There are numerous types of mango varieties around
the world, many experts believe that mango (Mangifra indica L.) is
actually native to Africa, some parts of southern Asia, especially
Myanmar and eastern India , Pakistan and Latin America. It spread early
on to Malaya, eastern Asia and eastern Africa. It is from these
countries that the fruit started its global journey. From Latin America,
mango found its way up north to Caribbean then Central America and in
the late 1880s, it made to California, today the capital of mango
farming in North America.
Most of the blended and improvised mango varieties
grown in Pakistan originated in the south of India. Today, there are
over 250 varieties that are grown here. Of these, the most famous
include Sindhri, Anwar Rator, Alphanso, Bombay Alphanso, Dasehri,
Saharni, Langra, Chausan etc. These main varieties then have further
sub-varieties. For example, one of the most popular mango varieties ,
the Sindhri, reportedly has over two dozen sub-varieties. All mango
varieties in Pakistan are hugely popular. However, the Sindhri and Anwar
Rator are perhaps the most popular. Different varieties of mango are
consumed in different ways. For example, more fleshly varieties are
supposed to be chopped into cubes or slices to be consumed, whereas some
others specially reserved for juice.
The Indian race is intolerant of humidity, has
flushes of bright red new growth that are subject to mildew, and bears
monoembryonic fruit of high color and regular form. The Philippine race
tolerates excess moisture, has pale green or red new growth and resists
mildew. Its polyembryonic fruit is pale green and elongated
Primary mango growing areas of Pakistan include the
northren belt of Sindh and southern parts of Punjab. Mirpurkhas in Sindh
and Multan in Punjab are prominent mango sectors of the country. The two
areas have a hot and long summer, hence, they are naturally better
suited for growing mangoes. The reason is that mangoes need extremely
high temperatures to ripen just before the picking season and the
searing heat of the said region makes for great juicy fruit. The mango
belt of Pakistan grows some of the finest varieties of the fruit in the
Mango is a water-intensive fruit tree, requiring a
lot of water to grow in the hot summer months preceding the monsoon.
Pakistan has been a great producer of the fruit. It produces over 10
million tons of fresh mango annually. But only a fraction of that,
however, reaches to international markets. Many believe that the recent
government initiative like holding retail floor shows abroad and
infrastructure developments like the building of the cold storage
facilities for perishable storage at the country's airports, will go a
long way in helping to establish Pakistan as a mango exporter. However,
there is also the realisation that much still needs to be done on the
front of particularly packing, branding and quality control.
Mango tree basically require a frost-free climate.
Flowers and small fruit can be killed if temperatures drop below 40°F,
even for a short period. Young trees may be seriously damaged if the
temperature drops below 30°F, but mature trees may withstand very short
periods of temperatures as low as 25°F. The mango must have warm, dry
weather to set fruit. Mangoes luxuriate in summer heat and resent cool
summer fog. Wet, humid weather favors anthracnose and poor fruit set.
Dwarf cultivars are suitable for culture in large containers or in a
greenhouse. Mango trees make handsome landscape specimens and shade
trees. They are erect and fast growing with sufficient heat, and the
canopy can be broad and rounded, or more upright, with a relatively
slender crown. The tree is long-lived with some specimens known to be
over 300 years old and still fruiting. In deep soil the taproot descends
to a depth of 20 ft, and the profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots also
send down many anchor roots which penetrate for several feet.
The leaves are dark green above and pale below,
usually red while young. The midrib is pale and conspicuous and the many
horizontal veins distinct. Full-grown leaves may be 4 to 12-1/2 inch
long and 3/4 to 2 inch wide, and are generally borne in clusters
separated by a length of naked stem bearing no buds. These naked stems
mark successive flushes of growth. Each flush of growth will harden off
to a rich green color before the next flush of growth begins. The
yellowish or reddish flowers are borne in inflorescences which appear at
branch terminals, in dense panicles of up to 2000 minute flowers. These
flowers respire a volatile substance, causing allergic and respiratory
problems for some persons. Pollinators are flies, hoverflies, rarely
bees. Few of the flowers in each inflorescence are perfect, so most do
not produce pollen and are incapable of producing fruit. Pollen cannot
be shed in high humidity or rain. Fertilization is also ineffective when
night temperatures are below 55°F. Mangoes are monoecious and
self-fertile, so a single tree will produce fruit without cross
pollination. Polyembryonic types may not require pollination at all.
Branches may be ringed to induce flowering, but the results are mixed.
The fruits grow at the end of a long, string like
stem (the former panicle), with sometimes two or more fruits to a stem.
The fruits are 2 to 9 inches long and may be kidney shaped, ovate or
(rarely) round. They range in size from 8 ounces to around 24 ounces.
The flower scar at the apex is prominent, in some cultivars bulging from
the fruit. The leathery skin is waxy and smooth, and when ripe entirely
pale green or yellow marked with red, according to cultivar. It is
inedible and contains a sap that is irritating to some people. The
quality of the fruit is based on the scarcity of fiber and minimal
The flesh of a mango is peach like and juicy, with
more or less numerous fibers radiating from the husk of the single large
kidney-shaped seed. Fibers are more pronounced in fruits grown with hard
water and chemical fertilizers. The flavor is pleasant and rich and high
in sugars and acid. The seed may either have a single embryo, producing
one seedling, or polyembryonic, producing several seedlings that are
identical but not always true to the parent type. It is impossible to
distinguish true-to-type from zygotic seedlings from the same fruit.
Some seedlings produce numerous tiny, parthenocarpic fruits which fail
to develop and abort. Mango trees tend to be alternate bearing.
The mango grows to a good size and casts a dense
shade, but the roots are not destructive. It requires full sun and
perfect air drainage in winter. It does best at the top or middle level
of a slope. A windbreak should be provided in exposed areas. The trees
may also need staking. In the desert it needs the shade of other trees;
or plant on the north side of the house. In the garden or near the
coast, plant against a south wall, or in an area surrounded by paving,
to provide maximum heat. In the greenhouse, full light and free air
movement are important to avoid disease.
Mangoes will grow in almost any well-drained soil
whether sandy, loam or clay, but avoid heavy, wet soils. A pH between
5.5 and 7.5 is preferred. They are somewhat tolerant of alkalinity. For
good growth, mangos needs a deep soil to accommodate their extensive
root systems. Irrigation should start when the weather warms: February
in the desert, April at the coast. Continue every one to two weeks, more
often in light soils, nearly continuously in the desert, until the fruit
is harvested. Irrigation may be discontinued when rains are sufficient
to maintain soil moisture. In the greenhouse keep watered until the
fruit is harvested, then reduce to the minimum required to avoid
wilting. Watering is then increased after one to two months to initiate
a new bloom and growth cycle.
Mango trees require regular applications of nitrogen
fertilizer to promote healthy growth flushes and flower production.
Chelated micronutrients, especially iron, are also often necessary. A
feeding program similar to one used for citrus is satisfactory, but do
not fertilize after midsummer. Organic fertilizers perform best, since
the trees are subject to fertilizer burn. Young trees are particularly
sensitive to over-fertilizing, but respond well to fish emulsion. Sandy
soils require more fertilizer than loam or clay. Healthy trees require
little pruning, although pruning to stimulate new growth promotes
uniform annual bearing. Removing some flower clusters during a heavy
bloom year may also alleviate alternate bearing. Mangoes may be pruned
to control size in late winter or early spring without a loss of fruit.
Sap and debris can cause severe dermatitis, similar to poison oak. It is
best to avoid burning pruning or litter.
During the first two years, the trees should be given
some protection such as an overhead cover during any frost threat. Once
the tree is 3 to 4 feet high, overhead protection is difficult but still
worthwhile, especially if an unusual cold snap is predicted. Frost
damage can also be avoided by erecting an overhead lath shelter, orchard
heating, placing lights under the canopy, or using foam or straw trunk
wraps. Do not prune dead parts until all frost danger is past. To grow
mangoes from seed, remove the husk and plant the seed (before it dries
out) with the hump at soil level. The seeds normally germinate in two to
four weeks, and do best with bottom heat. Multiple polyembryonic
seedlings should be carefully separated as soon as they have sprouted so
not to loose the cotyledons. Seedling mangoes will bloom and bear in
three to six years. Some success at grafting can be obtained in April
and September, but better luck is more likely during May through August.
Small plants with a diameter of a pencil graft well with the common whip
graft. On larger trees the crown groove bark graft allows several scions
to be put on at once. Fully grown trees may be topworked by crown or
groove bark graft, or prune hard and whip graft sprouts later. Plastic
bagging with a few drops of moisture improves the graft's chances of
being successful. Graft in the second year, using cleft, side or tongue
(splice) graft in midsummer. Scion and stock should be swelling for a
new flush of growth. Grafts are most successful if the leaves are
allowed to remain below the graft, but remove suckers. Use pencil-sized
scions of hard wood with three or four nodes. Cover with loose punctured
white paper bag for shade. If top working, then it is not necessary to
dehorn the entire tree at one time; leave at least two fully leafed
The mango is a suitable and productive tree for
growing in a container or greenhouse. Start with established plants of
named cultivars. Select the finest Indian cultivars, which are most
rewarding for the effort involved. A large tub is required, with casters
for easy moving. In the greenhouse, the atmosphere should be kept dry as
possible to avoid anthracnose. Place a fan nearby to move the air around
trees and use ventilators. The plants should be hosed down in the
morning on a weekly basis to control mites. A regular spraying of
appropriate pesticides for anthracnose and mealy bug may also be needed.
The location of the intended planting will dictate the choice of
Some pests such as Scale, mealy bugs and mites are
frequent in the orchard. Thrips often turn leaves rusty brown. Malathion
is the conventional spray for insect pests; sulfur works on mites.
Gophers are attracted to the roots. The flower panicles, young fruit and
leaves are subject to powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae), especially in
rainy weather or frequent fog. A spray of powdered kelp at bud break
will often control it. Sodium bicarbonate and fungicide sprays are also
effective. Trees planted in pavement openings seldom develop mildew.
Bacterial spot (Colletotrichum oleosporides) distorts and turns
developing leaves black and disfigures developing fruit. Infection may
spread to fresh young growth. Anthracnose can be controlled with
bimonthly applications of copper spray or captan as a growth flush
begins, and until the flowers open. Resume spraying when the fruits
begin to form. Mango trees are very sensitive to root loss that can
occur from digging, transplanting or gopher damage. "Soft
nose," a physical disorder of shriveling at the fruit apex, seems
associated with excessive nitrogen in soil. Exposed fruits sunburn in
Mango fruit matures in 100 to 150 days after
flowering. The fruit will have the best flavor if allowed to ripen on
the tree, although winter-maturing fruits must be ripened indoors in
coastal California. Ripening fruit turns the characteristic color of the
variety and begins to soften to the touch, much like a peach. Commercial
marketability requires 13% dissolved solids (sugars). When the first
fruit shows color on tree, all of that size fruit or larger may be
removed; repeat when remaining fruit colors. Do not store below 50°F.
The fruit ripens best if placed stem end down in trays at room
temperature and covered with a dampened cloth to avoid shriveling.