"cutie citrus trees"
I am interested in planting a "cuties" (brand name) orange tree. I think they might me a type of mandarin or tangerine type of citrus. I live in Willis, TX by Lake Conroe. A neighbor had one planted in her yard at a former home around here somewhere and said it produced. Do you have any suggestions on what type of specific tree grows best in this area and would it be better in a very large pot (25" diameter size insulated type) so it can be moved to a better protected area during freezes. Thanks in advance for any info you can offer.
Montgomery County Texas
The University of California's citrus breeding program has introduced a variety of fruits into commercial production. One of these introductions is affectionately called the “California Cutie.” The Cutie orange tree is not one specific plant, but two kinds of mandarin trees that produce small, sweet and juicy citrus treats, which are sold under the common brand name.
California Cuties come from two types of mandarins -- Clementines and Murcotts. Trees bear small “zipper” fruits, so called because they have easy-to-peel rinds. This feature, plus the fruit’s health benefits, directs a bulk of the marketing campaign for Cuties toward children. Two harvest phases exist for Cutie tree fruits. Clementine mandarin Cuties ripen November through January, and Murcott mandarin Cuties ripen February through April.
In 1914, the Riverside Citrus Research Center received California’s original Algerian Clementine tree saplings from Florida. By 2012, the center’s citrus collection had expanded to include 14 Clementine cultivars. California’s Mediterranean climate proved to be more conducive to Clementine tree production than the humid climates found in Florida’s citrus groves. Bearing seedless citrus fruits, Clementine trees require pollinators to ensure a good fruit set. Jennifer Schultz Nelson of the University of Illinois Extension notes the challenge to California citrus researchers is to find pollinators that do not produce seedy Clementines.
In 1961, another mandarin tree variety entered Riverside’s collection by way of Florida’s citrus breeding program. Unlike Clementines, Murcott mandarins are seeded fruits, which are borne on trees that have alternate-year harvests. Years with heavier crops are sandwiched between years of lighter crops. Trees are susceptible to “Murcott collapse” death if they're allowed to bear inordinately high fruit loads. Murcott trees are easy to harvest because the fruit are borne on the outsides of trees.
A third mandarin orange is a likely candidate to bear the Cuties label, according to the University of California. After 15 years of research and field tests, scientists improved the Murcott mandarin by creating seedless fruits and improved taste. Naturally occurring or introduced aberrations, such as radiation, can cause plants to develop mutant characteristics that deviate from their natural or cloned parents. These mutations are called “sports.” Tango is an induced irradiated mutation of the Murcott mandarin that is patented under the University of California Citrus Clonal Protection Program. Because it is not trademarked, however, it may be marketed under the Cuties label as well as under its own name.