Borrego Sun - Since 1949

9,000 Lemon Trees Planted in Borrego


Last updated 9/5/2015 at 12:07pm

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, formerly of Orange County, plant lemon trees. They had 9,000 growing on the former William Buerkle ranch.

This story was featured in the May 1965 issue of the Borrego Sun. It was written by Larry Freeman.

"There is talk in Borrego valley about agriculture being phased out because of increasing land values. If so, Myron Smith, of Oso Ranch Co., with headquarters in San Juan Capistrano, either hasn't heard or it isn't paying attention.

Smith and his company, citrus growers, acquired the old 340-acre William Buerkle ranch about four miles north of Christmas Circle in the heart of the community last June.

Bulldozers and earth moving equipment were brought in, the ranch's once thriving vineyards pulled out and the land leveled.

Plating of young trees began March 1. By May1 he had 9,000 trees planted on 100 acres. A tall, athletic-looking man, Smith is driving hard, supervising and doing much of the work himself.

He's putting in lemons, Temple oranges, a Florida variety that's done well in the Coachella Valley, and Valencia oranges.

What about the other 200 plus acres? That depends, Smith says, on how well the first 9,000 tress fare. If they do well, he'll set out more trees. It will be four years probably before the trees start bearing commercially, so he's not worried immediately over labor shortage.

Smith took many soil samples to the University of California, checked temperatures day and night, before setting up the project. The ranch lies north toward the mouth of Coyote Canyon, from which its rich alluvial soil came by wash or wind, and where the temperature is considerably warmer than further south in the agricultural belt.

Some of the lemons are Allen young line Eurekas Macrophylla and rough lemon. Lisbons are also being planted.

The Oso Ranch Co., a family partnership which Smith manages, is one of the state's older citrus firms. Smith's grandfather started it.

The company's major citrus operation is in the San Juan Capistrano area. It also has groves in Tulare County, in the San Joaquin Valley, and in the San Bernardino area.

Douglas Warner, from Orange County, will be foreman of the Borrego ranch."

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