Please help me pick a mandarin!

modern_miss(10A (15 Sunset) SF Bay Area CA)November 13, 2013

Hello fellow citrus lovers!
I'm in the SF Bay Area near Palo Alto. I am about to plant three mandarin trees. I have purchased an Owari Satsuma and a Golden Nugget. What should the third mandarin be? Should I get another Golden Nugget or try a Kishu or Tango or Page. If i get a one of those, would I have to throw a blanket over them on cold nights? We get down to 30 to 35 (F) in winter which is just at the borderline of what these mandarins can tolerate I believe. I'd love to know what you would choose because I haven't tasted any of these. I definitely prefer seedless. Thank you!

This post was edited by modern_miss on Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 13:50

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johnmerr(11)

Well, I am basically a Meyer lemon grower; but at my lemon farm I have a big variety of other citrus; and the mandarin I grow is Pixie. I think it is one of the best I have tried; seedless, easy peel, grows quickly..

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 2:02PM
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gregbradley(Upland, CA USDA 9b Sunset 19)

I think you should have all of the ones mentioned unless Page won't get really good in your climate - you might want to check further.

My first batch of Kishus are coming in and taste great. One tree mostly ripe and the other looks like a few weeks behind. Kids love them and they are nice for a small snack. You can get a hundred fruit from a tree 4' tall and wide.

Owari looks a few weeks behind the Kishu.

I like both Pixie and Tango. Having Owari, Pixie, Tango, Gold Nugget should give you continuous fruit for almost half the year with a variety of tastes.

Owari tends to grow in a T shape. Tango grows in a V shape. A Kishu Dwarf would grow in an o shape and fit in between and not take up hardly any more space. Pixie and Gold Nugget tend to grow in a O shape. Wow - we found letters to match most shapes without drawing anything.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 3:35PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Miss, you already have made two great choices, both the Owari Satsuma nd the Gold Nugget are two of the most cold-tolerant mandarins going, especially the Gold Nugget. And the Gold Nugget is exceptionally good tasting. All 3 other varieties your considering are on my "Top 10" list as far as taste go. Seedless Kishu is probably the best tasting of all mandarins imho, and truly seedless. John's suggestion of Pixie is also very good. I also have Pixie and it is very reliable and very sweet, almost seedless. Tango is along the lines of Gold Nugget for taste, very, very good. Page mandarin (which is really a hybrid, 3/4 mandarin, 1/4 grapefruit, Minneola x clementine) makes the very best juice going, I just adore it for juice. Frankly, if I were you, I would try to pick another later and early cultivar, to match what you've got going. Owari being somewhat early (or really, more typical for ripening in winter), and Gold Nugget being late. So, here are the ripening dates for the 3 cultivars you're considering, as well as PIxie:

Pixie: April - June
Tango: Jan - March
Seedless Kishu: Oct - March (holds on the tree very well)
Page: Nov - Jan

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 3:41PM
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modern_miss(10A (15 Sunset) SF Bay Area CA)

Thank you John, Greg and Patty,
Could you please tell me, in your experience, what the ripening time is for Owari and Golden Nugget?
I plan on using these mandarins in school lunch boxes, so ripening time and holding well on the tree are important considerations!
Thanks again for your input!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 5:12PM
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gregbradley(Upland, CA USDA 9b Sunset 19)

Actual ripening time will vary by climate. Your climate is different than either of ours but we can assume they will still ripen in the same order:

Kishu
Owari
Tango
Gold Nugget
Pixie

Gold Nugget has a long season but I'm not personally familiar with this since I haven't had any ripen yet and have no friends with Gold Nugget trees.

School lunch boxes were made for Kishus, Tangos, and Pixies. A grade school kid with a lunch box full of Kishus will have lots of friends.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:01PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Gold Nugget is like Kishu - very long season as it holds well on the tree, Feb through June. Two very worthwhile cultivars to have in your yard, in my opinion.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 12:22AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Kishu is my favorite!! It's like eating candy as my mother put it this morning...

This one left over fruit has been orange for about two months hanging on my little tree, and it was still sweet and juicy when picked today!

I've been picking off one at a time since July. All together about 18 on my little one foot high potted tree since then..lol

Thanks

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 9:30

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:29AM
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RyanLo(NC 7B)

May I suggest Ponkan. It's cold tolerant. Ponkan is one of my favorites and is always highly rated among citrus enthusiasts. It has some seeds(low seeded) - but that's its only drawback. It is very sweet with a good flavor very aromatic as well, a good producer with good sized fruit and a great looking upright tree. A very good addition to anyone's collection.

The only thing is I dont have much experience with it in the west coast, It does extremely well in the FL and gulf area. so it may not be the best for CA but, its worth looking into.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 10:29AM
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modern_miss(10A (15 Sunset) SF Bay Area CA)

Darn. Kishu is out of stock everywhere until spring. I guess I'll either go with Tango which I can pick up today or wait for a Kishu. This is going to be a tough decision...the Tango would fit in well between the early Owari and the late Golden Nugget. So would the Kishu but the season, according to the LA Times and Churchill Orchard in Ojai, is short (January).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 2:02PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, not really, Miss. Seedless Kishu is ready between Dec and Jan, but will hang well on the tree through March. So, up to you. Tango is an excellent choice, quite good.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 4:02PM
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modern_miss(10A (15 Sunset) SF Bay Area CA)

Dear Friends, I bought a Tango...and I'm going to plant it (w/ the Golden Nugget and Owari) in a North-south row. I was going to put the Owari on the south side with the GN on the north and the tango in the middle. Does that make sense?
Thanks for your help everyone!
P.S. i've decided to buy a Kishu too although they won't be available in dwarf size (from 4winds) until next spring or summer.
OK

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 10:03AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

You're set, Miss! Your planting sounds fine. Satsumas tend to be wider, weeping and not so tall, so better on the end. And, if you can locate a Ponkan, you will have a super fine collection of some of the best mandarins around. Ponkans are very upright trees, so if you have a narrow area, perfect for Ponkan.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 8:11PM
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eahamel(9a)

I've gotten page in stores for several years and they're always pretty sour. The other mandarins are good. I got an Algerian mandarin last year because they're supposed to be very sweet, but it hasn't produced yet.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 6:02PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

My Page mandarin is one of my top 3 best citrus in my yard. Never ever sour, extremely sweet, extremely juicy, complex and rich flavored. It is exceptional. I never judge citrus by how they taste in the supermarket. The Dekopon's (Sumo) were just so-so in the supermarket. Off the tree they were much better. Same with Minneola. Just so-so in the store, much better right off the tree.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 2:16PM
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modern_miss(10A (15 Sunset) SF Bay Area CA)

Patty,
You've said that the Page mandarin is good for juicing.
Is the juice from a Page mandarin better than the juice from a Trovita, Late Lane, Valencia, or Moro orange? I had thought I wouldn't need a Page mandarin because I have these oranges for juicing.
Thanks,
MM

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 5:40PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I personally prefer the juice from my Page mandarin hybrid over any orange, even Moro. I love the mandarin flavor in the juice. It is a rich combination of many flavors, intense, sweet, complex. Page is an extremely prolific fruiting cultivar, probably only second behind my Improved Meyer lemon. Fruit tends to be smallish, but it makes up for it in intensity and quality of flavor, and in sheer numbers of fruits.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 11:59PM
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johnorange

I wish I could grow mandarins in the ground here. A few are sold here but local citrus growers say they just aren't cold-hardy enough. I have a place on the south side of my house that might work for a cold-hardy mandarin. Sounds like Patty's recommendation of Gold Nugget for cold-tolerant would be the one for me to try. We already had had three nights in the upper 20's this past week. It knocked leaves off the lime I have been trying to coax into fruiting.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 10:40AM
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modern_miss(10A (15 Sunset) SF Bay Area CA)

Thanks Patty. That's super helpful. I guess I will be adding a Page mandarin too! How long is the harvest for you?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 3:07PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, it holds on the tree well, so I can usually harvest Nov-Jan/Feb. They are very, very prolific trees, so thinning will help make the remaining fruits larger. If you let all the fruit mature, you'll have a gazillion golf-ball sized fruits :-) I'll have to snap a pic of mine so you can see what I'm talking about. I don't mind the smaller fruits, but some folks like them larger.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 7:47PM
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