Sumo (Dekomon) Mandarin Tree Availability?

hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CAFebruary 21, 2011

Interesting topic over on the California Gardening Forum about this new mandarin that has made its way over to the United States. Wondering if anyone knows if hobbiest gardeners yet have the ability to purchase a tree for their backyard? I know that they are available for orchardists from the Suntreat and TreeSource companies, but can't seem to find a nursery that has this tree available. Does anyone know of a source for the trees that will ship to California (or available in California)? I would surely love to plant one of these wonderful mandarins in my yard!

Patty S.

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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

Unless you have connections with the growers who control the trees and the scionwood, I think getting a plant is basically impossible.

However, one citrus expert has told me that "Dekopon" is nucellar, meaning that it will come "true" from seed. So you could start sprouting some out now! (By the way, the previously-mentioned citrus guru thinks that "Dekopon" is a top-tier fruit, but not uniquely good.)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:32PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, I don't have any connections like that - can check with CRFG and see if anyone there does. Awaiting Bonita Creek Nursery's response, as Dave is very well connected and might be able to procure trees possibly. But, if this will grow true from seed, then I'll certainly try to plant some and see if I can get a few seedlings going. That is, if I actually like the fruit! Have to see if anyone at my local Vista Farmer's Market has any, or any of the Farmer's Markets of specialty grocery stores around me. Will have to wait a few years to get fruit, but will be a fun project none the less. Thanks ashok, worth a seedling adventure to see.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:33PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

Patty,

One of the main points of the L.A. Times piece is that the corporation controlling legal rights to the current batch of trees/scionwood wants to keep the cultivar proprietary for as long as possible. (Licensed growers had to sign confidentiality and exclusive marketing agreements.) So I don't think that you'll find trees or scionwood available anywhere. Some licensed growers may also be CRFG members, but I can't imagine that any would take the risk of breaching their contracts!

The article does mention that the California Citrus Clonal Protection Program has re-acquired budwood from Japan for quarantine and "cleanup" as a publicly available variety,
so trees/scionwood should become available eventually.

For now, I think seeds would be the best bet!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:52PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

From a discussion on another forum, it seems to be the case that "Dekopon" fruits are usually seedless, but sometimes may contain the occasional seed. So keep that in mind before buying possibly-pricey fruit in seach of seeds!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:10PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I finally read through the original article in the LA Times, and read the paragraph where it mentions that it will be "at least seven years before Suntreat's competitors begin harvesting their crops". Key words being "seven years". All the other articles I read, which were summations of the orginial article missed that key point. I had read that the budwood had been reaquired, and that it would be available to the public. The other online sources failed to mention that it would be several years before anything would be available to the public.

Certainly would never ask anyone to jeopardize their contract, that would be unethical and certainly not above board. Well aware of the illegalities of doing something like that :-) I just thought that the budwood was in process of being distributed to other growers based on what I had read online.

So, unless I happen upon a Sumo with some seeds, looks like I'm in for a long wait. And, since I have no locations anywhere near me that will be selling Sumos in the near future, it's unlikely I'll get my hands on any to do a taste test and collect seeds. Many other great varieties out there to pick from, I don't have a Satsuma for example, so maybe I ought to just start there.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:44PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

Patty,

Gosh, I didn't mean to suggest that you would do anything untoward -- my main point was just that the growers are going to be keeping any scionwood under effective lock-and-key. (I'm sure that the secrecy/security will largely dissipate once the CCPP makes budwood generally available.

Collecting seeds is a good idea, but you may want to wait until prices for the fruit go down -- I've heard that they are currently being priced as "super-premium" items!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 1:00AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Got that, ashok, just wanted to make it clear I wasn't trying to do anything illegal, considering all the illegalities that have already surrounded this tree. And, chances of purchasing a Sumo in my area right now is slim. Seems they're mainly being sold in the greater Los Angeles area for right now, with the exception of WH, which unfortunately is not in my area. So, unless I stumble across one at a Farmer's Market, or if Suntreat expands their commercial market, it's unlikely I'll be able to buy one. Yes, they're premium-priced since Suntreat is effectively created a little "Sumo Oligopoly" by controlling the number of growers and restricting the supply to the market, thus driving up the price (and creating this sort of aura around this new mandarin). But, I think some folks have been able to buy them at some of the markets up in Los Angeles for a reasonable price,at the Mitsuwa market, $1.69 each for example. Not too outrageous.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 11:26AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, just talked to one of our resident citrus experts (attached to DWN) whose fruit tree opinions, especially citrus is highly regarded down here in So Cal, and he also concurs. Lots of hype around this fruit, and many other mandarin choices just as good or better. Size apparently does NOT matter, here. He said, "I'll just eat 2 or 3 of something else." Plus, it doesn't hold well on the tree - something I suspected after reading the article, and the discussion about the "secret curing process to sweeten up the fruit." I thought, "why the heck don't they just leave the fruit on the tree longer??" I already have two he suggested - Clemintine and Pixie - and may add a couple more of the varieties he suggested to stretch out my mandarin time.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 5:16PM
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brismith70(AZ 9)

Hoosierquilt:

If you can find a gold nugget tangerine anywhere, I would highly suggest them. As far as I am concerned, they are the best tasting tangerines for the money. They were just recently released from the UC Riverside program for the home citrus grower.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 12:16AM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

"Gold Nugget" is great, as are "Page", "Fremont", "Kishu", and "Nova". I don't think that I've tasted them, or, in any case, I don't recall, but the others in the "Gold" series ("Shasta Gold", etc.) also have good reputations.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 4:59AM
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simon_grow

I just purchased some Dekopon from Nijiya Market in San Diego and they tasted excellent. I am very picky with my fruit and have recently taste tested many citrus such as Moro and Tarocco blood oranges, Cara Cara navel, Valencia, Midknight valencia and many others and this Dekopon is the real deal.

The advertisement at the market says Dekopon is a hybrid between Kiyomi and Ponkan, I've never heard of these. The fruit is very sweet with the perfect amount of acidity.

The fruit were selling for 1.69 each or 9 small ones for 12.99 or 5-6 large ones for 12.99. I've eaten two fruit and not a single seed yet! I'm really hoping to get some seeds.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 2:32AM
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michael_2015

Sumo (Dekomon) Mandarin Trees are available in South Mississippi.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2015 at 7:07AM
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kjdolan

I'm confused. I just had a Suma Citrus Dekomon and it had no seeds. How would you get seeds?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 9:31PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

The fruit is available for the first time I think,in markets around Seattle.I tried a few and they were very good.It was mentioned above,that they are mostly seedless and once in awhile there is one.Mine didn't have any. Brady

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 5:47AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

The "Sumo" (Dekopon/Shiranui) is a "seedless" mandarin, but that doesn't mean it is completely and totally seedless. It can have some seeds. So, it just depends on whether or not you eat a fruit with a seed or two in it. If you eat just one, you may have a fruit without any seeds. It might taking having a few or even a dozen to find seeds. The commercial growers grow them in blocks, and may even net their outer row trees to keep cross pollination down, which is what can cause seed formation.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 6:44AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

2 years ago I was lucky and found a seed. On top of that I was lucky enough to get it to germinate. Fast forward. It is still about 3-4 inches tall. I treat it the same as all my other citrus which are healthy and vigorous. As far as my dekopon seedling is concerned it is either not happy with me or seedlings arent that strong a plant. Im going to feed it a little more this summer and see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 7:09AM
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