Before one plants mangoes, there are key aspects that they must put into consideration and they include;
- Although mangoes can grow in varied kinds of soil, it is preferable to plant them in light, well-drained soils with low fertility.
- Plant windbreakers at boundaries before planting the trees to protect the tree from wind. Mango trees prefer frost-free climate with a cool dry winter. Mango tree growers must also plan for irrigation and drainage to prevent soil erosion. About six million litres (ML) per year per hectare of mango tree is needed. Drain water in grassed areas.
- Choose the appropriate mango variety that is best suited to your region and climate as well as your targeted market. The commonest commercial varieties include takakata, Grenn, Florigon, apple mango, Palvin and Kent.
- The actual spacing between trees is still debated. It would depend on the variety of the mango tree planted. However, bear in mind that in spacing trees, there must be enough area for spraying machinery and harvesting aids. It has been recommended to plant only around 200 to 350 trees per hectare. Plant mango tree rows from north to south to maximise sun exposure.
- Choose between grafted plants and seedlings. Their choice would depend on the mango variety they choose as well as their desire for early harvest. Grafted trees may produce in its third year, but only reaches its peak in its sixth to eighth year, whereas seedlings take longer time to grow. Places where you can go for grafted mango trees include Kawanda National Agriculture Research Centre.
- Dig holes big enough for the root to settle comfortably. Aim for a mango tree with eight main supporting limbs, with a height of around three to four metres. Only a small amount of fertiliser is needed for young trees, but they should be applied often. A proper fertilising plan must be organised after taking a soil and leaf analysis.
- During mango harvesting, one can harvest by picking the mangoes with stems attached and remove the stems later in your shed or use harvesting aids. This system makes the fruits stay much longer.