How To Grow Mango
Mangoes are tropical fruits that have captivated the hearts and taste buds of many people around the world. They are native to South Asia, but their popularity has allowed them to spread across the globe.
With their unique taste, rich in sweetness and slight tanginess, mangoes have become a staple in many cuisines and diets. Cultivating these magnificent fruits is not only a rewarding experience for the home gardener but also contributes to the preservation of their biodiversity.
Published: May 2, 2023.
Are Mangos Berries?
Mangoes (Mangifera indica) are not classified as berries; they are drupes. A drupe is a type of fruit that contains a single seed or pit, surrounded by a fleshy outer layer called mesocarp and a hard, protective inner layer called endocarp. Other examples of drupes include cherries, plums, peaches, and olives.
Mangoes are tropical fruits native to South Asia, particularly the region between northeastern India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. They belong to the Anacardiaceae family, which also includes cashews, sumac, and poison ivy. Mangoes have been cultivated for thousands of years and are now grown in various tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.
The mango tree is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 35-130 feet tall, with a broad, rounded canopy.
The fruit varies in size, shape, and color, depending on the variety. The skin can be green, yellow, orange, or red, while the pulp is typically golden yellow and juicy, with a unique, sweet, and slightly tangy flavor. Mangoes are rich in vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, making them highly nutritious.
Mangoes are consumed in various ways, including fresh, dried, and processed into juice, jams, pickles, and chutneys. They are also used as a flavoring agent in many culinary dishes and desserts, such as mango lassi, mango ice cream, and mango sticky rice.
Mango Tree Growing Conditions
To successfully cultivate mangoes, it is crucial to provide them with the appropriate growing conditions.
First and foremost, they require well-draining soil to prevent root rot and ensure healthy growth. Loamy or sandy soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5 is ideal for mango trees. Incorporating organic matter such as compost can improve soil structure and provide essential nutrients.
Mangoes are sun-loving plants, and thus, they need full sun exposure to produce an abundance of fruit. Aim to provide at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Additionally, these trees thrive in warm temperatures, typically between 70°F and 85°F, and can be severely damaged by frost. Therefore, it is essential to grow them in frost-free regions or take appropriate measures to protect them in colder climates.
Watering is also an essential aspect of mango cultivation.
Although the trees are somewhat drought-tolerant once established, they need consistent moisture during their initial growth phase. It is important to strike a balance between providing adequate water and avoiding overwatering.
Water deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Reducing irrigation during the fruiting stage can help improve fruit quality and prevent splitting.
When To Plant Mango Tree
Timing is crucial when planting mango trees. The ideal time to plant a mango tree is during the early spring or early fall when the temperatures are mild and there is plenty of sunlight to stimulate growth.
In tropical and subtropical climates, planting can occur at any time of the year, as long as the weather is warm and frost-free. Planting during these periods allows the tree to establish its root system and acclimate to its new environment before the onset of harsher weather conditions.
How To Plant Mango Tree
To plant a mango tree, begin by selecting a healthy grafted sapling from a reputable nursery.
Grafted trees tend to produce fruit earlier than those grown from seed and have better resistance to diseases. Choose a planting site that offers ample space for the tree to grow, as mature mango trees can reach a height and spread of up to 35 feet.
Dig a hole that is at least twice the width and depth of the sapling's root ball.
Gently remove the tree from its container and carefully loosen the roots, taking care not to damage them. Place the sapling in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
Backfill the hole with a mix of native soil and organic matter, tamping down gently to remove air pockets.
Water the tree thoroughly after planting, and add a layer of mulch around the base to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Mango Tree Pests and Diseases
Mango trees, like all plants, can be susceptible to various pests and diseases that can affect their health, growth, and fruit production. Early identification and appropriate management strategies are essential in preventing severe damage to the tree.
Common Mango Tree Pests
- Mango Fruit Fly (Bactrocera dorsalis): The mango fruit fly is a significant pest that can cause considerable damage to the fruit. Female fruit flies lay eggs in the mango, and the larvae feed on the pulp, causing the fruit to rot and drop prematurely. To manage fruit flies, use pheromone traps, introduce natural predators, and practice regular sanitation by removing fallen fruit from the ground.
- Mango Hopper (Idioscopus spp.): Mango hoppers are small insects that suck sap from the tree, causing leaf curling and reduced fruit production. They also excrete honeydew, which leads to sooty mold growth. Control measures include using insecticidal soap, neem oil, or introducing natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings.
- Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae family): Mealybugs are small, sap-sucking insects that cause leaf distortion, defoliation, and reduced fruit production. They also excrete honeydew, encouraging sooty mold growth. Manage mealybugs by applying insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil, and introducing natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings.
- Scale insects (Coccoidea superfamily): Scale insects are small, sap-sucking pests that can cause yellowing of leaves, defoliation, and reduced fruit production. Control scale insects by applying horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem oil, and encouraging the presence of natural predators like ladybugs and parasitic wasps.
Common Mango Tree Diseases
- Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides): Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects leaves, flowers, and fruit. It causes dark, sunken lesions on leaves and stems, and can lead to blossom blight and fruit rot. To manage anthracnose, apply a copper-based fungicide, practice proper sanitation by removing infected plant material, and ensure adequate air circulation around the tree.
- Powdery Mildew (Oidium mangiferae): Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as a white, powdery coating on leaves, flowers, and fruit. It can cause defoliation, flower drop, and reduced fruit production. Manage powdery mildew by applying sulfur-based fungicides, neem oil, or potassium bicarbonate, and ensuring good air circulation around the tree.
- Mango Malformation Disease (MMD): MMD is a physiological disorder caused by the fungus Fusarium mangiferae. It results in abnormal growth of flowers and leaves, leading to reduced fruit production. To control MMD, prune and destroy malformed plant parts, practice proper sanitation, and avoid over-fertilizing with nitrogen.
- Bacterial Black Spot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. mangiferaeindicae): This bacterial disease causes black, angular lesions on leaves, stems, and fruit, leading to defoliation and reduced fruit quality. Manage bacterial black spot by applying copper-based bactericides, practicing proper sanitation, and avoiding overhead irrigation.
Monitoring your mango tree for signs of pests and diseases is crucial in maintaining its health and ensuring a good harvest.
What is the Plural of Mango: Mangos or Mangoes?
Although this is not related to growing mangos (or mangoes), we have one more little detail to discuss about - what is plural of "mango", is it "mangos" or "mangoes"?
Well, both "mangos" and "mangoes" are accepted as the plural form of "mango."
They can be used interchangeably, and neither one is more correct than the other.
However, "mangoes" is more commonly used in British English, while "mangos" is more prevalent in American English.
Are Mango Seeds Edible?
Mango seeds are generally not consumed due to their hard, fibrous texture and the presence of a tough outer layer called the husk. However, the kernel or seed inside the husk is technically edible and has been used in various traditional medicines and as a food source in some cultures.
Mango seed kernels are rich in nutrients, including essential fatty acids, minerals, and antioxidants. They have been used in traditional medicine for their potential health benefits, such as aiding digestion, promoting heart health, and supporting skin and hair health.
To consume mango seed kernels, the husk must be removed and the seed cleaned thoroughly. The seed can then be dried, ground into a powder, and added to food or used as a supplement.
However, it's essential to note that the consumption of mango seeds is not common, and they should be eaten in moderation as their long-term effects are not well-established.
It's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating mango seed kernels or any other non-conventional food items into your diet.
Few Final Words
Growing mangoes can be a gratifying and fruitful endeavor for gardeners willing to provide the necessary care and attention.
By adhering to the optimal growing conditions, planting at the right time, and following the proper planting techniques, you can enjoy the sweet and juicy fruits of your labor.
With patience and dedication, you'll be able to savor the delectable taste of homegrown mangos, and experience the satisfaction of nurturing a tree from sapling to fruit-bearing maturity.
As you embark on this tropical gardening adventure, remember that the key to success lies in understanding the unique requirements of these magnificent trees and catering to their needs.
With time and effort, you'll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest of delicious mangoes, perfect for sharing with family and friends or savoring on your own.
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