Mangoes come in a variety of different sizes, colors and flavors. Mango trees are attractive plants year-round, but are especially beautiful when in full flower. They make a great addition to any yard or orchard, and they are easy to care for and grow. Without pruning, some mango trees may grow as high as 65 feet when in the right climate. However, you can prune them to a much smaller size if you want to have access to the fruit. Seedling mango trees bloom and begin to bear fruit in 3-6 years.
Germinate mango seeds by placing them in a warm, moist location. Once the seeds sprout, which typically occurs in two weeks, cut off all but one seedling. If you are collecting seeds from mango fruit, remove any flesh from the seeds before germinating.
Plant your mango seeds or seedlings at the beginning of the wet season, with the hump of the seed level with the top of the surrounding soil. If you started your tree indoors or in a shady location, you must gradually introduce it to the sun before planting outdoors.
Choose a location in full sun to plant your mango tree. Mangoes grow best in areas with well-drained soil and a lot of air circulation. Mango trees require deep soil to grow due to their extensive root systems. Soil pH should be between 5.5 and 7.5 for optimum growing conditions.
Mulch around your mango tree or spread compost every few months. Rough mulch, such as Lucerne or hay, is ideal for mangoes as it is resistant to matting. Wood ash compost supplies mango trees with potassium and promotes fruiting.
Water your tree about every 10 days beginning when the weather turns warm and continuing until after harvest. Very dry climates require more frequent watering. While mango trees require regular watering to bloom, over-watering can negatively affect growth.
Fertilize your mango tree in spring and early summer. Nitrogen fertilizer is essential for healthy growth and flower production. Iron and other chelated micronutrients are also important to mangoes. Avoid over-fertilizing, especially when growing younger trees.
Prune to stimulate new growth and remove heavy flower clusters. You should prune mango trees during late winter to control the plant's size without risking a loss of fruit. Avoid getting sap on your skin during pruning, as mango sap can cause severe skin reactions similar to those caused by poison oak. It is also important to avoid burning mango debris to prevent lung irritation.
Protect your tree from frost, especially during the first 2 years, by using an overhead cover during cold weather. You can also prevent frost damage by wrapping the mango trunk in straw or foam or by construction of an overhead lath shelter. Small fruit and flowers cannot survive temperatures below 40 degrees F.
Harvest fruit when it matures, usually between 100 and 150 days after flowering. As soon as some fruit on your tree begins to show color, all fruit of that size or larger are ready for harvesting. Cut the mangoes off with a section of stem still attached, and place them stem down in trays. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent shriveling.
Inspect your tree periodically for signs of disease. The most serious disease to affect mangoes is a fungus called anthracnose. Infection with anthracnose causes black spots to appear on the fruit and stem and may lead to a browning of the tree's leaves. Scale, mites and mealy bugs also affect mangoes, and thrips are a common pest on greenhouse-grown mango trees.