sour oranges

annoysmom(z9az)March 26, 2008

Hi Everyone.

I planted my citrus trees 3 years ago and this is the first year we have had a bumper crop. I have one orange tree (don't know the variety) that is loaded with oranges but they are so sour we can't eat them. Some of them have fallen to the ground so they must be ripe but even those are as sour as lemons. Is anyone else having this problem? Our grapefruits are finally getting to be edible. Isn't this very late in the year to be maturing? Our trees get full sun all day and I fertilized several times last summer and fall. We are located in south Chandler

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Sounds like 1 of 2 possibilities. Either the sour orange root has overtaken the graft (the sweet orange you expected) or it should have been sold as an ornamental orange. Almost all edible citrus is grafted to sturdier rootstock that is less suseptable to problems. the sour or ornamental is one of these stocks. Look at it this way, you now have a lemon flavored orange tree so make some lemonade or lemon pie! the ornamental was very popular in the 50s but has largely dissapeared. Proper fertilizing should occur in Feb., May, and August but will not have much effect on taste.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 2:17PM
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Thanks, solar, for your very interesting comments. I did not know sweet oranges were grafted on ornamentals. I think your first suggestion is the most likely because the few oranges I had last year were sweet.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Just out of curiosity, could you describe the fruit itself and as a reference the ornamental orange has numerous thorns whereas the desirable varieties have fewer. The ornamental fruit has a sort of bumpy texture on the peel, more noticeable than any sweet fruit except maybe a large navel fruit. Also, do the limbs grow from the base or farther up the tree. The graft is about 3-8 inches above ground level. The rootstock is always trying to take over the sweet stock so be sure to keep all the suckers pulled of the base of any citrus.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:30PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

re grapefruit, they reach full sweetness about the time the following years flowering is done. It takes on average 12 to 16 months for grapefruit to reach it's prime. Most other citrus do not take as long, reaching good to each stage starting in September and running all fall and winter, depending on the variety.
Note sour orange is what is used for marmalade. I also use the juice to render my own BBQ sauce, adding low salt soy sauce, and another fruit juice (pomegranate, grape, or plumb are my favorites) in equal thirds, then reduce with a rolling boil stirring constantly. You can also add a bit of sugar if you like it sweet. I like mine hot/spicy so I add a bit of fine ground red pepper or Tabasco sauce. Fantastic on ribs. For pork BBQ I use tangerine juice, soft dates (like Barhi or Medjool), and soy.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 1:11AM
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Softmentor: thanks for the great idea. I am going to make some marmalade this week..we love it. And your BBQ sauce recipe sounds delicious!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 2:42PM
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