By Amy Grant
Neither a tangerine or a pummelo (or grapefruit), tangelo tree information classifies the tangelo as being in a class all its own. Tangelo trees grow to the size of the standard orange tree and are more cold hardy than grapefruit but less so than the tangerine. Delicious and sweet smelling, the question is “Can you grow a tangelo tree?”
About Tangelo Trees
Additional tangelo tree information tells us that technically or rather, botanically, tangelos are a hybrid of Citrus paradisi and Citrus reticulata and named thus by W.T. Swingle and H. J. Webber. Further information about tangelo trees indicates that the fruit is a cross between the Duncan grapefruit and the Dancy tangerine of the family Rutaceae.
An evergreen with fragrant white flowers, the tangelo tree produces fruit looking much like an orange but with a bulbous stem end, smooth to slightly bumpy rind and an easily removable peel. The fruit is prized for its extremely juicy flesh, slightly acidic to sweet and aromatic.
Propagating Tangelo Trees
Because tangelos are self-sterile, they reproduce almost completely true to type through seed propagation. Although not commercially grown in California, tangelos require a climate similar to southern California and are indeed cultivated in southern Florida and Arizona.
Propagating tangelo trees is best done through disease resistant root stock, which can be obtained online or through the local nursery depending upon your location. Minneolas and Orlandos are two of the most common varieties, although there are many others to choose from.
Tangelos grow best and are hardy in USDA zones 9-11, although they can also be container grown indoors or in a greenhouse in colder climes.
Tangelo Tree Care
Promote the formation of healthy roots in the young tree by watering one inch of water in once a week during the growing season. Don’t mulch around the tree or allow grass or weeds to surround the base. Citrus trees do not like wet feet, which fosters root rot and other diseases and fungi. Any of the above around the base of your tangelo will encourage disease.
Feed tangelo trees as soon as new growth appears on the tree with a fertilizer specifically made for citrus trees for optimal production and general tangelo tree care. Early spring (or late winter) is also a good time to prune out any diseased, damaged or problematic branches to improve air circulation and general health. Remove any suckers at the base as well.
The tangelo tree will need to be protected from temps below 20 degrees F. by covering with a blanket or landscape fabric. Tangelos are also prone to infestation by whiteflies, mites, aphids, fire ants, scale and other insects as well as diseases like greasy spot, citrus scab and melanose. Keep a close eye on your tangelo and take immediate steps to eradicate any pest or disease.
Lastly, tangelos need to be cross pollinated with another variety or citrus to fruit. If you want some of that delicious, extremely juicy fruit, plant a variety of citrus such as Temple orange, Fallgo tangerine or Sunburst tangerine no farther than 60 feet from your tangelo.