Orange Cultivation (citrus sinensis) a comprehensive guide

ORANGE (Citrus sinensis) Orange is a fruit crop which belongs to the citrus family. The fruit of citrus called berry is succulent, fleshy and juicy and it is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Orange cultivation is a rewarding endeavour, yielding delicious and nutritious fruits that are enjoyed worldwide. Successful orange farming involves careful planning and adherence to best practices at every stage of production.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key steps and considerations for orange cultivation, from land preparation to processing and storage.

A Comprehensive Guide to Orange Cultivation: From Land Preparation to Processing

Land Preparation:

  1. Site Selection: Choose a well-drained site with good sunlight exposure. Ensure proper air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.
  2. Soil Testing: Conduct a soil test to determine soil pH, nutrient levels, and any necessary amendments. Oranges thrive in well-drained, loamy soils with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.0-7.0).
  3. Land Clearing: Remove weeds, debris, and any unwanted vegetation from the planting area.
  4. Soil Preparation: Plow and harvest the soil to break up clumps and create a fine, crumbly texture. Incorporate organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility. read here

Varieties of Citrus spp:

  1. Navel Oranges: Known for their sweet, seedless, and easy-to-peel fruits. Popular varieties include Washington Navel and Cara Cara.
  2. Valencia Oranges: Primarily used for juicing due to their high juice content and tangy flavour.
  3. Mandarins: Include varieties like Satsuma, Clementine, and Tangerine, known for their sweet and easy-to-separate segments.
  4. Blood Oranges: Recognizable by their reddish flesh, they are used in fresh juice and culinary applications.
  5. Hybrids: Varieties like the Meyer lemon-orange hybrid offer unique flavours and are favoured for cooking.

Climatic and Soil Requirements:

  • Oranges thrive in subtropical to tropical climates with warm, frost-free winters and hot, dry summers.
  • They require a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Well-drained loamy soils with good organic matter content are ideal.

Planting Materials:

  1. Seeds: While less common, oranges can be grown from seeds, but they may not produce fruits identical to the parent tree.
  2. Budded or Grafted Trees: These are the most common planting materials, ensuring that the new tree inherits the desired characteristics of the parent.

Nursery Practices:

  1. Seedling Growth: If using seeds, grow seedlings in a nursery until they are large enough to graft or bud.
  2. Grafting or Budding: Graft or bud selected scion wood onto rootstock to create desired orange tree varieties.
  3. Hardening Off: Acclimate nursery-grown trees to outdoor conditions gradually before transplanting to the orchard.

Planting and Care:

  1. Spacing: Plant orange trees 20-25 feet apart to allow for proper growth and air circulation.
  2. Irrigation: Young trees need regular watering. Mature trees are more drought-tolerant but still require consistent moisture.
  3. Fertilization: Apply balanced fertilizer with micronutrients based on soil test recommendations.
  4. Pruning: Prune to maintain shape, remove deadwood, and improve air circulation.

Processing and Storage:

  1. Harvesting: Oranges are typically harvested when fully ripe, as their flavour and sweetness develop on the tree. Gently twist and pull fruits to avoid damage.
  2. Cleaning: Wash and sanitize harvested oranges to remove dirt and potential contaminants.
  3. Packaging: Sort oranges by size and quality, then pack them in ventilated containers or crates for transportation.
  4. Storage: Store oranges in a cool, well-ventilated, and humid environment to maintain freshness and prevent drying out.
  5. Processing: Oranges can be processed into various products, including juice, jams, and dried fruit.

successful orange cultivation requires careful attention to land preparation, variety selection, climatic and soil conditions, nursery practices, and ongoing care. Proper processing and storage methods ensure that the fruits reach consumers in excellent condition, allowing growers to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Land Preparation for the planting of orange

: The land is cleared with cutlass and stumping is done. The land is then ploughed and harrowed mechanically.

Varieties/Cultivars of Orange

Varieties of the Citrus spp. or family include:
Varieties Botanical names
1 Sweet orange Citrus sinensis
2 Sour orange Citrus aurantium
3 Lime Citrus aurantifolia
4 Lemon Citrus lemon
5 Tangerine Citrus reticulata
6 Grapefruit Citrus paradisi
7 Shaddock (Pomelo) Citrus grandis
8 King orange Citrus nobilis

Climatic and soil requirements for planting orange

Sweet orange requires a temperature of 25°C – 35°C, rainfall of 75cm -125cm per annum and a well-drained fertile and deep soil. It also requires a higher elevation and slightly sloping land.

Planting materials for the cultivation of orange

The planting date for Orange

: (i) Pre-nursery is ideal between October and December and nursery in April and May. (iii) Budding is done a year later.

Spacing: (i) Pre-nursery is 3cmx 3cm,
(i) Nursery is 60cm x 60cm (iii) Fieldis7.Omx7.Om.
(ii) Field is 7.0m x 7.0m

Nursery Practices in the cultivation of orange

Pre-nursery: (i) The seeds are raised in seed trays by October – December in a loamy soil, rich in organic matter. (ii)The seeds are sown 3cm x 3cm at 2cm deep.

Nursery: (i) The seedlings are now replanted at 60cm x 60cm spacing. (ii)It is planted around April/ May. (iii)Watering, weeding and shading are provided. (iv)Budding and grafting are done a year later.

Transplanting: After one year of budding, the seedlings are transplanted to the field at a spacing of 7.0cm x 7.0m

Cultural Practices in the Cultivation of Citrus Spp

(i) Weeding
This is done regularly by cutlass using or by herbicides
(ii) Fertilizer application
Sulphate of ammonium at the rate of 350kg/ha is applied by ring method at regular intervals.

(iii) Mulching is also done during the dry season
(iv) Irrigation, especially during the dry season, is also practised.

(v) Pruning can also be done
(vi) Insects and diseases should be controlled and prevented

Maturity period of orange

This occurs between three and seven years.
Process of Harvesting OrangeClean or spot-picking of matured or ripe fruits with a hand or harvesting knife is done carefully and over a period of time.

Processing and storage of orange

it can be processed into citrus Juice which can be stored in canned or bottled form.

PESTS OF ORANGE AND CONTROL METHODS

(1) Thrips (2) Red Mites (3) Scale 4) bids (5) Fruit borers (6)Caterpillars. All these pests of citrus attack leaves, flowers and fruits

Control: Spray with insecticides like Gammalin 20 and Malathion.
(7) Leaf hoppers: These attack citrus leaves, leading to defoliation and reduced yield.
Control:
(i) By handpicking;
(ii) Use poison baits.

Diseases of Orange and control methods

(1) Gummosis: It is caused by a fungus Phytophthora spp which is spread by air and through the soil. Symptoms of the disease include rotting of the bark near the ground. Drying and cracking of hark, release (exude) of gum or slimy substance and leaves turn yellow and begin to die back.
Control:
(i) Use resistant varieties.
(ii) Spray with appropriate fungicides.
(iii) Paint the trunk with crude carbolic and water.

(2) Tristeza: It is a viral disease transmitted by aphids. Symptoms include phloem necrosis and swelling at bud union.

Control: Use resistant varieties.

(3) Citrus Scab: It is a 1ngal disease (Sphaceloma faucet) which spreads within the soil. It attacks young leaves and stems, especially in the nursery stage.
Control: Treat with fungicide e.g. Bordeaux mixture.

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