Seedless Mandarins

January 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Valley citrus growers have been quick to take to the "Tango." But we're not talking about the danceThe last things you want to find in seedless fruit are seeds. Citrus growers can't wait to plant these seedlings from a Woodlake nursery. The trees will produce seedless tango mandarins.

Treesource nursery is finding it difficult to keep up with the demand for the tango. It has orders through 2010.

Roger Smith of Treesource nursery said, "The Tango's probably one of the biggest things that's hit the nursery business for a number of years."

Seedless mandarin varieties will produce seeds when bees cross-pollinate with other citrus. Growers have gone so far as to net their trees to protect them. No seeds - more money,

Allen Lombardi was one the first to order the Tango trees. He's planted 1,200 of them.

Allan Lombardi a Lindsay grower said, "They can be the difference between making a profit and losing quite a bit of money because the consumer really prefers a seedless fruit

The issue has pitted beekeepers against growers. But the new tango mandarins will remain seedless even when bees are present.

Lombardi added, "Varieties like this are a solution to that problem because they do not have a lot of viable pollen that could create problems for varieties that could cross-pollinate."

The tango was developed by University of California researchers. Treesource nursery took the budwood, clipped pieces off and budded them onto root-stock. Now the year-old seedlings are ready for valley orchards.

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