I bought this tangelo tree on the cheap from a nursery because it looks a bit sick... I live in Melbourne Australia so we now only have a couple more months of summer left before autumn. I'm wondering if it would be best to put it into a bit bigger pot or bag? now or just give it a feed and try to look after it while the fruit ripens? or should I thin out some of the fruit to not stress the tree out so much?

The tree is currently in a 25cm pot and is about a meter tall - going by the size of the trunk it's a few years old at least?

Thanks! enter image description here

Here is the root ball also!

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  • Did you take it out of the container to look at the roots? Jan 23, 2018 at 19:00
  • Great idea thank @GrahamChiu - they look not so bad to me and there is no roots trying to escape out the drainage. Jan 23, 2018 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


This delightful plant has been planted too deeply in the original pot. Roots only escape to find water. They die when there is little air and too much water. They rot. It needs to be transplanted into sterile potting soil until you've found a place to transplant into the garden soil.

For now, replant this guy in a pot 2 inches larger. Looks like it is in a 10" pot? Transplant into a 12" pot with sterilized potting soil and a bit of Osmocote 14-14-14 Extended release fertilizer.

I can see that that trunk is below the soil line. This will kill your plant eventually. Make sure the trunk is completely out of the soil, mulch, rock whatever. The roots right below the line of trunk that needs to be exposed to the air and the root crown...have to be below the surface of soil. The trunk if below the soil will rot and you will lose this little tree.

This little tree will be able to last in a pot until you decide on a great place on your property to plant it in a forever home. Sterilized potting soil only while in its pot. Do not amend the soil when planting in your garden. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball, no deeper or it will sink and the bark of the trunk will be compromised.

Where do you live? What zone are you in? I would transplant into a slightly larger pot, use potting soil only until you know where you want to plant it in your yard. Use a basic basic fertilizer (Osmocote 14-14-14) go by the directions except half the applications per year. Do not amend the soil in the garden for this tree. Check the pH level of your soil by getting a soil test.

Removing flowers and fruit allow that energy to be redistributed to the entire plant. That is a good thing.

  • Thanks @stormy I'm in Melbourne Australia close to the coast so I think it's about US zone 9 or 10. Yes the pot is a 10" pot I have a couple more Moths of summer left down here and I think I have a spare 12" pot that might work. Jan 24, 2018 at 6:14
  • Make sure that you use only potting soil with no gimmicks or fertilizer added. No rocks at the bottom of the pot. Use just potting soil. Don't worry about the soil that is already involved with the roots. Check out the condition of your roots when you transplant. If they are anything other than white...send pictures. Pull off slimy or brown roots. Go ahead!
    – stormy
    Jan 24, 2018 at 6:47
  • OK great, I'll give it a go in a few days time as its going to heat up to 40c here over the next couple of days so will probably be too hot, Will post an update. Thanks! Jan 24, 2018 at 10:09

The root ball doesn't show root circling so I would say that it's not root bound. The sapling also has a lot of fruit so it clearly thinks it can sustain that much otherwise it would be dropping the fruit.

Is there a reason why you're not putting it into the ground? Anyway, sites recommend a slow release fertilizer in spring for the new growth, and then monthly feeding throughout summer of a liquid fertilizer as they are heavy feeders.

  • at the moment I'm still deciding what will go in the ground & where, I've got a pretty limited space and have some renovations planned over the next year or so, so would like the option to move it around a bit Jan 24, 2018 at 5:32

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