Tangerine trees (Citrus tangerina) are a type of mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata). Their loose skin, easily pulled away from the fruit, and the sweet segments within make them a delicious treat. This article is for those gardeners with an interest in how to grow tangerines or how to care for a tangerine tree you already have.
Land preparation & Planting
After ploughing the land, you should dig planting holes 2ft by 2ft wide and 2ft deep and a spacing of 4 x 5m. 5M is the spacing between lines, while 4m is the space from one tree to the next in the same row. After digging the holes, mix the topsoil with well-decomposed manure and put the mixture into the hole, leaving only a depth of 10cm.
This will be enough space to add manure and irrigation water. Ensure that you plant your trees so that there will be maximum penetration of sunshine.
Care and Management
Tangerine plants thrive in a wide range of ecological and soil conditions. They perform better in areas with a soil pH range of 6.0 – 7.5.
During flowering, fruit development, and ripening, the plants require low humidity, an optimum night temperature of about 14°C, and adequate sunshine during the day. The temperature variations in the high lands provide the optimum conditions for fruit development and the rich flavor of the tangerines.
After planting, the plants require consistent manuring and irrigation, especially when grown in arid and semi-arid areas. They need adequate moisture throughout their growing season. A drip irrigation system can be an ideal method of irrigating your plants. Over-watering the plants can lead to root rot or drown the roots. Under-watering can make the tangerines split, flower drop, and yellowing of leaves.
Thinning and Pruning
Tangerine trees grow vigorously and at times produce large quantities of fruits. In such cases, branches may easily break due to the weight and most fruits will be of low quality. Thinning is necessary to ensure that the trees are well-established to support the weight of the fruits. This means that you can remove some branches in trees with many fruits. Regular pruning is required to prevent twig dieback.
Regular feeding is a crucial way of enhancing the fruit quality and health of the tree. Citrus fruits require nutrients such as calcium, nitrogen, iron, and zinc heavily. You can use manure and controlled amounts of inorganic fertilizers to provide enough nutrients. You can apply fertilizers four months after planting, before the tree blooms, and during the fruit set. However, you should not use fertilizers extensively.
Tangerines ripen earlier than other citrus plants, such as sweet oranges. They are more delicate than other fruits, and harvesting should be done with utmost care. Proper harvesting techniques and good cultural practices should be used.
Use hand pruners to harvest the ripe fruits. You can clip off their stems to harvest more fruit at the same time. For fruits too high to reach, you should use appropriate climbing gear and ladders.
Post-harvest preservation of tangerines is an extremely important stage because the fungus easily attacks the fruit through the stem and mechanical wounds on the fruit. It is recommended to store tangerines in a dedicated cooler of the refrigerator to store vegetables. If difficulties arise with the choice of the compartment, then you need to pay attention to the creation of the optimal temperature. If the temperature is too low or conversely, the temperature is high, the tangerines will start to spoil or freeze, which also affects their taste.
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