Q. I have several fruit trees planted around my fire pit near a waterfall and pond. I bought a Murcott tangerine which has not grown an inch in 2 ½ years and the tiny fruit it produces falls off by summer. All the other fruit trees are doing fine except for this tangerine.
|Murcott mandarin orange from reader|
A. This citrus produces fruit ready to harvest from January through March. It originated from central and southern Florida and does best in locations where freezing is rare. Any freezing temperatures during the winter and early spring may cause the fruit to be inedible. I hope it’s planted in a warm microclimate.
|Same Murcott Mandarin orange.|
Problems like these, when similar plants are growing together and one does poorly, is usually a problem with the soil or how it was planted. Possibly irrigation. During the winter carefully lift the tree from the ground by severing the roots with a sharp shovel and lifting the rootball with two shovels on opposing sides. Gently wash the soil from the roots and put the tree in a clean bucket of water, covering all the roots with fresh water.
Re-dig the hole so that it’s five times wider than the tree roots taken from the ground. If water drainage was a problem, the tree should be planted about a foot higher than the surrounding soil. Do not use the same soil but replace it with a soil mix amended for planting.
When planting the tree in this hole, the roots should be less than ½ inch below the finished soil surface surrounding the tree. As soil is added around the roots, add water from a hose to remove any air pockets. Do not step on the soil with your feet but use water to settle it around the roots. Remove about one third of the canopy of the tree after planting. Stake the tree so the lower trunk doesn’t move for one growing season.If the soil mix was made with a rich compost, no fertilizer is needed for one or two growing seasons. Otherwise, apply a fertilizer to the soil high in phosphorus when planting. Next spring place fertilizer 4 inches below the soil and about 12 inches from the trunk with a shovel and water it in.