The decision on which variety to plant and cultivate is probably one of the most important decisions an orange grower will make. This decision will affect his/her production, routine and annual work calendar for the next 40 years. Things to consider: Are you planning to grow oranges for juice or as fresh? Which variety will be easily adapted to the climate conditions of your region? Which variety appears to be resistant in diseases commonly found in your region? Are you able to harvest by hand or mechanically the oranges during the selected variety’s normal ripening season? Are you able to hire workers or rent machines at that particular time of the year?
Nearly all of the world’s orange juice production comes from Valencia oranges. However, Valencia oranges can also be eaten as fresh. The fruit of Valencia is moderately large in size. It has an elongated to spherical shape during maturation. In order to mature, Valencia has great needs in heat, and these needs are satisfied only in the warmest areas. In the US, such conditions occur only in Florida, in the Rio Grande valley of Texas and in the lowest dry areas of Arizona and California. In such areas, Valencia oranges normally mature in January or February and they may be retained on the tree several months after ripening, even till the flowering. In areas with less warm, ripening is delayed and overlaps with flowering, sometimes for several months. Consequently, in many areas, the trees usually bear two crops, the old (oranges that are mature or near to maturity) and the new, which is in the process of flowering or fruit setting. In areas with mild winters and moderately low overall heat in the growing season, Valencia ripens in summer. It is one of the most important varieties in Florida and California and represents almost half of the US orange production. Moreover, Valencia is one of the most important varieties in South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Israel, Algeria, Morocco and Brazil.
The navel oranges are consumed mainly as fresh fruit. Secondarily, navel oranges are used as additive to juices. They are normally not suitable for juicing because their juice gets bit during preservation. The fruit is normally seedless and bigger in size than the orange fruit of Valencia variety. The most important of the navel orange varieties are: Washington Navel or navel Washington or Bahia or Merlin. In the US, the Washington navel oranges ripen from fall into winter, and the fruit normally stays on the tree for 3 to 4 months.
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7.) Choosing Orange Tree variety
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