A well cared for mango tree will produce fruit for generations.
image by Photo: Asif Akbar, stock.xchng
In warmer areas that don't have winter frosts, mango trees are a beautiful addition to a landscape. In addition to their beauty, they will generally produce a crop of fresh mangoes once a year. Proper care and feeding, especially when the tree is young, is critical to it becoming a well established fruit bearing tree. The trees are particularly sensitive during their first three years, but become more hardy over time.
Water your young trees two or three times for the first week. This will help with the root trauma of re-planting. Young mangy trees require between 9 and 12 liters of water per plant per day.
Water the young tree once or twice a week for several weeks after the first week of planting. As the roots grow, the tree will be able to absorb more water from the soil.
Fertilize the tree once new growth occurs. Once new growth occurs, fertilize monthly by scattering fertilizer under the tree and watering immediately. Use ammonium sulfate (21-0-0), 1/2 cup per month for the first year, one cup per month the second year, and two cups per month the third year. Mango trees require regular nitrogen fertilization to help with growth and flowering flushes.
Prune away any dead wood in the tree. This will help direct the tree's resources to new growth.
Protect your tree from frost. This is especially true in young trees. Build up a soil bank around the young tree's trunk in early December and leave it in place until early March. Drape a light weight blanket or other covering around a young tree if freezing weather is forecast.
Water the tree regularly as you would any mature fruit tree. Slow weekly soakings of the root area is often adequate. Mango trees require differing amounts of water depending on the local climate, soil and age of the tree. Younger mature trees, between three and six years old, need around 30 liters of water per day per tree. Six to ten year old trees may require around 90 liters per day per tree. Larger trees that are over twelve years old may require as much as 120 liters per day of water, especially during fruit development. If you life in a wet, humid climate, be careful not to water too much as it can negatively affect fruiting.
Remove weeds and grass from around the base of the tree. This will allow more water and nutrients to reach the roots of the tree.
Fertilize the tree. One or two cups of 21-0-0 fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter should be adequate. Split the annual fertilization into three monthly applications in the early spring.
Prune your mature tree to a rough open dish shape similar to a peach tree. If a tree grows to its natural shape, it may have a tendency to trap humidity, which can contribute to fungal disease, at the base. Pinching out the tip when the tree is about 4 feet tall will encourage more branching. As the branches grow outward, pinch the tip of the tree with every two or three feet of growth. Prune conservatively because heavy pruning may trigger faster tree growth at the expense of fruiting.
Common Disease Problems
Control anthracnose fungal infections with fungicide. Anthracnose attacks the entire tree and is particularly hard on flowers. Anthracnose on maturing fruit will cause black spots that sink down into the fruit and may possibly crack the fruit.
Control powdery mildew with fungicide. Powdery mildew is a problem generally found in high humidity areas and often damages blooms and the resulting fruiting of the tree.
Control mite and scale insects with the appropriate natural predator or insecticide. In most cases, minor mite and scale insect infestations won't affect growth or fruiting. Major infestations can have a negative impact both on growth and fruiting.
About this Author
Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.