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If you want to learn how to grow osage orange trees, you are in the right article. In this article, I will not only help you learn how to grow an Osage Orange tree but also what factors you need to consider before planting them. But before all of this, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of growing osage orange trees and the factors you need to consider before growing them.
3 Benefits of Growing Osage Orange Trees
- Provides shade: With a dense canopy, an Osage orange tree is excellent for areas with hot summer days because it can provide excellent shade.
- Attract wildlife: It’s a great specimen to attract wildlife during summer. You should know that small animals like squirrels love osage orange fruits, while its dense branches provide a safe nesting spot for birds. If you like birdwatching, consider planting this specimen with other companion plants.
- Carbon sequestration: just like other trees, the Osage orange tree will also help sequester carbon dioxide, which is important to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Osage orange trees are not only gaining popularity as ornamental trees but also for their wood, which is prized for its strength & durability. Today we use Osage Orange tree wood to make fence posts and archery bows.
If you’re interested in making archery bows but don’t know how to, read this “9 Steps To Make A Bow From Osage Orange Wood?“.Besides the practical uses for the wood & fruit, the Osage orange trees, deep green, glossy leaves that turn yellow in the fall, and the large, showy fruit make beautiful additions to any landscape.
To know more about Osage orange leaves, consider reading this. Coming back to the topic, Osage orange trees only require a little watering after the first year of growth because they’re also drought-tolerant.
3 Factors to Consider Before Planting
Beginners often must correct mistakes like overwatering or planting at the wrong location, especially in partial shade when planting osage Orange trees in their yard. If you want to avoid such mistakes, consider a few factors mentioned below for a better chance of success.
Choosing the Right Site for Your Osage Orange Tree
You must choose a spot that receives full sun during the daytime. Along with the full Sun, Osage orange trees also prefer well-drained soil, so choose a spot that doesn’t flood. Or, you can create a slope to prevent waterlogging.
You don’t need to worry much about this soil as long as you provide it with nitrogen-rich fertilizer because Osage Orange trees are tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils.
Since Osage orange trees are hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, they can withstand a wide range of temperatures. However, you must provide some extra protection from cold drafts or breezes if your region experiences a Harsh winter. In general, osage orange trees usually prefer warmer climates and may suffer in areas with harsh winters.
Also Read: Where Do Osage Orange Trees Grow?
Spacing & Planting Tips
When planting an Osage orange tree, you should avoid planting it too close to other structures or trees, as it may result in Overcrowding. Your tree growth will be stunted if you don’t provide proper space.
Since this specimen is already a very slow grower, you need to provide it with an area that has plenty of room.
You should note that osage orange trees can grow up to 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide, so be sure to plant them in an area with plenty of space. While planting, your tree must be in the same depth it was planted in the nursery. Moreover, make sure to water & monitor it regularly until it is established.
How to Grow Osage Orange Trees: A Comprehensive Guide
When To Plant
You should plant an Osage orange tree in the springtime when the soil feels thawed, and temperatures are consistently above freezing.
According to the University of Missouri Extension, “Late April through early June is a consideration to the best planting time. However, you must know that spring planting can be done as long as the ground is workable.
How To Plant
First, get a healthy young Osage plant from the nursery and then check its root ball. When planting your Osage orange tree, you’ll need to dig a hole that is twice as wide & just as deep as the tree’s root ball.
Make sure to use a mixture of soil & compost to Backfill and then tamp the soil down firmly around the roots. After planting, you must Water your tree deeply from the base.
Watering & Fertilisation
As I told you earlier, Osage orange trees prefer well-drained, evenly moist soil but not waterlogged. The University of Illinois Extension recommends that we water the tree deeply once a week during periods of drought.
As for fertilizer, Osage orange trees only need a few additional nutrients. But, providing nitrogen-rich fertilizer can help the tree grow faster. However, the University of Missouri Extension suggests using Moderate to low fertilizer levels for Osage orange. Make sure you do not apply nitrogen in the fall.
You must add an organic layer of mulch around the base of your Osage orange tree to help retain moisture & suppress weed growth. As per the University of Illinois Extension, 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch, like wood chips or shredded leaves, works best. To find Osage orange wood for sale, consider reading this. However, avoid over-mulching, which can lead to moisture problems and root rot.
How To Care for Osage Orange Tree
Pruning & Shaping Your Tree
Osage orange trees are already blessed with a naturally attractive shape, but occasional pruning can help you keep them looking their best. According to the University of Illinois Extension, you must prune out dead or diseased wood and any crossing branches to prevent infestation & promote growth.
Also, Young trees may need some shaping, but once they reach maturity, they generally require little pruning. However, be cautious with tools and equipment. Always use fresh, sharp, & clean tools to prune & shape young trees while wearing gloves.
Pest & Disease Management
Even Osage orange trees are generally hardy and resistant to pests & diseases; you should still practice pest control when they are young.
As per the University of Missouri Extension, young trees are often susceptible to Canker and leaf spot diseases. To prevent these issues, you must keep your tree healthy by providing proper watering & fertilization. Also, make sure you promptly prune out any dead or diseased branches.
To know more about leaf spot susceptibility in this specimen, consider taking a quick look at Osage Orange Leaf Anatomy & Safety
As I said, Osage orange trees are hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, but young trees may need extra winter protection in colder climates. According to the University of Illinois Extension, you should wrap the trunk of young trees with burlap or another protective material to prevent sunscald & frost cracks.
3 Common Uses for Osage Oranges
Osage Orange trees are known for their distinctive fruit, which resembles a large, bumpy green ball. While the fruit itself is not edible, it has a variety of uses:
Do you know Osage oranges make great decorative pieces? People often use Oranges in floral arrangements or as a centerpiece for a table. Interestingly, they can also be sliced & dried to create unique coasters or ornaments.
Natural Insect Repellent
As per research, the fruit & wood of the Osage Orange tree contains a chemical called “osajin,” which usually contains insecticidal properties. People often place their fruit in areas where insects are a problem. I recently saw a guy wood using osage orange wood to create insect-repelling fence posts. Some also used it to make bows.
Alternative Medicine & Other Creative Uses
For centuries, Many people have believed that Osage oranges contain medicinal properties. Our ancestors had used this fruit to treat conditions like headaches, fever, & constipation.
Some sources also claim that the wood of osage orange has been used to treat rheumatism & toothaches too. On the other hand, Osage Orange wood is prized for its strength & durability, making it popular for fence posts, bows, and even tool handles. Because of wood’s beautiful, rich color, people often use osage orange wood in furniture or decorative carvings.
Propagating Osage Orange Trees
If you’re interested in growing Osage Orange trees, there are a few different methods you can use:
|Method||Ease of Use||Time to Mature Tree||Success Rate|
|Seed propagation||Easy||7-10 years||50%|
|Air layering||Moderate||3-5 years||70%|
The easiest way to propagate Osage Orange trees is by collecting the fruit and removing the seeds. Afterward, you can directly plant seeds in the ground or pots, which will usually germinate within a few weeks.
If you’re one of those people who want to ensure that their tree will produce fruit, consider grafting as a good option. This involves cutting from a mature Osage Orange tree and attaching it to a young seedling. However, this must be done by a professional or experienced grafter. People don’t prefer this option because they think it doesn’t work. You don’t need to worry much because the resulting tree will have the same characteristics as the mature tree, including fruit production.
Lastly, another propagation method is air layering, where you’ll need to cut a small wound in a branch and encourage it to grow roots. Once the roots have formed, the branch can be cut and planted in the ground.
After reading this article, you will have no issue growing Osage Orange trees in any soil. If you have any questions regarding how to grow Osage orange trees, comment below. You must pay attention to the requirements of your trees during the first year of growth to promote healthy growth.
Do note that oranges are slow growers whose growth rate is rapid only when young. On average, healthy osage orange trees should grow at least 2 feet yearly. I hope you like this article, and if yes, consider sharing it.
Your share is going to help many people learn about the benefits of planting Osage Orange trees as well as how to plant Osage Orange trees. Do check our other helpful guide on Osage Orange tree care & management. See you in the next post till then take care goodbye.