By Bonnie L. Grant
The juicy, ripe mango fruit has a rich, tropical aroma and flavor that summons thoughts of sunny climates and sultry breezes. The home gardener in warmer zones can bring that taste out of the garden. However, how do you grow a mango tree?
Mango tree planting is suitable in zones where temperatures do not usually dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are lucky enough to live in a tropical to sub-tropical climate, take these tips for mango tree care and enjoy the fruits of your labors in just a few years.
How Do You Grow a Mango Tree?
Mango trees (Mangifera indica) are deep-rooted plants that may become large specimens in the landscape. They are evergreen and generally produced off rootstocks that increase the hardiness of the plants. Mango trees begin fruit production in three years and form fruit quickly.
Choose a variety that is best suited for your zone. The plant can thrive in almost any soil but requires well-drained soil in a site with protection from cold. Position your tree where it will receive full sun for best fruit production.
New mango tree planting is done in late winter to early spring when the plant is not actively growing.
Mango Tree Planting
Prepare the site by digging a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball. Check the drainage by filling the hole with water and watching how fast it drains. Mango trees can survive some periods of flooding, but the healthiest plants are produced where soils percolate well. Plant the young tree with the graft scar just at the soil surface.
You don’t need to prune the young plant but watch for suckers from the graft and prune them off. Young mango tree care must include frequent watering as the plant establishes.
Growing Mango Trees from Seed
Mango trees grow easily from seed. Get a fresh mango pit and slit the hard husk. Remove the seed inside and plant it in seed starter mix in a large pot. Situate the seed with ¼ inch protruding above the soil surface when growing mango trees.
Keep the soil evenly moist and place the pot where temperatures remain at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprouting may occur as early as 8 to 14 days, but may take up to three weeks.
Keep in mind that your new mango tree seedling will not produce fruit for at least six years.
Caring for a Mango Tree
Mango tree care is similar to that of any fruit tree. Water the trees deeply to saturate the long taproot. Allow the top surface of the soil to dry to a depth of several inches before watering again. Withhold irrigation for two months prior to flowering and then resume once fruits begin to produce.
Fertilize the tree with nitrogen fertilizer three times per year. Space the feedings and apply one pound per year of tree growth.
Prune when the tree is four years old to remove any weak stems and produce a strong scaffold of branches. Thereafter, prune only to remove broken or diseased plant material.
Caring for mango trees must also include watching for pests and diseases. Deal with these as they occur with organic pesticides, cultural and biological controls or horticultural oils.
Growing mango trees in the home landscape will give you a lifetime of fresh pungent fruit from an attractive shade tree.