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Growing Mango trees in Southern California

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Thanks simon for the great thread.  One thing to consider in southern california for mangos are rootstocks.  Some varieties grow ok on terpentine (VP, LZ and alphonso) but for other varieties it can yeild slow growth.  JF and simon have been experimenting with rootstocks.  We do notice that while on manilla the growth seems to be faster.  I am conducting an experiment on two julie trees.  One is on double rootstock (terpentine plus manilla) the other just turpentine.  I am puttingnthem at dame location next to each other to see if growth rate is indeed difference.  It is also conceivable that some of the faster growth could be related to actually having a tap root on manilla trees. Florida turpentine trees tend to not have tap roots

Thanks guys, it's good to be back. I will talk about rootstocks briefly but because Lavern Manilla is widely available here and it has been successful for so many of us here, I will simply recommend this rootstock as the number one choice for growers here. Rootstocks will be mentioned as part of the discussions on Temperature, diseases and pH.

The rliou, the more people experimenting and documenting, the better. I have a lot of new insight that I'll share in this thread that will hopefully allow us to grow more and better quality mangos here in SoCal.


Because weather has such a big influence on the growth of Mango trees here, we need to stop our current practice of picking out that little mango tree in full bloom or holding small fruit. I highly recommend using Lavern Manilla seedlings available at most Home Depot's and other garden centers as the number one choice when it comes to rootstocks for growing mango in SoCal. If you're trying to save money or plan on doing a lot of your own grafting, you will need a lot more starting material and I recommend planting lots of polyembryonic and Monoembryonic seeds from store bought mangos that you eat.

With Manilla or random seedlings as rootstock, plant the seed or seedlings in its permanent location in the warmest area of your yard. It is a good idea to plant in native soil that is loosened to a depth of at least 12-18 inches if possible. Deeper is better to some extent but in many yards across California, you will hit an extremely hard layer of rocks and clay just several inches below the topsoil.

It is extremely important that you do not over amend the planting hole with too much organic material as this will decompose over time and your tree will sink. Even when planting in 100% native soil that is loosened, I recommend planting the tree above grade. Because the soil was loosened, it will compact and the tree will drop over the years. This issue can be exacerbated by over amending with organics. If you backfilled the hole with 30% organic matter, plan on the tree dropping 30% plus additional drop from loosening native soil.

The planting hole should be square and not round. Amendments can be added on top of the soil and I highly recommend mulching the rhizosphere or drip zone. Im not going into detail in regards to planting, fertilizing or mulching, each of these subjects can take up a whole thread and many of these have in fact been discussed in previous threads so if you're looking for more information, try the search function above. I will provide links to threads of great significance where needed and I will include links to scholarly articles and research where pertinent.


When you plant your tree, it is very important to know the pH of your soil. You can send samples out for analysis but this may be too much trouble for the new mango grower. Instead, I recommend purchasing a simple pH test kit for soils or asking your local nursery if they can test or recommend a test kit to find out the pH of your soil. I've tested the pH of the soil and water at several locations all around San Diego and the majority of samples for soil and water were above 7.8.

Mangos grow well in the pH range of about 5.5-7.5. Outside of this range, it becomes difficult for the plant to uptake certain nutrients. Here in SoCal, we mostly have to worry about the pH of our soils being too high. Even if we brought down the pH of our soils with the use of Sulfur, Phosphoric acid/water drenches, the pH will generally drift back up and out of the acceptable range due in large part to a the buffering capacity of the soil itself and the pH raising affects of our local tapwater.


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