Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Garden Cuttings

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Garden Cuttings

Article excerpt

Q We have a mandarin tree which is at least 10 years old. We have forgotten which variety it is.

The tree is about 4-5 metres tall and has sun most of the day. Over the past few years the fruit has become quite small, and hardly worth peeling.

We would appreciate any advice you can offer to remedy this problem. Also when and how to prune and suggestions on which fertiliser to use.

- Len, via email

A I'm guessing that your tree is either an Imperial or an Emperor, both of which are the two most commonly sold mandarin varieties for home gardeners.

If it is an Imperial, one reason for the small fruit may be alternate bearing. This variety is prone to bearing a lighter crop of large fruit one year, then a larger crop of small fruit the next, particularly after a wet summer when the tree has put on lots of growth.

It's also possible that the tree set so many fruit that it cropped too heavily for its own good. One remedy is to thin the fruit. …

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