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Mangoes that taste like Kent?

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--- Quote from: simon_grow on September 24, 2021, 01:05:43 AM ---Haha, I just saw this thread and saw wonderful flashbacks of my early mango years when growing a Kent mango was my holy grail, lol!
...Oh yeah, and my palate? I still enjoy Kent but E4, Sweet Tart, Lemon Zest, Pina Colada, Orange Sherbet, Pineapple Pleasure, Venus, Kathy, Orange Sherbet and many others are far better tasting in my opinion.

--- End quote ---
The obsession with (or initial preference for) Kent for Californians is understandable.  Let's go back a little farther.  I ate my first mangos in the early 1970's soon after the fruit was introduced to grocery stores in CA and when everyone thought they couldn't be grown there even by backyard hobbyists.  They were imported from Mexico, and if you lived in L.A. county anywhere south of the Santa Monica mountains ("the Basin"), you could easily drive to the central wholesale market in L.A. early in the morning for the best quality and best selection.  (The only rush hour traffic you encountered was on 101 approaching downtown!)  Over the course of the summer your choices were Kent, Irwin, Tommy Atkins, and Keitt--mango varieties that had originated in Florida.  (The terms "resinous" or "spicy" or "Indian" had no meaning.)  That was it, just those four, so which one has the most complex and interesting flavor, a fruit punch sort of flavor?  Kent, of course!  The fact that the Zills used Kent in later breeding programs attests to the worthwhile "classic Florida" flavor of Kent.

To Simon's comment about using Kents as rootstock, I started a few dozen Kent seedlings last year for that purpose. It might be my particular climate/location here in Florida, but nearly all of them had major issues. They started out gangbusters; strong, thick rootstocks that I could graft onto nearly immediately. I had late season takes last year on them with Pim Sen Mung, Honeykiss, Neelam, Sweet Tart and a few others. PSM and Honeykiss went to flower over the winter; I followed a recommended removal procedure of letting a few pea-sized mangoes form while removing the rest, but I couldn't stop them from flowering. Come spring, they both were having growth issues; constant new growth below the graft that I had to remove, while above would develop new growth spikes that never did anything. Union was solid and I tried repotting both, but they slowly died above the graft line. The others all had growth issues, none so bad as those two, but so bad that I've been reclaiming the scions to graft onto different rootstock. Anthracnose ravaged the trunks of a few of them all season long. It was a bit of a horror show.

Might have all been some mistake(s) on my part, but I started zero Kent seedlings this year. I really like the fruit and how late it is (many trees around here are still holding), but no more grafting onto them for me.

Jake, since you are in Florida, I would just plant as many random seeds as you and get your hands on and graft onto the vigorous trees. Since you are in Florida, Turpentine is a proven rootstock over there so even seedling Turpentine trees should work great for you. Seedling Turpentine trees grow great here in SoCal as well.


Sorry for my late reply Simon.

Turpentine has indeed been reliable. I've learned not to worry about the smallest (or deformed) seedlings that come off a seed, they always have lasting growth issues, but most seeds gave me 1-3 strong seedlings to work with. I didn't plant any Kent seeds this year, but I did plant a bunch of seeds from a volunteer tree that has delicious mangoes. It's fairly close to the Kent I get fruit from and a volunteer tree of unknown Turpentine origin (fairly certain of its Turpentine parentage, except it's a mono seed); from analyzing the fruit size, shape and season, the volunteer tree's parentage is very likely the Kent and unknown-Terp.

Anyway, so something close to half those seedlings also have nearly the same issues with anthracnose. After all the frustration with Kent seedlings, I've been trashing any of the seedlings that have black spots on their trunks. If they look anything close to the pic below, no matter how strong they look otherwise, they get the axe (well, yank is more like it). Well see how they do going into next year, really hoping I don't go through the anxiety and loss of successful grafts again this spring.


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