The “Encore” mandarin tree is a little citrus variety, one of the most recent mandarins to ripen. While the “Encore” isn’t widely available commercially, it works nicely as a backyard citrus tree, with decorative features and sweet juicy fruit. Mandarins are often known as “tangerines,” a nickname given to one mandarin variety that became an interchangeable term for all mandarins.
“Encore” Mandarin Tree
The “Encore” mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) is a hybrid of the King mandarin (Citrus nobilis), a commercially important mandarin species, and also the “Willowleaf” mandarin (Citrus deliciosa), a Mediterranean variety. The fruit of the “King” variety matures later in the summer compared to most mandarins and “Encore” also ripens late, in May to June, with fruit maintaining quality till August or even September. “Encore” was developed at the University of California Citrus Research Center, Riverside, and introduced to the general public in 1965.
Tree Attributes and Culture
The “Encore” mandarin is an evergreen, erect tree, fairly vigorous, with many divisions and few thorns. Suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 11, it prefers full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. “Encore” tends to be alternate bearing, meaning each year fruit production is high and the next year it is sparse. Mandarins are one of the most cold-hardy citrus species, but “Encore” has less tolerance to cold compared to other mandarins due to the late-season ripening.
“Encore” mandarins grow in groups of two or three, instead of large clusters. They’ve a thin, smooth rind that’s simple to peel, using a yellow-orange shade that is deeper at the blossom end. There are approximately 11 sections in the fruit and also a number of seeds. The “Encore” mandarin holds its quality on the tree when it’s ripened, gaining in sweetness throughout the summer. It is a self-pollinating variety, so it is not vital to plant another tree for fruit production.
The commercial appeal of “Encore” is limited, since the pale colour of the rind and the impact of cold weather over the appearance and size of the fruit create the fruit less marketable than other species. The thin skin can also be easily damaged in handling and shipping. It is acceptable for home gardens as an ornamental or for your company, juicy fruit that may be eaten neatly out of the hand. Plant it in the warmest part of your house and protect it from frost.