Some people feel that the ‘navels’ of Navel Oranges are just too big. What’s to be done? Giverson Mupambi, of the Agriculture (Horticultural Science) department at the Faculty of AgriSciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, wondered if a liberal application of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, 2,4-D , (coincidentally made famous for its use as a core component of Agent Orange) might do the trick.
As part of his masters degree thesis he set about a rigorous experimental investigation. His paper :‘Studies to reduce the size of the navel-end opening of navel oranges’ describes the effects of 2,4-D, which, sadly for those who feel that their orange navels are too big, was less than 100% effective.
“Internal fruit quality was not affected by the treatments, however, the fruit developed a coarse rind due to enlarged oil glands and the styles stayed attached on the fruit until harvest. Therefore, although 2,4-D reduced fruit splitting, it cannot be recommended at the timings and concentrations evaluated.”
Disambiguation postamble: Navel Oranges should not in any way be confused with Naval Oranges