Satsuma orange has sour fruit

Asked January 24, 2014, 12:27 PM EST

I have a three to four year old satsuma orange tree. It is bering fruit but the oranges are bitter. There was a lime tree/bush close to it. Is it possible that it cross pollinated? Also I let the shoots from the bottom of the original tree grow up and they make up most of the tree, with the original cutting in the middle and still rather small. If the shoots are the problem can they be removed and when should they be removed (i.e. Spring ,summer etc). I have also removed the lime and planted another satsuma next to this treein hopes of pollinating it with it's own kind.

Harris County Texas

1 Response

What you have bearing fruit is whatever tree provided the root stock for the plant. In Texas, sour orange is the rootstock of choice. Any shoots coming off the base below the graft bud is of rootstock. As for if the nearby lime caused the off taste, Pollination from nearby trees will affect the seeds but not the first generation fruit, so it is not cross pollination. Whether can can now successfully prune off all the branches from the rootstock and have the graft survive depends on how long and how strong that original shoot remains. However, fruit from that rootstock is not suitable for use, so you can try. Try removing one-third of the branches originating below the graft. Next year trim off half of what remains there, and the third year cut off the rest. This allows the original shoot time to develope strength on its own. Do not let any more new shoots originate below the graft. For more information about growing Satsuma citrus in Texas, see http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/citrus/mandarins.htm