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Growing Mango trees in Southern California

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simon_grow:
I get lots of questions regarding how best to plant a Mango tree here in SoCal so I decided to start this thread. I should first qualify, or disqualify, myself as I am a relatively new mango grower and my trees are not the largest nor healthiest. I'm a typical lazy backyard gardener, often putting my daughters before my plants so my trees rarely get fertilizer these days and it's probably been over a year since I adjusted the pH of the rootzone with phosphoric acid and Sulfur.

A serious gardener will send out soil samples for analysis and this thread is not for the serious mango grower. This thread will be very general without any advanced techniques or equipment. This is the "Keep It Simple Stupid" technique using easy to find rootstock and some experience I've gained from mentors like Leo Manuel, Jim Neitzel and many others.

I've been killing mango trees for years so listen to my advice with a grain of salt but I am quite knowledgeable about the science of growing mango trees. First of all, when someone tells you what or how to do something, there should be a reason why. If that person is not giving an explanation why they do it that way or has some proof that the technique works, you may want to look elsewhere for advice.

I'll have to continue this subject in short segments as my kids keep me extremely busy.

Simon

simon_grow:
Edited to include link
Florida rootstock trees donít perform well for most gardeners
http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=15673.0

So, why not just plant a mango tree that you buy from the local nursery like you would any other fruit tree? There are several reasons. Firstly, Mangos are marginal here in SoCal and although they can withstand the cold in some counties of Southern California, they cannot easily grow unprotected in many other counties of SoCal. Mango growth is heavily influenced by climate and wether new growth is vegetative(leaves and shoots) or floral is primarily dependent on temperature. This holds true for Mangos in SoCal but not necessarily in warmer climates where age of previous flushes can also be of major significance. Aside from age of flushes and temperature, nutrition can aid in flowering promoting bigger or more flowers and can even help inhibit fruit drop.

Please see this article for in depth information on Mango flowering:
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1677-04202007000400007&script=sci_arttext

Simon

simon_grow:
The three major problems growing Mango trees here is the cold weather, diseases and high pH soils. For areas where Mango can grow unprotected outdoors, we have the issue of continual flowering caused by the cold weather. A new Mango grower is often attracted to the beautiful small potted mango trees in full bloom often holding some small fruit. What typically happens is the happy customer purchases this tree and tries to allow the small tree to mature the fruit. If the tree is large enough, the grower may actually be able to harvest a few fruit. The fruit quality is often mediocre at best and the tree becomes stunted from the efforts. The following year, the tree often grows very little and will often try to bloom again as cold weather approaches.

Because the tree was stressed holding fruit the first year, there is very little root and shoot growth the following year and the grower may actually experience what I like to call the "Magical Shrinking Tree" where instead of growing, the tree actually recedes with each passing year. In Warmer climates, a tree may simply veg out the following year in order to recover but in marginal climates, the cold weather is too strong a stimulus and the tree will flower again in the second, third, and following years. Flowering here in SoCal can take up to half a year or more.

Flowering can begin as early as October(sometimes earlier) and nightly low temperatures can still induce blooms as late as June and July as it did with some of my trees last year. I posted pictures somewhere but I forgot which thread. Foryounger trees, this often means we only get one long flowering cycle and only one vegetative flush, Ive experienced 0 growth flushes in a year for several trees, instead, it flowered again after a rest period.

Simon

Samu:
I am book marking this tread!
Thanks a lot Simon...and happy to see you active again in this forum!  ;D

JF:
This is a worthy thread for anyone to bookmark especially SoCal mango growers. Thank you for the thread Simon!

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