Help with mango tree

AlexPerAugust 4, 2014

Hello all,

We have just moved into our house about a month and a half ago, and we have a mango tree in our front yard, which I think has not been managed properly.

The tree is tall, I guess around 30ft but the canopy is very small. It does not look like a healthy mango tree, even though we did get lots of mangos. Since we moved in late June, we have gotten the end of the season I guess, about 50-70 mangos - very sweet, and now there is no more.

Since we just moved in, I am trying to take care of things myself (financially speaking most of the money went into buying the house), and I am trying to learn as much as I can in the process.

I want to start taking care of this tree and have no idea where to begin. As of right now, I have hand saws, and a 40V 8 inch cordless pole chain saw (I have used it to trim a couple of small trees and it works pretty well). I also have a chain saw from family if needed.

I have read about trimming the limbs that are going straight up on small trees, but what do we do with the tree the same of mine? Do I start cutting those limbs that are going straight up? How about around the canopy, should I start pruning it? With such small canopy, I fear that I might make it worse and that is why I am asking for help here.

Since we are in South Florida, and it's late in the rain season, I wanted to do something right away while we still have a couple more weeks of rain.

I took some pictures so you guys can see the tree an be able to provide better suggestion on how I can get this tree healthier and more manageable?

I attached one picture to this post, but I have more in this google album:

Thanks for your help!!!

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vanman23(6b/7a - OK)

Looks pretty good to me. Looks like its already been trimmed to correspond to the garden below it. I don't live in a climate that we can grow mangos in the ground. I suspect you'll have to live with your tree the way it is. You take the low hanging fruit and the squirrels and bird will get everything else.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 4:54PM
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Can't see anything particularly wrong with that tree, it appears healthy enough. Putting on a bit of height could mean it's seed grown they get a lot taller than grafted trees. I've seen seed grown trees get about 3 to 4 times the height of yours, but that was in about 30 to 40 years. Trees like that usually have smaller fruit, which some people prefer. But harvesting becomes more difficult. You can prune out the top of it, they can handle quite severe pruning. I have one tree, trunk has a girth about the same as yours, was cut off lower than hip height. It's grown right out and very bushy. I cut off the lower branches because they were touching the ground and it's doing well.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:58PM
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I agree, the tree looks pretty healthy and it appears if it was pruned to keep the canopy narrow... maybe they were do it yourself types and couldn't get up in it to prune the top.

If it were my tree I'd whack off the top somewhat below whatever height you want it to be and let it alone.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Hi guys. Thanks all for the replies.

Your replies really tell me a couple of things, 1. I have no clue what I'm talking about, and 2. My tree is in good shape :D

I'm happy to know that all of your agreed that the tree is healthy and in good shape. I guess I was comparing it with other trees in the neighborhood, not as tall, bushy and with wide canopies, and I thought it hasn't properly been taken care of.

I think I will attempt to take the top off a little, and control the high a little bit. I understand that it's a little bit too late for that, and that birds and squirrels will have plenty of mango to eat from the top for years to come. I just don't want it to become a sky scrapper, especially because of the hurricanes, and risk it falling on top of the house.

About the canopy, if I want it to become bushy and wider, do I just leave it for now and it will happen on its own, or should I clip the ends for new ones to grow?

Thanks much for all your help!


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:44AM
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Your tree looks good. Is it the public sidewalk near the tree or your walkway in the garden?


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 3:13PM
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Sapote, yes, it is the public sidewalk. Is that why they would have pruned the canopy that way?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 5:09PM
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If I were you and had my confidence in my ability to deal with the situation, I'd remove most of the top of the tree. However, I don't know how you are with heights, saws, ladders, etc. It's still a reasonably small to medium Mango tree. I'd get a ladder up into it to about half way. I'd put a rope on a top branch, put someone on the end of the rope so that they could pull it away as I cut through it. Then keep going like that until all the top is cut out. You could still injure yourself with a handsaw, but do a hell of a lot more damage with a chainsaw. It would be up to you to choose your 'weapon'. If you don't have good chainsaw experience then leave them alone. The tree's still small enough to tackle with a handsaw.

Once that's done the tree will fill out the top again with smaller branches but not to the same height. It'll have a tendency to spread out more.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:01AM
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I'm a novice to the chain saw, but am usually pretty handy with tools. I guess I will make the decision of which tool to use once I'm up in the latter, and have a better perspective.

As far as taking the top out, should I wait until spring time, or would this be a good time as well?

Thanks a lot!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:14AM
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Yeah, Alex, take at least 6-8 feet off the top of the tree, and best to do it now so the new growth that sprouts up will have a chance to set flowers and fruit next year.

Don't be afraid to cut more rather than less. Trust me, it will grow soooooo fast once you cut it back you will be amazed in one year to see that. Take pictures before and after and then next year so you can see for yourself just how S. Florida mango trees can grow.....and like everyone says - it does look like a great tree...any chance you know what kind it is.....or.....could take a picture of the fruit and post it here?


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Hi Myamberwoofer,

Thanks for the suggestions. I will try it this weekend or on the next.

I'm not sure what kind of mango they are. Here's a picture, maybe you can tell me what they are? They are very, very sweet...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:09PM
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What time of year do they flower/fruit? In their normal habitat they flower in mid winter, but that changes in different climates. You could cut the top out end of summer. If they flower in spring or summer, then you could leave the cutting to early winter. After you make the cuts it's good practice to paint over the exposed surface with an antifungal type of paint. I use a product called Steri-prune. It's non-toxic (except to fungus) and allows the tree to heal over the cuts. Otherwise fungus can get into the interior of the tree and weaken it. Something that you wouldn't want in cyclonic conditions.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Hi tropicbreezent,

We moved into this house end of June, and it was already full of mangos. In fact, the last few mangos fell off by the end of July. I'm not sure when it flowers, I guess the fruits come out April/May (Spring time)? I will know more next year :-)

Thanks for the suggestions!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:15AM
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So you didn't plant or took care it before, then those fruits must be share out evenly to all of us and your neighbors. Starting next year all fruits are yours.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Looks shaped like a Kent to me! What do the other experts think?


    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 12:53AM
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Haha.. That picture is from June, the mangos are all gone now. But I shared them :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 8:37AM
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I wish i had a huge mango in my yard...
i would be in heaven LOL...

One idea i had when looking at it,
is to make 2 separate canopies.
one at the top and one at the bottom.
birds get the top fruit
you get the bottom fruit.

cut all the branches in the middle, which would also reduce wind resistance for hurricanes etc...

radical idea, but im known for coming up with crazy ideas.
some work, some dont BTW...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 8:41AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I agree with the advise...IF it were my tree I would also take several feet off the top, maybe 8-10ft at least...but I would hire someone to do it...that's kinda dangerous to be trimming off that much and it might be best left to the pros.

Good luck with your new house and mango tree...fertilize it after trimming...since you live in Zone 10 now would be fine to trim it...normally the best time to prune a mango tree is right after you've picked all the still have a good 3 to 4 months before the cold weather you should be fine. Hopefully the tree will grow wider instead of taller once you've "pugged" it...don't worry "if" the tree doesn't bloom next summer...sometimes when you "pug" a tree this much it might skip a year.

I prefer shorter, wider trees to super tall narrow ones...its easier to take care of the tree and pick the fruits...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:36PM
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since the tree is so near the sidewalk, the lower branches with delicious fruits will invite people to pick them, unless everyone in your neighborhood has better mangoes in their yard.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 3:09PM
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