Start preparing now for the best harvest ever.

Mangoes are a wonderful fruiting tree for the home garden – A dwarf tree will give you plenty of fresh mangoes through the summer, on a manageable sized tree.

But sometimes, the fruit can be a disappointment. Black spotty fruit or lack of fruit set can create problems for your harvest. So, I’ve put together this backyard growers guide with my 4 key tips for starting out and a guideline to mango tree care and how I manage anthracnose in our organic garden

We have lots of different fruit trees in our organic garden, but it’s the mangoes that we so look forward to in summer.  We have an ‘Alison’ dwarf grafted mango and another unnamed grafted tree that came with the garden.  The Alison Mango came from Daley’s Fruit Trees in Kyogle. It’s a very good cropper, it tastes like the Kensington Pride but has a pink blush to the skin. Its a delicious not too sweet medium sized fruit. It’s also a polyembryonic plant which means that its seeds will grow true to the parent type. We love it.

My 4 tips for choosing a mango tree

There are four key things that we must establish before we get down to the specifics of good fruit and harvests…

  1. Mangoes grow very well in warmer sub-tropical to tropical climates and are damaged by frosts. Some mango varieties are a little more cold tolerant, but be choosy if you are in a cooler spot. It’s very challenging to grow a beautiful fruiting mango tree in a chilly or frosty spot
  2. Mangoes are typically biennial bearers. That means you can expect a bumper crop every second year with a smaller crop in the alternate year.
  3. For most backyards, a traditional mango tree is too big for a regular garden, so choose a dwarf, grafted tree. This will ensure you get a tree that’s easier to both manage and harvest in your limited space. This site… Daleys Dwarf Mangoes introduces you to a whole range of mangoes available and gives info on each.
  4. There are many varieties of mango tree. As well as selecting for size, cold tolerance and disease tolerance, choose a variety that suits your taste.

Have you had spotty mangoes or failure to set fruit?

You may well have a tree that’s infected with Anthracnose. It’s a fungal disease that remains dormant on the tree from one season to the next. The fungal spores may be hiding in bark cracks, on old dead wood, on mummified fruit, and on leaves.  On leaves, the spots occur near the leaf margins. Twigs blacken from the tips backwards and if the flowers are not overcome with the fungus and do go on to set fruit, as the fruit matures, the black lesions on the skin become sunken. Its unsightly and spoils your harvest, but you can create much better tree health and more abundant harvests.

Now, if you want a healthy mango tree and great fruit, prepare for the next harvest as soon as the last one is over – don’t wait. Follow my three steps to a marvellous mango harvest.

Three Steps to a marvellous mango

Your  healthy mango harvest starts either as soon as you’ve planted the tree, or if it’s already growing, as soon as you’ve harvested the fruit.

Step 1 Pruning:

I begin the prep for the next harvest as soon as I’ve picked the last of the season’s mangoes in summer. I prune the tree to remove all dead and dying wood, then I go over it again to cut it to the desired shape and size. I like to net our trees to prevent bats from eating the fruit, so they are kept at no more than 3.5 metres tall which also makes harvest and any spraying easy too.

Step 2 The Soil:

Feed the soil quarterly throughout the year, adding manures, humates, rock minerals and if your soil is deficient, add liquid boron and some liquid trace elements. Ensure the soil is well composted and mulched, weed free and moist. I hold back the manures at flowering and fruit set time as the high nitrogen at this time can reduce the keeping quality of the fruit post-harvest.

Step 3  Give your tree foliar support:

Strengthen the cells of the leaves with seaweed sprays. Regular sprays will help your tree repel fungi.

These three steps are really key I find, for a healthy tree and good fruit. I do have some further specialised applications, but these I’ll reveal at the organic pest and disease and orchard classes here at Ecobotanica. Keep an eye on the classes page for the next class and why not join us if you are local?

front page Photo by JACQUELINE BRANDWAYN on Unsplash