Title : Citrus Tree Harvest Time
Visit Count : 1773 Time(s)
Upload Date : 8/20/2016 - 2 Year(s) ago
Category : citrus
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Visit Count : 1773 Time(s)
Upload Date : 8/20/2016 - 2 Year(s) ago
Category : citrus
Begin harvesting your winter production any time between November and March, and your summer harvest between September and October.
Time of Year
Generally, most citrus fruits are ready to pick in winter, but the exact month depends on the type of citrus. In Mediterranean climates, oranges (Citrus sinensis) are picked from December through May. Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) harvest is from January to April. Limes (Citrus aurantifolia) and lemons (Citrus limon) ripen all year. "Valencia" oranges will not be ready until the summer.
If you’ve lived in the Valley for any period of time then you know how popular Orange Trees are. From the East Valley to the West, Phoenix is populated with orange groves. Heck, there are even neighborhoods that mandate you have an orange tree in your yard! Here are four of the top orange varieties you can enjoy immediately.
Navel Oranges - considered an early producer and typically ready for harvest between late November through February.
Arizona Sweet Oranges - typically ready for harvest during the same time frame as the Navel but experience an extended harvest through March.
Valencia Oranges - considered to be late harvest oranges and are ready February through July depending on the area temperatures.
Cara Cara oranges- ripen in December through May.
Tangerines - early harvest citrus and typically ready in late September and hold well on the tree deep into December.

Red Grapefruits are another tree that can be planted to increase the length of time you can harvest fresh citrus from your yard. These fruit are typically ready January through May and are again ready for harvest later in the year (September through December) depending on our weather patterns. Planting a grapefruit tree heading into the Fall could have fresh fruit hitting your breakfast table by Spring!

Tangelos are a great fruit to plant as they are a hybrid of the Duncan Grapefruit and the tangerine, offering a tart and sweet tasting flesh that many people enjoy for a variety of uses. These trees are typically ready for harvest November through February. For best production you can plant other citrus in your yard to get larger yields.
There are many types of citrus varieties available but these are the most commonly sought after because of their production of the largest and best tasting fruits in our environment. Planting different varieties of citrus allows you to prolong your harvest period and have fresh fruit throughout the year. There’s nothing better than sitting with your family and enjoying the freshest, safest and best tasting fruit right from your own backyard.
The flavor of the citrus fruit is a good indicator of ripeness. Unlike other fruits with starches that convert to sugars even after harvest, citrus do not have this advantage. You must wait until the fruit is completely ripened and at its sweetest before picking. Take a fruit from the tree and taste it to decide if the fruit is sweet enough for your liking to harvest the other citrus fruits.
Importance of Color
The color of citrus fruits is less important than the flavor. Cold fall weather produces the color change in citrus fruits, but usually the fruits are still far from being ready for harvest. "Valencia" oranges, which ripen in summer, may be slightly green even when the flesh inside is at its peak sweetness. This green may reappear on the "Valencia" oranges in the summer after they have turned fully orange, but it does not affect the fruit's flavor.
Flavor and taste is related to the level of Total Soluble Solids (TSS), acidity and the amount of aromatic or bitter flavors in the fruit. A measure of the TSS content is usually obtained from assessing the °Brix of the fruit. In the USA, a minimum TSS/Acid maturity ratio of between 7 to 9:1 is normally desired for oranges and mandarins. In Spain the minimum is 6:1, for satsumas and early oranges and increases to 8:1 for ‘Fortune’ mandarins. For grapefruit between 5 to 7:1 is the standard for marketable produce. For lemons, the level of acidity is particularly important. Lemon varieties have between 5-7% (mostly citric acid), compared with around 1% in oranges. In tropical climates, harvesting of oranges commences when the minimum TSS/Acid ratios (defined above) are reached and the fruit has a green-yellow color on no more than 25% of its surface. In Mediterranean climates, fruit is harvested when the appropriate TSS/acid ratio is reached and the fruit is orange across its complete surface. Exceptions in fruit color may be made in early fruit harvests, however this fruit may be ‘de-greened’ in ethylene chambers. Lemons are deemed ripe when a certain juice percentage is obtained. In New Zealand, for example, this is 25-35% for lemons and 45-50% for limes. In Spain the minimum juice content for lemons is 30 to 40%. Acceptable size and grade varies according to market, and most countries set their minimum standards. Splitting, creasing and other physiological disorders are undesirable. Correct potassium and calcium nutrition is critical to minimize the risks of producing these off-grades.
Cold Protection
Freezing weather affects the flavor and juice level of citrus fruits. When the fruit freezes, the juice sacs break, which causes the juice to seep out over the following days or weeks. This makes the fruit dry and flavorless. This severe fruit damage may occur at temperatures as high as 30.5 degrees Fahrenheit for button-sized lemons, according to University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Following a significant freeze, remove any fruit on the tree and use it immediately to avoid bacterial or fungal decay of the fruit.

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