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What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Posted by ginnyginny Zone 9 Calif (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 15, 11 at 13:54

I bought a Washington Naval orange about 28 years ago. The oranges have always had thick skins, getting thicker by the year! This year the couple of dozen oranges on my 10 foot tree are pretty dry, not sweet, and again have very thick rinds.

I would like to replace it with a sweet orange that won't have these thick rinds. I would love your recommendations.

I have 10 fruit trees in my garden and the orange the Satsuma tangerine are by far my most favorite.

Who would you recommend I order from?

Is it ok to plant it in the same location? If I have to move it, how far from the original location does it need to be?

I do fertilize and water as suggested in the books.

Thank you,

Ginny in San Jose, Ca


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

You sure you want to give up? although I recall reading in either the FL/CA citrus guides that older Navels start developing this problem, I think it's excessive Nitrogen in combination with inadequate Potash gives them thick skins.

Have a picture of the tree and/or fruits to help us?

If the soil does have this problem, esp. if you're current fertilization methods are the cause, issues will still arise with a new tree -- it will just take several years for a young Satsuma to start showing it.

If you replace it, you can't go wrong ordering directly from 4Winds (FourWinds) but there will be a high shipping cost. The benefit of living in CA is you can also get them retail from all over the place, almost any nursery and even HD/Lowes have em.

You almost can't go wrong even from Crapmart stores if you get them right when they arrive. Walmart will have the Week X on the label and they will be nice and shiny from the C&M,Nipoma grower. Week 13 is another big shipment date there if you don't make it in time to get them fresh next month. Lately, the HD's here are carrying the same C&M nursery trees that Walmart carries -- go figure.

Costco trees from Willits & Newcomb start arriving in late Feb and those have been excellent trees, esp for in-ground planting. But last year, all mandarins were in short supply there; but Satsuma was available.

It bears repeating: if you don't order directly from FourWinds be sure to buy any citrus tree FRESH from anywhere else (nurseries, garden centers, etc) to ensure they are still root-healthy. I've purchased my share of last-season trees and had very few issues, but caveat emptor. And it's the right timing to get 'em.

You probably don't have to worry about it, since almost everywhere you get a Satsuma it will be on Trifoliate, but whereabouts in CA do you live?


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

I have tried to fertilizer according to recommendations for citrus. I feel I have done a decent job of that. I did put down composted manure last fall and won't do that again as I read that can cause problems.

The thick skins have been a problem with this orange tree for at least 15+ years. I think it's the variety although when I bought it it was tagged "Washington Naval" I am sure.

I can't figure out how to post a picture.

I am very familiar with Four Winds and that is no doubt where this tree came from. At one citrus tasting at a local nursery I was told (probably by a rep from Four Winds) that the thick skin was normal for that orange.

My Satsuma does quite well, it isn't the problem.

The idea of too much N and not enough P sounds like an idea to work on. I wonder if having my soil tested would be worthwhile? I live in San Jose.

Thanks,
Ginny


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 17, 11 at 10:42

Is a thick skinned navel orange really a negative? Thin skinned oranges such as Valencia are much harder to peel. If the fruit is sweet and juicy, why would peel thickness matter?


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

It was suggested "I think it's excessive Nitrogen in combination with inadequate Potash gives them thick skins. "

Potash is K whereas phosphorus is P


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval? -

ginny,

which county do you live in? A call to the Extension service office of one of the following counties should help you locate the answer to why the skin is becoming more and more thick through the years:
San Diego, Orange, or Ventura County

USDA map to locate Extension Service offices
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

Here is a link that might be useful: to locate a county Extension office


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

jean001a, strange as it might seem, even though California is the largest agricultural producer in the U.S. they do not have county extension offices, at least not in Orange County. They used to have one about 25 years ago though. The state doesn't do soil tests either.


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Sorry I got my P and K mixed up - tired no doubt.

I live in Santa Clara County.

I wouldn't mind the thick skins if the interior was great - which it hasn't been for a long time. This year the interior is dry and sour.

Don't oranges eventually need replacing or do they just go on and on giving wonderful fruit to some people?

Ginny


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

It was said "...even though California is the largest agricultural producer in the U.S. they do not have county extension offices, at least not in Orange County. ...."

Well yes & no.

Orange County's office was having severe monetary problems during the years I lived in LA County. Then the Friends of the O. C. Extension took over and as far as I know, the Extension Service office still exists there. At least that's what I found from the USDA map I linked to above.

For a direct link to Orange County, use this
http://ceorange.ucdavis.edu/

For any other county office, in CA or elsewhere in the US, use the clickable USDA map
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA map to locate Unversity of CA Extension Service offices, and more


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval? -

I meant to add a comment about "the state doesn't do soil tests either."

CA is only one of the various states in which the county Extension offices don't test soil any more, and haven't done so for years. Oregon is another.


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

I've eaten oranges from the parent Washington Navel tree in Riverside - and they certainly didn't have thick skins even though the tree is over 100 years old.
So the problem with your tree is not its age!

Here is a link that might be useful: Parent Washington Navel


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Ginny,

Whether the problem of the thick skins is abnormal or not is debatable without knowing more, which is why pictures are needed. CA navels are naturally very thick skinned compared to other citrus and compared to FL. But certainly a 30 yr old well-fed tree should be producing far more than two dozen fruit -- which all taste bad. I believe you that something is very wrong.

Login to www.Photobucket.com and follow the instructions to create an account and upload photos there; you can then just paste the HTML address for us and we'll get them. Or just email them to me, follow my name on MyPage to send me a note and I'll reply.

A closeup of a halved orange and two pics of your tree (one very far away and one of the main trunk area) would be helpful. More pics of leaves are even better.

1) Is there excessive growth on the tree?

2) Does it grow lots of lush green leaves a few times per year and how many times has it been trimmed/pruned? 10 feet is awfully small if you have never pruned it.

3) Does the tree become loaded with blossoms twice a year (early spring and Fall)?

4) What is the brand and NPK ratio of the fert you've applied? Do you have a link?

5) What is the watering schedule you've followed?

I would not fertilize any more until you are sure what the problem is. Many in-ground trees go just fine without much fertilizer, esp. if you've been applying it consistently for years. Around here in Central CA, once a tree is mature and healthy, folks can several years without applying any fert and have beautiful crops. Besides Nitrogen, the micronutrients tend to deplete first (like calcium, magnesium, and zinc) in our soils for orange trees.


I couldn't tell from the OP if you were set on removing the tree and just wanted to know about replacement. If it were me, since I enjoy the flavor of sweet oranges, I would definitely not remove the tree until I was positive it couldn't be helped.

If you replace it with a different tree, it'll be 3 years or so before getting any decent sized crop. Maybe 4 years to get a couple dozen, it depends on the variety and the care. It is not uncommon to get one orange after 18 months, a few the next year, the skip a year if the tree is in a strong vegetative growth phase during normal flowering time.

If this tree is otherwise healthy, but you resolve the issue, in 2 years you could have more navels than you could eat.

If you do replace it, dig it out now and prepare the ground immediately so you can get the new one in before spring really hits and you miss the first root growth stage. I would *not* apply any manure or fert at all to the soil. If you want to be safe, I'd build a small raised bed (like 4x4x1) and mix it with 50% micro-sized fir bark and 50% bagged soil. There are better soil "formulations" out there, but this is fast and easy. The idea is to create a fast draining soil that will drain "out the bottom" away from the bed onto the existing graded area. You'll need to water this bed more often than your used to.

After that, we'd need to discuss any other nutrients to add or adjustments for pH depending on your water quality.

Chris


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Thank you for the additional comments. I will post some pictures tomorrow (day off). I appreciate your encouragement to figure out what's wrong and work on that rather than giving up on this tree.

You are great!!

Ginny


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Hello again!

Here are my comments/answers to Chris's questions-

I was wrong when I said it has 24 fruit on it this year; it's probably more like 60-70. They are almost all in clusters of 3-4 and very large and very heavy.

Is there excessive growth on the tree- I wouldn't say so except for an occasional water sprout. I really haven't pruned this tree except for deadwood.

Does it grow lots of lush green leaves a few times per year - I wouldn't say LOTS of lush green leaves; the interior is very bare.

Does the tree become loaded with blossoms twice a year (early spring and fall?) - not sure, need to watch. How would you define loaded?

What is the brand and NPK ratio of the fertilizer you've applied? Do you have a link? - a link to what?

Early last spring I applied 16-12-16 once and then realized it didn't have micronutrients.

In early summer I applied Dr Earth 7-4-2 according to the directions. It is so expensive!!

I am fairly certain that I did fertilize this tree every year in the spring since it was planted using a "citrus fertilizer."

5) What is the watering schedule you've followed? Hum.......let�s see. First off I tend to err on the side of over watering vs under watering my garden in general. For the citrus I place a hose end sprinkler under it in several places and let it run in each area close to an hour. I probably don�t start regular watering until it gets hot in June. In years when we don�t get a lot of rainfall, because it�s still cold and "winter" to me, I don�t water. Maybe that�s a problem? Actually right now in San Jose we haven't had rain for a week or more and are looking at temperatures to warm up to 70 for a few days with no rain predicted for over a week. I probably should get out and water, right? Somewhere I read that spring water was especially important.

I couldn't tell from the OP if you were set on removing the tree and just wanted to know about replacement. I was trying to ask why this is happening (hoping for answers and fixes) and if it's beyond help, what to buy. I am with you, I'd like to try and find out how to make the oranges better, not start over.

I just figured out how to use Photobucket so will post some pictures. I have several to post, let me know if it's too many ( for future postings) or if the pictures are too large (will need to figure out how to make them smaller.)

This first picture is the Washington Naval Orange from a distance; It is the tree on the right (Satsuma Tangerine on the left of it.)

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This picture shows the trunk of the tree

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Here is a closeup picture of the tree
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Nice green growth in the interior of the tree where it is shaded

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Three leaf samples; I will say most of the leaves don't look like this, they look much more green and normal.

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Cross section of an orange; this one doesn't look so thick. It's not only the thickness that bothers me, but the lack of sweetness.

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Orange tree on the right; Satsuma Tangerine on the left which is very pale isn't it? I had issues with the Satsuma last year but they seemed to improve for a while, not now of course.

Photobucket

I hope these pictures turn out ok!!

Thanks so much!!

Ginny


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Ginny,

You did a good job with the photos. I'd prefer them a little bigger actually, but they work. Once you post one photo, it allows me to click the link and go directly to your Photobucket album and see them all.

Regarding the Navel (and Satsuma) yes there are some deficiencies going on, but they aren't severe. It could be related to pH of the soil being too high, or some Micronutrients (like Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc). I doubt it's not enough Nitrogen given your fertilization. You should check the pH to see if you need to lower it, perhaps by fertilizing with Miracid a couple times in the hose sprayer. You can get a cheap pH meter for soil (it's not *real* accurate) but a double-check would be to test the pH of your water (using any simple test strip for aquariums). If the soil pH is below 6.5, the Dr. Earth fert you currently use will be fine to fix the foliage for next year, since your last fert was lacking Micros.

It also looks like the Navel is lacking adequate foliage in the interior, but I can't tell for sure when I zoom in. This will contribute to the lower amount of fruiting of a Washington Navel.

There is an exception: unless it's Robertson Navel which would've been tagged "offspring of Parent Washington Navel" and some people even call them "Washingtons that fruit two weeks earlier". If I recall correctly, the majority will fruit on the exterior canopy and in clusters (which you described). That's what mine does.

However, you are correct the skin in the picture above looks completely normal and not thick to me for a CA grown tree. If it were any thinner, I'd say it looks a little thin! Are most like this one this year? If the majority are like this in rind size and approx juice, it's normal.

Regarding the flavor, that is a whole other issue that isn't related to fert, lighting or disease for relatively healthy trees such as these.

The largest contributor to the flavor of your fruit is the climate: how much heat during Spring and how much cool weather it received during Winter, without frost on the fruit. Cool nights before ripening will bring the flavor into correct balance, but too much cold (around 32F or so) on the fruit itself starts to ruin the flavor.

Are there any other Washingtons in your neighborhood? Perhaps getting a sample from a neighbor might help to compare.

It might also be good to post again asking "CA SF/South Bay folks with Navels, are they sweet?" and see if anyone else contributes. There is plenty of anecdotal info out there of folks complaining their CA Navels have not been sweet in the last 10+ years "as they used to be".

If you get the sense the WA Navel in your neighborhood is consistently poor in flavor, save a couple "odd years", you might consider tearing it out and replacing with a different tree. But replacing with other sweet oranges will only have the same problem. I'd have to research, but I think some Mandarins aren't as sensitive to the heat/cold ratio, however all sweet citrus require it to a large extent.

We can chat more by phone if you'd like. Send me a message by clicking on My Page link by my name.

Chris


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your ideas. Here are my thoughts - (I tried to italicize but no luck.)

Ginny,
You did a good job with the photos. I'd prefer them a little bigger actually, but they work. Once you post one photo, it allows me to click the link and go directly to your Photobucket album and see them all.

.............I seldom post pictures and I was surprised with the small size. I spent several hours reading about resizing pictures so when I do it again they will be larger; now I just have to remember what I read!

Regarding the Navel (and Satsuma) yes there are some deficiencies going on, but they aren't severe. It could be related to pH of the soil being too high, or some Micronutrients (like Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc).

................I will do a PH test soon and possibly a soil test, which I�ve never done.

I doubt it's not enough Nitrogen given your fertilization. You should check the pH to see if you need to lower it, perhaps by fertilizing with Miracid a couple times in the hose sprayer. You can get a cheap pH meter for soil (it's not *real* accurate) but a double-check would be to test the pH of your water (using any simple test strip for aquariums). If the soil pH is below 6.5, the Dr. Earth fert you currently use will be fine to fix the foliage for next year, since your last fert was lacking Micros.

It also looks like the Navel is lacking adequate foliage in the interior, but I can't tell for sure when I zoom in. This will contribute to the lower amount of fruiting of a Washington Navel.

.........Yes, the interior has been quite bare for some time although I do see some nice green growth inside now. I wonder how it will do since it�s in so much shade? I�ll have to watch.

There is an exception: unless it's Robertson Navel which would've been tagged "offspring of Parent Washington Navel" and some people even call them "Washingtons that fruit two weeks earlier". If I recall correctly, the majority will fruit on the exterior canopy and in clusters (which you described). That's what mine does.

.............I have no idea what this tree was labeled, other than I do believe I asked for and got a "Washington Naval." Mine are definitely in clusters, at least as I look at them this year. Unfortunately I�ve got so many things growing in my garden, all of which I love, that I don�t pay real; close attention to any of them.

However, you are correct the skin in the picture above looks completely normal and not thick to me for a CA grown tree. If it were any thinner, I'd say it looks a little thin! Are most like this one this year? If the majority are like this in rind size and approx juice, it's normal.

.........I am thinking that possibly the first oranges I picked this year had thicker skins than now. I do recall being annoyed by the thick skins over the years and did ask a Four Winds staff person probably 15+ years ago. They said it was normal. This picture does represent what I�m currently eating. I think it was not only the thick skins (what I thought was thick) but also the lack of a lot of juice in some of them (that�s better lately) and lack of sweetness, that bothered me.

Regarding the flavor, that is a whole other issue that isn't related to fert, lighting or disease for relatively healthy trees such as these.
The largest contributor to the flavor of your fruit is the climate: how much heat during Spring and how much cool weather it received during Winter, without frost on the fruit. Cool nights before ripening will bring the flavor into correct balance, but too much cold (around 32F or so) on the fruit itself starts to ruin the flavor.

..............I asked yesterday while at my nursery about the lack of flavor and he said our summer last year was too cool. (I thought it was wonderful, very few hot spells- 90+.) If weather is such a factor then I just have to accept what I�ve got and be happy.

Are there any other Washingtons in your neighborhood? Perhaps getting a sample from a neighbor might help to compare.

..........I�ll keep my eye open and ask.

It might also be good to post again asking "CA SF/South Bay folks with Navels, are they sweet?" and see if anyone else contributes. There is plenty of anecdotal info out there of folks complaining their CA Navels have not been sweet in the last 10+ years "as they used to be".

........I�ll try that, thanks for the suggestion.

If you get the sense the WA Navel in your neighborhood is consistently poor in flavor, save a couple "odd years", you might consider tearing it out and replacing with a different tree. But replacing with other sweet oranges will only have the same problem. I'd have to research, but I think some Mandarins aren't as sensitive to the heat/cold ratio, however all sweet citrus require it to a large extent.

We can chat more by phone if you'd like. Send me a message by clicking on My Page link by my name.
Chris

.........Thank you so much for your help with this. I love to talk via the web because I can keep the information to read in the future. I can�t get over how wonderful people on the web are (like you) to help out strangers. It just shows how we enjoy sharing our passions with other who have the same passions. I do love this web!! Gardenweb is my most favorite site. I have posted questions on many other forums and gotten fabulous feedback.

.......Have a great day and thanks again.

Ginny


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Ginny, I am in your neighborhood too and have a 18-20 year old washington navel tree in my yard. I get a lot of fruit from it but not an overabundance. There are certainly deficiencies going on in your trees as mine look a lot greener than yours. I would suggest that you mix some white vinegar (at the rate of one tablespoon per gallon of water) with irrigation water and also some liquid chelated iron at the recommended amounts and apply to your tree for a few weeks and see if there is any marked change (the vinegar will temporarily decrease the ph without any lasting effects). The other things that Chris mentions like ph test etc are good too.
The skin of your orange looks normal to me. And I usually harvest my navel oranges a lot later than what is recommended because the micro climate in my yard is not in sync with SoCal climates! I read on other forums that growers in the bay area need to wait a few more weeks to get the same level of ripeness on their fruit as in other parts of Cal.
As for the lack juice - I was told by a neighbor who has grown backyard citrus for several decades that it is due to lack of sufficient watering in the spring and summer. Maybe it is a good idea to check on your watering schedule.
Good luck with your tree. And I hope you find a way to solve your problems.


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

I tasted a neighbors Washington Naval yesterday and his was just like mine; very heavy, thick rind at one end, little juice and little sweetness. Listening to how he cares for his tree mine should do much better. He only has about a 8 foot square area to water, the rest is cement and his only gets afternoon sun.

I hadn't thought much about waiting for them to sweeten up. I've always told my friends that I get oranges in January for 6 weeks. Maybe if I wait until Feb 1 and then eat for 6 weeks I'll be happier with the flavor.

Ginny


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Ginny,

Waiting longer, but not too long, should definitely help; how much help depends on the climate. Next year, try sampling two oranges every two weeks starting late Nov. This is an educational step teaching you when to harvest the fruit. Although this can change from year to year depending on climate and care, at least you get a baseline regarding the progression from very acid to ripened sweet. For my area, late Dec is usually the ripest time, but I always go by feel to find them when heavy in addition to sampling.

Regarding your trees: Chances are your soil pH will be at least a little high which means the tree can't take up the nutrients it needs -- even if they are in the soil in abundance.

The long-term treatment is clear:
1) keep the soil pH around 6.5
2) apply a fertilizer with a ratio *near* 5-1-3 NPK. It must have micro-nutrients labeled on it.
3) once a year apply 1Tbsp/gal Epsom Salts dissolved in warm water (as very few ferts have Magnesium (Mg) in them).

If it's an *organic* fertilizer, the NPK ratio can be different and it's probably OK. But citrus use lots of N, hardly any P, and K in about half the rate of N. The second #, P=Phosphorus builds up in the soil and is becoming taboo.

There are a few ways of lowering your soil pH, with many good ideas on the net. If you go the Sulfur route, you can apply the sulfur granules once/year when warm in spring at the same time you apply the Epsom salts.

As you've done a great job so far answering our questions, you may want more opinions on exactly what the tree is deficient in. If so, take several more photos of the sections that are yellow; take some closeup, some a few feet away. Use your highest resolution and largest image size and upload it to Photobucket (don't post the actual photo here). By examining larger sections of the leaves, we'll know better what you need. As ashley has stated, applying some iron chelate in vinegar water is a simple test to see if iron is all it needs.

But honestly it's probably academic anyway, since the care steps I listed above should resolve any issues long-term.

We've covered the sweetness topic. Regarding the dryness topic, if you get a year where the majority of them are looking that way, take some pics and lets try to figure it out what happened. As I said earlier, there are some known effects for causing that particular condition: excessive N, lower K, but it can also be caused by excessive watering. It also can happen when they are over-ripe. The internal cells will burst and dry out; in some climates this can happen relatively quickly after their peak ripeness.

Chris


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Thanks Chris for all the follow up!! I'll check the PH tomorrow if I can and let you know the results.
Ginny


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Hi everyone!

I just re-read our conversations. So much great information, I'll keep it in my citrus file and refer to it when I have concerns or questions.

I did a PH test today with the kit that comes with the capsules and did 4 tests 4" down. All came out 6.5 which I guess is ok.

Chris when you mentioned don't post photos here but leave them in Photobucket, can you expound on that? With 4 or so photos posted here everyone could see them. Sounds like you know to go to Photobucket to see more of my pics but do most people? I for one am a complete novice with Photobucket.

I am posting larger pictures of my originals because I finally got directions that seemed to work for me. What I had to do was within Photobucket go to "Customize your upload options" and change it to 800x600 and then import my photos.

Thanks again to all of you for your ideas. I'll pay much closer attention to my two citrus this year and keep some notes. I definitely will not remove the tree thanks to all of your advice!!

Ginny

My Washington Naval with a little bit of my Satsuma showing.

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Closer look at Washington Naval

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Leaves

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I'm very excited I finally learned how to post decent size pictures!!

Bye again


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Excellent pics! ;-)

Josh


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the fact your tree appears to have multiple trunks at ground level.
Assuming that you bought a grafted tree all those years ago, then either you planted it much too low or you have allowed the rootstock to take over at some stage.
Named varieties are nearly always grafted on to a suitable rootstock, and the graft should be well above soil level.
Do you remember whether the tree originally had a single stem? It could be you were sold a rooted cutting, but this is unlikely from a reputable supplier. So, it is possible you are growing the rootstock which will be something other than the Washington Navel variety.


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

My orange does have multiple trunks; I'll add that picture.

25+ years ago we only had small reputable nurseries! I am sure I bought it from a well respected Cupertino Nursery called Bonsai, which unfortunately is no longer in business.

I am sure it had one trunk when I bought it.

I certainly hope I didn't plant it too low at planting time as I know not to do that now and probably even then. The instructions at that time were most likely to plant at the same level as in the container. What could have happened is that I added too much planting mix and the soil settled. In those days they suggested planting mix or something similar; I see today they no longer do. I have 4 fruit trees that I planted quite high 8 years ago and did use a planting mix to mix into the soil and they are now at ground level. I guess you'd say my soil does settle!

Thanks for your thoughts on this; I hadn't paid any attention to the trunk before.

Ginny

Photobucket


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

So this means the graft point and the whole of the rootstock is probably below ground.
Sweet orange is highly susceptible to the disease Phytophthora, sometimes called 'foot rot'. That is one of the main reasons for grafting on to a resistant rootstock. Phytophthora occurs in damp conditions, and causes the bark to rot. (Google it for more info!)
I think you should brush away several inches of soil from around the trunks and see if there are signs of bark splitting and rotting. The yellowing leaves may be a sign of such problems. In fact, if it hasn't grown any roots, you should keep removing soil until you are below the graft level - if you can find it, and of-course if it doesn't make the tree unstable. You could end up with the tree growing in a depression or pit a couple of yards across.
The ideal is to remove all soil from the Navel part of the tree. If you can't do that completely, you should ensure you never water close to the trunk.


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Hi Ginny,

Sorry have been a way for a while and lost track. Yes the tree is planted too low, or erosion from other areas has shifted and raised the topsoil or mulch build-up to your graft line.

As Citrange said, if it can be scraped away without disturbing roots, do it. And yes, don't water too close to the trunk b/c of this.

Otherwise, I doubt it is the cause of anything we're seeing or discussing here. You should've seen lots of die-back by now.

I'd do the vinegar water with micro-nutrient additions. You can buy a bottle of Iron+Zinc for about $5 at your nursery. If you can't find it, then go ahead with the Chelated Iron. Dissolve Epsom Salts in warm water, then add to your Vinegar water w/Iron+Zinc. Then apply all around the tree drip-line...probably requires about 15 gallons of water for a tree that large. This would be a one-time application.

Each orange gets its nutrients from the closest three corresponding leaves to it. Said leaves needed lots of sunlight and nutrients themselves. The fruit will be full of acid until the cold winter comes and the acid "mellows out" so our palette can taste the sweetness that it previously developed.

So bottom line now: you can fix some nutrient micro-deficiencies and over time develop more lush green foliage, where the addition of healthy foliage may yield "some" additional fruit sweetness.... but I doubt this will completely satisfy your requirements.

I wouldn't give it more than 2 more years, if it were me. If the three care steps I listed above (pH, fert with all micro-nutrients, magnesium) are done for two entire seasons and your fruit is no better, I'd say goodbye to your old friend. Pending "climate change", you probably won't get a lot different fruit except for oddball years.

I have the same situation with my Trovita. I'm about to rip it out, even though it's trying its best to please my palette.

Sorry...


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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

Disclaimer: I am not a citrus expert

My understanding is the citrus fruit grown in California has a thicker skin and slightly less sweet and less juicy flesh. It is also pretty and thus is sold throughout America as fresh eating fruit. Fruit in Florida has a thinner skin and sweet juicy flesh. It is uglier and is thus sold as orange juice. Your orange looks perfectly normal to me. Here is my Valencia orange.

Ugly rust mite damage on the outside

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Yummy sweet goodness inside

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RE: What should I buy to replace thick skin Wash Naval?

It was an awfully cold summer last year, by Bay Area standards...


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