Mango trees are popular but require much maintenance
RODOLFO ROMANOne of the tastiest and sweetest fruits can be found in ice cream and even gum.
Published: May 2, 2012
Published: May 2, 2012
But starting in May, mangos commonly can be found on a neighbor's tree as the fruit season begins and ends in September in South Florida.
Home gardening adviser John McLaughlin said mangos grow in warm climates, making them ideal for South Florida.
"Mango requires a frost-free climate, free draining soil, an extended period of dry weather during flowering, followed by summer rain to promote tree growth," he wrote in an email. "The southern tip of Florida offers these conditions, but it took the vision of individuals such as David Fairchild in the early decades of the 20th century to realize this potential for the area to become a world center for both growing and development of the mango."
The season starts with the early cultivars such as the Edward mango and ends with the late cultivars of Keitt mango. Both of these species were originated in South Florida.
It is a popular fruit in the Sunshine State and could possibly be tied with the avocado as one of the most popular back-yard fruit trees, he added. But when it comes to commercial crops, there is competition from overseas growers such as Mexico.
If driving to the grocery store to purchase a mango isn't your cup of tea, then perhaps consider planting a tree in your back yard.
Plant in full sun and in an area that offers some protection from cold, drying winds. Place the top of the root-ball just above grade and use as much as possible of what came out of the planting hole as backfill, suggested McLaughlin.
Cut it back to stimulate lateral branching when the tree is waist high and allow the branches to grow to almost two inches. Remove branches but leave three. Those that remain should be evenly spaced and firmly attached.
"Tip pruning will encourage more branching, which will support a large number of flower spikes," said McLaughlin.
From there on, spray to control disease and pests. One downfall of growing large trees is that it is a bit more difficult to manage and it is more liable to suffer storm damage.
For those who grow the mango, maintenance is significant for plant production. There are several steps mango growers should follow, said McLaughlin.
Two to three applications of a complete granular fertilizer should be provided between March and August. Soil drenches and foliar applied nutritional sprays could be used to correct high pH soils. Don't stimulate vegetative growth flushes at the end of August. Thus, fertilizer nitrogen and supplemental water should be avoided. Following the steps along with the cool temperatures in December will help the flowering in January and February.
McLaughlin said once the flower spikes are about an inch, spray with fungicides for anthracnose disease and powdery mildew.
"Except for late flowering cultivars trees, they should be pruned as need be right after harvest and maintained at no more than 12-15 feet," he said.
An average of 300 pounds of fruit per season should be produced by a mature tree.
The fruit's existence in South Florida is celebrated with a major festival on July 14 in Coral Gables.