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Growing Mango trees in Southern California

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Once you have your tree planted, keep it watered but don't over do it. When a tree is first planted, it will need more frequent watering as the roots have not established yet but keep in mind that Mangos are regarded as drought tolerant and when the rootzone is kept constantly moist, there is little physiological need for the plant to send its roots out farther in search of more resources. I would hazard to guess that more rookie Mango growers have killed their mango trees from over watering rather than under watering. Over watering can decrease oxygen levels, promoting anaerobic conditions which can lead to root rot.

I want to re emphasize here that you should be planting seedlings that are not grafted. This means that you will either need to learn to graft or know someone that can do the grafting for you. This may seem like a lot of trouble to go through but if you want a healthy, large and productive tree, I highly recommend this route if you are looking for something other than Valencia Pride, Alphonso and a few other varieties that seem to perform ok on Florida/Turpentine rootstock.

If you do plant a pre grafted Florida/Turpentine rootstock tree, you will get annual blooms which will significantly slow down the overall growth of your tree. I also want to point out that not all Turpentine rootstock are bad performers here in SoCal. Leo Manuel has planted Turpentine seeds and used them with success.


For those of us that have grafted seedling trees or have purchased pre grafted trees, I often get the question of when do I prune off the blooms or flowers? I used to recommend that you prune off the panicles when the flowers or fruit are pea to marble size but I was wrong. It gets a lot more technical and the flowering article I linked to at the top of this thread explains the science in detail. In simple terms, you should prune off the panicles when the (average)temperatures are above about 65-66F. At around 63F, you will get partial blooms and at 59F, you will get full blooms.

If you read the article however, you will find out that temperature is not the only factor. The age of the current flush and other factors such as drought stress influence the amount of florigenic hormones that may tip the balance towards flowering or a vegetative flush. Other information I have read indicates that increased nitrogen levels in the leaves may tilt the balance more towards a vegetative flush but highly unscientific experiments performed by me and several other SoCal mango growers indicate that cold temperatures is a much stronger promoter of flowering and increasing Nitrogen levels in the leaves by foliar feeding with multiple applications of high Nitrogen fertilizer in Winter and Spring has negligible affect on swinging the balance towards a vegetative flush.

I must admit that that our attempts at foliar feeding with Nitrogen on hardened growth in cool weather was more than likely a futile attempt but we were desperate. For those that aren't aware, foliar feeding is much more productive in active states of growth when new growth is in the expansion phase. Please see this thread for more info on foliar feeding.

For a visual of how temperature affects flowering, please see page 23 of 29 from this article.


that was my conclusion too Simon. I want to wait until we are at night temps over 65, by that time, blooms are over and fruitlets are formed. Safely remove pennicles then. Otherwise you risk 2nd bloom and even 3rd and kill the graft.

Question - I have an in ground 3 year old LZ on turpentine rootstock that was damaged by my gardener's weed whacker and is now struggling. If I plant a manila seedling next to it and try an inarch graft, do you think it could recover? Or should I just start over entirely by grafting scions onto a LaVerne manila rootstock?

I would suggest starting a new tree.  The Turpentine rootstock tree probably has mature brown wood that is more difficult to graft. Also, the Turpentine rootstock has so many issues that I prefer to start new and use the Turpentine tree for scions only.

When you plant the Manilla seedling, do not graft it. Let it mature until it is fully established and fruiting size before topworking it with the LZ.



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