The amount of water an orange tree needs can be determined scientifically; however, more often watering needs are determined by visual cues. The need for water varies with the tree and environmental conditions.
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Young orange trees require ample moisture in the top 2 inches of soil. The University of Florida Extension states "for young trees, the goal of irrigating twice per week, for short durations, from March through June is to maintain optimum moisture in the upper soil layer...." Depending on environmental conditions, mature trees require 10 to 90 gallons of water per day.
An orange tree is watered adequately if the top 2 feet of soil, extending from the tree's trunk to the perimeter of the canopy, is thoroughly moistened. When the top 6 inches of soil dries, the tree needs more water.
Dull green, cupped leaves indicate an orange tree needs more water. Flat, wilting leaves indicate the tree may be over watered. Dry, crisp leaves and leaf drop provide visual cues of extreme water stress.
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