Growing Satsuma Mandarin Orange
Trees in Northeast Florida Landscapes
Origin of Satsuma Mandarin Orange / Citrus Unshiu For Northeast Florida :
Satsuma oranges originated in Japan as a natural selection of mandarin orange seeds sent over from a mandarin orange tree in China. It is widely accepted that current satsuma cultivars are selections or mutations from that one tree.
Today there are over 100 cultivars of satsuma mandarin oranges. In Japan, many selections of Satsuma are grown and marketed. In Florida the vast majority of Satsuma trees grown are the ‘Owari’ satsuma.
Satsuma orange trees are much more cold hardy than most citrus varieties. They bear fruit from October to November in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscape and fruits have a distinct and delicious flavor.
If you live in the colder portions of Northeast Florida this one is for you!
Winter Temperature Tolerance For Satsuma Mandarin Oranges:
Satsumas are the most cold tolerant of all the citrus fruits. They have withstood temperatures as low as 14-+18 degrees! They can be planted in zones 8-10.
Sun Exposure for the Meyer Lemon Tree in Northeast Florida:
Plant Satsuma mandarin orange trees where they will receive full sun in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscapes.
Foliage of the Satsuma Mandarin Orange Tree:
Satsuma mandarin orange trees have dark green foliage and are typically broader than that of other mandarin oranges.Blooms and Fruit of Satsuma Mandarin Orange Trees for Northeast Florida Landscape:
There may be nothing quite like a citrus tree in full bloom. The smell is magnificent! Mature citrus trees are said to be able to produce up to 100,000 blooms in a single year!
Satsuma mandarin orange trees are self pollinating, so there is no need for a second tree to pollinate your tree in order for it to produce fruit.
Satsuma fruits are seedless, ( less than 6 seeds ) flattened on the top and bottom, rounded, and will turn a bright red orange in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area when the night temperatures begin to cool. Satsumas grown farther south may have some difficulty getting the skins to turn from green to orange but the fruit will still ripen from October to November and be sweet and ready to eat, green skin and all.
Soil Preference for the Satsuma Mandarin Orange Tree:
It is no longer a recommended practice to amend the soil in the planting hole on Citrus trees in good soil according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. However, probably due to the simple fact that old habits die hard, one UFIFAS citrus publication cautions, if you are going to amend your soil be sure to use a 50-50 ratio. In other words, use equal parts soil amendment and native soil (that is the soil you dug out of the hole before placing the tree in it), and mix the amended soil together with the native soil before backfilling the hole around the tree.
Size of the Satsuma Mandarin Orange Tree When Mature:
The mature size on a Satsuma tree is 20-25 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide. Satsuma trees usually have a spreading, or drooping habit and have less foliage and a more open growth habit than what is typical of citrus trees.
Pruning and Growth Habits of Satsuma Mandarin Orange Trees for the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Pruning is important on young mandarin orange trees to help them develop a branching structure that will hold under the weight of the “every other year” heavy fruit load that the trees will produce.
– Remove suckers that sprout up from the trunk, or to remove dead wood that can cause problems when left on the tree.
– When purchasing trees from an S & J Nursery container less than a 30 gallon pot size, pruning may be needed to shape the young trees into a desirable framework, and light pruning each year to develop the lemon trees rounded or mushroom shaped canopy.
-As the tree matures it should be shaped by selecting 3 – 5 main branches, well spaced along the trunk for fruiting production. Remove branches with narrow angles, and sub branches that are crossing or rubbing on other branches.Planting and Mulching Tips For Satsuma Mandarin Orange Trees in the Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape:
NOTE: THIS IS IMPORTANT
-Be sure to plant into well draining soils, and keep the soil level of the dirt in the container above the soil level of the ground by 1-2 inches when you are finished planting. The soil that your tree was growing in should be slightly higher or level with the ground.
– Never bury the top of the root system ( the dirt in the pot that the tree was growing in). The soil in the top of the pot should be exposed to the air after planting, not buried by soil in any way.
Caution: Do not build berms around Citrus to hold water, as is recommended for pretty much all other trees. Leave a 12 inch diameter area around Citrus tree trunks with no mulch, do not put mulch up to the trunk of the tree on Citrus Root rot can develop quickly and good drainage is essential to a healthy tree.
Remove the grass and weeds growing under the foliage of any Citrus tree in Northeast Florida about a foot beyond where the foliage stops. Don’t allow grass and weeds to regrow under your Florida Citrus.
When planting in areas with a high water table, consider planting your Citrus into a raised berm a few feet high and 6or more ft wide. This will keep your Citrus roots up out of the water soaked ground during periods of heavy rain.
Wow, that was allot of don’ts! Here’s one last one. Don’t worry, it really isn’t as hard as it seems, once you get them going Citrus trees just keep on growing!
Keeping your Satsuma Tree Free from Pests and Diseases:
When it comes to gardening, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is to say that, paying attention to proper planting, watering and fertilizing practices for your citrus tree is the best way to keep it healthy and growing well.
Water Requirements of the Satsuma Mandarin Orange in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area Landscape:
Newly planted citrus trees require watering every other day for the first month and twice a week for the first few months, or in sandy soils when the top two inches of soil is dry to the touch. Take care to make sure that newly planted citrus trees receive water at least once a week for the first 2 years after being planted, skipping watering altogether once the local rain season is here.
Mature citrus trees need little to no supplemental irrigation and are more often damaged by over watering than under watering.
When citrus trees need supplemental irrigation, make sure to irrigate the soil only and not the trunk or foliage, this is best done by hand with a hose.
Fertilizing Your Satsuma mandarin Orange Tree for Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine area Gardens:
Citrus trees tend to be a bit demanding on the fertilizing side of the equation.
A good quality fertilizer specifically formulated for citrus trees should be used. Fertilize in spring, again in summer and ,skip the fall application in Northeast Florida, and then again in January. Spread your fertilizer out into the circle of non grass area under the Canopy of your citrus tree.
Harvesting your Fresh Satsuma Mandarin Orange Tree Fruits:
Be sure to clip the fruits from the tree rather than pulling, the peel will become puffy when fruits are left to ripen on the tree and pulling the fruits will develop a hole where the stem was attached that will cause fruit to spoil easier during storage.