest was poor, next to none.  To find out how much fertilizer to use, the instruction is printed on the fertilizer bag.

It is also important that the trees be watered on a regular base.  A deep soak is preferable about two times a week.  We have trimmed our trees after the fruit has been harvested.  We trim away the dead branches, branches crossing each other, and branches touching the ground.  The citrus trees, including the Satsuma oranges, are susceptible to some disease which is taken care of by spraying the trees with horticultural oil.

This time of the year, oranges are so readily available at a farmer's market near you.  Check any market  out.  Also check out your garden centers for fruit trees for yourself and as a gift.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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