SWEET ORANGE CULTIVATION

Citrus sinensis, Rutaceae

Sweet orange is commonly known as santra orange or moosambi. It occupies nearly 30% of total area under citrus cultivation. Mandarin, Sweet Orange is commercially grown citrus species in India. Production of Mandarin orange is increasing every year in central and western parts of country. India ranks third in the production of orange after banana and mango fruits. In India, Orange is being grown in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Varieties and Hybrids

Valencia Late: Vigorous, Heavy Bearer Trees with Medium size fruits. Fruits are oval shaped. At ripening the color of skin turns to golden yellow. Fruit ripens late up to the month of February. 2-7 Seeds are present per fruit. The average fruit yield is 40 kg per plant.

Blood Red: Trees are larger in size than Jaffa. Fruits are medium-sized. Deep orange color Fruits at Maturity. Red color Flesh with 1-2% acidity.9-12 seeds is present per fruit. Juice color is Reddish. The average fruit yield is 43 kg per plant.

Pineapple: Trees are medium in size having spreading habit. Medium-size and Juicy Fruits. 10-20 Seeds are present per fruit. Fruit Ripens in the months of December-January. The average fruit yield is 38 kg per plant.

Jaffa: Tree has a similar shape to pineapple tree. Bigger sized fruits, round in shape with yellowish orange skin color. 9-12 seeds are present in single fruit. Fruit ripens in the month of December. The average fruit  yield is 54 kg per plant.

Mousambi: Trees are medium in size. Fruits are medium in size. Juice is totally acid less with 10% TSS. Fruit ripens in the month of November. 20-25 Fruits are present per fruit. The average fruit yield is 40 kg per plant.

Climate and soil

It requires about 10-30 degrees of temperature and requires 500mm of rainfall. It can be grown on wide variety of soils. Medium-Light Loam soils with pH of 6.0-8.0 are suitable for its best growth.

Land Preparation

Land should to be properly prepared for growing seedlings. Land should be ploughed, cross ploughed and leveled. Terrace planting is done on hills. High density planting is possible in hilly areas.

Spacing and deapth

For sweet oranges use spacing of 5mx5m is recommended. Dig pit of 1mx1mx1m, kept open in sun for some days. Add 15-20kg of well decomposed cow dung, SSP@500gm per pit.

Propagation

Sow citrus seeds in nursery on bed of 2mx1m size and with 15cm distance between the row. When seedlings are of 10-12cm height, transplanting is to be done. Select healthy and uniform size seedling for transplantation purpose. Remove dwarf and weak seedlings. If needed, pruned roots slightly before planting. In nursery, Budding is done when plant are of pencil thickness. Shield budding or T shape budding is done for that, T shaped slot is made in bark of tree at distance of 15-20cm from ground. Horizontal cut of about 1.5-2cm long is given, and vertical cut of 2.5cm long is made from middle of horizontal cut. Remove bud from bud stick and insert it into T shape slots, afterward wrapped it with plastic paper.   
T budding is done during February-March and also in August- September. Propagation in sweet orange, kinnow grape fruit is done by T budding

Seed Rate

Minimum plant density of 160 plants/acre should be maintained.

Pruning and training

Centre of plant should remain open. Water suckers should be removed at early stages of growth. For proper growth of trunk of plant, Shoots in 50-60cm near ground level should be removed.

Manures and fertilizers

When age of crop is 1-3year, apply well decomposed cow dung@5-20kg per Tree and Urea@100-300gm per Tree. For 4-6year old crop, apply well decomposed cowdung@25-50kg and Urea@100-300gm per Tree. For 7-9year old crop, apply Urea@600-800gm per tree and well decomposed cow dung@60-90kg per Tree. When crop is 10year old or above, apply cowdung@100kg or Urea@800-1600gm per tree.

Weed Management

Apply whole amount of cowdung during December month whereas apply Urea in two parts, Apply first of Urea in February, and second dose in April-May month. At time of applying first dose of Urea, apply whole dose of SSP fertilizer. If fruit drop is observed, to control excessive fruit drop, take spray of 2,4-D@10gm in 500Ltr of water. Take first spray in March end, then in April end. Repeat the spray in August and September end. If cotton is planted in nearby field of citrus, avoid spraying of 2,4-D, instead take spray of GA3. Weed can be controlled by hand-hoeing and also controlled by chemically, use glyphosate@1.6litre per 150 litre of water. Use glyphosate only on weeds not on crop plant

Irrigation

Sangtra require irrigation at regular intervals. Lifesaving irrigation should be given in winters and summers. Irrigation is necessary for Flowering, Fruiting and proper plant growth. Over irrigation may also led to diseases like Root rot and collar rot. High frequency irrigation is beneficial. Salty water is injurious for crop plants. Partial drying out of soil in spring may not affect plants.

Harvesting

Sweet oranges are ready to harvest when they attain proper size, shape along with attractive color having TSS to Acid ratio of 12:1. Depending upon variety fruits are generally ready for harvesting in Mid- January to Mid- February. Do harvesting at proper time as too early or too late harvesting will give poor quality.

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