At first glance, they look just fine, starting to ripen and turn color:
But then, a closer look reveals something troubling:
The tree survived the summer with minimum amounts of water. The fruit developed OK. Then came the heatwave and the hot, dry Santa Ana winds of early autumn. The heat and lack of water caused the tree some stress, but the fruit seemed fine.
|Another Split Orange|
And then, it rained. We had a shower of rain last week and another one this morning. We were happy to have rain, as the garden really needed it. The thirsty little tree drank up the water and the water helped to swell the fruit. But it was too much water, too quickly. The pulp filled with juice and swelled too fast. The rind couldn't grow fast enough to keep up with the expanding fruit. And so, the fruit split.
These are navel oranges and they split more than other types of oranges, I've read, because the rind around the navel is thinner. A few fruits fell a couple of days ago and I tossed them. Three more fell today and I tossed them, too. I left the others on the tree, but I should probably pick them and toss them. Insects have already discovered the split fruit.
My fault. I really should have watered the tree more during the summer so that the rain wouldn't have caused so much damage. Sigh.