Office of Research, UC Riverside
Office of Technology Commercialization

'Tango' - US Plant Patent PP17,863


Photo by UCR citrus breeding program

‘Tango’ fruit are juicy, with a rich, sweet flavor when mature, are easy to peel, and very low seed content. The flesh color is deep orange and finely textured. The fruit is oblate in shape with a deep orange color skin that is very smooth. In California, ‘Tango’ typically matures in winter and holds its fruit quality characteristics through April.


'Tango' is the result of a mutation induced by irradiating budwood of W. Murcott Afourer mandarin.

Rootstocks of accession:

Carrizo citrange, C-35 citrange.  'Tango'-General Recommendations on Cultural Practices, by Mikael Roose and Tim E. Williams, 2008: " 'Tango' performs very well on trifoliates (Rich 16-6, Rubidoux), Carrizo, and C-35 citranges and sour orange rootstocks producing a moderately vigorous tree with excellent production and fruit quality. On lemon-type rootstocks tested including Citrus volkameriana, Citrus macrophylla and Schaub rough lemon trees were generally more vigorous with excellent production and good fruit quality but generally with 1-2% less brix at maturity than trifoliates or citranges."

Season of ripeness at Riverside:

February to April. 'Tango'-General Recommendations on Cultural Practices, by Mikael Roose and Tim E. Williams, 2008:" 'Tango' matures in late-January at most locations in California (desert-early December) and good fruit quality can be maintained on the tree for 3-4 months past maturity, however, based on trials where selected groups of trees were harvested on weekly intervals starting at fruit maturity and continuing through flowering until final harvesting six weeks after flowering, the size of the resulting crops the following year were in proportion to the timing of the harvest. Fruit harvested up to flowering resulted in significantly larger crops the following year than those harvested after flowering, crops decreasing with each week delay in harvest. In simple terms, it is best to harvest fruit prior to the full flowering period. This usually means mid-late March."

Planting Density:

Using trifoliates, citranges and sour oranges planting density can be from 250-350 trees/acre yielding a planting distance of from 9 feet (250) to 6 feet (350) between trees using 20 foot rows (625-875 trees/hectare, 2.75-1.75 m between trees respectively using 6 m rows). With lemon-type rootstock density will be lower due to the increased vigor of the tree (200-250/acre, 500-625/hectare).


'Tango', similar to W. Murcott, can produce enormous crops for the size of the tree, but like many late-season mandarin will go into complete alternate bearing if allowed to do this (allowing fruit to hang on the tree well past flowering). Based on trials it is best to maintain crops at about 160-175 lbs./tree (~75-80 kilos) for trees on trifoliate, citrange and sour orange rootstocks. This will yield 6-7 (25#) boxes/tree, more than sufficient given the very high packout (~90%) of 'Tango'. Lemon-type rootstocks, since they produce a larger tree can support proportionally higher yields (8-9 boxes/tree).


It is advisable to thin 'Tango' starting in August to eliminate very small fruit and excessive fruit set. While a market exists for fruit smaller than 40s, premium prices are obtained for fruit in the 24-28 size range, sizes much more likely with thinning and production management.


'Tango' trees, like W. Murcott need to be pruned to maintain tree size and shape in relation to production. 'Tango' grows vertically when young producing ~four vertical branches that need to be pruned back at 2-3 years of age to about four feet in height (1.3m) to form a more rounded crown and to reduce limb breakage which will occur on these long 'leggy' branches. Ideally, 'Tango' trees should then be top and side-pruned on a regular basis to maintain shorter branches more capable of supporting fruit loads. Hand pruning is best since select branches need to be cut, mechanical pruning generally does not allow this.


Trials indicate that 'Tango' requires no special fertilization practices beyond those normally applied for mandarins with heavy fruit loads. Excessive nitrogen can result in rougher fruit. Prior to first fruiting fertilizer should be applied generously but judiciously to give the trees a good start, later fertilization should be fine-tuned.

Read the full description from the Breeding program.