'Washington' Navel Oranges

Sizing up nicely. The tennis ball is for scale. I’m starting to see a few splits from this past rain:

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I’m glad that’s a tennis ball and not a ‘Fuzzy Navel’. :wink:


Now I have actual questions from curiosity. What is the bloom time for you? Do you have any pics of the entire tree to show its size? What is your tree’s age?

I have one that’s little and I haven’t allowed it fruit. I cut it back severely early in the year. Right now it’s at a stage of pushing out new growth again.

Citrus trees can be remarkably long lived. I remember reading in the early eighties that the original Washington Navel was still around. Might still be, for all I know.

My tree is still pretty young at only seven years old, but it’s been an excellent bearer. It blooms and has a growth flush in the spring, and a good rain usually kicks those activities into high gear.

As far as I know, the parent Washington navel tree is still there in Riverside. I think it’s been there since about 1902 (IIRC) and is considered to be (by many) the most important plant introduction ever made into the United States.

At 143 years old, the parent Washington Navel is alive and well, about three blocks from my house. It had problems with root rot twice, so UC Riverside folks inarch grafted trifoliate orange rootstocks into it, basically suspending it from the outside as its sour orange roots rotted away. It has recovered splendidly and UCR scientists are confident they can keep it alive indefinitely. They’re still taking cuttings from it regularly and grafting mother block trees. It is probably one of the most studied citrus trees on earth.


Thanks for the info. Have you noticed whether it also puts out growth flushes throughout the year, or is it confined to the one major spring growth followed by blooming flush? I realize that the restricted rainfall there could play a part in that, especially if it’s in ground like most trees.

Its a very healthy, vigorous tree, and seems to always have green growth on it somewhere.

It’s hard to decide when to prune mine, as it always has either bright green growth, tons of blossoms, or tons of fruit on it. It never seems to have a dormant season when my wife won’t be upset because I’m cutting off blossoms or fruit. This is the perfect climate and soil for it however, other climates may put a damper on that.

Thank you, applenut. That was encouraging to hear.

My WNO tree is only in its 2nd year in the ground. It has gotten at least 10 growth flushes in this time.

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Thank you, BD. That’s lovely and healthy looking, and actually more like I prefer to see young trees - with branches coming out nearly all the way down.

Any “dwarf” citrus will grow this way. The grafts are made pretty low and the branches down below are not pruned out. It also helps that most of the trees sold are 1/2" caliper or less. I wish stone fruit were grown/sold this way.

By request:

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Thanks, MC. It looks healthy and bushy with fruit within reach, and fills its space well. Nice.

It’s about 8’x8’ with some branches leaning a bit into its neighbor, a ‘Valencia’ orange. Some of the branches might need to be propped up soon. The oranges are huge from the rain.

And here I am growing apples in the middle of citrus country. Kind of like being a sheep farmer in the middle of a bunch of cattle ranches…

@applenut, citrus is definitely king around here. I don’t remember ever having homegrown apples as I was growing up. Crabs were pretty common, but mostly as ornamentals (I assume). Maybe that’s why even now I find myself reaching for other fruit over of apples.

Well that’s just it, no one ever grew apples here because they were always told they wouldn’t grow here by the “experts”. The experts were wrong.

I’ve always wondered how this could be, and finally determined that experts rely on what other experts say, and quote their work in their bibliographies, and continue quoting without actually sticking a tree in the ground and seeing what happens. Yes, some apples do better here than others, but it’s the same way everywhere apples are grown.

Very nice, MrClint! I hope mine grows up to be like yours!!

The Sunset Western Garden Book still holds to zone recommendations for apples that you would probably strongly disagree with. Curious what they may have been in earlier editions. I think the first edition was in the 50’s (mine is from 1992).