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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Harvest Oranges Before a Hard Freeze

Q. After 6 years, I am finally getting  oranges. They are turning orange and I have been told not to pick them until mid January. Is this right or can I pick them now (mid-December)?

A. Different varieties ripen at different times. I would sample one now and if it tastes good to you then harvest the others at the same maturity. If it is not yet to your liking then wait a bit but if temperatures drop to the mid-20’s then the fruit might freeze. In the Las Vegas area we get our coldest weather NORMALLY from mid-December to the end of January.

Play it by ear a bit right now but normally they would be ready right about now. You do not want to wait too long because fruit remaining on the tree can interfere with new flower production.

I copied and pasted this citrus calendar from the University of Arizona pdf document you can download from HERE. These are the approximate harvest dates (this is for Maricopa County, aka Phoenix area). We are a bit colder so harvest times can be a bit later. However for areas like Laughlin and Bullhead City they would be on the mark.

Note: I am recommending citrus in the Las Vegas area in only warm microclimates or protected from winter cold and winds.

The chart below I copied and pasted from the University of California Riverside pdf document you can download HERE.  This tells you the critical temperatures where you might lose different parts of the tree (flower buds, blossoms, green fruit, ripe fruit).

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