How to Grow Tangerine Trees


Native to Southeast Asia, tangerines and mandarins resemble miniature oranges, although their fruits are actually classified as berries. Tangerines, mandarins and satsumas are the most cold-hardy of citrus trees and grow to less than 15 or 20 feet tall. You should plant your tangerine trees in well-draining, sandier soil in a spot that receives full sunlight. If you experience some freezing temperatures or periodic winter or spring frosts, plant your tangerine trees in a protected area on the south side of your house. Plant your tangerine trees in the fall or winter.

Planting Tangerine Trees

Step 1

Dig a planting hole for your tangerine tree that is the same depth as the root ball and 1 ½ times the width. Clear away all grass and weeds from the area around the planting hole, about 3 feet outward.

Step 2

Remove the tangerine tree from the nursery container and gently loosen the outer roots. Rinse the outer roots gently to remove some of the potting soil.

Step 3

Place the root ball into the planting hole and backfill the hole with soil about halfway. Tamp down the soil with your hands and water the soil. Then, backfill the rest of the planting hole until you reach 1 inch above the root ball.

Step 4

Make a raised ring of soil around the planting hole that is about 6 inches high. Fill the inside of the ring with water.

Caring for Tangerine Trees

Step 1

Water your tangerine trees once or twice each week during the first month after planting them. Then, water the trees every time the top 1 or 2 inches of soil around the trees begins to dry out.

Step 2

Feed your tangerine trees when new growth emerges in the spring. Feed the trees according to the package directions with a slow-release citrus tree fertilizer that contains micronutrients, such as copper, zinc, iron and manganese.

Step 3

Prune your tangerine trees in the spring to remove all suckers or watersprouts that emerge as upward growth from the tree trunks. Also remove any dead, diseased or damaged branches each year.

Step 4

Treat and protect your tangerine trees from citrus canker, melanose, greasy spot and sooty mold, all common fungal diseases that infect citrus trees, with a liquid copper-based fungicide. Follow the directions on the label carefully.

Step 5

Watch out for insect infestations of your tangerine trees, such as aphid, whitefly, Orangedog caterpillars, mites, brown soft scale and thrip infestations. Treat your tangerine trees with the appropriate insecticide according to the directions on the label.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never plant your tangerine trees deeper than the height of the root ball. You should have no more than 2 inches of soil over the top of the root ball to prevent "foot rot." Watch out for iron deficiencies in your tangerine trees, which is common for many types of citrus trees. If the new-growth leaves begin to look yellow and skeletal, the trees likely have an iron deficiency. Place chelated iron tablets on the soil around the tree at its canopy line.

Things You'll Need

  • Tangerine trees
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Slow-release citrus tree fertilizer
  • Pruning tools
  • Liquid copper-based fungicide
  • Mycorrhizal fungi (optional)
  • Insecticidal sprays or soaps, horticultural oils, or Bacillus thuringiensis (optional)
  • Chelated iron tablets (optional)


  • Citrus Tree Care: Mandarin, Satsuma, Tangerine Trees
  • Citrus Tree Care: Citrus Care Tips

Who Can Help

  • Clementine Tangerine Tree
  • Sunkist: Tangerines
Keywords: tangerine tree care, grow tangerines, plant tangerine trees

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.