Sunday, January 23, 2011

Valencia Orange

Here in Arizona, we are lucky to plant all kinds of citrus trees. I think what shocks me the most is why people don't plant more of the citrus they want to eat.  The standard citrus trees you see around town are the grapefruit and decorative oranges that people planted back in the 50's.  There are certainly many more varieties that grow here and do just as well as the standard Tucson grapefruit tree.  It's really strange how people are protective of some of their trees.  For example, I am going to write on the Blood(moro) Orange later today.  This is one of those trees that people consider sacred.  They'll say things like, "You can pick any of those oranges, but not the Blood Orange." Why not plant more of the blood orange tree then? This story comes from my Great Uncle who lives up in Sun Valley near Phoenix.  However, I've heard this same conversation between other people around town.  It makes me laugh.  The moral of the story here is plant fruit that you'll eat and not plant citrus for the novelty of having a grapefruit tree, etc:) However, I love grapefruit:)
Today's focus is on the orange trees that I have growing currently on the property.  The first one is the Valencia Orange.  This standard juice orange is the most widely planted orange in the world.  Medium size fruit is orange in color and nearly seedless. The fruit is sweet and very juicy.  It's often called the "Summer Orange" because it matures from April to October. The fruit stores well on the tree and improves in quality.  It is a large, vigorous, and columnar shaped tree. This plant has also done well in the gardens and grew several inches.  It is a dwarf variety that will grow anwhere from 10-20 feet tall and equally wide.  This particular plant is more upright than the others. It's also frost hardy up to 32 degrees. I didn't get any fruit off this tree this year but I am hoping that this year will bring the first crop:) Stay tuned for the sacred "blood or moro orange":)  

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