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How to Plant Citrus Trees: Everything You Need to Know

How to Plant Citrus Trees

Planting a citrus tree is a mix of art and science. Learn more about how to plant citrus trees here, and how to ensure your growing efforts are successful.

First, they're sour, then they're ... still sour. Of course they are, they're citrus trees!

And while the fruit they produce is citric-ly sour, the process of growing them and having your fresh produce is oh so sweet.

Want to learn about having your own little citrus orchard and learn how to do it right?

We're walking you through how to plant citrus trees (whether you're planting one or twenty) below.

Finding the Perfect Planting Site

To determine where in your yard you can plant a citrus tree, you need to know your USDA Hardiness Zone Level. That will tell you whether or not you can plant a citrus tree successfully in the ground or if it needs to be in a pot.

Also, check out our citrus tree temperature and climate information for more insights on growing citrus trees indoors and out.

Most of the time if you're in zone 8 or below (think the southern part of Tennessee and below) your tree will be fine in the ground.

You'll still need to cover it up if there's an early (or late) freeze, but it will thrive in the warm, humid weather.

If you live above the bottom of Tennessee (zones 7-1) you'll need to move your citrus tree inside during the winter, so invest in a sturdy planting pot.

In-Ground Planting

If you're planting your tree in the ground, you'll want to dig a hole somewhere with 50% sun (at least). Measure the height of the root ball and dig your hole at least 8 inches bigger than that.

Before you plant the tree and cover the roots, fill the hole full of water.

Your budding tree doesn't need anything but soil to grow, so pack it nice and tight, with the bud union above the soil or at the soil line.

You'll need to water your tree daily or every other day, depending on your rain schedule. The soil should get dry in between waterings.

If needed you can fertilize three months post-planting with a citrus-based fertilizer.

In-Pot Planting

When choosing soil for your citrus tree, think about the soil where these trees thrive. Places like Florida, Texas, and more tropical places have semi-sandy and easily-draining soil.

Talk to the person at your local nursery to find the right mix of soil for your budding tree, depending on what they have available.

While you're there, pick up a pot. You want it to be anywhere from 5-15 gallons (remember, you'll have to be able to move this inside during the winter, so keep weight in mind).

Place enough soil in the bottom of the pot so that the root ball has enough to rest on. Then pack the soil tight and follow the watering directions above.

*Planted trees will dry out quicker than those planted in the ground.

Winter Care

Your citrus trees don't want to be cold. They can handle freezing temperatures (28-32) for a couple of nights, but not regularly.

Move trees inside or cover them during extreme cold.

How to Plant Citrus Trees

Starting trees from seeds isn't recommended for beginning citrus growers. It's better to start with a tube tree or a sapling, which you can find here at US Citrus!

Be sure to follow the directions for how to plant and grow citrus trees in this article, in our citrus care guide, and any specifics delivered with your specific citrus plant.

Ready to get started on your citrus growing journey? Browse our trees here.

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How to Tell When an Orange is Ripe and Ready to Eat

When to Pick Oranges

Depending on the variety of orange you're growing, harvest season may be as early as March and as late as December. Learn when to pick oranges below!

Oranges are often associated with summer, with their bright colors and sweet tangy flavors. But did you know that orange harvests happen throughout almost the entire year?

If you're a beginner orange farmer, it's hard to know when your specific species of orange is ripe enough and ready to eat. With all those delicious flavors waiting for you, sometimes it's hard to wait for the right time.

That's why we're here to help you learn when to pick oranges. Keep reading to learn all you need to know to have the best orange harvest possible!

Color is Not The Only Factor

While that iconic bright orange color does make it seem as though the orange should be ripe, that's not always true. Some oranges, such as satsumas, keep a little green on their peel while still being ripe and juicy.  

Oranges turn from green to orange due to the change in temperature. The chlorophyll leaves the peel, changing its color from one to the other. This means the fruits can be orange in color while still needing more time to ripen.

Wait for the Right Season

As you grow your oranges, it's a good idea to know the specific time to start looking for ripeness. For example, pineapple oranges go ripe anywhere between November and February. Navel oranges, on the other hand, go from November into June.

Each variety has a wide span of months in which they ripen, so make sure to look up your specific variety in preparation for harvesting. If it's not the right month for your orange species, chances are good that they're not ready.

Look for Sweet Smells

Ripe oranges have a sweet and fragrant smell to them. As you go through your orange tree looking for the best ones, only pick the ones that have a strong fragrance.

Avoid anything that smells moldy or sharp, as these scents indicate that the orange is not at peak ripeness. Not all oranges ripen at the same rate, so it's good to be a little extra picky to get the best ones.

Taste Test is Key

The best and most fool-proof method of orange picking is by picking the one you think is good and eating it. It's an easy test that tells you in an instant whether or not your oranges are right for picking.

If you're looking to harvest the entire tree, test one for its flavor before taking all of the oranges. Otherwise, only pick the oranges with the same quality as the one you tasted to ensure that you're getting a similar ripeness!

Knowing When to Pick Oranges Comes With Experience

If you still feel a little unsure about when to pick oranges, that's okay. Time and experience with your fruit tree make the whole process a lot easier over the years.

When dealing with orange trees, it's not an exact science and each harvest is different than the next. But after you have a few harvests under your belt, you'll have a better understanding of how your specific orange tree grows. Harvests will be a breeze after that!

Looking to get started with your very own orange tree? Check out our exotic collection of orange trees and fast-growing citrus trees here!

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6 Common Orange Tree Diseases You Need to Look Out For

Orange Tree Diseases

Orange trees can be heavily affected by insects, fungus, bacteria and virus diseases. Discover the most common orange tree diseases to protect your trees.

If you have orange trees, you want to keep them at their healthiest, so they can provide delicious oranges for you for years to come.

So it's important you know about the potential orange tree diseases that can ravage orange trees. Because the more you educate yourself on what dangers are out there for your trees, the better you can be at preventing them from damage.

That's why we put together this post on six common orange tree diseases you need to be aware of.

That way you'll be able to understand the potential attackers of your orange trees!

Sound interesting? Keep reading to find out more.

Bark and Trunk Diseases

There are several dangerous bark and trunk diseases that you should be aware of with your orange trees. Unfortunately, some of them have no knowable treatment. 

Psorosis bark scaling virus disease is one such disease. It's often found often in older trees. It shows itself through peeling bark on the orange tree's trunk and branches. 

If your tree gets it, you should continue to care for the tree as normal, but if it gets girdled, you'll need to remove it from the soil when it dies.

Foot rot fungus is another disease without any known treatment. If you notice cankers and lesions around the base of the orange tree, it might be Foot Rot Fungus. This is especially true if those lesions have sap coming out of them.

While there's no treatment, you can take steps to minimize the chances of Foot Rot Fungus. For starters, plant your orange trees in well-draining soil, and with raised beds, if you have heavy clay soil.

Then make sure not to overwater them. That will make your chances of having a successful citrus season all the better!

Leaves Diseases

Sooty mold is a common disease of the leaves of orange trees. If you notice your leaves have blackened spots, it might be sooty mold. And while technically it's not a disease, but a fungus, it's still not great for your orange tree.

You can use a soap and water solution to wash the spots off. This will also help drive off the aphids and leafhoppers that leave the fungus in the first place.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that comes courtesy of the Asian citrus psyllid. The primary symptom is yellow mottling on the orange tree's leaves. Another noticeable characteristic is the midvein appears more pronounced than usual.

Unfortunately, there's no cure for this disease. But giving the tree proper general care will go a long way towards having it survive citrus greening.

Fruit Diseases

Citrus stubborn disease affects the oranges on the tree, causing them to look lopsided. This is because the seed pocket is pushed to one side. It's spread by leafhoppers and should be sorted by spraying the tree with insecticidal soap or oil.

Alternaria black fungus is another disease that has no known cure. It causes a black fungus to appear inside the oranges. It tends to be more common after rainy weather. You'll need to throw out any affected fruit and leaf litter.

Orange Tree Diseases

As you can see, some orange tree diseases are treatable, while others are not. But either way, proper care of your orange trees will help them survive and thrive. 

Check out our citrus tree collection to start growing your own citrus fruit or oranges!

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7 Proven Health Benefits of Eating Mandarins

Health Benefits of Eating Mandarins

Mandarins are not only delicious but also include many nutrients and vitamins that can help prevent diseases. Learn the top health benefits of mandarins below!

Out of the over six million tons of citrus we grow in America, it's hard to pick a favorite fruit

If you want something tasty that has tons of health benefits, we have a suggestion. Mandarin oranges should always have a place on your shopping list. 

Why are mandarins so great? Let's look at the many health benefits of mandarin oranges and see! 

What is a Mandarin? 

First, let's set mandarins aside and see how they're different from other citrus fruit. Originally grown in Asia, they found their way on through Europe, Africa, Australia, and eventually to the US. 

Mandarins are smaller than the average orange and easy to peel. Plus, they're versatile and work well in savory dishes, too. 

That's not their only talent. Keep reading and discover all of their wonderful benefits! 

1. Full of Antioxidants

Take a look at the nutritional value of mandarins and you'll see a vitamin-packed powerhouse. These little oranges boast over a quarter of your recommended dose of vitamin C per cup. 

They've also got antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids help keep your eyes and skin healthy. 

2. Promote Hair Growth

Mandarins also have vitamin E and B12 to keep your hair full and strong. Add some to your hair oil for a bit of all-natural shine and bounce. 

3. Helps Manage Your Weight

Mandarin fruit is full of fiber. Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer and keeps your digestion system moving along. 

Both of these contribute to keeping your weight at a healthy number. 

4. Healthy Bones

The magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus found in mandarins contribute to bone health. Eating a full cup gives you a 3% serving of the three minerals. 

5. Manage Your Blood Pressure

Eating mandarin oranges regularly can help with managing your blood pressure. The fiber, potassium, and antioxidants in the fruits keep blood flowing smoothly and keep your blood pressure low. 

6. Promotes Good Cholesterol

The type of fiber in mandarins and the pectin keeps bad cholesterol from being absorbed in your gut. That way, the good cholesterol you eat has more of a chance to shine. 

7. Immune System Health

Mandarin oranges have nutrients that help wounds heal and keep colds at bay. Eating them can also aid with digestion and your nervous system, reducing vomiting and muscle cramps. 

Regular mandarin consumption might help lower your chances of getting cancer. While nothing is for sure, there are many antioxidants and nutrients, like limonene, that might prevent liver or breast cancer from developing. 

Enjoy the Many Health Benefits of Mandarin Oranges

Eating citrus fruits has many health benefits, but mandarin oranges might top them all. Either way, it's always a good idea to add more fruits and vegetables to your everyday diet. 

They're sweet, easy to eat, and versatile. Enjoy them by themselves, experiment and add them to different dishes, or try these delicious mandarin orange recipes

Wouldn't it be nice to have a mandarin tree in your back yard to grow your own mandarins? No need to daydream — we can make it a reality! 

Purchase a beautiful mandarin tree for your yard or browse our many other citrus trees delivered from the US Citrus grove and start your new healthy life! 

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Calamondin Magic: 7 Amazing Health Benefits of Calamansi Juice

Health Benefits of Calamondin/Calamansi Juice

Calamansi juice is derived from the calamondin fruit, also called the golden lime. Discover seven amazing health benefits of drinking calamansi juice below!

A cross between mandarin oranges and kumquats, calamansi are a small citrus fruit with a seriously sour taste. This brightly colored fruit is native to southeast Asia where they are commonly used to make fresh juice.

The benefits of calamansi juice go beyond a refreshing twist on lemonade. Drinking this tangy beverage daily can work wonders for your health.

Check out these 7 amazing health benefits of calamansi juice:

1. Lowers Cholesterol

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Calamansi juice can help lower your cholesterol leading to better heart health.

As a member of the citrus family, calamansi is rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers LDL. A high LDL, or low-density lipoproteins, leads to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries.

2. Strengthens Immunity

Your immune system is constantly fighting off bad germs to keep your body in balance. Choosing citrus fruits like calamansi helps your body build a strong defense system with its high Vitamin C content.

Vitamin C is critical to immune system function at the cellular level. When your body becomes deficient in Vitamin C, you're far more likely to suffer from infections.

3. Aids in Weight Loss

It's common knowledge that replacing high sugar drinks with fresh juices and citrus drinks can improve your health. Calamansi juice goes a step further by helping to eliminate stored fat.

Drinking calamansi juice means increased bowel movements, or alleviating constipation. It's a great way to gently detox while on your weight loss journey.

4. Reduces Body Odor

Body odor is caused by bacteria breaking down into acid on the body. The antibacterial qualities of calamansi juice help to remove this bacteria.

Simply add calamansi juice to your bath water and allow it to help cleanse unwanted odor from your skin. 

5. Prevents Diabetes

One of the major benefits of calamansi juice is diabetes prevention.

Turn to calamansi juice when you are prediabetic to help keep your glucose levels stable. Calamansi helps to lower blood glucose levels and regulate insulin secretion.

6. Boosts Energy

With so much processed food in the average American diet, fatigue has become an epidemic. Try calamansi juice with a drop of honey to help boost your energy. The fresh kick of Vitamin C and pungent flavor helps to do away with fatigue. 

7. Antioxidant

A common benefit of citrus fruits, in general, is serving as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are important because they support your body in removing free radicals which can become toxic over time.

Too many free radicals in the body mean a greater risk of disease. Calamansi juice is a great way to boost your immunity while eliminating the bad stuff from your body. 

The Benefits of Calamansi Juice

As a member of the citrus family, the benefits of calamansi juice are very similar to lemons and oranges. However, calamansi brings with it its own unique flavor that puts it in a league of its own.

Want to try the freshest calamansi juice possible by growing your own calamondin fruit? Try a fast-growing calamondin tree from our citrus tree selection!

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