I was about to cut off the thorny part of my Japanese mandarin tree when I noticed small fruit growing out. I have attached the photos of the tree with the small fruit, which has a texture like that of a peach. Do I have to cut it and start over? The lower part of the tree is ok, with no thorns. I'm quite confused. Please help
Japanese Mandarin Tree
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
How old is this tree?
The thorns are not necessarily a red flag. Many young citrus trees develop thorns to protect their delicate vegetation. As the tree matures, it should grow thorns less frequently. This article will explain the thorns in more detail:
Is this the first time this tree has started fruiting? If no, has it ever fruited successfully? If yes, then it may be too early to judge on the fruit. If the fruit, after full development and ripening, turns out abnormally then you may want to consider that the rootstock may have overtaken the scion. Almost all citrus trees sold are grafted trees. The desired tree is grafted onto a very hardy but inferior fruit tree. This insures the superior fruit have a strong root system. But, sometimes, mostly due to damage to the scion (the good tree), the rootstock takes over. Once the rootstock takes over, the only thing to do is to remove the tree and start over.
This article will explain more: