The Magic Of Mandarins

Mandarins are a vibrant and welcome sight during the cooler seasons. They’re so handy to pop in a lunchbox or to have as an on-the-go healthy snack. Mandarins are little packages of juicy citrus goodness!

‘Emperor’ mandarins are a delicious variety that ripen in mid winter, so are at their peak in July. Emperors are extra easy to peel as they tend to have loose puffy skin.

Emperor mandarins will grow in all but the coldest areas and prefer a sunny location with well drained soil. Grafted dwarf Emperor mandarins grow no taller than around 2 m are perfect for small backyards and can also be grown in a large container (a Yates® Tuscan 400 mm pot is ideal) filled with good quality potting mix such as Yates Premium Potting Mix

Growing Tips:

Look out for Citrus Gall Wasps

Lumpy swellings along the stems of citrus trees are an indication of citrus gall wasp. Citrus gall wasp (Bruchophagus fellis) is native to warm coastal areas in New South Wales and Queensland but has become an increasing problem in Victoria and also Western Australia. Its original host was the native Australian finger lime but can also seriously affect other citrus including lemons, grapefruit and oranges.

There are 3 main stages in the citrus gall wasp life cycle:
1. The small black adult wasp lays up to 100 eggs just underneath the bark on soft new spring growth.
2. Larvae hatch from the eggs, eat the stem tissue and the lumpy galls form around the developing larvae.
3. The larvae mature into the adult wasp which emerges from the gall the following spring, leaving small pin prick holes.

The galls not only look unattractive they can lead to poor plant health and reduced harvest. It’s important for home gardeners to be vigilant and look out for these galls and July is an ideal time to act to reduce this nasty pest, before the adult wasps emerge in spring.

There are no sprays registered for controlling citrus gall wasp in home gardens and once galls are formed the damage is permanent.

Prune off affected stems in July and place these sections in a sealed plastic bag and put them in the garbage (don’t put gall infested stems in the compost bin). Disposing affected stems before the adult wasps have emerged stops the life cycle and helps to reduce new infestations in spring.

Healthy, well fed plants are better able to withstand pest and disease attack. Feed citrus regularly with a balanced and complete plant food, like Yates® Thrive® Citrus Liquid Plant Food each week from spring until the end of harvest to promote strong healthy growth.



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