Carol O’Sullivan with a mandarin tree.
Carol O’Sullivan with a mandarin tree.

Growing mandarins in the Beaudesert region can be pretty rewarding with our local area offering the warm temperatures and the rainfall that mandarins need to thrive. 

Several mandarin varieties perform well locally. 

Imperial is a popular early-season variety known for its easy-to-peel skin and sweet flavor. Emperor produces larger fruit with a later harvest, Honey Murcott, also known as Murcott, and Hicksons also do well. 

Mandarins are well-suited to our warm summers and mild winters. 

They prefer temperatures between 20°C and 30°C however mandarins can tolerate temperatures down to negative 3°C for short periods, making them resilient during occasional cold snaps.

The ideal soil for mandarins is well-drained, sandy loam with a pH between six and seven.

That fits most of our local conditions but amending heavy clay or sandy soils with organic matter will work effectively.  It’s crucial to avoid waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot.

Mandarins should be planted in a sunny location that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily. 

The best planting time is during autumn or early spring when the soil is warm, but not too hot. This allows the trees to establish before the intense heat of summer.

When planting, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and mix in compost or well-rotted manure to enhance soil fertility. 

Young mandarin trees need regular watering to establish a strong root system. When they are small ensure the soil remains moist, particularly during dry periods.

Fertilising is critical for healthy growth and fruit production. 

We use organic matter like our home made compost and that has been more than sufficient to get good crops. 

Mandarins typically begin to bear fruit three to four years after planting. 

In South East Queensland, the main harvesting period is from late autumn to early winter, although this can vary with the variety. 

Signs of ripeness include a deep orange color and a slight give when gently squeezed. Mandarins are best picked by cutting the stem rather than pulling the fruit.

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