Mangoes are a delicious tropical fruit that can be grown outside of the tropics only in very specialized conditions, such as in a greenhouse maintained by experts at a botanical garden. If you live in USDA climate zones 10 and higher (Miami to Honolulu) or in any other tropical area, growing a mango tree can be rewarding in the summertime when it produces its succulent fruit.
Mango trees grow quite large, so they require an area in full sun where their roots and branches can spread without impacting other plants or buildings. If you plant a mango tree at the top or center of a hill this will be a favorable location. Avoid planting your mango in an area that is subject to strong winds, but if you must plant it in such a location, build a protective windbreak.
Mangoes do well in deep, well-drained soil of any type—clay, loam and sand are all suitable, but the mango will not prosper in soil that is heavy and constantly wet. The mango prefers a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.5 and will do fine in soil that is alkaline. To raise soil pH, dig hydrated lime into your planting area; to reduce pH, add sulfur.
Additives to Soil
Mango trees do well when you add compost to the soil. They also benefit from a ring of mulch, several inches deep, spread around their drip line, about four feet from the trunk, but never touching it.
Fertilize mango trees with a high nitrogen plant food about three times during the active growing season. Avoid adding fertilizer during fall and winter. Mangoes respond well to organic fertilizer because they can suffer from chemical fertilizer burns. Avoid over fertilizing young trees, especially—they favor fish emulsion. If your soil is high in sand content, your mango tree will benefit from an increased amount of fertilizer because any fertilizer will quickly leach through the very porous sandy soil.
Preventing Insect Damage and Diseases
Healthy trees are less likely to invite insect pests and develop diseases than trees that are stressed. When you provide the correct soil and amendments to your mango’s planting area, it will reward you with healthy growth and numerous fruit. Proper fertilization also fortifies the tree and helps to keep it strong, which will enable the tree to ward off fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. The disease called Anthracnose can occur when rains occur during early setting of fruit: to prevent it, apply copper spray every other month beginning when the tree starts its active spring growth, but before flowers open.
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