splitting oranges - Knowledgebase Question

Chino Hills, Ca
Question by PACORSE
January 21, 2010
I have both navel and valencia orange trees that are about 12-15 years old. The fruit on all of them is splitting before it gets ripe. What should I do?

Answer from NGA
January 21, 2010


This type of fruit splitting is thought to happen as a result of unstable environmental conditions that cause stress to the tree. This is usually due to sudden swings in temperature, rapid increases in moisture or notable changes in the relative humidity. If these sudden fluctuations happen during the initial stages of the fruit's development, the inner fruit and the outer rind of the orange may end up growing at slightly different rates or the orange may develop a weak rind. Either will eventually cause the fruit to split sometime down the road as the fruit continues to mature and grow in size. Although there isn't a lot you can do to control the weather (e.g. preventing cool spring weather from suddenly turning hot), you can avoid extreme fluctuations in moisture levels by keeping the soil around your tree consistently watered. Citrus trees do not like to stand in water, so hopefully yours is growing in well-drained soil. Depending on the rainfall in your area, try to water it at least every other week during the growing season-more during extreme heat. To prevent overwatering, let the top 5-6 inches of soil dry out between each watering. The key here is consistency. The good news is that usually only a small percentage of the fruit is affected, and some years are better than others in terms of avoiding the problem. Best wishes with your orange trees.

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