Root Pruning mango trees

Andrew ScottJanuary 31, 2011

I was reading some of Al Tapla's old posts on root pruning pot grown fruit trees. I came across his practices for root pruning. He mentions that even year old trees will lose there vigor if there not root pruned. Honestly, I am too chicken shi* to do this.

I have root pruned before but that was many years ago. I want to say it was just a common shefflera(probobly mis spelled, sorry!), and the tree survived and it did grow more lush. The thing was, I really wasn't worried about losing it because they are so common, it would have only cost me about $10 to replace.

My mango trees are completely a diffrent story. I am reluctant to touch the roots on my Maha Chinook. I know that the Lancetilla will need it sooner since it is more vigorous.

I also read that seedlings can have there tap root totally removed and that will force the feeder roots to spread out along the top few inches of soil instead of the tap root growing deeper and deeper into the soil.

Can anyone give me some links to old posts that have pics of root pruning?

Have any of you root pruned your mango trees, and if so, how many years went by before you root pruned your tree.

I also am wondering if I should remove the tap root on my seedling Ataulfo. If it will take at least 10 years to fruit, I really don't want to start all over again.



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I always hunt out some prime mangos in season here, Im not always able to positively identify them but I will keep you updated,

Is it better to dehusk them before shipping?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sorry wrong thread.

mangos will develop a spiraled tap root when pot bound. this will eventually have to be pruned or repotted. dwarf trees should be able to stay in a 25 gallon for a long time but your Lancetilla will eventually outgrow one.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
puglvr1(9b central FL)

Andrew, this is an excellent question and one that I will eventually have to cross, luckily when I repotted my Glenn from a 20" to a 24'' the root ball looked fine. The roots on this particular mango tree was much smaller than I thought it would be ( which for me was a very good thing). Actually, I was pleasantly surprised at how slow the roots spread. I'm going to repot this tree again in summer after the fruits are picked, assuming the blooms fruit, holds and matures that is. Since I'm going to a bigger pot this will buy me a few more years before I have to worry about root pruning. By then, maybe the real estate market will have improved and I can move a couple of hours south and I can just plant it in the ground,lol...

You might want to ask Al in the Container know he's the expert when it comes to pruning roots. Even still, like you the whole process scares me. I just know I will do it wrong and kill the tree.

I'm hoping someone here has already done it and can share the exact step by step instructions with 'pictures' would be even better!

What's the longest(how many years) has anyone grown a mango in a pot? Inquiring minds want to know...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

Andrew, though it may benefit the tree immensely to root prune, I am too scared to do it too. I have so far upgraded pot sizes rather than bite the bullet and root prune. There are some experienced container growers in the fig forum and the fruits forum who grow exclusively in containers and they seem to root prune the more mature trees without any impact. You might want to post your question there too.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Andrew Scott

Hi Nanci,
I emailed Jay regarding this and he told me that he dissagreed with Al's root pruning time frames. I am just going to hold out until it becomes necessary. I cannot believe that a mango tree would lose it's vigor after one short year. Now that I think about it, I believe he was talking in general terms.
I have that Atualfo seedling that I am going to experiment with today. It needs a larger pot and I am going to try and remove about half of the tap root and see what happens.

Hi Ashley,
I have tried posting to some of those other forums before. I even emailed Al and both ways got me no where. No one answered my post on the fig forum, and container forum, and Al didn't answer my email. I emailed him about Fig varieties and he ignored it.

Sad to say but I have found that on some of those forums, if your not a "regular" poster there, they tend to not answer you.

Hey Mango kush,
I actually wouldn't mind if you sent me some mango seeds of varieties that you find to be superior. I have one seedling that I hope will bear fruit before I am an old man! I also really would like to try my hands at grafing mango seedlings. I really like the Maha Chinook mango, and I would like a second tree but it would be much nicer if I could try grafting it myself. Now I know that Harry has found it to be challenging but it would still be an awesome journey and hopefully some day I will get one to take!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have not root pruned a mango tree except once when I transplanted a seedling from its cup to a gallon pot. I removed all but about an inch and a half of the tap root. There were a few feeder roots left on the upper part of the remaining tap root. The baby mango died. But I have successfully root pruned a fig. I followed the instructions on the fig forum: to remove the bottom 1/3 of the root ball and about 1/3 of the remaining root ball by removing 3 or 4 wedges spaced equidistant around the root ball. The fig was invigorated and bore more fruit. However, figs have exceptionally vigorous roots. I cannot say how this would translate to root pruning a mango.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hmhausman(FL 10B)

And figs grow from cuttings easily....mangoes, not so much. So, there is much more danger of killing a mango with imprudent pruning than a fig.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

andrew - Like you, I don't like mucking about with my mangoes. Recently, I worried a lot about pruning down my trees because they were too tall for my needs but after I "pugged" them I was glad I did.
I also worried about container size when I decided to try my hand with growing potted mangoes. I learned about air-pruning products online and, at the risk of sounding like a marketing tool, may I suggest looking at these sites:

I learned about these products initially from 'Green' and Environmental websites/blogs. Although, I've only had my trees in fabric containers a short while, my plants seem to be happy in them.

Here are my two Young/Tebow in Gro Pots (they've been in these pots the longest of my bunch):

These are not my pictures but I found them online...

Picture of Carrie Mango planted in a 'Super Root' Air-pot:

Picture of Mallika in same type of pot:

Picture of Pine Island's use of Smart Pots for their larger trees (this is a screen grab from their video):

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 4:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I partially bare rooted and root pruned pretty much all of mine last season. All did fine aside from a little julie that I was a little too aggressive with. The julie had a really screwed up root system and I took too many of the roots off. It did end up surviving though after a period of die back. It is now loaded with little fruitlets. Hopefully it will hold a few.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Andrew, I wish I could help with specifics.
I don't grow any Mango, however.

I'm amazed that Al didn't respond to your e-mail. Maybe try him again, before growing season
really kicks in (when he's inundated with e-mails).

When root-pruning, you want to remove larger, older, woody roots that are misshapen, kinked, or
lacking in fine root-hairs. Cut a root back to a point where it "branches," which will help
encourage new branching of those finer, more juvenile roots.

When working on the roots, keep a spray bottle handy to maintain the moisture, as fine roots
can die within 5 minutes of air exposure. I try to root-prune/re-pot on cloudy, cooler days.

As far as timing, you want to root-prune during the season just prior to the period of most robust
growth. Timed correctly, the tree may lag for a few weeks...but will have surpassed trees that
were not pruned by the end of the growing season. This is especially important for colder zones.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:00AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Is this normal for a sapodilla tree?
We just bought a sapodilla tree and it's been in the...
My wee lychee: what does it need?
I have a lychee sapling, that I grew from a grocery-store...
Why Doesn't My Sapodilla Ripen?
My sapodilla tree has had a good crop of fist-sized...
Passiflora "Edgehill" or "Black Knight" wanted
According to California Rare Fruit website, Passiflora...
Hak Ip Lychee Blooming SoCal
Last year i decided to plant 3 lychee trees here in...
Sponsored Products
Lilac Tree Trunk Tiffany Style Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
15733BBR Bronzed Brass 4.5 Watts Wide Kichler LED Landscape Light
Rania Sleek Linear Bath Bar
Mini 12.5-ft Commercial Grade LED Light String - 25 LEDs
LBC Lighting
Safavieh Martha Stewart Wool 1300&2300 MSR2558A 4' x 6' Ivory, Brown Rug
$264.00 | PlushRugs
Transparenting Wall Art
$249.00 | FRONTGATE
Blonde Tree Bark Abstract Wall Art I
$209.90 | Bludot
Silent Grandeur Outdoor Canvas Art
Grandin Road
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™