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Group Title: Bulletin. New series
Title: Florida mangoes
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002966/00001
 Material Information
Title: Florida mangoes
Series Title: Bulletin. New series
Physical Description: 30 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Scott, John M ( John Marcus )
Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: State of Florida, Dept. of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahasse Fla
Publication Date: 1945
Subject: Mango -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Mango -- Varieties -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 29).
Statement of Responsibility: by John M. Scott.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "March, 1945."
General Note: "Prepared and published in co-operation with the College of Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville."
General Note: "Reprint."
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Bibliographic ID: UF00002966
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA3381
ltuf - AMF3974
oclc - 41414590
alephbibnum - 002448705
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Full Text

Bulletin No. 20

Florida Mangoes


Department of Agriculture
NATHAN MAYO. Commissioner

Prep.arid and Published in Co-operatlion with i't Colieage f
Agriculture, University of Florida,


New S, rics

March. 19.15

Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture . Tallahassee


M ANGO()ES have been grown in Florida for a good many
years. Their \value and iimplortance as a fruit crop,
however, have not been recognized by as many growers
as the crop de servcs. Mangoes, it is true. cannot be grown in
all parts of Florida. but in the southern part of the state and
in protected areas where frozt is seldom seen they grow and
produce excellent fruit.
The problem today is to produce a better quality of fruit
and at the same time secure varieties that are prolific bearers.
considerablee progres. has been made on both of these prob-
lems during the past twenty years. Individual growers and re-
search mn are conlinuilng their e forts along these lines and
it is to be expected that the long desired mango variety will
soon reward their endeavors.
This bulletin is not a technical discussion of mango culture,
but rather a compilation of results of various growers who
have had years of experience in growing mangoes. We express
our thanks to all those who have so kindly furnished the in-
formation that has made this bulletin possible.-J. AI. S.

Prepared and l'ublished in Co-operation with the C'olle c of
Agriculture. University of Florida, Gainesville
F( O MANY YE.ARS the lUnited States Diepartment of
Agriculture has been searching the face of the earth
tfor useful and ornamental plants to experiment with
and if possible, adapt to our uses for profit and pleasure.
Anlong the thousands of plants introduced is the mango
(Mangifera indica Linn). which comes to Florida from India
and the Malay Peninsula.
The history of this plant is very interesting. It has been
known and cultivated in its natural habitat from time im-
memorial-from away back ,before history began. It has
been written about. sung about and worshipped.
The mango is a fruit for which some people must acquire
a taste. but with many others it is enjoyed from the first.
Its composition would indicate a high dietetic value. The
brightly colored fruit of some varieties makes it very at-
tractive to the eye. and the great majority of the highly
colored varieties are very desirable so far as eating quali-
ties are concerned.
In discussing "HIow to Go About it." there are a few
don'tt" that must be kept in mind, but so few of them that
they are mentioned first:
1. Don't attempt to grow mangoes where the tempera-
ture goes much below freezing. unless you are fully pre-
pared to protect them.
2. Ion't forget that the mango is a dry climate plant;
too much moisture or humidity favors fungous diseases on
both plant and fruit.
3. Ion't think that because mangoes will grow in almost
any kind of soil they will not respond to intelligent attention.
The mango tree is an evergreen. Seedlings planted in
rich fertile soil grow to immense size. often in the tropics
reaching a spread of 100) to 125 feet. although they are
quite old before they grow so large. Trees a hundred years
old are not uncommon in the tropics. The seedling trees
grow to a larger size than do budded trees. (See Fig. 1.)

Fig, 1 Row of seedling mangoes about 20 years old, Thse trees are about 30 foot high. Phot taken in February, 1929,


Since the mango is a tropical tree, it is adapted only to
the southern part of Florida. At the present time mangoes
are grown successfully on areas near the coast as far north
as Merritt's Island on the East Coast, and as far north on
the West Coast as Bradenton and portions of Pinellas Coun-
ty. There are areas in the interior of the state where they
may be grown successfully if care is taken in selecting
locations that are free from frosts or nearly so.

One grower tells us that he has had "close to eighty
different named mangoes, many of them from far-off India.
some of them from C(ochin-China. others from South Amer-
ica. and still others from the Philippines. Many of them
have died. while others have grown into beautiful trees.
but have produced no fruit. Some. on the other hand.
have produced fruit of fine outward appearance but inter-
nally repulsive with spots of canker-like growth, apparent-
ly due to some mysterious physiological disturbances. A
few of these plants have grown into fine trees which pro-
duce magnificent fruit. Upon these few fine sorts we should
concentrate, pushing them for all they are worth, and grow-
ing seedlings from them with the hope of securing varieties
better adapted to Florida conditions.
"The plan is to bring about a combination of fine color,
good size. and fine eating qualities. We graft alternate
rows of our seedlings with scions from these finest trees.
The bees and other insects you will notice flying about at
blooming time scatter the pollen, mixing things up, just as
nature has planned it; the fruit comes; the seeds are plant-
ed; and, lo and behold, we have something different. For
instance. blight anthracnosee) as you probably know. is a
fungus disease which devastates and destroys; it spots and
kills the leaves and mars the beautiful fruit with unsightly
blotches. Many of the finer sorts of mangoes are suscep-
tible to this blighting process. while a few of them are very
much less so: in fact, one of them which we have been
watching for some time appears to be practically immune.
But this fruit lacks the high color which is so attractive to
the consumer. To carry out the general plan. highlv col-
ored fruits are grafted in alternating rows with fruits not
so attractive to the eye, but fine in every other way. This
gives these plants a fair chance to 'cross-pollinate.' Some-

Fig. 2. Tree on right it Braymer seedling; left RaOury, Photo taken in February, 1929


times we graft two or three of these fine sorts on the same
tree. The result of this work, in the case we have in mind,
is several trees with fruit of fine character, one in particular,
which, on account of the fine quality and loveliness of its
fruit, has been named 'Sunset'. This tree thus far has proven
prolific and fairly free from blight-and it comes pretty
near being a 'Florida Tree.' Another crop or so will tell
the story."
From the foregoing reference to cross-pollination, it need
not be inferred that inl.erplanting of varieties is necessary to
secure pollination and fruiting. The researches of Popenoe
on this subject proved that for all practical purposes the
mango flower is self-fertile, although insect agency is neces-
sary to transfer pollen from another to stigma. This fact of
self-fertility is a distinct advantage, since once a variety has
been decided on as best suited to a particular locality, this
variety may be planted in solid blocks, as the Haden is now
largely planted in Florida.
One grower advises that the "difference between the
seedling mango and the East Indian and other fine grafted
varieties is a matter of refinement. Some seedling fruits are
of fine flavor but fibrous. In some of the poorer seedlings the
fiber is very objectionable. In the very poorest sorts the tur-
pentine flavor is an added objection. The finest of the seed-
lings have very little fiber and are of fine flavor. They weigh
as much as a pound or more. with a large seed, many of
them beautifully colored. Right in our dooryard is a tree of
this kind, one of our money makers. It is over forty feet
high, with a spread of about fifty feet in diameter. The
writer planted the seed from which it has grown. It is an
impressive sight, and particularly interesting due to the fact
that it has produced occasional crops of sixty bushels and
over of fruit which were sold for a dollar and a half per
bushel, net."
Probably there are upwards of a hundred named man-
goes, most of them uninteresting from the commercial or
utility standpoint in Florida. A brief classification that
might suit Florida would be: Poor, Good. Better, and Best.
Under the "Poor" heading would be the yellow, stringy
things with the flavor of turpentine. The "Good" class
would be made up of the ordinary seedlings, fine of flavor
but fibrous. The "Better" ones would be the finest seedlings,
with very little fiber; and the "Best" would mean the fine



1.1 wm,

Fir. 3. Itamaraca (Brazil). Grafted.


fiberless grafted or budded fruit-the fruit which no one
yet has succeeded in adequately describing. The aim of the
enthusiast should be to bring about fruit trees of fine char-
acter, which can be depended upon for generous crops, and
which are, as nearly as possible, immune from disease.
These conditions have been partially realized in the Haden
variety of Florida origin, but we need more of these adapted
varieties of local origin.
MULGOBA, for instance, the very finest of mangoes, is a
shy bearer and subject to the disfigurements of blight. The
same, to a more or less degree, may be said of most of the
other introduced varieties, as practically all of them seem
unable to thrive under Florida conditions. The varieties
that we have tried out and which seem to be more or less
satisfactory are Haden, Cambodiana, Faizan, Gola, Bennett
Alphonse. Fajri-long, Itamaraca and Rajpury. Other varie-
ties of merit sometimes grown in Florida include Paheri.
Amini. Carabao. Cecil. Sandersha. and Brooks.
CAMBODIANA, with its greenish yellow skin and com-
parative freedom from blight, and Haden, with its wonderful
color and fruit quality, seem to be the two most promising
varieties. A fruit that combined the Haden color with the
Cambodiana's resistance to disease and wonderful texture
and flavor would rank close to perfection. The Cambodiana
comes from the Malay peninsula, where it is said the climate
is much the same as the humid climate of Florida. The Haden
is a Florida seedling of Mulgoba. very highly colored, prolific,
and of fine quality.
Seedling mangoes have been the money makers for local
consumption, and will continue to be so until we can produce
the finer fruits in such quantities as to make them profitable
at a low price. Twenty-five to seventy-five and over cents
apiece is too much. The need is "more fruit."
To develop and hold a profitable market in the large popu-
lation centers, however, it will be necessary to furnish a
standard product. This means the use of budded varieties,
keeping the seedlings at home. To prolong the shipping
season, and lessen the marketing risk, two or more varieties
will probably be desirable, maturing their crops at slightly
different periods.


Fig. 5. Haden variety three years after grafting on seedling.

Remember that mangoes are a dry climate plant. They do
not relish being soaked with water-just enough to keep the
ground moist, not wet.
All the mango asks is room, plenty of dry weather, par-
ticularly at blooming time, and a moderate winter tempera-
ture with little or no frost. Damage from cold depends largely


upon the condition of the tree. It makes no stipulation as to
the quality of the soil. for it will grow almost anywhere that
it is not too wet or too cold. We have seen some of the finest
mango trees on white sand twelve to fourteen feet to the
water table.
Humus will improve nearly all soils and all plants will re-
spold to the addition of humus to the soil. It will be found
advisable t8) turn under som lme gol legune cover crop on the
land previous to planting mangoes.

The seeds should 1e planted s,4on after they have been re-
Imovced from the fruit, and before lonui you will have growing
mango plants eager to serve your purpose. Some of the
plants will show a single stem (3Monembryonic) : others may
send up several shoots from the one seed (Polyembryonic).
The single stemmed plants may be left as they are. Care-
fully lift the multiple stemmed plants and you will see that
the seed is a twisted lot of subdivisions, each with a stem
and a root. These subdivisions may be separated and replant-
ed. but it must be done so as not to injure the roots and
The mango is similar to many other plants in that it does
not. as a rule, reproduce "true to name." Its polyembryonic
seeds. however, are said to often prove an exception to this
rule; at any rate they are deserving of special attention.
particularly if the seed is from a fine fruit.
But you may say, these plants are all ol' them seedlings
and of doubtful character. Right you are: but they are. most
of them. strong healthy plants with fine root systems-just
the kind which may be counted upon to make wonderful trees
later on if you are interested in developing new and superior
varieties. It is the later treatment of these seedling trees
that is most interesting and absorbling.
Many of these seedling trees will Iear fruit in from three
to five years. a few of them sooner than that. with the chance
that some of them will give you something new ill the mango
line. prolific. with fruit of good size and shape, of fine eating
qualities. and a;n appearancee that will catch the eye of the
consumer. Such tree should he atclhed carefully. and. it
they persist in such g(,,(I deed!-. scions should be taken from



I ." '- *
f. 1 .

Fig. 6. West Indian Seedling (Cuba) about 20 years old; showing size of
trunk of tree.

ES 15

.:o~s~r ",~7j-~'
I CI -'
ZL~- -~r.

Fi. 7. Same tree as Fig. 6. showiln spread of top.

them for grafting on other trees of less desirable character.
As soon as the plants are well rooted and making good
growth, say about the size of a pencil, they may be transfer-
red to their permanent location, or put in boxes for shipment
or other treatment, or they may be left in the rows about 18
inches apart to grow until needed. Transplanting is often
done in June just before the rainy season sets in.
The above is a brief outline of the seed bed route. In doing
one's own propagation, however, the grower quoted above
prefers to, as far as possible. plant the mango seeds at the
permanent location to start with, say two or three seeds at
each planting. Planting in this way we may have two or


): ;~.~ .;: ,;;J;


three plants at each location to select from, all but the best
plant to be removed as may be required.

We believe in care in transplanting. The ground is laid off
to suit one's fancy, with tree locations not less than fifteen
feet apart, say twenty by twenty, with much more room
provided for the seedlings which grow to be very large trees.
Stakes should be driven at each location, which is prepared
for the tree by digging a hole some time before planting. A
wire with a loop at each end is used to mark the holes, one
loop over the stake, the handle of the shovel through the other
loop. A circle four feet in diameter is described and a hole
of that size is dug two feet deep, the stake left standing in
the center. The excavated dirt is piled evenly around the
edges of the hole. The hole should be left open as long as it
is convenient, meanwhile putting in it a couple of sacks or
so of dead mango leaves or other trash that will rot quickly.
Later on two or three handfuls of fertilizer are spread over
the dirt at the edge of the hole and all of it chopped into the
hole with a hoe, getting into the hole as much of the sweet
surface soil as possible, the workman standing in the hole
to tramp it down. In a few weeks the location is ready for
the plant.
Plenty of water should be used when setting the plant,
not for the plant itself necessarily, but to compact the soil
to the plant. Scratch the ground around the tree occasion-
ally and cover it with mulching. Cultivate the middles if
you want to, but not too close to the tree for fear of disturb-
ing the fine fibrous roots. If you have rabbits, protect with
chicken wire, for rabbits like young mango plants; if it is
gophers (land turtles) drop a little "cyanogas" in the bur-
row and cover it.

If the above program seems too long, you can hurry things
up a bit by grafting all of your seedlings as soon as they are
of sufficient size to such varieties as you may select. If the
grafts fail the tree is not necessarily destroyed; the grafting
may be repeated or the tree allowed to continue as a seedling.
Of course, the quickest way to fruit production is to buy
your trees from a responsible nurseryman. He will outfit

I, Ii

i ,7

Fig. 8S Caiibodiaia (Cochin China) variety grafted about 41/2 years aJo, Courtsy 0, G A. Kellbert



you with the best varieties, guaranteed to be in the best
possible condition.
The grafting of the mango trees can be done at almost
any time. The best results seem to come from work of this
kind done just after the tree has perfected a flush of new
growth. The new leaves of the mango are red, or reddish
brown, "non-actinic," a way nature has of protecting the
freshly sprouted leaves from the fierce rays of the sun. When
these new leaves turn green, the time is about right for graft-
ing-the tree has perfected the new growth for which it has
been storing forces for some time, and is beginning to get
things lined up for a new "flush." Grafts and buds are less
liable to be flooded by sap pressure at this time than later,
when the new flush is being pushed out.
Budding the mango is rather difficult when the bark of
the tree has thickened, but it is all right with very young
growth. Inarching is practiced by nurserymen with satis-
factory results, but it appears to be rather expensive. The
Morris paraffin method of slot grafting for topworking old
trees is about the best and was described at a State Horti-
cultural Society meeting several years ago about as follows:
"The tools needed are a keen edged knife with a large
handle; a chisel or gouge, about half an inch; some kind of
a heater to keep the paraffin melted and in condition to use;
a small brush for painting the paraffin, camels hair pre-
ferred; wire brads for nailing; raffia or twine for tying.
"Scions are cut of any size, we have used them with suc-
cess a half inch or over in thickness. Budwood that is too
soft to withstand rough handling is discarded. The scions,
as soon as they are cut from the parent tree, are tipped with
warm parraffin on all cut surfaces and kept moist with a
cloth or sphagnum dampened with water or, better still, a
very weak solution of copper sulphate.
"Pick out your scions a few days before you need to use
them, leaving them on the tree. Trim off their leaves, leav-
ing about an inch of each petiole. Pretty soon these stubs
will drop off-the wound healed. They are then in fine shape
to be cut from the tree and used.
"The grafts may be inserted close to the ground, so that
they may be protected in case of chilly weather, or, as we
prefer them, at the base of the first large branches if the
tree is a large one, the point being to balance as quickly as
possible a large root area with a proportionate area of top

,~ ;


j7~ I.

ih. 4, h


V a

Fi, 9, Cawlbudlaril (Cochin Chinal variety, showing graft about 41, years a!o,


"If you wish to be very particular about your work, brush
the spot selected for the graft with a weak solution of cop-
per sulphate and remove the surplus moisture.
"With the chisel or gouge make a glancing cut of about
two inches long down through the bark to the wood. Make
a cross cut at the lower end of this first cut and remove the
chip. This leaves a vertical niche, exposing at its lower end
the wood beneath the bark, with a flat shelf, so to speak, at
the lower end, the niche being just about the right size for
the upper part of the graft to rest in. As soon as this niche
is cut, paint it with the warm paraffin.
"Prepare the graft with as many buds on it as you want.
One bud is enough if you can get it placed without damage
from rough handling. We prefer two buds, but if the graft
is terminal, with several buds too close to be separated, we
use them just as they are.
"Cut the lower end of the graft on the long side of the wedge
already cut on the corner of the little shelf at the bottom of
the niche you have cut in the tree and, with a knife or chisel,
make two clean cuts through the bark down from the shelf
about as long as the long side of the wedge on your graft,
gently lift the upper end of this tongue or bark and slip in
the graft with the long side of the wedge next to the tree,
press the flap of bark firmly against the graft to make sure
that it is up tight against the wood of the tree, nail it fast
with a three-quarter inch nineteen or twenty wire brad at
the upper end of the bark flap and through the center graft
itself. Paint the graft and all cut places with the melted
paraffin, tested first on your finger to see that it is not too
"Successful 'catches' will come in proportion to one's ability
to place the cambium layer of the graft in contact with the
cambium layer of the tree. The paraffin shuts out air and
outside moisture and, being translucent, permits the passage
of beneficial light rays.
"Leave the nails; don't try to pull them out-they will
rust off and disappear. As the grafts grow, be sure to sup-
port them with stakes, either stuck in the ground or nailed
to the tree. Lop off parts of the tree so as to even things up
and to throw the strength of the tree into the graft, and
finally, when you think it about time, trim off the tree close
to the graft so that the wound may readily heal over. Now,
all of this stuff is good for one tree, or for one thousand trees.
It is not guaranteed perfect, but it has made possible some
wonderful things."

Fig. 10, Close up showing bloom 'laiclcs of mango,


Mangoes are fertilized pretty much the same as citrus,
generally inorganic mixtures, though once in a while they
get a taste of organic stuff. It does not seem to do them
any harm.
A fertilizer containing 4 to 6 per cent ammonia, 6 to 8
percent available phosphoric acid, and 6 to 8 percent potash
will, under average conditions, give good results. The amount
to apply per tree will depend largely on the size of the tree
and its ability to produce fruit. A large tree with a good crop
of fruit will require much more fertilizer than will a smaller
tree with a small crop of fruit. An application of from 15
to 20 pounds per tree up to 30 to 40 pounds per tree, applied
in two or three applications per year, should be sufficient.

While no experimental work has been conducted to de-
termine the value of the cover crops in a mango grove, it is
reasonable to suppose that the same advantages would result
with this class of fruit trees as with many others. Legumin-
ous cover crops are recommended for mango groves in
Hawaii and India. The best legume cover crops for Florida
are velvet beans, cowpeas, beggarweed, and crotalaria, as
all of these do well in the sandy loam soils. (See Bul. 15, New
Series, Soil Improving Crops for Florida, State Dept. of Agri-
It is advisable to grow a legume crop in the grove until
the trees become large enough to shade the ground so much
that the cover crop will not grow satisfactorily. In growing
a crop between the rows of trees, care must be taken so as
not to injure the trees or root system. Space enough must
always be left between the tree rows and the legume crop
so that there will be no danger of injury to the trees.

The cultivation of the mango grove is very much the same
as for other fruit trees. When the trees are small, it is
necessary to see that weeds and grass do not grow up close
to the trees and in this way take both moisture and fertilizer
that belongs to the tree. Mulching is also desirable. but re-
gardless of what cultivation is done, the root system must
not be injured.

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