Growing a Mango Tree

By Noris Ledesma, Curator of Tropical Fruit

 

The Florida mango has but a short century of history; varieties such as ‘Haden’, ‘Tommy Atkins’, ‘Keitt’, ‘Kent’ embody the mango of Florida, with flamboyant colors and excellent productivity. 

‘Haden’ is still a Florida favorite, but due to its exaggerated tree size and disease susceptibility, we have better choices. It is time for a change in the way we look at mangos. Quality mango trees are available in South Florida that meets your needs and Fairchid Tropical Botanic Garden encourages growing trees with a manageable size, excellent productivity, disease resistance and flavor. ‘Angie’, ‘Jean Ellen’, ‘Cogshall’, ‘Fairchild’, ‘Manilita’, ‘Mallika’, ‘Nam Doc Mai’, ‘Nelum’ and ‘Rosigold’ are a new generation of varieties that can provide all that the modern homeowner desires.

Every back yard in South Florida presents an opportunity to grow mangos. There is always a place for one or two mango trees. Today we have small, manageable landscape trees that yield an ample harvest of beautiful and delicious fruit and disease tolerant cultivars provide unprecedented opportunities for organic production to provide vital nutrition to our families. Superior manageability, production and quality provide for local marketing of superior cultivars.

I believe in the preservation of agriculture in South Florida. Grow your trees with the proper care and make it into something even more rewarding for us all.  

View information on the 20th Annual International Mango Festival

View good mango cultivars for South Florida

Ten Easy Steps to the Perfect Home Garden Mango 

1. Choose a healthy tree: A 2-gal container is a good size. A small tree will establish quicker and grow better roots to resist hurricanes.  

2. Planting the tree: Select an area where the tree gets sufficient sunlight for good production. 

3. Water the tree until established – 1 to 3 months. Do not irrigate after establishment – as irrigation will increase disease and lower fruit quality. 

4. Fertilize lightly with low analysis fertilizers. We recommend that no nitrogen fertilizers be applied. Fertilize when your tree is active. Do not fertilize during the winter time. We use a 0-0-50 formulation, sprinkled lightly below the drip-line of the canopy three times per year. Fertilize 3 times per year with foliar micronutrients that include magnesium, zinc, and manganese. 

5. Tipping: Begin tipping in the first year and continue for the life of the tree. Trees should be tipped every 20 inches. 

6. Prune trees for size control after harvest each year. Pruningmaintains the health, productivity and size of the trees. After harvest the trees are pruned by hand and the branches, twigs and leaves mulched in place or ground up for use as mulch in other locations. 

7. Annually thin major limbs within the canopy to improve fruit color, disease and production. 

 

8. Identify insects first. Insectsare presumed innocent until proven guilty of damage. Most are not damaging. Pesticides should be the final option. 

9. Weeds are allowed to provide a nectar source for bees, flies and wasps during the spring flowering season. Weed control through mulching and shading by the trees themselves. 

10. Harvest fruit when mature on the tree and store for proper ripening.   

Because mangos come in a rainbow of reds, yellows, oranges, and greens, color is not the best way to determine ripeness. Selecting the proper ripeness of the fruit is best done with your hands or with your nose, with a gentle give and fruity aroma betraying the heaven that waits inside. As to ripening, it is Mother Nature that knows best, providing a warm room temperature for the perfect conversion of starch to sugar.

A good way to judging maturity is to cut across the fruit and determine the amount of yellowing in the flesh. A fruit with only slight yellowing around the seed will need 2 weeks more to ripe, while a fruit with yellowing half of the distance from the seed to the skin requieres 1 week. Fruit can be harvest in this moment and store at room temperature. Dont pick fruit when still has green flesh.

It is time to embrace the new. It is time for a mango change. We have the varieties, we have the technology and most importantly we have attained the level of understanding to allow us the patience to grow green. The mango and the homeowner can grow together as part of this grand system that we live in. Your neighbors will thank you, our lakes and oceans will benefit and you in the meanwhile can simply enjoy the fruits of your labors. Good growing!

Information on propagation by grafting    

More information about uses of the mango.

Visit Our Edible Garden at Fairchild

Mango Videos

Watch Senior Curator of Tropical Fruit Dr. Richard J. Cambell talk about mango pruning, fertilization and harvesting in these informative videos.

View a video on mango pruning concepts.
   
View a video on how to prune young
mango trees using tipping.
View a video on pruning vigorous
mango trees.
   
View on video on pruning young mangos
that have begun to fruit.
View a video on gravity and disease.

   

View a video on mango nutrition.

View a  video on when to harvest a mango.