The Dancy Tangerine was once one of the most popular citrus fruit varieties commercially sold in the US. It is now mostly sold by nurseries for backyard planting. The Dancy Tangerine has also played a big role in the citrus industry, by contributing to the parentage of premium citrus varieties like the Minneola and Orlando tangelos, Frua and Fortune mandarins, and the Dweet and Mency tangors.
The Dancy Tangerine tree origins can be traced back to a seedling tree grown in the orchard of Colonel Dancy of Orange Mills, Florida in 1867. The seed of this tangerine tree was from the Moragne tangerine tree brought to Florida from Tangier, Morocco before 1843. This is the source of the name tangerine, which means from Tangiers.
The Dancy Tangerine Tree is an evergreen, vigorous growing tree that is large compared to other tangerine trees. This citrus tree has an upright-spreading growth habit, is densely foliated, and is nearly thornless. It is typically productive but with a tendency to be alternate-bearing.
Both the Standard and dwarf tangerine trees produce fruits that are 2¼ – 2½ inches in diameter with rind that is deep red-orange in color, leathery and easily peels gaining them the names zipper-skin tangerine and kid-glove orange.
Citrus Tree Care
Citrus Tree Care Growing citrus trees is fun and rewarding since it requires so little time and provides you many benefits. Citrus trees just need sunlight, water, minimal pruning, some fertilizer, and well-draining soil and in just a year or two you will have a backyard filled with the sweet, citrus scent emitted by the beautiful white blooms and red-orange fruits. You will get to enjoy fruit filled with vitamins and nutrients that are good for you. So the next time you think about adding an accent tree to your backyard or patio, consider looking for citrus trees to start growing at home.
Seasonal Information: Being categorized tropical plants, both the standard-sized and dwarf Dancy Tangerine Trees thrive in warm climates and are best planted outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing cold winters where the temperature constantly drops below 40 degrees, it is highly advisable to plant your standard-sized and dwarf tangerine tree in a pot which you can easily move indoors when winter arrives.
Planting Location: Growing citrus trees should be replanted in a location where they can get 6 to 8 hours per day of sunlight. They can tolerate some shade but flourish in full sun. If you are planting more than one citrus tree, make sure to provide 8 to 10 feet of space between each tree to give them ample room to grow. Another thing to keep in mind is that citrus trees like high humidity. You can get about 50 percent or above humidity outdoors but usually only get 10 percent humidity indoors. If your tree is planted indoors in a pot you can increase the humidity level without causing damage to the indoor environment by using a humidity tray. Place a saucer filled with pebbles under your potted citrus tree and let it catch the runoff water. Leave the runoff water in the saucer and let it evaporate to raise the humidity around the tree.
In Ground Planting Instructions (for zones 8 to 11)
Make a hole two times the width and just as deep as the root system.
Carefully place the tree in the hole and fill it with sandy, well-draining, acidic soil.
Lightly pack down the soil as you backfill the hole to prevent air pockets from forming.
Right after planting, water the citrus tree deeply for 5 minutes. Mulch around the tree to insulate the roots and at the same time keep the plant warm during colder winter months.
Planting Instruction for Potted Citrus Tree (zones colder than 8 to 11)
Use a pot that is a size bigger than the container your citrus tree arrived in. Fill the pot halfway with soil then remove the tree from the original pot and gently place it in the pot.
Fill in around the tree with the remaining potting soil without covering the grafted area of the citrus tree trunk. Leave an inch from the top of the soil to the rim of the container for easy watering.
Pat down the soil and give the tree deep watering until the water runs out of the holes in the bottom of the pot.
Place the tree near a south-facing window where it can get as much sun as possible. Moreover, provide humidity by placing a humidity tray filled with pebbles under the pot or mist the foliage with water daily.
Fertilization: Feed your Dancy citrus trees with citrus fertilizer during spring and summer once every 6 weeks to keep the trees on a healthy growth cycle and replenish the nutrients in the soil. During colder months ease back fertilizing to once every 2 to 3 months. You can use a good balanced 18-18-18 fertilizer for citrus trees to ensure your trees get the nutrients they need.
Fruit & Harvesting
The Dancy tangerine tree is a self-fertile citrus tree that does not require other pollenating trees to enhance its productivity.
Dancy tangerines are round sometimes pear-shaped, small sized fruits that only measures 5 to 6 centimeters in diameter. They have characteristically thin, smooth, glossy rind that is deep orange-red in color with a leathery texture. Because they are so easy to peel they are commonly called kid-glove orange or zipper-skin orange. Keep in mind though that once it has passed maturity the rind tends to become bumpy and puffy.
The flesh of Dancy tangerine is deep-orange in color and has a moderate number of seeds ranging from 6 to 20. Its flesh is tender, melting, and rich in flavor – sweet and tart – with hits of spice.
Dancy tangerines ripen earlier than other citrus fruits and are ready for harvest from fall to winter with peak from December to January.
You can determine if the fruits are ready for harvest by checking their outside appearance. Look for tangerines with a good shade of orange that are beginning to soften. Once you find the fruit that meets the criteria, pick the fruit using hand pruners to avoid damaging the rind or the limb of the tree. Do a taste test and check if the fruit has reached its optimal juicy sweetness. If the fruit’s sweetness and juice is satisfactory go ahead and pick more fruit with hand pruners. If not, leave the fruits on the tree for another week then do another taste test.
Freshly picked Dancy tangerines can last for 2 weeks at room temperature but will last longer if kept in the fridge.
Dancy tangerine trees are moderately cold-hardy and require full sunlight. They can be planted directly in the ground if you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. If you live in zones where winter can be harsh and there is a possibility of frost damage, plant your citrus trees in a pot and take them indoors during cold months then take them outdoors in spring and summer.
Dancy tangerine trees do not require pruning but should be repotted every 3 to 4 years. Like most houseplants, a pot that is one size bigger should be enough.
Remember that it usually takes 3 to 4 years before Dancy tangerine trees bear fruit so be patient and care for your tree to make sure it is ready when the time comes. While waiting, enjoy the beauty of the tree and the citrus scent it emits.
Pests and Diseases
Dancy tangerines are susceptible to Alternaria Brown Spot. This is a serious disease common to tangerines and tangerine hybrids and brought on by Alternaria alternate fungus. It causes dark brown or black, necrotic spots on leaves and fruits. It also causes serious leaf and fruit drop.
The disease is triggered by rains or sudden drop in humidity when the dew dries. Spores are produced on infected tissues and get spread by wind currents that get deposited to susceptible tissues where they germinate and infect during dew periods at night.
To control the disease each new growth flush should be protected with copper fungicide in the spring when the leaves are one-quarter expanded, then followed by another application when the leaves are almost fully expanded. Final spray should be done about 4 weeks later.
Greasy Spot is caused by Mycosphaerella citri fungus that produces spores in decomposing leaves that then infect and germinate on the undersides of healthy leaves. It causes blisters on the undersides of the leaves and yellow spots on the upper surface of the leaves followed by brown lesions on the undersides of the leaves that darken and become slightly raised. This disease causes defoliation.
The best treatment for Greasy Spot disease is clearing and removing any debris under the citrus tree and using copper fungicide spray to kill the fungus.
How much space does it take to grow a Dancy Tangerine tree?
Dancy Tangerines grow to a spreading size of about 10 to 12 feet, and need about 20 to 25 feet of space between trees to reach their full potential. Trees can be pruned to reach maturity within a smaller area.
Do Dancy Tangerines have seeds?
Yes, Dancy Tangerines have small seeds. Individual fruits will usually contain between 6 and 20 seeds.
In what type of climate can I grow a Dancy Tangerine outdoors?
Dancy Tangerines can be grown outdoors in USDA Climate Zones 9 to 11.
How big is the fruit on a Dancy Tangerine tree?
Dancy Tangerines reach a size of about 2 ¼ to 2 ½ inches in diameter.
Can you grow a Dancy Tangerine in a pot?
Yes. You can grow a Dancy Tangerine in a pot as long as the pot has suitable, well-draining soil and holes for drainage.