Do I need to remove fruit to get my tree to blossom?

nat_gardner(CA)March 30, 2008

We moved in to our home in April of '06 ... the orange tree was full of oranges, but I did not notice it blossoming.

In February of last year (07) we had someone come out and trim all the trees - including the orange tree which was now empty of oranges for the first time since we've moved in.

In the Spring of last year, the tree blossomed ... and it just a few weeks since the oranges (loads of them!) have become ripe.

My question is: Do I need to remove all the oranges in order to get the tree to blossom again? I've been removing a dozen or so every week for our family ... but there are still dozens more. Do I need to remove them? If yes, how soon?

Thanks so much for your help!

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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

No, you don't need to take all the fruit off. Many kinds of citrus, including many varieties of oranges, hold the fruit for more than 12 months so they have fruit and flowers at the same time or even mature fruit and small new season fruit.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 8:50PM
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Thanks softmentor.

How do I know if our tree is one of those varieties?

We have a mature lemon tree, plus a newly-planted grapefruit tree which are both blossoming while the orange tree isn't. Is that an indicator of anything?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 3:24PM
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Nat Gardner,

I think Softmentor means simply that some trees will hold their fruit for a number of months after it is ripened before it will naturally fall off. For example, a juice orange might have set fruit on blossoms that opened in March of 2007, and those fruit might have ripened in December of 2007, and yet they might very well linger on the tree into May of 2008 if you don't pick them. Despite this, the tree will still flower again in March of 2008, give or take a couple or three weeks, depending on the seasonal conditions.

Others will correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think you are really stressing the tree that much if you leave part of the previous year's crop on the tree after it starts to flower and set new fruit. The old fruit, already ripe, are probably not drawing that much out of the tree as far as nutrients are concerned.

Of course, eventually the old season's fruit will either fall off, or you will pick it and notice it is past its peak. One thing to remember is that ripe fruit on the tree will possibly raise the risks of insect pests and disease, since things like fruit flies will find the ripe fruit, and fungal diseases will potentially also show up.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 6:08PM
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