Q: This year, our mango tree is bearing a tremendous amount of flowers for the first time (it was planted four or five years ago). Last year it bloomed, but we only had a handful of fruit. Additionally, I thought that our sprinkler system may not have been giving it adequate water — we turn it on about twice/three times a week.
M.L., Palmetto Bay
A: The root system of your mango should be well established by now — it was established six months to a year after planting. So, you don’t need to water it at all. Rain and underground water are sufficient. Keep in mind that we also had a very wet fall and winter.
Young fruit trees often don’t bear a full crop until they are a few years old, but yours should be old enough to be productive if you are growing a grafted tree and a variety that is known to be a good producer.
But your mango may be a variety that is susceptible to anthracnose. This is a fungal disease that infects the flowers and would explain why you had few fruit last year. If that’s the case, you need to start spraying with a copper fungicide when the first flower spikes are 2 inches long.
Repeat the spray once a week for as long as there are open flowers and until fruit is set. If the variety you have is very susceptible to anthracnose and we continue to have rainy weather, you may need to continue weekly sprays for three or four additional weeks.
There is a UF Extension fact sheet that has additional information on mango diseases found at http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/Pests_HT.shtml.
Mangos that are fairly anthracnose-resistant and have good flavor are: “Cambodiana,” “Cogshall,” “Cushman,” “Dot,” “Edward,” “Florigon,” “Glenn,” “Graham,” “Keitt,” “Nam Doc Mai,” “Saigon,” “Valencia Pride,” and “Van Dyke.” But there are many other varieties to choose from as well.
This web site has a fact sheet on how to care for your mango: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MG216.
Send undamaged (live or dead) insects in a crush-proof container such as a pill bottle or film canister with the top taped on. Mail them in a padded envelope or box with a brief note explaining where you found the insects.
Do not tape insects to paper or place them loose in envelopes. Insect fragments or crushed insect samples are almost impossible to identify.
Send them to the address of your county extension office, found in the blue pages in the phone book under county government.