Mangos are tropical forest trees known as Mangifera indicas. Mangos are native to Southern Asia & India. The Mango is one of the most widely grown fruit trees in tropical areas of the world. Mango boasts exceptionally nutritious, sweet, & flavorful fruit that is good right out of hand or in cooking. There are two races of Mangos: Philippine Mangos are pale green or yellow & are kidney shaped, Indian Mangos are oval & are reddish or green in color. The seed is tough & inedible. The fruits are very sweet some have smooth flesh while others have fibers that radiate out from the seed. Mangos grown with organic fertilizers have less fiber in their flesh. Mangos form small trees in Southern California growing to about 20 feet high & wide (they are often even smaller when mature). Mango trees are evergreen. Mangos set fruit only in the warmest frost free locations in Southern California. Mangos can be grown from seed & many Mangos are grafted to improve their performance, or to make them dwarfs. Mangos can be successfully grown in large containers, provided adequate nutrients & carful watering. Mangos were introduced to Southern California as far back as the 1880’s.
What Mangos Like:
Exposure: Mangos demand full sun in order to produce good quality fruit. Mangos tolerate windy exposed conditions well. Mangos are frost tender & are severely damaged & killed when temperatures reach 25 degrees or lower. Flowers & fruit can be damaged below 40 degrees. The best areas for growing Mangos are the relatively frost free areas of Southern California including mild winter areas of the Low (Sonoran) Desert, Sunset zones 13, 20 through 24. Mangos do not do well in areas that are foggy or cool in the summer. Mangos luxuriate in heat & dislike cold wet conditions. Planting against a south facing wall with reflected heat is a perfect spot to establish a young Mango.
Soil: Mangos grow best in loamy rich well drained soil; however they are tolerant of rocky, sandy & clay soils. Mangos have booth deep taproots & shallow surface roots. The deep tap root makes Mangos fairly drought tolerant, while the shallow feeder roots absorb nutrients quickly. These trees resent being planted in saline, heavy, or poorly drained soils. Adding organic compost once or twice a year as mulch 4 to 8 inches thick on the soil under the canopy makes a big difference on improving the quantity & quality of fruit.
Irrigation: Mangos require infrequent deep irrigation about two to three times a month during warm weather & active growth. During the winter irrigate little especially in cold wet weather.
Diet: Feeding Mango trees once a season (or once every three months) provides evenly spaced feedings that will sustain growth year round. Fertilize with organic granular fertilizers. We recommend Dr. Earth Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer. Adding a layer of organic compost, once or twice a year as mulch will also increase the soils fertility.
Pruning: Mangos need little pruning they are tame & stay relatively small in Southern California. Remove all dead & crossing branches whenever noticed. Dwarf & container grown trees benefit from being staked. It is beneficial to keep the branches off the ground & away from fences or buildings. This helps prevent fruit rats from easily gaining access to the trees canopy. Care must be taken to quickly remove any foliage & branches that sprout below the graft union (the place where the fruiting upper portion of the plant is grafted onto the lower rootstock portion).
Harvesting: Spring & early summer are the peak season for Mango fruit harvest. Harvest the fruit when they turn color or become slightly soft to the touch & fragrant. Cut the fruit from the tree instead of pulling it off to avoid damaging the easily bruised fruit.
Pollination: Mangos are self fertile & are often bear fruit every other season (alternate bearing).
Frost Protection: When the temperature drops below 32 degrees but stays above 28 to 25 degrees we experience a “light” or “white” frost. This type of frost causes damage to young growth & the damage is usually superficial. When the temperature drops below 28 to 25 degrees we then experience a “black” or “killing” frost. This type of frost causes greater damage to the plant tissues. The duration of any frost is also important to consider. The longer the temperatures are below freezing the greater the damage. There are several ways to protect tropical fruit trees from frost damage:
• Covering your plant with a sheet or tarp-like material will provide protection from temperatures down to 20 degrees. Note, any foliage that touches the frost barrier may be damaged.
• Circulating the air using fans is also helpful for frost protection down to 20 degrees.
• Believe it or not, spraying your plants with water can actually insulate the plants. Liquid water itself will provide heat, & as water freezes into ice it gives off heat.
• Provide some sort of external heat source. Active sources include heaters, while passive sources absorb heat during the day & radiate it out at night. Examples of passive heat include barrels of water, stacks of boulders, & the earth itself.
Varieties- all are grafted on manila rootstock except manila
mangos are probably the most commonly encountered mangoes in the market. The fruit is somewhat small and oval with a bright yellow color, however the tree produces huge harvests of them. The flavor is sweet and honey like. This is the easiest Mango to grow here in Southern California. Thee tree can become large up to 25 feet high and wide but can be kept smaller. This mango is disease resistant, & potentially the hardiest to cold.