University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service
Gardeners Factsheet NO. 21
Revised July 1997
Dr. Christopher Ramcharan Clinton George, Program Leader
Research Associate Professor-Horticulture Agriculture & Natural Resources
UVI Agricultural Experiment Station UVI Cooperative Extension Service
The mango (Mangifera indica) originated in the Indo-
Burma region and has been cultivated in India for more than
4,000 years. Its distribution gradually spread from this region
and the fruit is now grown throughout the tropical world
including the Virgin Islands where it is one of our most popular
fruits. The mango belongs to (Anecardiaceae) the same family
of plants as the cashew, the local plums and the golden apple.
The tree itself is tough, fire-resistant, drought tolerant and makes
an excellent shade tree in the landscape.
The mango is probably a more important fruit in the
tropics than is the apple in the temperate zone and is universally
considered one of the finest fruits in the world.
The mango is a medium to large evergreen tree with small
pinkish-white flowers borne in inforescent clusters usually from
December to April. Although the size and shape of the fruit is
variable, most are either greenish, yellow or red in color. The
fruits can ripen on the tree but to avoid damage from the feeding
of birds and bats or falling to the ground, they should be
harvested as soon as they are mature. This is usually indicated Young mango fruits ripen in warm St. Croix sun
by fruits changing color from green to yellow.
There are numerous varieties, the most popular local ones being the Kidney, Julie, Manzano and some of the
Florida varieties. Fruit and tree characteristics are summarized in TABLE 1.
SOILS AND CLIMATE
Mango grows and fruits best on a deep, well-drained fertile soil but will grow and produce on a wide variety of
soil types. The plant has a strong vigorous rooting system which will penetrate a large area to obtain nutrients. There
may be some problem in soils containing caliche or calcium carbonate (lime) as occurs in the Virgin Islands, but these
can be overcome with treatment with minor elements, e.g., Iron, Zinc, Manganese (see Fertilizing). The plant will thrive
in rainfall ranging between 30 to 100 inches per year, but for maximum fruit production a prolonged and severe dry
season is necessary. Climatic conditions in the Virgin Islands are therefore ideal for good production. Mangoes are
very prone to irregular or biannual bearing and this habit varies between varieties. Although no cause or solution has
yet been found for this climatic conditions appear to have considerable effect on this characteristic. The longer and
more severe the dry season, the more regular is the cropping habit. Potassium nitrate sprays (see fertilizing) can be
used to over come the biennial bearing problem in susceptible cultivars (e.g. Haden).
A hole about 2x2x2 feet is dug at the planting site taking care to remove all large stones. The soil is mixed with
an equal volume of rotted manure or peat moss and the young plant is planted to the same stem level as it was in the
container, using the amended soil packed firmly around the roots of the young plant. It is not necessary to form a large
mound around the plant, but the soil should be fumed so as to prevent collection of water around base of the plant. In
the dry season newly planted trees should be watered twice per week or more often until they are established with
about 4-6 gallons per week. Dried vegetation can be used as a mulch which benefits even large mature trees. In windy
areas young transplants should be staked. Mangoes do not need windbreaks. However, they do provide a most
effective windbreak for other crops and give a valuable economic return as well.
During the first year, young trees should receive fertilizer every 2 months beginning with 1/4 lb. and gradually
increasing to 1 lb./tree. After the first year 3-4 applications per year in amounts proportionate to the increasing size of
the tree are adequate. Fertilizer mixtures containing 6 to 10 % nitrogen, 6 to 10 % available phosphorus, 6 to 10 %
potash and 4 to 6 % magnesium give good results with young trees (see Fact sheet #16 for details on fertilizer labels).
For bearing trees, potash should be increased to 9 to 15 % and available phosphorus reduced to 2 to 4 %. Large
bearing trees should be fertilized immediately after the fruits are off and again when the trees start to bloom. About 1/4
lb. of fertilizer per inch of tree trunk diameter is a good application. Fertilizer should be scattered well away from the
trunk and out as far as the limbs of the tree extend.
Plants growing in high calcium soils (caliche) often show zinc, copper and manganese deficiency symptoms.
These problems can be corrected by applying trace element mixes (see Gardeners Fact sheet #16). Encouraging
results have been obtained in the Virgin Islands with foliar sprays of Kocide 101, a copper fungicide, which can correct
copper deficiency besides giving good protection from leaf spots, scab and blight diseases. In conjunction with stem
(soluble trace element mix ), this treatment is recommended for trees affected by the mango decline problem.
Periodic inspections of the newly planted tree are necessary to insure that growth from the stock region does not
grow up and weaken the scion (see Gardeners Fact sheet#14). This is most likely to occur during the first year's
growth. All growth originating below the graft union must be gradually removed. Little pruning of young trees is
necessary except for the removal of dead or dying branches; when removing branches, cut cleanly back to the branch
origin without leaving a stub. Some pruning paint or tar should be used over the cut surface to protect the wound from
rotting and insure good healing. Deflowering of young newly-planted grafted trees, particularly Julie, is recommended
as a stress-removal procedure.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SEVERAL MANGO CULTIVARS GROWN IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
CHARACTERISTICS OF FRUIT
CHARACTERISTICS OF MATURE TREE
Cultivar Maturity Color When Ripe Size (lbs.) Fiber Flesh Embryo Recommended Size Rate of Foliage Fruit
Season Texture Type Use Growth Production
Edwards M,J,JL pink, yellow 3/-1 None Medium Mono H Medium Moderate Dense Low
Florigon M,J,JL green, yellow 1-1 None Soft Poly H Medium Moderate Dense Moderate
Manzano M,J,JL red, pink, yellow 1-2 Little Medium Poly H Large Fast Dense Heavy
CarrIe J,JL yellow 3-1 None Soft Mono H Dwarf Moderate Dense Moderate
Haden J,JL red, orange, yellow 1-1% Very little Firm Mono H Large Fast Dense Moderate to
Irwin J,JL red, pink, yellow 4-1 None Soft Mono C, H Dwarf Slow Semi open Heavy
Julie J,JL pink, yellow 4-1 None Soft Mono C, H Dwarf Very slow Dense Heavy
Kidney J,JL yellow -/% Very fibrous Soft Poly H Very large Fast Dense Heavy
Tommy AtkIns J,JL red, pink, yellow 1-1% Very little Firm Mono C,H Large Moderate Dense Heavy
LATE MID SEASON
Graham J,JL,A yellow 1/-2 Very little Soft Mono C, H Medium Moderate Dense Moderate
Jakarta J,JL,A orange-yellow 1'-2 Very little Medium- Mono C, H Med. to large Moderate Dense Moderate
(orange-red blush) soft
Parvin JL,A greenish-yellow with 1-1% Little Firm Mono C,H Medium Vigorous Dense Moderate
dark red blush
Sensation JL,A red, pink, yellow 3-1 Very Little Soft Mono H Medium Fast Semi open Heavy
Smith JL,A yellow-orange 11-2 Medium Firm Mono H Large Vigorous Dense Moderate
SprIngfels JL,A pink, yellow 2-4 Very Little Medium Mono H Small Very slow Semi open Moderate to
Valencia Pride JL,A yellow with pink to /-2 Little Fiber Firm Mono C, H Large Vigorous Open Moderate
Keitt JL,A,S pink, yellow 1%-4 Very Little Medium Mono C, H Large Moderate Open Heavy
Kent JL,A,S red, pink, yellow 1%-2 None Soft Mono C, H Large Moderate Dense Moderate to
Palmer JL,A,S red/yellow 1-1% None Medium Mono C, H Large Moderate Semi open Heavy
M = May, J= June, JL = July, A = August, S = September, Mono= Monoembryonic, Poly = Polyembryonic, H = Home, C = Commercial
Mangoes are propagated vegetatively and by seed. Plants produced from seeds vary considerably in their growth
habits, disease resistance and fruit characteristics. They usually grow to a large size before flowering and fruiting, e.g.,
the Kidney mango found throughout the Virgin Islands. These produce vigorous seedlings and are good stock material
for producing grafted plants (see Gardeners Fact sheet #14). Most of the desired varieties are propagated by grafting
and budding. The side-veneer graft is the most common method used but chip and shield budding are also practiced.
The local Manzano produces fruit in 3-5 years from seed.
Grafted trees will begin to bear 3 to 4 years after planting and average yields of 3 to 5 bushels (174 to 290 lbs.)
can be expected from mature trees. Propagation by cuttings and air layers have been reported but these are rare and
not very practical. Recently, good success with air layering using a 2% NAA Lanolin-based paste has been obtained at
UVI Agricultural Experiment Station.
Mangoes are relatively free from insect pests. Occasionally there may be some infestation with scales, mites,
aphids or thrips. For young trees a thorough washing with mild detergent or application of Malathion or Diazinon plus oil
emulsion (Volck oil) is often adequate. When a serious infestation occurs you can contact the University of the Virgin
Islands Cooperative Extension Service for more information on control measures.
Anthracnose fungal disease is probably the most serious problem with mango. This fungus causes black spotting
of leaves, flowers and fruits. Affected flowers and fruitlets are shed and the entire crop may be lost. Mature fruit may
develop tear stains and even fruits which appear clean will develop anthracnose spottingupon ripening. Anthracnose
can be avoided by planting the trees in well-drained exposed areas which have free air movement and consistent low
humidity during the flowering and fruiting season.
Areas with prolonged and pronounced dry season are favorable for fruiting as well as anthracnose control.
Proper spacing to avoid crowding of trees also assists control. Successful disease control can also
be achieved by using Zineb, Maneb and copper fungicides. For more information please contact the UVI Cooperative
Mango scab is also caused by a fungus. Infection spots on leaves are small, angular and dark brown to black in
color. On fruits, brown irregular spots appear which become corky and cracked. Scab is not as severe or common on
mango as anthracnose. Copper sprays are recommended for scab control.
Most varieties can be picked several days before ripening and be of good quality. Julie mango must be picked
very close to ripening for best quality so that a particular tree should be harvested over a 2-3 day interval. Fruits should
be hand-picked and handled gently at all times to avoid bruising. Long handled bags can be used to pick fruits high up
on trees. After picking, fruits should be packed in rigid 30 lb. containers (wood or plastic) that are lined with a soft
material such as straw or polyfoam. Anthracnose spot- ting of ripe fruits can occur and this renders fruits unsightly and
unsalable. This problem can be reduced or eliminated by hot water treatment of fruits after harvesting, at a
temperature of 1240 to 1250F (51 to 51.50C) for 15 minutes. The temperature and timing for this treatment are critical.
If exceeded, fruit injury will result but treatment is also ineffective if the correct temperature and time are not
observed. Recent research at UVI Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) indicates that foliar sprays of 4-6% KNO3
applied from September-November before flowering can produce more uniform flowering and fruiting.
Mangoes may be cold stored before ripening at 50F (10C) and after ripening from 450 to 50F (7.20 to 10C).
Below these temperatures chilling effects appear which include failure to ripen properly, anthracnose spotting and
development of other skin blemishes.
The mango fruit is used in many ways, with fresh consumption being the most important. The pulp is delicious as
well as being very nutritious. It is a source of vitamin A and C, contains fair levels of thiamin and niacin and ten to
twenty percent sugar. Mangoes can also be frozen, dried, canned or cooked in jams, jellies, preserves, pies, chutney
and ice cream.
University of the Virgin Islands University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service Cooperative Extension Service
RR02, Box 10,000 #2 John Brewers Bay
Kingshill, St. Croix VI 00850 St. Thomas VI 00802-9990
(340) 692-4080 (340) 693-1080
Gardeners Factsheets are desk-top published by the University of the Virgin islands Cooperative Extension Service,
Mr. Kwame Garcia, State Director. Contents of this publication constitute public property. No endorsement of products
or firms is intended, nor criticism of those not mentioned. Issued by the Virgin islands Cooperative Extension Service
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension programs and
policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on non-discrimination regarding race, color, national
origin, religion, gender, age, disability or gender preference.
Clarice C. Clarke, Public Information Specialist