Tangerine tree care: rising tangerines at house

Mandarins have easily become one of the most popular snacks among children and adults. They're deliciously sweet, healthy, and easy to peel. Tangerines are a great snack to take with you on the go, but they can also be used in many different recipes. They can be used in salads, marinades, and a variety of desserts. They make excellent juice too. There are a ton of different strains that can be grown. Adding a single tangerine tree to the garden provides plenty of fruit for the family and enough to share with friends.

The name Mandarin is widely used to describe a number of species and hybrids such as clementines, mandarins, and satsumas. However, they differ slightly. Clementines and mandarins are hybrids of several types of citrus. Mandarins are more closely related to real mandarins as they are a cross between mandarins and grapefruit. Satsuma tangerines are classified as different types, although the fruits share many similar properties. All species are grown with the same care strategy, but the properties of the fruit are slightly different.

Tangerines sold in grocery stores are often not marketed by the variety in question. They are packaged and sold under brands such as Halos, Cuties, and Peelz. The brands actually use several varieties of mandarins that produce a similar product. an easy-to-peel, seedless, delicious tangerine. Mandarins bought in December taste different than mandarins bought in March because they are completely different types. Growing your own tangerine tree allows you to grow your favorite strain without having to guess when to buy it from the store.

Tangerine trees require time and attention. They need to be pruned and fertilized every year, and closely monitored for pests and diseases. If you give your tangerine tree the proper care it needs, it is a long way to go and it is well worth it.

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Brief instructions for care

Mandarin treeGrowing a tangerine tree is a great way to get amazing citrus fruits. Source: Gary Denness

Common Name (s) Tangerine, tangerine
Scientific name Citrus reticulata
Days to harvest Annually in late fall and early winter
light Full to partial sun
Water: Moderate; Water weekly
ground Well permeable
fertilizer Citrus mix or 12-6-6
Pests Mites, thrips, scales, aphids, butterflies, Asian citrus flea seeds
Diseases Phytophthora root rot, anthracnose, botrytis, huanglongbing (HLB)

Everything about the mandarin tree

Unripe mandarinsAt a young age, the unripe mandarins blend in with the leaves of the tree. Source: RaeAllen

Citrus reticulata is native to Asia. A standard mandarin tree grows to an average of 25 feet at maturity, while semi-dwarf trees grow to between 8 and 10 feet. Citrus reticulata blooms in spring, develops fruit in summer, and ripens in late autumn and early winter. Mandarins are not deciduous, but growth will slow or stall in winter.

The leaves are dark green, ovate to lanceolate and may contain thorns in the armpit. The flowers are small with five white petals and grow in clusters. The fruit is smaller than a typical orange and has flat ends similar to the shape of a pumpkin. The fruit develops green and turns deep orange when ripe. The fruits can be sown or seedless, depending on the variety and pollination.

Citrus reticulata is self-fertile. Commercial orchards often cover trees with special nets to prevent pollination so they can produce a seedless crop. There are some seedless varieties that do not require a mesh. Covering a tree with insect netting is a great natural option for seedlessing shabby fruit. This is especially useful when the fruit is to be eaten by young children.

There are a number of great varieties of mandarins that can be grown. Some of the most popular commercially grown strains such as Tango and Gold Nugget can be grown at home. Less common varieties are Dancy, Honey, Shasta Gold, and Kishu. Shiranui is a large variety of tangerine that is difficult to grow, but has an exceptional taste and is easy to peel. There are also some great varieties of Satsuma such as Owari, Iwasaki, Okitsu Wase, and Dobashi.


Almost ripe tangerineThis almost ripe mandarin is almost ready to be harvested. Source: Matsuyuki

The best time to plant orange trees is from April to August. Avoid planting when temperatures are above 100 ° F. Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Trees can also be grown in a large pot. Mandarins should be planted as grafted trees. Rhizomes offer disease resistance and, in some cases, frost tolerance. Do not bury the graft joint when planting grafted trees. If possible, leave at least 4 to 5 inches of the rhizome above the ground.

Trees should be purchased from a trusted nursery or garden center that complies with local regulations regarding citrus fruits. Citrus producing states like California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida may have movement restrictions for young trees. Contact your local Agriculture Expansion Office for more information on restrictions in your area.

Tangerine tree care

Caring for mandarins is easy, but it does require some attention to grow plenty of sweet-tasting fruit. Follow these tips to ensure a tasty harvest year after year.

Sun and temperature

Mandarins can be grown in full or partial sun, which means they need at least 6 hours of direct sun each day. They are robust to USDA zones 8-11. They prefer hot summers and mild winters. Ideally temperatures between 40 and 90 ° F. However, they can withstand brief temperatures up to 20 ° F and temperatures well above 100 ° F.

If there are fruits on the tangerine tree, freezing temperatures will freeze and damage the fruits. The tree itself can withstand lower temperatures from damage or death. Trees can be protected from frost by bringing them indoors or covering them with frost tissue.

Sunburn is common on excessively hot days, especially if the growth is tender. However, the damage is minimal and the trees will eventually grow out of it. Sunburn can be prevented by covering trees with a light shade of cloth or by covering the tree with whitewash.

Water and moisture

Water citrus fruits early in the morning once a week. The soil should be kept moist, but not damp or saturated. Use drinking hoses or drip irrigation to avoid wetting the tree trunk.

Trees planted in a pot may need more watering. They should be completely saturated and slightly damp before the next watering. Potted trees can be watered with drip irrigation or manually with a hose. If you pour manually, avoid wetting the trunk.

Trees should be well watered during fruit development. Once the fruit is full or about full size, pour less often to allow the sugar to build up in the fruit. Trees do not need additional water during the rainy season.


Overloaded mandarin seedlingThe weight of its own fruit can bend a young sapling. Source: RubyGoes

Tangerine trees can handle a wide variety of soil types but require good drainage. Trees benefit from the soil with a lot of organic matter. Mandarins tolerate a wide pH range, but thrive in a pH range between 5.5 and 6.2.

If you are planting in an area with poor drainage or poor soil quality, plant the orange tree in a raised bed and work the soil with organic matter.


Many different fertilizers are available in garden centers specially designed for citrus fruits. The amounts and frequency of application depend on the fertilizer mixture and whether or not it is a slow release mixture. Slow release mixtures typically need to be applied once or twice a year.

Mandarins should be well fed between March and August, when the trees are most actively growing. If a citrus fertilizer mix is ​​not available, 12-6-6 can be used. Look for fertilizer mixes that also contain micronutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, and copper.


Prune your tangerine tree between February and April, preferably before flowering. Mandarins are non-deciduous, so trees keep their leaves all year round. Pruning to remove dead or damaged branches, maintain size, remove suction cups, and open the canopy.

Suction cups are shoots that grow out of the rhizome. These shoots look very different from the mandarin variety and should always be removed. These shoots do not produce good fruit. Remove the suction cups by cutting them flush with the main stem.

To open the canopy, remove any overlapping limbs or limbs with a tight angle on the main trunk. When removing deadwood or diseased branches, cut back a few inches below the dead or diseased branch to ensure that all of the infection or dead part is removed. Old or damaged fruits should also be removed manually. While it should naturally fall off, removing the old fruit prevents disease and conserves resources for shoot growth and flowering.

Mandarins do not require any older growth to produce fruit. Flower buds are very noticeable on trees. Cutting off flower buds will reduce the amount of fruit for the season.


Before citrus propagation, check to see if citrus propagation is restricted locally. In some areas, it is illegal to propagate citrus material that is not from a clean stock program. If you are able to propagate citrus fruits in your area, there are several reliable propagation methods available. Methods include grafting, root cuttings, and seed propagation.

Grafting is the most reliable way to produce a strong disease resistant mandarin tree. Several different rhizomes are available for mandarins. The most popular are the C-35, Carrizo, and Flying Dragon. C-35 and Carrizo are the standard tree size, with C-35 being slightly smaller. Flying Dragon is a semi-dwarf rhizome. Root stocks are grown from seeds but can be purchased as liners. Once the rhizome is thick enough, it can be grafted with the variety you want. Chip budding is the most common method of grafting.

Rooted cuttings are also an option for tangerine tree propagation. Cuttings should have 2-5 leaves or knots. Use a root hormone and keep the cuttings under high humidity until they form roots. Planting these trees in the ground is not recommended as they are prone to root diseases. These trees are also less frost tolerant than grafted trees.

Seed propagation can be done on mandarins because they are polyembryonic, which means they have multiple embryos in one seed. Polyembryonic seeds are usually type-appropriate, so growing an orange tree from seeds should have the same properties as the parent tree. Similar to rooted cuttings, these trees should not be planted in the ground due to their susceptibility to disease and may be less frost tolerant than a grafted mandarin tree. Trees that are planted in a pot need to be protected or moved inside during the frost.

Harvesting and storing

MandarinsMandarins are heavy producers once fully ripened. Source: Tushar Pokle

Harvesting tangerines at the right time can be a little tricky, but easy to learn. There are also great options for short-term and long-term storage.


Mandarins are ready to be picked when they are completely orange and slightly soft. The best way to tell if a tangerine is ready is to try one or more. If they're pissed off, they need more time. They should be juicy with a sweet taste.

Do not pull oranges from the tree. If you pull on the fruit, the top of the peel will come off and the fruit will be exposed. The best way to harvest is to turn at an angle or use a clipper to cut the fruit from the tree. Fruit should be washed before storage to avoid contamination.


Mandarins can be stored for about 1 week at room temperature. They can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Remember that store-bought fruits have a waxy coating to prevent moisture loss and extend shelf life. Fruits grown at home don't have a waxy coating, so they won't last as long due to moisture loss.

Freezing, dehydrating, and canning are options for long-term storage. Frozen oranges are great for making smoothies and can later be thawed and added to salads or other dishes. Dehydrated mandarins are great for cocktails, desserts, and tea, and make great accessories for wreaths and garlands. Canning is a great option for keeping the plump, juicy texture of mandarins. Although it takes a lot more work, you can still enjoy tangerines when they are not in season.


Tangerine tree that needs pruningThis tangerine tree needs a good pruning. Source: matilde.m.s

Unfortunately, tangerine trees do not come without problems. Below are some potential complications and tips to help you resolve these issues.

Growing problems

Most of the problems are related to insects or disease, but there are a few things to keep in mind when growing tangerines. Although mandarins can sometimes tolerate the sun, not enough sun can result in the orange tree not bearing fruit. Excessive stress Heat or lack of water can also lead to broken flowers or early fruit dripping. Weather differences like excessive rain or a warm winter leads to deviations in the quality of the fruit. Some years bear better fruit than others due to natural temperature and rain fluctuations.


Mites are small arachnids that feed on the leaves of the mandarins. There are several types of mites that feed on citrus fruits. The most common mites cause stain damage on the leaves. Heavy infestation leads to leaf drops. Mites are extremely small and difficult to spot. Usually, the damage is noticed before the mites. Use a hand lens or microscope to identify the type of mite. All adult mites are small, eight-legged, and tend to stay in groups on the undersides of the leaves. Some mites produce webbing, while others do not. The colors range from creamy yellow to dark red. Mites tend to attack weak or stressed trees. Maintaining a healthy orange tree is the most important defense against mites. A healthy orange tree tends to have a good balance between pest mites and predatory insects to keep populations under control. When mite populations get out of hand, use horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps to help control severe infestations.

Thrips are small yellow to orange-colored insects that feed on the leaves and flowers of the mandarins. Feeding damage causes ripples and scars on the leaves and scars on young fruits. In general, thrips are not harmful enough to treat mature trees. They can slow down growth in young trees. Creating an environment that encourages beneficial insects is the best way to keep thrips populations under control. Thrips are very difficult to control by spraying, so this is not recommended. If thrips become a major problem in younger trees, a good option is to protect the tree with insect screens until the new growth is no longer tender and attractive to thrips.

Soft and armored scales can be found on the twigs and twigs of trees. There are different types of scales in different colors from yellow to brown to black. Damage doesn't come straight from the scales. Dandruff produces excessive amounts of honeydew, which leads to sooty mold. Sooty mold covers the leaves, which inhibits photosynthesis and leads to leaf droplets. The dandruff is usually controlled with natural predators and parasites. When treatment is required, oil sprays are effective.

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of delicate plant tissue. They are available in different colors like yellow, orange, green and black. Aphids can cause some deformation of the leaves. They also produce honeydew, which can lead to other problems like soot mold. Aphids are usually controlled by natural predators; However, the population can still be out of whack and be harmful. Aphids can be controlled by manually removing heavily infested leaves and spraying them with water. Horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps are also effective in controlling aphids.

Butterfly pests include several types of moth larvae that damage the leaves. There are a few Leaf roll Species that damage the delicate growth tips. Citrus Leaf Miner is also a butterfly pest that causes mining damage that usually looks like tunnels at the bottom of leaves. Lepidopteran pest damage is mostly cosmetic in nature, but can slow the growth of young trees. Larvae can be removed manually from young trees. No treatment should be required on old trees. If Citrus Leaf Miner's damage is bothersome, there are pheromone traps that can be placed on trees to disrupt mating.

Asian citrus syllable is a small spotty brown insect about the size of an aphid. Nymphs are yellow to green and lie flat on leaves and twigs. These flea seeds produce white, spindle-shaped excrement, which makes identification easier. During feeding, psyllids inject a toxin that can cause burnback if they grow back tenderly. Feeding damage is not the main concern, however. They are considered a major pest because they carry a devastating disease called huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus green disease. Depending on your region, the presence of Asian citrus flea seeds will require different responses. It is best to find out about the local regulations and contact your district office if you have any questions.


Phytophthora root rot is one of the most common root diseases in mandarin trees. It causes a general decline in trees. The leaves look yellow or light green. Advanced stages show "gum" or sap seeping from the trunk of the tree. Trunks can also have a water-soaked appearance. Phytophthora is prevented by using the best methods of irrigation and planting in well-drained soil. There are also rhizomes that are resistant or more tolerant to the disease. It is extremely important to leave at least a few inches of the rhizome above the soil line. Most types of fruit are very susceptible to Phytophthora. Leaving the graft near the ground increases the risk of infection. There are beneficial microbes and mycorrhizal products that can be used to improve plant health and immunity to diseases such as Phytophthora. However, good irrigation practices will be enough to prevent this disease.

Anthracnose and Botrytis are both leaf diseases that thrive in humid conditions. Symptoms of these two diseases are branch death, leaf droplets, and fruit decay. Anthracnose is identified by the dark spores on the leaves and branches, while Botrytis spores are a lighter gray color. Both diseases can be treated with good cultural practices. Prune the trees to allow adequate airflow and avoid excessive moisture, which encourages spore development. Removing dead or damaged branches and old fruit will prevent the disease from becoming infected the following season. Using appropriate cultural practices, chemical fungicide sprays are no longer required.

Huanglongbing (HLB) is also known as Citrus Greening Disease. This disease is devastating to citrus fruits as there is no cure. Symptoms of this disease include leaves speckled with yellow, sudden death in young trees, small or deformed fruits, and discolored or green fruits. This disease is spread by the Asian citrus flea seed, so fighting the insect prevents the disease. The disease can also be transmitted when infected plant material is transplanted. Once an orange tree is infected, it must be removed. It is important to ensure that all newly planted trees come from reliable nursery sources that comply with regulations set by individual states. For example, citrus trees grown in California should have a CDFA label ensuring they come from clean nursery stocks.

frequently asked Questions

Satsuma tangerine on treeMandarins have a skin that is very easy to peel. Source: only

Q: How long does it take to grow a tangerine tree?

A: Trees bought in kindergartens and garden centers are between 1 and 4 years old. Tangerine trees will produce a significant amount of fruit after about 5 years.

Q: How tall do tangerine trees grow?

A: Depending on the rhizome, tangerine trees grow between 8 and 25 feet. Semi-dwarf trees grow between 8 and 10 feet, and standard trees grow 25 feet.

Q: Why do mandarins fall from the tree?

A: Mandarins naturally fall from the tree when ripe. It is common and perfectly normal for some fruits to fall while unripe. Tangerine trees naturally thin fruits to balance their resources and stay healthy.

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