(459) Preliminary Evaluation of 17 Satsuma Mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marco.) Cultivars in the Coastal Region of California

in HortScience

The citrus industry in California is changing, and growers are planting more easy-peeling, seedless, and nice-tasting mandarins. Our industry tries to develop new early- and late-season mandarin cultivars to be competitive in the global mandarin market. Seventeen satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marco.) cultivars were top-worked onto 4–6 Valencia orange [C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck] as interstocks and Carrizo citrange [C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] as rootstocks in 30 May 2001 near Santa Paula, Calif. All trees set the first crop in Fall 2003. Fruit maturity of all cultivars was measured based on °Brix level, percent acid, and S:A ratio on a weekly basis since the first week of Sept. 2004. Five cultivars, `Armstrong', `Kuno Wase', `Miyagawa', `S9' and `Xie-Shan' (`Wakiyama'), are very early- or early-season cultivars. A small-scale degreening experiment with 72 h treatment of 0.5 mg·L–1 ethylene with fruit harvested on 6 Oct. 2004 also showed the rind color of all five cultivars could be enhanced nicely. `Miyagawa' had very intense internal orange flesh color visible in the second week of Sept. 2004, comparing with other cultivars. All these five cultivars could potentially become early-season, completely seedless, and easy-peeling satsuma cultivars in California. `Miyagawa' and `Xis-Shan' could potentially be harvested as early as from late September to early October in the central coastal region and from late August to mid-September in the San Joaquin Valley. Both cultivars should command a high price when there is no seedless mandarin in the market.

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