Red Navel Trees, or Cara Cara trees, are native to Florida but grow in humid areas across the southern United States and Central America.
These orange trees can reach a mature height of 7 to 10 feet and grow 3 to 4 feet wide. The plant’s leaves are a deep green with yellow flowers, and the fruit is a vibrant orange. The fruit’s flesh is a deep red color, and it is separated into about 10 segments. The orange is medium in its size, and it is about 3 inches across. Unlike many other varieties of sweet oranges, Red Navel oranges are completely seedless.
Red Navel oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and meet 140 percent of the daily value. It also has a load of potassium, fiber, and folate as well, which can promote healthy and glowy skin, a healthy heart, lower cholesterol, and improve digestive health.
Red Navel orange trees are best suited for USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11, and prefer humid and hot environments. They can withstand temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 30 degrees.
Red Navel Tree Care
The Red Navel tree is relatively low-maintenance compared to many other citrus fruit trees. However, they do need an average of four hours of sunlight a day and plenty of direct light for young trees. They should be kept in a warm environment with temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit as they grow. To start, navel trees can be potted in 5 to 6-inch pots as they grow flowers, but then they should be moved to a larger pot and eventually to the ground.
You can prune the tree at any point of the year, but it is best to do this in the late winter and early spring. Since they are not deciduous, their leaves will remain intact throughout its entire life. Because of this, You should remove suckers and dead or damaged wood annually to allow new growth to take place. The suckers should be cut flush to the main truck, and you should remove old, diseased, and surrounding wood to avoid passing the infection. Remove old growth and fruit to prevent pests and diseases.
Red Navel Tree Fruit and Harvesting
The oranges of the Red Navel tree are known for their sweetness, vibrancy, and similarity in appearance to a grapefruit. Typically, they are ready to harvest in the late winter and beginning stages of spring. This is because the cold temperatures during the winter will trigger the color change from green to orange and make them ready to eat.
One of the most important factors in picking a ripened orange is its sweetness. It can be difficult to pick the ripest orange, but it will always be the sweetest. Once it’s ready, it will have a bright red color and be slightly softened on the outside. A medium-sized Red Navel orange can produce about one-fourth of a cup of juice.
You should not pull off the Red Navel oranges of the tree since doing so can cause significant damage to the limb. Instead, harvesting should be done by twisting up at an angle or using scissors to cut the fruit off. You should always wash the oranges before they are stored to prevent contamination.
Red Navel Tree Advice
Red Navel trees are not particular in the type of soil they will grow in as long as it is well-drained. Not having well-drained soil can cause root rot and eventually damage or kill the tree. In addition, it can turn the leaves pale yellow or green, and cause sap to leak from the tree’s base. To prevent this, only water the Red Navel tree 2 to 3 times a week, and more often in the summer heat. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy.
You can use fertilizer on the Red Navel tree to promote growth. You can apply a slow-release blend once or twice a year, but you can use a typical citrus tree fertilizer in the beginning stages of the tree’s growth in its growing season, which is from March to August.
Like many other citrus trees, Red Navel trees are highly prone to pest infestations from mites, scales, aphids, and many more. These pests can cause deformation and damage to the leaves, scarring on young fruit, and sooty mold. You can prevent this by using a natural pesticide that kills large infestations before they destroy the Red Navel tree.
How long does it take for the Red Navel tree to produce fruit?
Fruit begins to grow on the Red Navel tree once it has been growing for 12 to 24 months, but it takes about 10 to 15 years for the tree to reach its full size and maturity. A sufficient amount of fruit typically grows after about 4 years.
How long does the Red Navel tree live?
Red Navel trees can live for around 50 to 150 years and produce fruit for just as long. Of course, this depends on how well taken care of the tree is and its general climate.
How much does a Red Navel tree cost?
A Red Navel Tree that is already 3 to 4 feet in height costs about $100. Since the oranges are seedless, you cannot buy packets of seeds, and the tree must be grafted.
When were Red Navel trees discovered?
Red Navel trees, or Cara Cara trees, were discovered in 1976 in Venezuela. 10 years later, they found themselves in select markets within the United States and became popular for their deep red color and juice.