How can I reduce the amount of pips in my mandarins?

Q.

We have a new garden and transplanted a mandarin "Clementine" on 28/10/2018. Previous to this it spent 10 months in a pot. It is very healthy and has about 20 mandarins on it.

We have picked six and they are sweet/tasty but had excessive pips. We have all our citrus covered for frost and have kept plenty of mulchy cover around for water retention. We keep the tree well watered over summer and over winter it has been water logged so hoping it will survive the wet! What does one need to do to reduce the pips in the fruit?

Elaine Daines

A.

Hi Elaine, great question! The seeds in the Clementine fruit is due to cross pollination of the flowers from another citrus tree nearby. Citrus flowers are rich in nectar, so are very attractive to bees which move pollen between citrus trees, causing the resulting fruit to have seeds.

Clementines are a type of citrus fruit that is called ‘parthenocarpic’ - meaning it does not need cross pollination to produce fruit. Therefore the tree could be covered with a fine mesh during flowering to prevent any pollinating insects (like bees and other types) bringing in pollen from another citrus tree, and would still produce fruit – this time seedless. Once flowering has finished, you can remove the mesh cover. 

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