How to Grow Tangerine Trees
It is not unusual for someone to eat a sweet, juicy tangerine and then wonder if they would be able to grow tangerine trees. After all, what can be more fun than growing a citrus tree and then having it produce fruit for you. Growing tangerine trees is not an easy endeavor but it is also not an impossible one. It will take a lot of care on your part, but a successful end result will more than make it worthwhile.
While some people say you can grow tangerine trees from seed, you are apt to have more success if you transplant a budded rootstock you get from a nursery. Because citrus often grows on grafted rootstock, there is a chance that a seed from a tangerine will not produce a tree just like its parent. Seedlings are often grafted onto a rootstock that will do well in your particular location.
So, obtain a healthy seedling and very gently transplant it. If possible have your soil tested as tangerine trees will require a pH in the 6.0 to 8.0 range. All citrus trees require a lot of sunlight, so plant your tree where it will get full sunlight. It will most likely come in a container so be very careful when you remove it. You will see a lump where the top of the rootstock was cut off and the budded top attached.
Because most tangerine trees come from the nursery planted in peat moss, it is a good idea to wash off approximately an inch of it around the root ball before setting the root ball in the ground. Dig down into the soil until you have a hole that is twice as wide as your tree’s root ball. The depth can be just the same as the depth of the root ball. If you have good soil for citrus, you won’t need to add anything to the soil. If you don’t, you will want to mix some compost in with the soil that you are putting back in the hole.
Set your tangerine tree in the hole, and return all of the soil you originally removed. Pack down the soil around the tree gently with your hands. Make sure there is at least one inch of soil above the root ball. Then water your tree thoroughly. The best way is to build a watering ring around the tree, about six inches high and a little bit wider that the entire hole you made. Fill this with water and let it slowly seep into the soil around the tree.
All citrus trees require lots of watering right after being planted. That means at least 2-3 times during week one and then 1-2 times over the next six weeks or so. Just pour the water into the water ring you made and let it seep into the plant every time. The ring will gradually erode and by the time it is gone, in four to six months, the tree will no longer need it. Then you can switch to a sprinkler or a soaker hose.
Once tangerine trees start growing, you can begin to fertilize them. The best way is to sprinkle your fertilizer on the ground a foot or more from the tree, and then water it. Make sure that no weeds or grass grows up enough to bother the tree. As the tree gets larger, you will want to increase the area around it that is weed and plant-free. Usually no pruning is necessary on a citrus tree, so that is one less thing to worry about. Everyone hates to prune whether it be on trees or bushes, so you are in luck with a tangerine tree.
Nothing is left except to wait and watch your tree grow. It will take three to four years before tangerine trees are ready to produce edible fruit. So, just be patient and think how great it is going to be when you can eat that very first tangerine that you grew yourself.