LAST SEG­MENTS OF THE SEA­SON

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE / GARDEN - IN MY GAR­DEN WORDS: ANGIE THOMAS

As the man­darin sea­son draws to a close, one of the last va­ri­eties bear­ing fruit dur­ing early spring is honey mur­cott man­darins. Although not the eas­i­est man­darin to peel and hav­ing a few seeds, they’re juicy and have a lovely sweet taste. Honey mur­cott man­darins are some­times known as honey tan­ger­ines and are a man­darin/sweet orange hy­brid. They pre­fer grow­ing in warm tem­per­ate and sub­trop­i­cal ar­eas (though will tol­er­ate cooler ar­eas in a pro­tected mi­cro cli­mate) and need a sunny lo­ca­tion with well-drained soil. Grafted dwarf honey mur­cott man­darins grow no taller than 2m, so are per­fect for small back­yards or large con­tain­ers. Early spring is an ideal time to plant a new man­darin tree. Keep the new tree well wa­tered, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing its first sum­mer. Ap­ply­ing a layer of mulch, such as bark chips, around the root zone will help keep the soil moist and pro­tect the top soil and shal­low root sys­tem. Man­darins, like other cit­rus, are heavy feed­ers and re­quire lots of nu­tri­ents to sup­port all the fo­liage, flow­ers and de­vel­op­ing fruit. From spring un­til the man­darins are har­vested, feed ev­ery eight weeks with pel­letised cit­rus fer­tiliser. Angie Thomas is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at Yates.

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