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Author Topic: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree  (Read 1452 times)

andrewly

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Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« on: December 08, 2020, 02:26:57 PM »
Hello,

This is probably a Gardening 101 question, but I am definitely a remedial horticulturalist. Short version of question: I want to put down fertilizer and soil for my mango tree - which do I put down first?

I have a mango tree at my home in Central Florida. I did not get fruit this year, possibly because I had read on the USF Extension website that mango trees shouldn't need to be watered during non-rainy seasons, so I didn't do so last winter. Had to get it pruned this fall and had the arborist do a soil study, as well. Our soil here is extremely sandy, and they said it was very low on nutrients. So I want to put fertilizer and garden soil down for my tree. The question is: do I put down fertilizer on the sandy soil and water it in first, then put down the soil, so the fertilizer has less distance to travel down to the root system? Or do I put the new soil down first?

Also, do I just layer the new soil on top, or should I dig out some of the sandy soil?

Thanks!

cbss_daviefl

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2020, 07:29:28 PM »
Mangos usually grow fine in sandy Florida soils.  Adding too much soil to a tree that is already planted is generally bad.  UF also has a home growing guide that you may find helpful. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg216. Use slow release fertilizers 3 or 4 times a year. Don't use cheap fertilizer. That typically washes away after a few inches of rain.  The UF guides have charts for fertilization based on tree size. If you want to add organics to your soil, use wood mulch or cow manure as fertilizer.
Brandon

EddieF

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2020, 10:39:01 PM »
cbss, what's your favorite mulch/tree chips?

andrew, sandy is good.  I have deep thick topsoil & mangos not loving it.
Do yiu have copy of levels?  I'd like to learn.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2020, 11:39:20 PM by EddieF »

cbss_daviefl

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2020, 09:17:53 AM »
If you need to do a large area, find a tree trimmer to dump a truckload, sometimes free or very cheap. If you only need to mulch around a few trees and want to buy from a big box store, the cypress mulch is what I would use.
Brandon

bsbullie

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2020, 10:53:11 AM »
If you need to do a large area, find a tree trimmer to dump a truckload, sometimes free or very cheap. If you only need to mulch around a few trees and want to buy from a big box store, the cypress mulch is what I would use.

If buying bags of cypress mulch, I like Bushel Stop.  They sell two grades, the "A" being really good.
- Rob

cbss_daviefl

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2020, 11:02:29 AM »
Bushel Stop has been the only place I can find pine bark fine mulch for sale, which I use as part of a potting soil recipe. 

If you need to do a large area, find a tree trimmer to dump a truckload, sometimes free or very cheap. If you only need to mulch around a few trees and want to buy from a big box store, the cypress mulch is what I would use.

If buying bags of cypress mulch, I like Bushel Stop.  They sell two grades, the "A" being really good.
Brandon

andrewly

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2020, 12:55:48 PM »
cbss, what's your favorite mulch/tree chips?

andrew, sandy is good.  I have deep thick topsoil & mangos not loving it.
Do yiu have copy of levels?  I'd like to learn.

I don't have a copy of the levels; I should get them, I guess.

andrewly

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2020, 01:06:46 PM »
Mangos usually grow fine in sandy Florida soils.  Adding too much soil to a tree that is already planted is generally bad.  UF also has a home growing guide that you may find helpful. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg216. Use slow release fertilizers 3 or 4 times a year. Don't use cheap fertilizer. That typically washes away after a few inches of rain.  The UF guides have charts for fertilization based on tree size. If you want to add organics to your soil, use wood mulch or cow manure as fertilizer.

That makes sense. That UF guide (I said USF, but I misremembered and couldn't be bothered to check my bookmarks, apparently) is the one I read that lead me to not water during the winter last year: "Mature mango trees do not need frequent watering, and overwatering may cause poor quality fruit and/or trees to decline or be unthrifty. Little to no irrigation is generally necessary during the fall and winter."

I had watered and fertilized in the previous three years (my first three years at the house) and had fruit. I did not irrigate this past year, after reading that UF guide. I highly doubt the previous owners fertilized the tree, and there was fruit when I bought it. So I'm just hypothesizing that the lack of watering was a key issue.

Either way, thanks for the advice. I will probably skip the soil and just fertilize with some good stuff - what do you define as "cheap fertilizer?"

bsbullie

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2020, 01:23:14 PM »
Mangos usually grow fine in sandy Florida soils.  Adding too much soil to a tree that is already planted is generally bad.  UF also has a home growing guide that you may find helpful. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg216. Use slow release fertilizers 3 or 4 times a year. Don't use cheap fertilizer. That typically washes away after a few inches of rain.  The UF guides have charts for fertilization based on tree size. If you want to add organics to your soil, use wood mulch or cow manure as fertilizer.

That makes sense. That UF guide (I said USF, but I misremembered and couldn't be bothered to check my bookmarks, apparently) is the one I read that lead me to not water during the winter last year: "Mature mango trees do not need frequent watering, and overwatering may cause poor quality fruit and/or trees to decline or be unthrifty. Little to no irrigation is generally necessary during the fall and winter."

I had watered and fertilized in the previous three years (my first three years at the house) and had fruit. I did not irrigate this past year, after reading that UF guide. I highly doubt the previous owners fertilized the tree, and there was fruit when I bought it. So I'm just hypothesizing that the lack of watering was a key issue.

Either way, thanks for the advice. I will probably skip the soil and just fertilize with some good stuff - what do you define as "cheap fertilizer?"

How big and how old is the tree?  Maybe post a picture.
- Rob

cbss_daviefl

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2020, 01:52:19 PM »
The fertilizer should state that it feeds for 12+ weeks. The cheap fertilizers usually state 4 - 8 weeks.   If you have 3 inches of rain in a day or two, a cheap fertilizer will be fully dissolved. Pricing is generally $35+ for a 50 pound bag.  If you do not have access to a company that specializes in fertilizer, HD sells Lesco 13-3-13 that is slow release. If you go this route, use the low 8-3-9 recommended rates or slightly less as this is 65% more nitrogen than an 8-3-9 blend. At this point, you may want to wait until the tree flowers to fertilize. Two of my trees have started flowering. South Florida has had a lot of rain in November and December so flowering may be delayed this year in my yard. Your tree should flower anytime now, usually before March. I had a few mango trees that did not flower last year. Low nutrition, was not the reason. Sometimes the weather patterns can be a factor.  Applying nitrogen while flowering and fruiting can increase yield but can also negatively affect quality.
Brandon

EddieF

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2020, 05:31:19 PM »
Andrew yes, get copy & show inquirig minds like myself.  Was soil tested at Gainesville?  I hear they're "the" place.

Cbss & bs, thanks for bushel stop & grade tip.
I know their topsoil by the yrd comes in 2 grades.  Wish i knew sand was better for mangos, i went with topsoil.  Finally hit me topsoil is just that, the top soil lol not for fill.  I like the fact when dry, it's hard enough to drive on with minimal sinkage.  When saturated, you'll sink.

saltyreefer

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2020, 05:32:45 PM »
Did the tree bloom and not produce? Sometimes they do that.

andrewly

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2020, 03:21:20 PM »
bsbullie - I don't know how old the tree is, but it is at least 13 years old (and not much older) based on Google Street View's history. I posted a picture that the arborist took before they pruned it.

EddieF - I got the results from them and attached them here. I don't know what all of that means, but it looks like Nitrogen and Potassium are very low.

saltyreefer - I don't think the tree bloomed at all this year. It usually blooms in the winter, and I think it was late Jan-early Feb that it occurred to me it hadn't bloomed and there were no buds or anything. In winter 2017-2018, we had a cold snap right when most of the tree was blooming and that killed everything, and we only got a few mangos that summer from places on the tree that bloomed late. But we didn't notice any real cold snaps last winter and never saw buds or flowers.

cbss_daviefl - Thanks for the details. Does the soil report affect your recommendation at all?






« Last Edit: December 11, 2020, 03:24:12 PM by andrewly »

cbss_daviefl

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2020, 03:44:06 PM »
The picture of the tree tells a story. The tree is too close to your house. It may damage the foundation or your roof. I would remove it and plant another mango tree at least 15 feet away from the house.  The tree does not need fertilizer. I do not see pH on the report but it may be high from the concrete.  If you are going to keep it, add potassium  0-0-50 potash of sulfate or 0-0-22 k mag.
Brandon

andrewly

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2020, 05:47:34 PM »
The picture of the tree tells a story. The tree is too close to your house. It may damage the foundation or your roof. I would remove it and plant another mango tree at least 15 feet away from the house.  The tree does not need fertilizer. I do not see pH on the report but it may be high from the concrete.  If you are going to keep it, add potassium  0-0-50 potash of sulfate or 0-0-22 k mag.

Well, it's clear of the roof now, anyway. We'll almost certainly keep it, particularly given what we just spent to have it professionally pruned.

The pH says 6.8.

Copy on the potassium options - but what about the really low nitrogen?

EddieF

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2020, 05:56:19 PM »
Andrew, i wouldn't cut it down.  Can prune the heck out if it next summer.
Thanks for posting soil levels, we need the pro Har to share his knowledge on desirable levels.
No nitrogen according to everything i've read for mature trees.

cbss_daviefl

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2020, 06:57:42 PM »
My father had a mango tree that was 10ft away from his house that created a foundation problem. He kept it around 12 x 12 because it was crowded in so I am not sure the "keep it small" method will work.  I hope your sewer line is not near it either. Good luck.
Brandon

bsbullie

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2020, 07:42:46 PM »
Andrew, i wouldn't cut it down.  Can prune the heck out if it next summer.
Thanks for posting soil levels, we need the pro Har to share his knowledge on desirable levels.
No nitrogen according to everything i've read for mature trees.

"Pruning the heck out if it" will cause it not to fruit and to then flush worse than it is now.  Selective pruning is how it should be pruned but as Brandon said, thats not going to elevate the issue or its dangers to the house, sewer or any other underground lines or pipes that may be near.

By its looks, it needs zero nitrogen.  Feed it potassium and calcium when fruiting.

As for an "arborist " pruning it, most would have no clue how to prune a mango.  They are trained for pruning ornamentals and many cannot even do that correctly.
- Rob

EddieF

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2020, 10:17:19 PM »
I wish Har's fert with 0 nitrogen was available at Bushel Stop(s).

I'm in the same boat as you andrew, my 20yr old tree i always put much time in to yielded 1 mango this yr!  Was best i had all yr though :)
This summer i threw all kinds of stuff at it before rains.  Leaves are darker & look better.
Needs a nutrient spray next.  Maybe yours too.  Quicker.


andrewly

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2020, 09:53:32 AM »
Andrew, i wouldn't cut it down.  Can prune the heck out if it next summer.
Thanks for posting soil levels, we need the pro Har to share his knowledge on desirable levels.
No nitrogen according to everything i've read for mature trees.

"Pruning the heck out if it" will cause it not to fruit and to then flush worse than it is now.  Selective pruning is how it should be pruned but as Brandon said, thats not going to elevate the issue or its dangers to the house, sewer or any other underground lines or pipes that may be near.

By its looks, it needs zero nitrogen.  Feed it potassium and calcium when fruiting.

As for an "arborist " pruning it, most would have no clue how to prune a mango.  They are trained for pruning ornamentals and many cannot even do that correctly.

I don't think it is near the sewer line - I could see where that would be a problem. These guys seemed (to me) pretty knowledgeable about the fruit trees in our area and we talked quite a bit about how they'd prune it for as best a chance of fruiting as possible, as well as the different needs of the mango tree versus my orange tree. But I guess I'll find out soon.

Thanks everyone for the guidance! Wish me luck!

Jagmanjoe

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2020, 02:36:17 PM »
With talk of time release fertilizers potentially washing out with periodic rainstorms, why wouldn't it make more sense to go on a regimen of using water soluble fertilizers on a more regular basis.  Particularly in an area like Florida with the downpours we often receive.  I recognize that this would require being more dedicated and consistent in following a strict timetable.

andrewly

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2020, 02:29:09 PM »
Sorry, I thought I had all the info I needed, or knew where to get it, but how much 0-0-50 or 0-0-22 should I be putting down?

The UF extension guide that cbss_daviefl posted seems to say, for a tree 8+ yo, it should be 3.5-4 lbs per application, 4 applications for year. But a) that's recommending 6-6-6-2 or 8-3-9-2, and b) elsewhere on these forums people are measuring their fertilizer in ounces, cups, and handfuls - obviously nowhere near 3.5-4 lbs.

Thoughts?

cbss_daviefl

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2020, 04:28:59 PM »
Gotta do math at this point.  The fert numbers are percents. To get the amount of potassium in 4 lbs of 8-3-9 and covert to 0-0-22, multiply the weight times the percent of the first and divide by percent in the second. 4 lbs * 9% / 22% = 1.64 lbs of 0-0-22. You can cross check that against the recommendations in the report you got. Take the 1000sqft and use 25% for a single tree of good size(250sqft). The recommendation is to apply 4 lbs of potassium in a year. 4lbs * 25% = 1 lbs per year. 3 applications per year means .33lbs per application. To convert this to 0-0-22, .33 / 22% = 1.5 lbs per application.
Brandon

andrewly

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2020, 06:48:06 PM »
Excellent, thank you so much!

EddieF

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Re: Fertilizer/Soil Order for Mango Tree
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2020, 07:54:41 PM »
Question- muriate or sulfate potash?  Sulfate's my guess & how do they differ?
Ed

P.s.- cbss, that made my head hurt lol.  Good info.

 

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