How To Grow Tangelo: Best Tips And Advice

Learn how to grow tangelo trees with the best tips and advice for choosing the right location, preparing the soil, care, and pest management.

Choose the Right Location for Your Tangelo Tree

Tangelo trees thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil. Plant your tangelo tree in an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day for the best growth and fruit production.
The soil should be fertile, acidic and fast-draining with a pH between 5 and 6.5. Heavy clay soils do not drain well and can lead to root rot in tangelo trees. Loamy soil, enriched with compost or other organic matter is ideal.
Before planting, have your soil tested to check the pH and nutrient levels. Adding bone meal or a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (5-7-5 fertilizer) will provide the necessary nutrients to get your tangelo tree off to a healthy start.

tangelo, soil, black and gray stone fragment
Photo by Ryoji Hayasaka / Unsplash

Prepare the Soil for Planting Your Tangelo

Preparing the soil before planting is one of the most important steps to ensure your tangelo tree thrives. Tangelo trees require fertile, acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6.5 for optimal growth. About a month before planting, it is recommended to test your soil pH and nutrient levels.

If the soil pH is too high (alkaline), add elemental sulfur at a rate of about 1/2 to 1 pound per 100 square feet to lower the pH.For soil that is very acidic, add ground limestone at about 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet to raise the pH.

  • To improve soil structure and provide nutrients, add:
  • Compost or manure: 2 to 3 inches per 100 square feet. Work into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil.
  • Peat moss: 1 bale (3.8 cubic feet) per 100 square feet. Mix into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil.
  • Worm castings: 10 to 15 pounds per 100 square feet. Scatter over the soil and work into the top few inches.

Bone meal or a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (5-7-5 or similar) should also be added to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Follow the directions on the product packaging to determine how much to add based on the results of your soil test.

In addition to pH and nutrients, tangelo trees require well-drained soil for healthy roots. While tangelo trees can tolerate temporary flooding, the roots will rot if they remain soggy for too long. Before planting, fill in any low areas where water is prone to collecting and consider installing drainage pipes if necessary.

Building up the soil with compost and other organic matter will help provide the right amount of drainage and aeration for tangelo tree roots. Work any additions into the top 12 inches of soil.

Once your soil is prepared, you can plant your tangelo tree and provide it the best start possible! With the right soil conditions, your tangelo tree will establish quickly and thrive for years to come.

tangelo, soil, person holding green plant stem
Photo by Jonathan Kemper / Unsplash

Planting Your Tangelo: The Dos and Don’ts

Plant your tangelo tree in late winter or early spring after the threat of frosts has passed. Make sure you give your tree the best start by planting properly.

The Do’s

  • Plant in a spot with well-drained, fertile, and acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6.5.
  • Bury the root ball so the top is slightly higher than ground level. This allows for proper drainage and air circulation.
  • Stake young trees for the first 1-2 years to help establish a strong trunk.
  • Space trees at least 15-20 feet apart so they have enough room as they grow.
  • Water thoroughly after planting and add a layer of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it away from the trunk.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t plant in heavy clay or poorly drained soil. Tangelo roots will rot.
  • Don’t bury the root ball deeper than the level it was in the container. This can suffocate the roots.
  • Don’t leave air pockets around the roots when backfilling the hole. Pack the soil down firmly around the roots.
  • Don’t fertilize at the time of planting. Wait until new growth starts in the spring before applying a balanced citrus fertilizer.
  • Don’t stake the tree for more than 1-2 years. Remove stakes so the trunk can develop strength on its own.

To plant your tangelo tree, dig a hole slightly wider than the root ball and backfill with the native soil you removed. Water thoroughly after planting and spread 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it 6 inches away from the trunk.

Proper planting and care in the first few years will help your tangelo tree establish strong roots and set the stage for healthy growth. With the right conditions, your tangelo tree can thrive for 30-50 years or more! Follow up with regular watering, fertilizing, and pruning to keep your tangelo tree productive and looking its best.

tangelo, tangelo tree, grey calm body of water near green leaf trees at daytime
Photo by Bryce Evans / Unsplash

Tangelo Tree Care: Watering, Fertilizing, and Pruning

Proper care and maintenance will keep your tangelo tree healthy and producing abundant fruit. Provide the following care for your tangelo tree:


  • Water newly planted tangelo trees regularly so the soil remains moderately moist, about 1 inch of water per week. Once established, continue to water during drought periods, especially in hot or dry weather.
  • Watering deeply but infrequently is best. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Water in the morning to give the foliage time to dry during the day which helps prevent disease.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture in the soil.


  • Fertilize your tangelo tree in early spring before new growth starts and again in midsummer.
  • Use a balanced citrus fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium such as 6-6-6 or 8-8-8. Follow the directions on the product packaging to determine how much and how often to fertilize based on the age and size of your tree.
  • Do not fertilize for 6-8 weeks after planting a new tangelo tree. Wait until new growth starts before applying fertilizer.


  • Prune tangelo trees to remove dead or damaged branches as well as branches that cross over each other.
  • Also prune your tangelo tree to improve its shape and structure. Remove shoots growing inward or straight up.
  • Do major pruning in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Avoid pruning in fall after the growth season has finished.
  • Never prune more than 25% of branches at a time. This could shock the tree.
  • Tools: Use pruning shears, loppers, and pruning saws that are clean and sharp. Sterilize tools between cuts to prevent disease.

With consistent care and maintenance, especially in the first few years after planting, your tangelo tree can thrive and produce delicious fruit for many years to come! Follow up with regular inspections for common pests and diseases and take appropriate action if needed to keep your tree healthy.

tangelo, watering, white watering can
Photo by lilartsy / Unsplash

Managing Pests and Diseases on Your Tangelo Tree

Regular inspections of your tangelo tree are important to detect any pest or disease issues early and take appropriate control measures. Common pests and diseases to watch for include:


  • Citrus aphids: Green aphids that feed on new growth. Control with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap sprays.
  • Spider mites: Tiny red mites that spin webs and feed on leaves. Spray with horticultural oil or predatory mites.
  • Scale: Hard or soft bumps on leaves, twigs, and fruit that secrete honeydew. Prune off or apply horticultural oil.
  • Mealybugs: Soft, oval white insects that feed on leaves and twigs. Remove by hand or apply insecticidal soap.


  • Greasy spot: Fungus that causes yellow-brown spots on leaves and fruit. Apply copper-based fungicide and improve air circulation.
  • Melanose spot: Fungus that causes brown spots on leaves, twigs, and fruit. Apply copper-based fungicide and improve air circulation.
  • Alternaria: Fungus that causes brown spots on leaves and twigs. Apply copper-based fungicide and remove infected plant material.

Some tips for control and prevention:

  • Inspect your tangelo tree regularly, especially the undersides of leaves. Look for any signs of pests, webbing, honeydew, or unusual spotting.
  • Apply horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps to control most common pests. Follow directions on the product.
  • For fungal diseases, apply copper-based fungicides and improve air circulation by pruning. Remove any infected plant material.
  • Maintain healthy soil and proper nutrition to prevent stress and vulnerability. Healthy trees are less prone to pest and disease attack.
  • Control weeds around the base of the tree and apply mulch to prevent pests and diseases from splashing onto the tree.
  • Clean up fallen fruit and debris under the tree.
  • Use biological controls such as predatory insects (lady beetles, lacewings) to combat some pests.
  • Consider professional treatments if natural and organic methods are not yielding good results.

With diligent monitoring and timely control, pests and diseases should not cause severe problems for your tangelo tree. However, if issues seem beyond help, contact a local extension service for advice.

tangelo, soil, brown sand with water during daytime
Photo by Itadaki / Unsplash

Harvesting and Storing Your Tangelos

Tangelos typically ripen in winter, so regularly check your tree in winter to see if the fruit is ready to pick. Look for tangelos that are bright orange in color and slightly soft to the touch. Gently pick or cut tangelos from the tree, leaving the stem attached.


  • Pick tangelos that are fully orange in color and slightly yielding to gentle pressure. They should feel heavy for their size.
  • Pick fruit with clippers or pruning shears, cutting close to where the fruit attaches to the tree. Apply pressure evenly when cutting to avoid squeezing the juice cells.
  • Handle fruit gently to avoid bruising. Place into a harvesting container immediately after picking.
  • Pick all fruit before the first hard freeze. Tangelos can stay on the tree for several weeks after ripening but may become dry if left too long.
  • Wash tangelos gently under running water and pat dry before storing. Do not use any waxes or oils.


  • Room temperature: Tangelos can be stored for 2 to 4 weeks at room temperature. Check them regularly and use ripe fruit as soon as possible.
  • Refrigeration: For longer term storage up to 2 months, place unwashed tangelos in the refrigerator. The ideal temperature is around 45 to 55 F. Low humidity is best for storage.
  • Do not stack tangelos more than 2 layers deep. This can cause pressure points, damaging the fruit.
  • Separate any bruised or damaged fruit as they decay faster and can speed up ripening. Discard any spoiled fruit.
  • Tangelos will not continue to ripen once refrigerated. Consume them as soon as possible.

Juicing Tangelos

Tangelos produce a delicious juice high in vitamin C. To juice tangelos:

  1. Wash tangelos and cut into segments. Remove any seeds.
  2. Place segments into a juice extractor or blender. Add a little water for easier blending.
  3. Strain the juice through cheesecloth or a fine strainer. Add sugar to taste if desired.
  4. Discard pulp or process further to make marmalade. Enjoy the fresh juice immediately or refrigerate.
  5. Juice from tangelos can be frozen for up to 6 months.

With the proper harvest and storage, tangelos can provide you with fresh fruit or juice for many months. Enjoy your homegrown tangelos – they are well worth the wait!

tangelo, soil, a small plant is growing out of the sand
Photo by Amir Shahabi / Unsplash

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