Plant Clinic

Mango tree has branch die-back

Q. For a year I’ve been struggling with a mango tree. Someone said I was watering the tree too much. Stopped the watering, but the branches are still dying off.

A.A., Coral Gables

In addition to over-watering, there could be other reasons for branch die-back.

It could have been planted too deeply or improperly. The trunk should flare out at the base if properly planted. If it was planted too deeply, you’ll need to remove the soil that is over the rootball so that the first major roots are visible where they meet the trunk.

Other problems could be: too much water; using “weed & feed” products improperly; an advanced infection of the fungal disease anthracnose; severe nutritional deficiencies; weed eater/mower damage to the trunk.

Established shrubs and trees usually don’t need to be irrigated. But since shrub and tree roots spread throughout your yard, you should not water other plants nearby unless they show signs of wilt. Water grass only when the blades fold in half and no rain is forecasted within the next few days. During the rainy season, grass usually doesn’t need any irrigation unless there hasn’t been any rain for more than a week or two. In the winter when it’s cool and the days are short, grass can be watered 1 to 2 times a month or less depending on your soil type.

To learn how to care for your mango tree, read this publication:

Adrian Hunsberger is an entomologist/horticulturist with the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension office. Write to Plant Clinic, 18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, FL 33030; e-mail

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