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Why do my orange trees produce sour oranges?

I live in Orange County California.  I have several orange trees in my yard.  The oranges are all sour.  Does that mean the soil is high in acidity?  Can anything be done...fertilizer?  other steps.  Thank you for your help.

Shirley O.

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Hi Shirley,
There are several possible answers:
1.  There are many types of oranges and your
     is sour in it's nature (some prefer it sour). 
2.  You pick the fruit before it is wripe.
3.  The trees don't get enough light / sun.
4.  The soil is not good for oranges. 
You can try change one tree (actually you can add a branch of "sweet orange" to your tree (I don't know the English terminology for it, but you sure know what I mean) and see if that is the reason.   I have several trees who used to give very few fruits.  I treated them poperly and this year I enjoy a prosporous harvest (many many boxes from each tree). 
Best regards,


Love is the battery of life....

I'm not sure if this will help but I will tell you what I know.  First your soil must be well drained.  Make sure to add enough humus to your soil so it is not to sandy or clayey and is well drained but not dry.  A good way to do this is to underplant your trees wilth a grean crop such as beans, cowpeas, or beggarweed.  This will add nutrients (nitrogen) to your soil and tilling them into the soil when mature will add the organic humus you need.  Usually oranges take fertilizer in the following amounts 8% phosphoric acid, 10% potash, and 3% ammonia (50 lbs per tree three times a year), but California soils are thought to contain enough phosphoric acid and potash so nitrogenous fertilizers are the only fertilizer needed.  Do a soil test to be sure what you have.  Fertilizer should be added three times a year Feb. June, and Sept.  You can get a kit from the local Ag agency to test the soil and they will send you the results.  Hope this helps.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Ghandi

Hi Ukelele girl,

There are so many factors why oranges taste sour; First, it might be a natural sour taste variety, second, the soil may lack Muriate of Potash- an element added to make fruits taste sweet, third, your soil might be waterlogged or continues wetland which is not good for citrus species (oranges belongs to citrus sp.).

To be sure to get the exact result you need for your oranges, ask the help of your Agriculture Officer in your area, or any agency relative to agriculture, especially fruit experts.

I hope this helps you.

Happy gardening!



"Don't look at your age, but focus on what you can do for the world, share what you have to benefit mankind, you'll succeed if you'll see others you've helped reap success. Share more to earn more".

I had the same problem.  In my area different varieties of oranges are grafted to a sour orange rootstock to allow it to grow in my  type of soil.  I did not fully understand this and did not carefully identify the grafted limbs.  The rootstock produced shoots that I allowed to grow.  The first crop of oranges were extremely sour.  I believe they are from those shoots.  I is very difficult at this point to identify the grafted limb.  There is supposed to be a visible seam at the base of the limb.  After two years it is almost impossible to identify.  May have to pull out the tree. 

It is easy to reduce the sour or acid of citus fruit.

A small amout of  "Soda Ash)

Soda ash is used some food processes and cleaning. It is sold at pool supplies to reduce acid in pools.  Most grocery stores have it.

Put a 1/8 to 1/2 cup on the ground near the roots along with a bottle of regular cola and you will soon reduce the acid of the fruit.

Use low dose and if fruit is not better redo. If you over do it it can make the fruit so untart it will be blah.  I recommend 1/8 to 1/4 cup to start and wait a few weeks and see what happens to the taste.  


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