Mangoes are fruit trees of great antiquity in Southeast Asia, and are part of the Sumac family. The mango (M. indica) is cultivated throughout the tropics in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
Attaining a height of 90 feet, it is a handsome, round-topped tree with lance-shaped, alternate leaves, eight to 14 inches long. The flowers are small, pink white and usually in terminal clusters. The large, red or yellow-orange fruit is drupe like, fleshy and aromatic. It is very juicy but extremely perishable.
Mangoes are propagated either by seed or grafting. Grafting is preferred because when used the new planting will be true to type. With seed planting, an entirely different type may grow.
When planting, be sure the soil is rich in compost and manure. Dig a large hole to accommodate the new tree. Irrigate the new planting at least twice a week in dry areas. When mature, the trees require wide spacing, at least 30 by 30 feet. Bearing of fruit takes at least five to seven years.
Mango Diseases and Pests
The ambrosia beetle is a cylindrical insect which bores in the limbs and trunk of mango trees and spreads a fungal infection. The best prevention against fungal spread is to prune the diseased portions and burn them.
Red, mango, wax, and shield types of scale insects spread fungal diseases that may kill off the planting. A dormant-oil spray and the introduction of ladybugs to the orchard are good precautions against disease.
Anthracnose, a fungal disease evidenced by spots on flowers and fruits, can be controlled by cutting out the infected branches and burning them. Stem rot, believed to be caused by a lack of moisture, will disappear if trees are kept well ventilated and watered. Dry, light brown leaf tips, caused by tip burn, are best controlled by proper watering, mulching and application of potash.