10 Nov Characteristics of Orange Trees
Characteristics of orange trees. Classic oranges (Citrus sinensis), mandarin oranges (C. reticulate) and tangelos (C. reticulate x C.maxima) share similar characteristics. These evergreen trees bring dense shade to your yard year-round. They produce tasty fruit, grow at a steady pace of two feet per year, and live 50 to 150 years. Orange trees thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, while mandarin trees grow in zone 10 and tangelo trees are best grown in zones 9 and 10.
The height and growth habit of orange trees is similar. Orange and tangelo trees grow to 25 feet tall, while mandarin orange trees grow to 20 feet tall. All three make good privacy screens; they have a compact and erect shape when you plant them closer together or spread out if they are given the space. Orange and tangelo trees have a low canopy. Mandarin trees make good hedges, with a natural growth habit similar to shrubs, unless you prune the bottom branches off to encourage a tree shape.
Sun, Water, Soil and Temperature
Orange, mandarin and tangelo trees love full sunshine and moist soil. These versatile trees can grow in pH from highly acidic to highly alkaline in clay, loam, or sandy soils. Their ideal temperature is between 55 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season and 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during dormancy. As a general rule, temperatures of 26 to 30 F damage the fruit. More than 10 hours of temperatures below 25 F can damage mature trees and a brief frost can kill young trees.
Fruit and Flowers
Orange, mandarin and tangelo trees have fragrant, showy white flowers in the springtime and orange trees can produce pink flowers. They’re prolific fruit producers, bearing fruit about 3 inches in diameter. Orange trees bear fruit in fall, winter, spring or summer. Mandarin trees produce fruit in the fall. Tangelo trees produce fruit in the winter or spring.
More Orange Trees
Citrus sinensis includes numerous cultivars bred for different fruit characteristics. “Washington Navel,” with its thick but easy-to-peel skin, is popular for eating and matures earlier than many other varieties. “Valencia” oranges have thinner skins that are harder to peel, but are much juicier, making them ideal for orange juice. Blood oranges feature deep pink to burgundy flesh that, squeezed into juice, looks like red wine. It produces small juicy fruits with medium-thick skins.
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