Mangoes are medium-to-large evergreen trees originally from India and southeast Asia. According to the University of Florida, these trees have been grown in India for more than 4,000 years. This rich, sweet fruit tree grows in North America, but only in climates that do not experience severe cold. Chilling and extreme heat can adversely affect mango tree growth and fruit quality.
The mango tree prefers tropical, subtropical or warm temperate areas where freezing temperatures are uncommon. Despite having been spread throughout the world since the 18th century, these trees don't seem to acclimatize to cool weather, and may be damaged or even killed by very cold temperatures. In the continental United States, mangoes grow only in areas such as southern Florida, the foothills of southern California and the California Central Valley, and the southern tip of Texas.
Mature mango trees can withstand temperatures below freezing for short periods of time. According to the University of Florida, adult mango trees will survive air temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit for a few hours at a time, though hey may suffer injury to the small branches and leaves. Younger trees, however, may die when the temperature reaches 30 degrees. Temperatures below 40 can damage small fruit and flowers if they persist for more than a few hours.
Mango trees do best in hot conditions and usually don't suffer from damage in even extremely warm summer weather. However, heat can cause problems with fruit ripening. According to the University of California-Davis, temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 days at a time tend to produce uneven ripening, an unpleasantly strong flavor and mottled skin.
In temperate climates, mangoes may survive occasional cold snaps with proper frost protection. Create soil banks around the trunk of young trees in early December to protect them from freezing. Remove the soil in early March to encourage proper growth. Before an expected cold period, drape young trees with a blanket anchored to the ground to provide insulation. Place incandescent lights, camp lanterns or camp stoves, electric heaters or other heat sources on the ground under the tented tree to keep the branches and foliage warm.
- University of California-Davis; Mango; Adel A. Kader
- Purdue University; Mango; Julia F. Morton; 1987
- University of Florida; Mango Growing in the Florida Home Landscape; Jonathan H. Crane et al; November 2009
- Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension; Home Fruit Production -- Mango; Julian W. Sauls
- California Rare Fruit Growers: Mango
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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