Mango Tree Information and Variety Selection

Mango Tree Information and Variety Selection
Mango tree

James Mwangi Ndiritu

Environmental Governance and Management, Agribusiness consultant

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Because fruit trees, like mango, are perennials and represent a considerable investment of time and money, starting by planting your orchard with the optimum varieties for your location conditions and intended markets is essential. Below you can find some information to help you choose the most appropriate variety for you.

Species Selection: The first decision is what species to plant. Is a tree orchard the best use of your land and potential? Or is your site and marketing plan better suited for a shorter-term investment in smaller plants such as vegetables or others? Careful consideration of environmental conditions, as well as the locations of markets and suppliers, is of great importance. Pest management skills and availability of labour for crop protection

Mango Variety Selection

Once the question of crop species is settled, the next decision is what variety (or combination of varieties) to plant. Considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Harvest season: early, mid, or late season, or a combination of these to achieve a more

Continuous supply or to ensure a crop during early or late marketing windows

  • Adaptability to the region: cold hardiness, temperature ranges for optimal growth, requirements for soil fertility or pH
  • Chilling requirements for fruit-set such as in apples and flavour
  • Water requirements: need for irrigation or protection from waterlogging
  • Stature: dwarf, semi-dwarf, or standard
  • Resistance to diseases and pests

Careful consideration of environmental conditions and the locations of markets and suppliers is of great importance.

  • Marketability: colour, flavour, nutritional value, storage requirements, transportability, uniformity, shelf life—any characteristics that define quality for your customer
  • Nearness to appropriate markets you can select for desired characteristics, especially in grafted trees, with a combination of rootstock and fruiting wood varieties.

While there are even up to 1000 varieties, only 350 of them are commercially cultivated only a few have a strong presence in the global market. Different varieties prevail in each region depending on the local environment and soil conditions. More specifically, in Kenya, the most cultivated varieties are the: Ngowe, Kent, Apple, Tommy Atkins, sensation, dodo, peach and Kensington. These have an edge over others because of their fruits’ taste and nutritional value. On the other hand, in India, the most popular varieties are the: Alphonso, Bangalora, Banganpalli, Bombai, Bombay Green, Dashehari, Fazli, Fernandin, Himsagar, Kesar, KishenBhog, Langra, Mankhurd, Mulgoa, Neelam, Samarbehist, Chausa, Suvarnarekha, Vanaraj and Zardalu. In colder areas, a very popular cold-tolerant mango variety is Mallika which can survive 0°C (32 °F) temperatures (for short periods of time). Turpentine mango has also been found to be relatively cold-hardy.

Type and Size of Planting Stock

The type of rootstock—standard, dwarf, or semi-dwarf—will determine the size of the tree at maturity. Tree size determines the spacing, the number of trees per hectare (or acre), the training system, years to bearing, and the timing of economic return. Orchard design should reflect the grower’s production and cash flow goals. Standard trees produce more fruit when mature, and initial purchase and planting costs are lower. Smaller trees have higher initial planting costs since more trees are needed to achieve density. Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees generally come into production earlier. Smaller trees simplify many field operations, including pruning, grafting, thinning, pest management, and harvest. Efficiency and safety are greater when most operations can be accomplished from the ground instead of ladders or climbing. Weeds are less of a problem in the shade of a densely planted orchard. Depending on the species and variety, container seedlings are often the most practical form of planting stock to buy and the most economical to purchase.


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Find more information in the book: “Success in Agribusiness: Growing Mango successfully” written by James Mwangi Ndiritu

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