Sweet orange is the main crop in some regions in India. Here is the complete information on sweet orange cultivation in India.

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Belonging to the botanic family Rutaceae, Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) is one of the largest growing Citrus species in the World. In India, the healthful fruit is commercially grown in large scale in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, and Mizoram. With high levels of vitamin C, potassium and a series of nutritious antioxidants and minerals, the fruit offers profuse health benefits. Which is its peel and juice are used extensively in making medicines other than taking it as fresh healthy fruits. It helps prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney stones, stokes as well as asthma.

Popular Types of Sweet Oranges

Sathgudi

With its globular shape and thin semi glossy smooth skin, the juicy and tasty sweet orange is grown in extensive range all over South India (AP) and has high market demand. Fully grown oranges can weigh within 140 – 160 gram and grow with a minimum amount of seeds. It offers 49% Juice level and fruit is parted in 10-12 segments. Among all sweet oranges, Sathgudi is the highest yield producer.

Mosambi

It grows with rough thick skin and circular in shape. Containing roughly 43% juice, it tastes sweet and has an acid rate of 0.45%. It weighs higher than Sathugadi ranging between 150-220 grams with a higher seed rate. It grows in Maharashtra on a large scale.

Mosambi
Mosambi

Batavian

While carrying many characteristics of Sathgudi, the popular sweet orange species of Andhra Pradesh typically develops with yellow patches over the green background. Mostly grown along the coastal AP, Batavian oranges are specially protected from sucking moths found in the region.

In addition to the above Malta and Jaffa are highly popular sweet oranges that grow in abundance in Punjab.

Technical Requirements for Sweet Orange Cultivation

Soil

Loamy well-drained soil having a steady texture up to 2-3 meters from top soil is ideally the best for sweet orange farming. Equally, that can be grown in heavy soils only if it has a well-draining capacity; however, that usually offers lesser yield than for former. Ensure that soil pH level is within the range of 6.5-7.5 to maximize yield.

Climate

Tropical to semi tropical climate with a yearly rainfall 600-700 mm is best suited for cultivators to grow high quality sweet oranges demanding in the market. Temperature should be within the range of 30-40 degrees for best results.

Planting Material

Healthy virus free growing budded plants are ideally the best planting materials. Root stock needs to be collected from renowned nurseries and Research Centers to get best results.

Preparation of Lands

Agricultural land should be ploughed to fine tilt up to deep soil and then pits measuring 1 square meter should be dug for planting seedlings. Top soil should be well mixed with 15-20 kg of FYM, 500-600 grams of super phosphate in addition to 30 grams of Methyl [email protected]% ( for protecting plants from fungi infestation) to fill up the holes before planting.

Planting Time and Spacing

Ideal planting period is July to December. While planting, ensure to keep the bud joint above the soil level. Water growing seedlings on a regular basis and support them with stakes to avoid damages due to wind. Maintain a space of 6 m x 6 m among each plant.

Manures and Fertilizers per Plant

Manures/ Fertilizers1st yearYearly Increase6th Year Onward
FYM20 kg.5 kg.35-40 kg.
Nitrogen100 g.100 g.600 g.
Phosphorus50 g.50 g.300 g.
Potassium25 g.25 g.300 g.
  • The doses of Nitrogen need to be applied in March and October in even ratio although other fertilizers including FYM, Phosphorous, and potassium should be introduced once and i.e. in October.
  • Make sure that all fertilizers are applied in a circular belt maintaining a distance of 120 cm from the tree base (trunk). Consider using deep watering devices to put fertilizers in a depth of 25 cm. Both the techniques are most desired to help the extended and scattered plant roots get their needed nutrients uniformly. This accelerates plant growth and generates the highest yield.
  • In order to protect plants from mineral deficiencies, which is experienced widespread, consider spraying solutions of  Zinc [email protected]%, [email protected]%, Manganese @0.05%, Iron @0.25%, [email protected] 0.1% in addition to Molybdenum @0.003% once in a quarter. Additionally, each plant should be nourished with Sulphate of Zinc, Manganese and Iron @25 gram each year to reap the best outcome.

Irrigation

After planting, consider shallow Irrigation once in 10 days; however, avoid overwatering that causes root rotting and growth of mold. After two irrigations, go for deep irrigation because meanwhile roots reach deeper parts of soil whereas deep watering is ideal to supply water directly to roots. Mind well that flowering and fruiting is more critical when plants need more frequent watering and irregularity can lead to fruit drops. Avoid watering during monsoon.

Pruning and Training

In periodic intervals, eliminate the dropping branches, diseased or damaged ones that help and train plants to grow with maximum vigor. In the primary stage, continue removal of shoots that grow up to 50 cm from ground level. Retain the centre stem open to flourish along with uniformly distributed branches to its sides which is a model plan. Avoid pruning plants that are in the bearing stage as well in wet climates. Apply Bordeaux paste 1% for best results.

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Intercrops

Initiative of intercropping especially during the pre-bearing phase of sweet oranges can be a money-making endeavor for cultivators. Consider growing short term leguminous crops such as black gram, green gram, cowpea, beans, Bengal gram, and cluster bean as well as cucurbitaceous crops.

Bahar Treatment and it’s Need

When it comes to sweet orange farming, bahar treatment has now been widely practiced in cultivators via applying forcing method that helps timely blooming, fruiting and harvesting crops in any of the three distinct seasons of flushes including Ambe bahar during Dec-Jan, Mrig Bahar during June-July and Hastha Bahar in Sept-Oct. For example in Andhra Pradesh, these citrus plants typically bloom yearly in three seasons- January-February (Ambe bahar, June (Mrig bahar) and October (Hastha bahar). In general, major cultivators in AP undergo bahar treatment through manipulation of watering cycles; land management, additional fertigation that successfully gets them the appearance of flowers within a month’s time.

Controlling of Fruit Drop

While fruit drops is a frustrating experience for cultivators and found widespread, for effective control consider spraying the plants with 2,4-D at 10 [email protected] 1g/100 liter of water at the time of flowering, second term after one month and third term should be initiated 30 days after manifestation  of fruits.

Pest Control

Leaf Miner

The caterpillar eats the leaves, deforms, and curls them while affecting the plants. As a control step, spray plants with azadirachtin 1%@ 10 ml/ liter water after emergence of new foliages and after one week a 2nd spray with NSKE 5% + dichlorovos 0.5 ml or imidacloprid/100 SL @0.5 ml of in per liter water can produce best results.

Citrus Butterfly

The highly damaging caterpillar destroys your plants right during their seedlings stage. Think of using spray like Bacillus thuringiensis 1g or Rynaxypyr 0.2 ml or flubendiamide 0.1 ml / liter water to control infestation.

Bark and Stem Borer

The larvae feed on the branch barks and cause drying. To control, use of petrol or kerosene or malathion @5-8 ml in the holes bored by the caterpillars and then sealing them with clays produce results to eliminate the larva.

Rust Mites

The bugs suck juice of fruits and cause discoloration while reducing their market value. Use soaked [email protected] or dicofol 2ml or Ethion 2ml and mix with per lit of water and apply during fruiting stage or over the fruits. Elimination of already infested fruits is most essential.

Fruits Sucking Moths

The sucking moths pierce fruits during their ripening stage and suck juice causing rotting and dropping. To control, at first discard the infested fruits as well as collect the dropped fruits from the area and destroy. Mind their remains attract adult moths once again. Aside from applying neem oil 0.5% along with sandovit or teepol 0.5 ml in one liter of water with sprayers, always keep away from delayed harvesting that often leads to pest attacks.

Aphids

The pests generally attack the soft shoots and curl them during the growing period of all Citrus classes. Use of spray like imidacloprid 0.5ml or dimethoate 2ml in per lit water is highly recommended. Depending on the severity stage consider second spaying after 10 days with neem oil 0.5% or else NSKE 5%.

Powdery Mildew

To eliminate the while powdery fungus growth found over the leaves surface, consider spraying plants with Karathane 0.1% or Sulphur ( wettable type) 0.2% twice in a fortnight interval.

Harvesting

In general, all sweet oranges carry fruits after 4th year. Applying spray of potassium [email protected]/ liter water one month before harvesting can improve the size of fruits and smooth their rinds and enrich with more juice. Due to climatic advantages, South India undertakes two cropping sessions in a year and carries on harvesting in Aug-Sept and second term in Mar-May. Expected average yield is found to be nearly 16-20 tons/ acre.

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Sources:
http://vikaspedia.in/agriculture/crop-production/package-of-practices/fruits-1/sweet-orange-1
http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/horticulture/horti_fruits_sweetorange.html
http://www.drysrhu.edu.in/crops/citrus.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit)

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