PIXIE ORANGES ORCHARD CARE

PLANTING

Transplant in the field at onset of rains.

Clear the field and dig planting holes 60 x 60 x 60 cm well before the onset of rains.

Add well decomposed organic manure in the holes and mix with soil.

Generally, trees need a wider spacing at sea level than those transplanted at higher altitudes. Usually the plant density varies from 240 to 250 trees per acre, spacing of 4m x 4 m. It is very important to ensure that seedlings are not transplanted too deep. After transplanting, the seedlings ought to be at the same height or preferably, somewhat higher than in the nursery.

Under no circumstances must the graft union ever be in contact with the soil or with mulching material if used.

FERTILIZERS

For normal growth development (high yield and quality fruits), Pixie Orange trees require a sufficient supply of fertilizer and manuring. No general recommendation regarding the amounts of nutrients can be given because this depends on the fertility of the specific soil. Professional, combined soil and leaf analyses would provide right information on nutrient requirements.

In most cases tropical soils are low in organic matter. To improve them at least 20 kg (1 bucket) of well-rotted cattle manure or compost should be applied per tree per year as well as a handful of rock phosphate. On acid soils 1-2 kg of agricultural lime can be applied per tree spread evenly over the soil covering the root system. Application of manure or compost makes fruits sweeter (farmer experience).

Nitrogen can be supplied by inter cropping pixie orange trees with legume crops such as cowpeas, clover or beans, and incorporating the plant material into the soil once a year. Mature trees need much more compost/well-rotted manure than young trees to cater for more production of fruit.
Conventional fertilization depends on soil types as well.

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Citrus fruits seedlings in our fruit trees nursery

HOW TO PRUNE PIXIE ORANGE TREES

In general, if we remove part of the crown from healthy adult pixie trees, this will directly result in proportionate reduction of their production. Even in young trees, which have not come into fruition, heavy pruning generally delays their entry into fruition.

Consequently, light pruning (trimming) should only be limited to making small interventions to the shape of trees. Our goal is to facilitate aeration and sunlight penetration to the inner part of the tree as well as to facilitate various cultivation operations.

The young trees receive their first pruning when they are exported from the seedbed in order to be transplanted in the field. This pruning aims at removing part of the root system of seedlings and part of the crown, so as to bring some balance between vegetation and root system.

Trees that suffer damages from frost, very high temperatures, or rodents, need special pruning. If the damage is slight and has only infected foliage and young shoots, we do not need to prune. But when a severe frost has affected larger branches, the pruning is necessary.

WHAT CAUSES PIXIE TREE LEAVES TO CURL?

Pixie orange trees not only produce delicious citrus they also make striking landscape plants for the garden. Unfortunately, orange trees can become invested with pests or become infected with a fungal disease that causes their leaves to curl. It is essential to identify the problem with the trees in order to treat the leaves with either pesticide or herbicide.

There are four major reasons for leaf curl in pixie orange trees:

  • pests
  • disease,
  • water stress and
  • weather
  • Sometimes it’s a combination of all four.

Sunburn

Curling pixie leaves with yellow, brown, or grey spots may be sunburned. This usually occurs on outer leaves that are exposed to the longest periods of direct sunlight during warm-to-hot weather, usually on the south and west sides of trees.

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A section or two of sunburned leaves usually doesn’t pose a serious problem for mature trees. Provide shade. It may be beneficial to allow sunburned leaves to persist on the tree until weather cools. If a layer of sunburned leaves is removed, the leaves beneath them may also become sunburned.

Water shortage

Water stress is probably the most obvious reason for leaf curl on a pixie tree. Lack of water will eventually affect the flowers and fruit which will drop prematurely. The amount of water an orange tree needs depends on the type, time of year, weather and the size of the tree.

Overwatering can affect the orange tree. Be sure to plant the tree in an area of excellent drainage. Remember, citrus trees don’t like overly wet feet.

Citrus canker

Citrus canker is a fungal disease that causes discoloration and curling of pixie tree leaves. Swelling on branches and twigs along with the curled leaves are good indications that the tree has a fungal disease. Bacteria survive in lesions; the main method of spread is via wind driven rain; bacteria may enter through pruning wounds. Treatment generally includes pruning off the cankers and applying a fungicide to the tree.

If the disease is introduced to an area, all infected trees should be removed and destroyed; in areas where disease is endemic, windbreaks can help to reduce disease severity; cultural control of the disease should focus on controlling leaf miner populations, utilizing wind breaks and applications of copper sprays

Pests

Sap-sucking pests like aphids, mites and psyllids feed on pixie tree leaves by extracting the juices directly from transport tissues. As populations grow, they can cause deformations including curling and cupping in leaves, as well as discoloration.

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When you notice your pixie leaves are curling, check their undersides carefully for tiny pests feeding in clusters. If you spot them, spray your pixie tree with insecticidal soap or neem oil, making sure to coat areas where pests were spotted. Repeat this treatment weekly until your pixie plant begins to recover and all signs of insects are gone.

Citrus leaf miners are another insect pest of pixie, but instead of sucking on leaf juices, the moth larvae tunnel through leaf tissues as they grow. These tunnels are highly visible on leaf surfaces, appearing as undulating white or yellow lines on the green leaf surfaces. Citrus leaf miners are difficult to treat successfully; it’s generally recommended that you allow them to run their course since most citrus trees can tolerate a significant leaf miner load.

Cold Weather

Pixie leaves may curl in response to cold weather. Many types of citrus withstand overnight frost or short periods of frost. Blossoms and fruit of most citrus are sensitive to frost. Dead leaves that still attached at the tops of trees and outer canopies after periods of cold weather may indicate frost damage.

Cover canopies with cloth or plastic sheets overnight to protect them from mild frost. Pixie trees recover well after minor frost damage.

 

 

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