One of the first fruits which come to mind when we think of summer is the fleshy, juicy mango with its golden sunny flesh tempting us. If you have a little room in your back garden, you won’t be disappointed planting one of these divine trees and raiding its offerings.
Plant young mango trees in a sunny position in the garden, where there is enough room to develop to full size. Grafted trees are best and bear faster than seed-grown trees. Mango trees are heavy feeders and need full sun to grow their golden fruit. Mix some 5 IN 1 Organic Plant Food into the existing soil before planting. 5 IN 1 is rich in composted manures, organic fertilisers and minerals to meet all their needs.
An ideal fertiliser to grow large fruit is one with high potassium. Searles Fruit & Citrus Food is boosted with minerals to encourage large fruit. Feed young trees in mid-spring and mid-summer and bearing trees during early summer, when fruiting, and again in late summer.
Established trees don’t require watering but young plants will need plenty of water in summer. Water sparingly in late winter and spring, before the onset of flowering.
“Kensington Pride” is the most popular variety and ‘Palmer’ is a smaller-growing tree which crops well. Small trees are much easier to manage in the home garden for pests, diseases, general care and harvesting. Others to look for include; ‘E2’, ‘Ono’, ‘Keitt’, ‘Nam Dioc Mai’ and ‘Tommy Atkins’. But check with your garden centre for what is the best available.
Harvest mangoes when the colour of the skin flesh turns from green to yellow, orange or red. Its final ripened colour may vary depending on variety. As the mangoes ripen, watch out for birds and bats. Paper bag each mango if practical or cover the tree with a bird friendly net. To find out the best time to pick the fruit, pick one first to sample. If the internal flesh is yellow throughout then your mangoes can be picked.
Pests & Diseases
Anthracnose is the major disease problem; its symptoms are flower death, dark markings on leaves and stems, and premature fruit drop or blackening. Anthracnose can come on very quickly during long periods of wet weather. The fungus appears as irregular shaped black spots and can spread very quickly and attack flower panicles, fruit and young developing leaves, preventing fruit development. Treat disease with alternative sprays of Mancozeb and Copper Oxchloride. Read more about Anthracnose
Fruit fly prevention is mandatory; if your tree is too large to spray effectively, use traps, like Searles Fruit Fly Trap. This trap is so easy to use.
The tree will be healthier and look better if once a year after fruiting you remove the dead wood. This is also the time to lightly shape the tree if required. Fruit is easier to pick, if the tree doesn’t grow too tall. So if you are sufficiently energetic, get up on a step ladder and cut back the top of the tree each year to develop a low, spreading habit which is easier to manage. Do this annually from when the tree is quite young and it will develop to the shape and size you require. Wear gloves and protective clothing when pruning because the mango tree has a very irritating sap which is hard to remove from skin or clothes.
Quick Recipe – Mango and avocado salad Recipe – Vietnamese Mango Chicken