How to Care for a Tangelo Tree

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Grow delicious, fresh tangelos in your home landscape.
Grow delicious, fresh tangelos in your home landscape. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Tangelos are hybrid citrus fruits that are created by cross-breeding tangerines and grapefruits. The result is an easy-to-peel, sweet and incredibly juicy fruit that features all the best characteristics of its parent fruits. If you have a tangelo tree growing in your garden, all it takes to ensure successful cultivation is a bit of simple, common-sense care. Because tangelo trees are sensitive to frost, they grow best in United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness Zones 9 and 10.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Citrus tree fertilizer
  • Pruning saw or loppers
  • Overwintering blanket
  • Clothespins

Water young tangelo trees once a week during the first growing season to promote the formation of a healthy root system. Apply approximately 1 inch of water each time you irrigate; forgo the weekly watering if your tangelo tree has received a comparable amount of rain. Water the tree as often as necessary to prevent the surrounding soil from drying completely.

Fertilize tangelo trees annually in the early spring to provide the nutrients necessary for healthy foliage and fruit development. Apply a specially formulated citrus tree fertilizer, according to label directives, as soon as you spot new spring growth.

Prune tangelo trees in the late winter or early spring to remove problem branches, encourage energetic growth and increase air flow to the canopy. Cut diseased, damaged or dead branches from your tree with sharpened and sterilized pruning shears or loppers. Remove any crossed or rubbing tree branches to improve air circulation. Cut off any sprouts growing at the base of the tangelo tree to allow it to focus its energy on healthy fruit production.

Provide winter protection for tangelo trees when the overnight temperature is forecast to drop below 20 degrees F. Wrap an overwintering blanket around the tree and secure it with a couple of wooden clothespins; remove the blanket during the day to prevent the tree from overheating.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tangelo trees must be cross-pollinated with another type of citrus tree to produce fruit. If tangelo is the only citrus tree in your garden or home landscape, plant a Temple orange, Fallglo tangerine or Sunburst tangerine within 60 feet of your tangelo tree to ensure successful pollination.
  • Tangelo trees can also be container-grown using these same cultivation instructions. Water container-grown trees more frequently than their ground-grown counterparts, if necessary, to prevent the growing medium from drying out.
  • Citrus trees can develop problems with a number of common pests such as whiteflies, mites, aphids, fire ants, scales and chewing insects, as well as diseases such as greasy spot, citrus scab and melanose. If you notice a decline in the health of your tangelo tree, contact your local agricultural extension office for treatment advice.

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