How Much Fruit Does A Tangelo Tree Produce?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 03/08/21 •  7 min read

How Much Fruit Does A Tangelo Tree Produce? A Tangelo at first glance appears to be somewhere between an Orange and a Mandarin because they have the size of an orange, the flavor of a Mandarin, and an easily peelable skin like a Mandarine. Additionally, the fruit has a Mandarin-type quality to its flavor, however, Tangelos are actually a cross between a Tangerine and a type of grapefruit called Pomelo, hence the name Tangelo. So is a Tangelo worth growth in your yard?

A mature full-sized Tangelo tree produces between 88 and 154 lbs (40 to 70 kg) of fruit per season according to a study by the Federal University of Rio Grande. This equates to 280 to 500 Tangelos in a single season. However, to achieve a yield of this size the tree is typically 14 ft tall and 11 ft wide (4.5m tall by 3.5m wide).

For many home gardeners, it is impractical to have a tree of this size devoted to a single fruit. The alternative is to purchase a tree on a Dwarfing rootstock which will reduce the size to around 6 ft by 6 ft (1.8 m by 1.8m) and the typical yield to 22 to 44 lbs (10 to 20 kg) per season. This equates to 70 to 140 fruit per season.

The additional advantage of dwarfing rootstocks is that it does not affect the size of the individual fruits. Also, the maximum yield for the tree is reached much earlier with dwarfing stocks. They take around 5 to 6 years to reach the maximum yield whereas standard trees take 8 to 10 years. The Federal University of Rio Grande study shows that up until the 5th to 6th years the yield of trees on Dwarfing rootstocks is quite similar to standard trees.

How Long Does It Take For A Tangelo To Fruit?

A grafted Tangelo Tree will take between 1 to 2 years to begin to produce fruit, however, the size of the harvest will be quite small. According to the Federal University of Rio Grande study, you can expect to get between 9 to 16 lbs (4 and 8 kg) of fruit (approximately 30 to 60 tangelos) after 4 years. After that period the size of the harvest will normally begin to increase significantly.

Do You Need More Than One Tangelo Tree To Produce Fruit?

Most varieties of Tangelos, but not all, are known to be a self-fertile or self-pollinating trees. This means that in most cases only one Tangelo tree is required to produce fruit. However, one of the most popular and readily available varieties ‘Minneola’ requires a second pollinating tree to ensure a good harvest.

However, the pollinating tree does not necessarily need to be another Tangelo tree, most varieties of Mandarins will act as suitable pollinators, with the exception of the varieties ‘Orlando’ and ‘Seminole’.

If you have insufficient room for a second tree hand pollination can be done by taking a small artist’s brush and moving pollen from one flower to another.

What Climates Can A Tangelo Tree Be Grown In?

Tangelos, like most citrus trees, are relatively sensitive to low temperatures, with most varieties able to tolerate a minimum temperature of around 28°F (-2.2°C). This limited tolerance of cool temperatures means that Tangelo trees are suited for growing in Zones 9 to 11.

Typically fruit will be ready to harvest in late Winter and Spring, however, this will depend upon the climatic conditions of your specific location.

How To Grow A Tangelo Tree

Tangelo trees are relatively easy to grow, like most citrus trees, provided that you live in a region that has a suitable climate. Tangelo trees prefer a warm sunny location that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight, however, more sunlight than this is best. Additionally, locations that are sheltered from the prevailing wind are preferable as it reduces the chance pollination process being disrupted.

Soil Conditions

Tangelo trees prefer soil well-drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter. In cases where the soil is relatively sandy, it may be necessary to add additional compost which should be mixed well with the existing soil before planting.

In cases where the soil is clay-based soil, it will be also necessary to modify the soil as Tangelo trees will not do well in wet soils. If the soil is constantly wet and does not drain well there is potential for the roots to rot and the tree to die. To improve the soil add gypsum, sometimes referred to as clay breaker, this will stop the soil from becoming hard when it dries out in summer. To further improve soil structure it is advisable to add horticultural grit and compost to improve drainage.

Additionally, the chances of survival for the tree can also be improved by creating a soil mound to plant into. This will elevate the root ball to further improve drainage.

The other soil parameter that will have a significant bearing on the performance of the tree is pH. The pH of the soil affects the solubility of nutrients in water and therefore the availability of these nutrients to plants.

Tangelo trees prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 to 7.0. To test the soil pH accurately it is best to use a pH meter rather than a pH kit with indicator strips. The main reason for this is the meter is cheaper to buy and generally easier to use, click here to see the latest prices on Amazon.

If the pH is outside the desired range lime may be added to increase the pH or sulfur can be added to reduce the pH of your soil if it is too high. Like compost, it is advisable to mix these chemicals into the soil well, and in the case of sulfur, the effect on pH may take some months to appear.

Planting The Tree

Tangelo trees can be planted any time of the year however, they are best planted in Spring. The reason for this is that provides time for the tree to become established before drier conditions of summer arrive.

To plant the Tangelo tree start by digging a hole about twice the width and depth of the container the tree came in. Removing the tree from its container and lightly tease roots with your fingers. This will help the tree to establish its root system more quickly.

Once this has been done position the tree in the hole so that the top of the tree’s rootball is approximately level with the ground then backfill the hole with soil pressing it down around the rootball. This will ensure there are no air pockets present around the rootball.

Thoroughly soak the tree with water before covering the surrounding soil with a layer of mulch that is 2 to 4 inches (10 cm) thick. To avoid problems with collar rot ensure that the mulch does not touch the trunk of the tree.

Caring For A Tangelo Tree

In the first season or two after the Tangelo is planted, it is necessary to water the tree regularly, at least once a week. This is because the root system of the tree is yet to become fully established which makes the tree more susceptible to dry conditions.

Additionally, Tangelo trees require a lot of nutrients to fruit well, to ensure that there is an adequate supply throughout the growing season a slow-release fertilizer should be applied every 2 to 3 months. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the drip zone of the tree and water it in afterward.

Tangelo trees should be pruned once a year to remove dead and diseased wood. Additionally, it is advisable to remove any branches that are rubbing against each other as these points create a potential point of infection within the tree. Pruning is best done just after the fruit has been harvested as it will reduce the chances of it interfering with next year’s crop.

Harvesting Fruit

The Tangelo crop will be ready to pick in Winter and Spring. They should be picked as they have fully developed in color as the flavor deteriorates if left on the tree too long. However, before picking the crop try one or two fruits for flavor to ensure they are completely ripe as Tangelo will not ripen further once picked.

Once picked Tangelos are best stored in a refrigerator. In these conditions, they will last approximately a month or so. If the fruit is stored at room temperature it will last approximately 2 to 3 weeks.

Paul Smart