Author Topic: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.  (Read 628 times)

Fygee

  • Las Vegas Gardening Community Admin
  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • View Profile
    • Las Vegas Gardening Community
Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« on: June 14, 2021, 01:27:03 PM »
Need some help, or just a swift kick in the butt telling me to not even bother.

One of my holy grails is to grow a healthy, fruiting mango tree in Las Vegas. I'm probably crazy for trying, but I know that it can be done as there's another person here growing them that has gotten fruit after a few years. That and I figure if I can keep avocado trees alive here for five years, I should be able to keep a mango alive as well.

Unfortunately, with me, they always follow a pattern no matter how big or small they are. Does great their first year. Winter comes, no damage taken with protection (temps get between 30-50F) and very minimal watering. Early spring comes, nearly all the leaves get dry and crunchy. Tree is unable to recover, and dies a few weeks later.

When that happens, I've tried watering a little, watering a lot, watering at the center of the root ball, watering at the area surrounding the root ball...no luck. Also tried not fertilizing, moderate fertilizing, supplementing with soil sulfur mildly and watering with reverse osmosis water to keep pH low, no luck there either.

Trees are planted in RootTrapper II 30gal pots with very free draining soil consisting of palm/citrus mix, sand, and lava rock. No risk of anthracnose or other similar pathogens that I'm aware of being that Vegas has very dry air.

Is there something I'm missing, or am I just a glutton for punishment?
Continuing my journey to disprove those who say "You can't grow that in the desert" since 2013.

3rdgrey

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • USA,Fl,9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2021, 06:50:45 PM »
Believe me I'm no expert and I'm in Florida,  but following your winter temps and defoliation, have you tried just caring for them the same way u had all year? Get a moisture/ph meter and track the container's levels that way. Losing their leaves doesn't necessarily mean they're dead. Did u do a scratch test to see if they are green under the outer layer? What about lava rock? Is it naturally high or low in ph residue properties (similar to planting next to a concrete building, rain coming down off the sides increase the soil ph). Could you or have you waited a few weeks to see if they sprouted new growth? This similar to say transplant shock.

3rdgrey

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • USA,Fl,9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2021, 06:53:15 PM »
Oh, where r the pots located? In the winter could you move them next to the wall of the house? Heat  is reflected from the surface.

Fygee

  • Las Vegas Gardening Community Admin
  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • View Profile
    • Las Vegas Gardening Community
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2021, 12:56:21 PM »
Care for tropicals changes drastically here as the seasons change, but I do apply the same care to them all generally with good success.

Watering - Water once a week during spring (they're mulched so they retain moisture well). Water every day during summer. Revert to once a week during warmer part of fall. Cease watering entirely during the winter (sans maybe a drink once a month if we get no rain).

Feeding - Feed with mild fertilizer periodically in spring through fall to counteract nutrition lost from pot drainage, with a larger single feeding once temps hit above 80 in spring.

Shelter - For the first two years, partially shaded in between 90-100 degree temps and mostly shaded during the summer. Placed in a corner near my walls and shade during the summer and winter for added heat retention while it's cold (though honestly our winters have been strangely mild lately). If small enough, they're brought indoors. After two years, protect all the exposed green branches and trunk with SurroundWP and place them were they get morning/early afternoon sun and afternoon shade.

As for the scratch test, once the leaves are lost or close to all lost, there's still plenty of green tissue to be found. However, instead of bouncing back with new growth, the branches will proceed to shrivel and wrinkle while still green, then die. This cascades until it reaches the trunk and the tree is toast. Takes about three weeks to happen from start to finish.

Sometimes after being pulled, I'll notice that there are still live roots here and there so it's not entirely dead, but sadly all of the trunk will be verified totally dead and there's no point in possibly getting rootstock to grow back.

Continuing my journey to disprove those who say "You can't grow that in the desert" since 2013.

3rdgrey

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • USA,Fl,9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2021, 12:20:22 PM »
Well the fact they are still alive is a good thing. Your extremely dry air may be sucking the moisturizer from the trunk. U could try misting the whole thing with a spray bottle daily until you see regrowth. This, provided u dont have freezing winds. If you have the plant inside the whole time, misting it might not hurt either due to the relative low humity.

sapote

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 876
    • USA, CA, Burbank, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2021, 07:17:14 PM »
Trees are planted in RootTrapper II 30gal pots with very free draining soil consisting of palm/citrus mix, sand, and lava rock. No risk of anthracnose or other similar pathogens that I'm aware of being that Vegas has very dry air.
Is there something I'm missing, or am I just a glutton for punishment?

This sounds familiar to me 5 or 6 years ago on my mango growing effort.
Are they seedling or grafted trees from Florida? Don't waste your time with FL grafted mangoes, as they are not strong to survive the punish of desert climate. What killed your trees is root rotted, a silent disease: just choked up the water supply from the roots to the trunk. They died like being dig up.

Are they in West facing sun all day? You might want to try place them at the East side the house to have shade in the afternoon hot sun. I found my trees on the East side of the house grow faster and healthier than the West side wall of the house. Too much hot sun in dry climate can shock mangoes, contrary to what we read.

I only grow seedlings now and my best seedlings are from Peach Cobbler. Don't grow the store-bought Manila seeds as the seedlings are too weak; Kent also has more disease and weak the first couple years.
Why not plant them on ground? Pot is not idea for mangoes.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 07:31:15 PM by sapote »

mangomanic12

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 301
    • Phoenix, AZ
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2021, 11:41:30 AM »
Fygee, listen to Sapote.
Plant seeds from the most vigorous varieties like sapote said Peach cobbler .
I propose Dupois Saigon i have a 2 year old seedling uncovered growing in our 117 degree heat..sun pretty much all day. It is however at my friends home that has flood irrigation every 2 weeks so im sure that helps. This seedling was uncovered all last summer also. The only mango i never had to cover in the summer. Only covered when we had a threat of frost. I just started dumping a 5 Gal Bucket of EDDHA iron on my mangoes this year and they perk up /green up and love it. In between also i give them a 5 gal bucket  liquid  Fish and kelp along with mulch and that is it. My Dupois Saigon seedling leaves are upright green big and non-droopy.
I am on the hunt now for Peach Cobbler seeds and cac and also more Dupois seeds / anything real vigorous to bring back to AZ when i head to Florida in a few days.
Plant seeds and forget about those grafted trees...i killed too many to tell.
I know it takes longer but you will be rewarded with a strong tree most likely that can take the severe elements we share.
I know of a lady here in Arizona that has maybe 12-15 seedling trees  20-25 ft tall that have been thriving for years ..that bear small sweet semi fiborous mangoes. She lives near the Mountains/ hiking trails
Her mother planted a Mango seed from Safeway supermarket 20 or so years ago and she just continued planting the seeds from that mother tree...all the fruits from the trees are the same and she does not want to graft.
Practice patience and plant seeds :)
Graft later after 4-5 years.

Fygee

  • Las Vegas Gardening Community Admin
  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • View Profile
    • Las Vegas Gardening Community
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2021, 12:30:33 PM »
Appreciate the feedback! I'll do that. Polyembryonic seeds seems like the way to go.

The trees I had were grafted ones from Living the Green Life/Shamus O' Leary based out of Arizona. You're probably familiar with them mangomanic12 since you're in Phoenix (P.S. Go Suns!).

Root rot definitely looks to be the culprit, albeit surprisingly since they're in very high draining soil with plenty of sand. Just odd that they seem more susceptible to it than my avos which we all know are notorious for root rot issues.

How does Peach Cobbler and Dupois Saigon handle desert clay soil? I'd obviously amend it a lot if it gets started or eventually planted in the ground, but I worry about the taproot hitting our clay and the tree meeting a quick end after that. That tends to be a major issue for tropicals here.

If you do get a hookup for seeds of those (or other more hellscape tolerant varieties), let me know and I'll spot you some cash to nab some from you.
Continuing my journey to disprove those who say "You can't grow that in the desert" since 2013.

sapote

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 876
    • USA, CA, Burbank, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2021, 03:42:03 PM »
Her mother planted a Mango seed from Safeway supermarket 20 or so years ago and she just continued planting the seeds from that mother tree...all the fruits from the trees are the same and she does not want to graft.

How's interesting. We need to bring her some of the best tasting mangoes around the world, and see it if she will change her mind. I will volunteer to do the grafting on her mature  trees.

sapote

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 876
    • USA, CA, Burbank, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2021, 03:54:21 PM »
Appreciate the feedback! I'll do that. Polyembryonic seeds seems like the way to go.
The trees I had were grafted ones from Living the Green Life/Shamus O' Leary based out of Arizona. You're probably familiar with them mangomanic12 since you're in Phoenix (P.S. Go Suns!).
Root rot definitely looks to be the culprit, albeit surprisingly since they're in very high draining soil with plenty of sand. Just odd that they seem more susceptible to it than my avos which we all know are notorious for root rot issues.
How does Peach Cobbler and Dupois Saigon handle desert clay soil? I'd obviously amend it a lot if it gets started or eventually planted in the ground, but I worry about the taproot hitting our clay and the tree meeting a quick end after that. That tends to be a major issue for tropicals here.

I was surprised too when many grafted trees died of root rotted after the winter, in my early year, as I painstakingly protected them from too much water from rain or whatever. The root cause is they were not strong and healthy to battle the disease. Now, my strong seedlings were planted on the East side of the house, directly right under the tile roof run off, so plenty of rain water and none were killed by root rotted.

Living the Green Life/Shamus O' Leary, I'm guessing they got your trees from FL.
Mango do well in all type soil, and strong tap root will get through the clay if you give it good deep water in the growing months. Just let the healthy vigorous trees doing their work for you.

Fygee

  • Las Vegas Gardening Community Admin
  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • View Profile
    • Las Vegas Gardening Community
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2021, 05:05:37 PM »
Question on varieties. Any that are polyembryotic that closely matches the flavor, texture, and starchiness of Maha Channok (which is monoembryotic)?

Added bonus if they have a higher tolerance of our environment here.

Also, does anyone have seeds/sprouts of the Peach Cobbler and Dupois Saigon for sale?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2021, 05:08:05 PM by Fygee »
Continuing my journey to disprove those who say "You can't grow that in the desert" since 2013.

fruitnut1944

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
    • Alpine Texas
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2021, 06:28:56 PM »
As dry and hot as it is in Vegas a really coarse mix in a pot designed to dry things even more doesn't make sense to me. It's no wonder the leaves dry up. Is there any chance you could plant in ground? Or try a more retentive mix in a big pot that holds water better.

BeckettB

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • Phoenix, AZ
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2021, 06:48:15 PM »
Hello Fygee, I also live in a desert hellscape (Phoenix, AZ).  I planted a couple of trees back in 2018; a 3gal Cotton Candy (IIRC) and a 7gal Marlys.  The 3gal tree died the first winter, but the Marlys is still going strong and actually has some fruit this year! 

I haven't done anything special, just fertilizer & sulfur occasionally.  My yard gets flood irrigation every two weeks for most of the year and the sprinklers go off 2x per week so it gets lots of water.  It's partially shaded by some citrus trees and a large cork oak.  I'm far from an expert on growing mangoes, but seems to be working okay so far.   

The trees were purchased from "A Tropical Concept Nursery" south of downtown PHX - they've got a handful of mature mango trees in the ground that were full of fruit during my last visit this spring.  Very interesting place for any locals that haven't been there, certainly not what you'd expect to find in that neighborhood hah. 

Oolie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 820
    • San Diego
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2021, 07:30:32 PM »
I've had similar experiences with transplanted trees from local nurseries. Planting seeds for rootstock is much better. I too love Maha, I would graft a seedling when it gets large enough. I know of other varieties with the same sap flavor (parsnip, commonly referred to as Indochinese resin), but I don't know of others with the same Durian-esque ripe flavor.

sapote

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 876
    • USA, CA, Burbank, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2021, 05:25:16 PM »
Question on varieties. Any that are polyembryotic that closely matches the flavor, texture, and starchiness of Maha Channok (which is monoembryotic)?
Also, does anyone have seeds/sprouts of the Peach Cobbler and Dupois Saigon for sale?

Just curious of why care about the seeds with Maha traits? You should graft Maha scions on any vigorous root stocks -- poly or mono seeds. My Peach Cobbler seeds are mostly poly. I will have some PC seeds in early September.

Fygee

  • Las Vegas Gardening Community Admin
  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • View Profile
    • Las Vegas Gardening Community
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2021, 04:30:24 PM »
As dry and hot as it is in Vegas a really coarse mix in a pot designed to dry things even more doesn't make sense to me. It's no wonder the leaves dry up. Is there any chance you could plant in ground? Or try a more retentive mix in a big pot that holds water better.

Anything richer soil-wise has equaled root rot, even with fairly conservative watering. Killed more trees than I care to admit that way.

My goal was to start them in the RootTrapper pots so they could get nice, dense, air pruned rootballs that are less likely to seek out our crappy dirt once planted in the ground. Once tropicals hit our high pH, clay compacted soil, there's a high chance for root rot that will cascade inward until the tree is dead.

One thing I will definitely change is how they're fed, and I'm pretty sure it caused plenty of problems. I wasn't aware that mangoes dislike nitrogen supplementation, so I fed them with citrus fertilizer three times a year.
Continuing my journey to disprove those who say "You can't grow that in the desert" since 2013.

mangoba

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 87
    • Mediterranean
    • View Profile
Re: Growing mangoes in a desert hellscape.
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2021, 05:29:09 PM »
I'm sure direct planting in ground would be ideal, but the heat these days is very brutal, can I start in grow bags instead? Bags that do not necessarily fit all the crazy tap root growth.

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk