LAST SEGMENTS OF THE SEASON
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.