CULTIVATION STRATEGY FOR
Tangerine is one of the fruits with the highest production in the world. It is cultivated almost all over the world as it is a fruit highly appreciated for its flavour and nutritional properties.
The mandarin tree, the tangerine, is a fruit tree of the Rutaceae family, native to Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam and China..
» Tangerine plantation
·When are tangerine trees planted?
These trees are planted between April and June. Ripe tangerines are obtained between October and December, depending on the variety.
·How are tangerine trees planted?
Tangerine trees are planted facing the sun and sheltered from the wind. These trees do not tolerate frost.
» Soil and climate requirements
Tangerine trees are not very demanding in terms of soil type, but prefer permeable, deep and slightly calcareous soils. They do not tolerate salinity and are sensitive to root asphyxia. In addition, the pH of the soil should be between 6 and 7.
The tangerine tree requires a temperature of between 23-35oC for its correct development, so the subtropical climate is the most suitable for its needs.
It is more resistant to cold and drought than orange trees, although the fruits are sensitive to these conditions.
» Mandarin tree care requirements
·Soil preparation for mandarin cultivation
Soil preparation for tangerine crops consists of:
- Eliminating weeds and control their growth
- Aerating topsoil
- Incorporating fertilisers or organic matter
- Increasing water retention capacity
- Preparing for flood irrigation.
The soil is tilled 3-4 times a year, between March and September. The rest of the year, the soil is maintained with a vegetation cover.
·Irrigation of tangerine trees
Tangerine cultivation requires frequent and abundant watering, without waterlogging. In summer, daily watering is recommended, while in winter it is watered 2-3 times a week.
In-ground drip irrigation is recommended, which optimises irrigation and improves the efficiency of nitrogen fertilisation, as well as reducing evotranspiration of the crop.
- Tangerine pruning
Tangerine trees need two main types of pruning:
- Formative pruning
It is carried out from the third year of the tree’s life. In this process, any regrowth that may occur in the pattern is eliminated.
- Fruiting pruning
The tangerine tree is a very productive species. As a consequence, branches break frequently and frequent pruning (at least once a year) is necessary to remove dead or weak branches and to invigorate the growth of the remaining branches.
» Nutrients needed for mandarin cultivation
Tangerines mainly demand:
- Nitrogen:It’s one of the most important elements in tangerine tree growth, flowering and fruit setting.
- Phosphorus: It participates in the formation of sugars and contributes to the quality of the fruit.
- Potassium: It optimises fruit development.
- Calcium: most of its activity is due to its coordination capacity, as it is able to establish stable and at the same time reversible bonds between molecules.
- Iron: It’s essential for photosynthesis and respiration.
- Zinc: It’s involved in various enzymes.
- Manganese: It’s involved in the activation of numerous enzymes.
- Copper: It enables enzyme bonds in redox reactions.
- Molybdenum: It’s involved in atmospheric nitrogen fixation and nitrate reduction.
Deficiency or insufficiency of any of these mineral elements can negatively affect development and productivity.
Fertiliser for tangerine trees
- What fertilisers does the tangerine tree need for its cultivation?
As we have already seen in the previous section, the main components that the fertiliser for mandarin trees should contain are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium.
For the organic cultivation of tangerine trees, organic fertilisers, such as manure, compost or earthworm hummus, as well as those formulated with algae, minerals or other natural elements, shall be applied.
Some of the recommended fertilisers for Fervalle’s mandarin crops are Algavalle Plus, Calbomix and Brotovalle N.
Algavalle Plus is a liquid formulation of algae extract with amino acids and enriched with molybdenum. Its functions include:
- It regulates plant growth
- It provides the nitrogen needed for plant development
- It promotes nitrogen absorption
- It increases flowering
Calbomix is a formulation rich in nitrogen, calcium, magnesium and enriched with micronutrients with a high greening power in the crop. Its advantages include:
- It favours the correct development and fattening of the oranges.
- It increases production
- It increases the post-harvest preservation of fruits.
- It’s an excellent corrector of micronutrient deficiencies
- It participates in cell division, strengthening the cell wall, during the fruit formation process.
Brotovalle N is a compound fertiliser, rich in organic elements, copper, manganese and zinc. In addition, its formulation contains nitrogen, which boosts the growth and production of the crop. Its advantages include:
- It induces the plant to synthesise essential molecules
- It increases crop quality and yields
- It reduces the effects of unfavourable situations during the life cycle of the plant.
- It guarantees a homogenization in the size of the fruit.
It should be borne in mind that fertilisation should not be started until the beginning of the second sprouting after planting. In addition, some varieties require the application of gibberellic acid to improve fruit set.
Tangerines are harvested from March to August, when their characteristic colour (yellow, orange and/or red, depending on the variety) spreads over 75% of the surface of the fruit.
Hand picking, using pliers, and in the absence of dew or fog, is recommended.
In addition, it is important to note that pre-harvest fruit drop is frequent in mandarin trees, so fruit should not be kept on the tree for too long.