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How To Grow Sweet Tangerines In Kenya That Will Make You Rich

Tangerines grow well in areas that don’t have harsh winters and will produce an abundance of flavorful fruit every year with just a little bit of help. Tangerine is a seasonal fruit just like oranges and lemons. While a single tree can produce fruit on its own, planting more than one tangerine cultivar in an area can increase the yield of tangerines on all the trees.

Climatical Conditions

Tangerines are relatively cold-tolerant, making them easier to grow than oranges, grapefruits and other types of citrus. The fruit comes in many different varieties, and anyone living Kenya should be able to find tangerine cultivars that will thrive in their area, if they get full sun. Some varieties, such as the Citrus reticulata “Dancy,” are heat-tolerant and do best when it is hot, but other types, including the Citrus reticulata “Sunburst,” do best when it’s on the cool side.


Some trees will produce large quantities of tangerines, resulting in fruit that does not develop well or possibly even broken tree branches if the weight becomes too much. While in most cases you don’t need to thin citrus fruit, sometimes tangerines require it. If a tree has set a lot of fruit, remove some of it when it is about an inch across by grabbing each fruit to be removed and gently twisting it until it breaks free of the tree, continuing the process until you have about 3 to 4 inches of space between each of the remaining tangerines. Remove all the fruits from trees that are two years old or less, allowing the trees time to become well-established before producing fruit.


Tangerines require moist, well-drained soil and will use lots of water as the fruit develops, but over-watering can kill the tree by drowning the roots or promoting rot. Gently soak the soil around the tree, then allow it to become partly dry before soaking it again. Be consistent when watering the tree, since fluctuating amounts of moisture will cause the tangerines to split. A drip system is ideal for watering tangerine trees. Another option is to dig a ditch around the tree, at the drip line, and fill it with water every week to 10 days, depending on your soil and climate conditions. In very dry areas, choose a drought-tolerant variety such as the Sunburst for best results.

Tangerine farming in Kenya


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Feeding tangerine trees is important if you want to have a healthy tree and get a good crop of fruit each year. Oxfarm Organic Ltd recommends that you apply a fertilizer designed especially for citrus trees, as the trees are heavy users of zinc, nitrogen and iron. Follow label directions to determine the correct amount for your tree, and divide the yearly dose into thirds, applying the first feeding in the spring, just before the tree blooms; the next dose two months later; and the final feeding a month after that. Don’t feed the tree in late summer, typically after July, as you may end up stimulating new growth that will be too tender to survive the winter.

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The orange tree is an evergreen, flowering tree, with an average height of 9 to 10 m (30 to 33 ft), although some very old specimens can reach 15 m (49 ft). Its oval leaves, alternately arranged, are 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in) long and have crenulate margins.
Some of the varieties grown in Kenya are

  • Sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis)
  • Limes (C. aurantifolia)
  • Grapefruits (C. paradisi)
  • Lemons (C. limon)
  • Mandarins (C. reticulata).

Being a citrus fruit, the orange is acidic: its pH levels are as low as 2.9, and as high as 4.0

Citrus species can thrive in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. Citrus is grown from sea level up to an altitude of 2100 m but for optimal growth a temperature range from 2° to 30° C is ideal. Long periods below 0° C are injurious to the trees and at 13° C growth diminishes. However, individual species and varieties decrease in susceptibility to low temperatures in the following sequence: grapefruit, sweet orange, mandarin, lemon/lime and trifoliate orange as most hardy.
Temperature plays an important role in the production of high quality fruit. Typical coloring of fruit takes place if night temperatures are about 14° C coupled with low humidity during ripening time. Exposure to strong winds and temperatures above 38° C may cause fruit drop, scarring and scorching of fruits. In the tropics the high lands provide the best night weather for orange color and flavor.
Depending on the scion/ rootstock combination, citrus trees grow on a wide range of soils varying from sandy soils to those high in clay. Soils that are good for growing are well-drained, medium-textured, deep and fertile. Waterlogged or saline soils are not suitable and a pH range of 5.5 to 6.0 is ideal. In acidic soil, citrus roots do not grow well, and may lead to copper toxicity. On the other hand at pH above 6, fixation of trace elements take place (especially zinc and iron) and trees develop deficiency symptoms. A low pH may be corrected by adding dolomite lime (containing both calcium and magnesium)


A citrus orchard needs continuous soil moisture to develop and produce, and water requirement reaches a peak between flowering and ripening. However, many factors such as temperature, soil type, location, plant density and crop age influence the quantity of water required. Well-distributed annual rainfall of not less than 1000 mm is needed for fair crop. In most cases, due to dry spells, irrigation is necessary. Under rain-fed conditions, flowering is seasonal.
There is a positive correlation between the onset of a rainy season and flower break. With irrigation flowering and picking season could be controlled by water application during dry seasons. Irrigation systems involving mini sprinklers irrigating only soil next to citrus trees have been developed as an efficient and water conserving irrigation method.


  • Transplant in the field at onset of rains.
  • Clear the field and dig planting holes 60 x 60 x 60 cm well before the onset of rains.
  • At transplanting use well-rotted manure with topsoil.
  • Spacing varies widely, depending on elevation, rootstock and variety. Generally, trees need a wider spacing at sea level than those transplanted at higher altitudes. Usually the plant density varies from 150 to 500 trees per ha, which means distances of 4 x 5 m (limes and lemons), 5 x 6 m (oranges, grapefruits and mandarins) or 7 x 8 m (oranges, grapefruits and mandarins). In some countries citrus is planted in hedge rows.
  • It is very important to ensure that seedlings are not transplanted too deep.
  • After transplanting, the seedlings ought to be at the same height or preferably, somewhat higher than in the nursery.
  • Under no circumstances must the graft union ever be in contact with the soil or with mulching material if used.


  • Keep the trees free of weeds.
  • Maintain a single stem up to a height of 80-100 cm.
  • Remove all side branches / rootstock suckers.
  • Pinch or break the top branch at a height of 100 cm to encourage side branching.
  • Allow 3-4 scaffold branches to form the framework of the tree.
  • Remove side branches including those growing inwards.
  • Ensure all diseased and dead branches are removed regularly.
  • Careful use of hand tools is necessary in order to avoid injuring tree trunks and roots. Such injuries may become entry points for diseases.
  • As a general rule, if dry spells last longer than 3 months, irrigation is necessary to maintain high yields and fruit quality. Irrigation could be done with buckets or a hose pipe but installation of some kind of irrigation system would be ideal.


For normal growth development (high yield and quality fruits), citrus trees require a sufficient supply of fertilizer and manuring. No general recommendation regarding the amounts of nutrients can be given because this depends on the fertility of the specific soil. Professional, combined soil and leaf analyses would provide right information on nutrient requirements.

In most cases tropical soils are low in organic matter. To improve them at least 20 kg (1 bucket) of well-rotted cattle manure or compost should be applied per tree per year as well as a handful of rock phosphate. On acid soils 1-2 kg of agricultural lime can be applied per tree spread evenly over the soil covering the root system. Application of manure or compost makes (especially grape-) fruits sweeter (farmer experience).

Nitrogen can be supplied by inter cropping citrus trees with legume crops such as mucuna, cowpeas, clover or dolichos beans, and incorporating the plant material into the soil once a year. Mature trees need much more compost/well rotted manure than young trees to cater for more production of fruit.
Conventional fertilization depend on soil types as well.

There are a large number of citrus diseases caused by bacteria, mycoplasma, fungi and viruses. The organic citrus disease management consists in a 3-step system:

  • Use of disease-free planting material to avoid disease problems
  • Choosing root stocks and cultivars that are tolerant or resistant to prevalent diseases
  • Application of fungicides such as copper, sulphur, clay powder and fennel oil. Copper can control several disease problems. However, it must not be forgotten that high Copper accumulations in the soil is toxic for soil microbial life and reduce the cation exchange capacity.


source; Goldenscape Tree Africa

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This is an orange colored citrus fruit that is closely related to, or possibly a type of mandarin orange. They are smaller and less rounded than common oranges. The taste is considered less sour, as well as sweeter and stronger, than that of an orange.


Tangerines are relatively cold-tolerant making them easier to grow than oranges, grape fruits and other types of citrus. They require moist, well drained soil and will use lots of water as the fruit develops, but over watering can actually kill the tree by drawing the roots or promoting rot. A pit of 6.0- 7.5 is recommended.


Tangarines matures between 2-3 years. An acre can occupy 200 seedlings with a spacing of 4 by 5m.Profitability starts at around 5 years where each plant can produce more than 300 fruits. A hole size of 2ft by 2ft by 2ft is established and manure (20kg) per hole is mixed with the top soil and then put in the hole .Planting  is done and watering should be done at least twice a day in the initial stages of planting.

Cost analysis for one acre

If you are interested in establishing a tangerine Orchard we have made it very easy for you with only 50,000 oxfarm”s Package, you will only have to produce the land, we produce the seedlings and do the planting at your comfort. For those who are doing less than an acre we have certified seedlings at sh 150 each.

Also Read: Farmers already earning more from Macadamia nuts and hass Avocados

Expected output per acre

A Mature Tangerine can produce a minimum of 300 fruits per year. The current price of each fruit at the farm gate is Ksh 5- 20.This means you can get Sh 1500-6000 Per tree and with 200 trees per acre you are good for a start.


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Orange and tangerines orchard package

The orange and tangerines orchard package is here with us.We will prepare the land for you and do the planting at your comfort.We will also do the monitoring of your farm for 3 months.After 3 months the seedlings are safe and you have to wait for them to mature without any additional cost.They mature after 2 years.One acre can be planted 200 seedlings.This package is going for ksh 45,000 per acre.Make your idle land more profitable with us.You can also buy the seedlings and do the planting yourself.Each seedling at sh 150.Visit our offices at Hermes house,1st floor opposite KTDA,Tom mboya.Contact 0723662773