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Yuma and Oranges

That’s a lot of Oranges!

Yuma and oranges actually go together. In fact, Yuma uses them for landscaping.  Orange, lemon and tangelo trees normally line many of Yuma’s city streets. Actually, Arizona is driven by its $9.2 billion agriculture industry. There are a total of 15,600 farms in the state, and a sizable part of that total is from the groves in Yuma that grow lemons and oranges.   Yuma also just happens to be the winter lettuce capitol of the world.

Yuma remains to be the fourth largest supplier of oranges in the United States. It is just behind Florida, California, and Texas. Despite the number of imported oranges that are entering the market, Yuma remains competitive when it comes to growing these delicious orange balls.

Arizona grows oranges that are sold under the generic label of “Arizona Sweets.  The oranges that are harvested in the state also come in different varieties like Marrs, Pineapple, Diller, Hamlin and Trovita.

Citrus Fruits and Hybrid History

Citrus fruits actually originated in several regions in Asia. However, it is so easy to make hybrids. This is why there are a lot of citrus fruits now grow in different parts of the globe. The orange, as is, is actually a hybrid between a pomelo and mandarin. These are trees that usually grow to as high as 9 to 10 meters.

  • Valencia or Murcia oranges are very sweet and juicy. These are usually extracted to make orange juice. Valencia oranges supposedly came from Portugal.
  • Marrs is a variety of orange that is typically found in California, Iran and Texas. This variety is relatively low in acid content.
  • Pineapple is another orange variety that usually grows in India, North America and South America.
  • Diller is the only variety of orange categorized under Arizona Sweets that actually comes from Arizona. This variety can actually grow under desert conditions.
  • Hamlin oranges are found all over the world. They also grow in many different countries. It was once the most juiced orange in Florida.
  • Trovita oranges are great for juicing and eating. Trovita orange trees can produce a good amount of oranges despite the desert heat.

These are just some varieties of oranges that are grown within the state. It is not surprising that varieties such as Trovita and Diller can easily adapt and grow with Yuma’s desert climate.

Current Disease Issues

More recently, a fungus called Sweet Orange Scab (SOS) has been found to affect Arizona oranges. There was even talk of quarantining the affected oranges.  This fungus, first discovered on oranges that grow in Texas, is also affecting the oranges in Arizona. Oranges in both Maricopa and Yuma counties are affected. The good news is that it does not affect the people eating the fruit.

Another fungus was discovered called Phytopthora, but it only affects the base of the tree. Farmers already know how to deal with them. Neem oil is used as a fungicide and it is effective for this type of fungus.

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