Sometimes referred to as the king of fruit, mango is a sub tropical tree that can now be found fruiting in all suburbs of Perth.
The flavour here is as good as from more northerly areas such as Darwin and Carnarvon, the main difference between our crops and those of the tropics is the cropping times. February to March is Perth’s mango season.
The best performing mango variety for planting in Perth is Kensington Pride or its larger fruiting daughter with the curious name ‘R2E2’.
Getting started can be a bit tricky.
You need a sunny location and a sunny season to plant so growth kicks off immediately. Winter plantings often don’t work in Perth because the plant is dormant. Generally tropical plants need to hit the ground running.
Be generous with your planting compost.
Dig a hole about twice as wide as the pot the mango tree comes in and then carefully take the mango tree out of its container. Then I would use the empty pot as a measuring device. Use two pots-full of composted soil conditioner like Baileys Soil Improver and mix this into the backfill soil. Place the mango tree in the hole so that the level of the top of the root ball will be the same as the surrounding soil. In other words don’t bury the plant any deeper than it was in the pot. Use the mixed compost and backfill soil to surround the root ball.
Make a saucer around the young mango tree and water well to settle the roots.
Apply a 50 to 75mm thick layer of composted mulch like Baileys Moisture Mulch. Aim to keep the new tree just moist right through until winter.
The next step is to surround the young mango tree with a shadecloth shelter to stay in position for the first year. This can be easily constructed with four tomato stakes, a four metre length of shadecloth and some cable ties.
Avoid placing any fertiliser in the planting hole. After planting when you see the first new flush of burgundy coloured leaves beginning to form, start feeding every month from September to April, with the pack recommended amount of either Baileys Soil Matters Garden or Baileys Blood & Bone.
Established trees, such as the 6 metre high Kensington Pride in my Mother’s backyard, can deliver hundreds of large, lusciously sweet, delicious mangoes every year.
Talking delicious here’s one way to cut up a fragrant ripe mango. Slice off the two cheeks either side of the seed and use a sharp knife to score the flesh in a cross - hatch style. Pop the cheek from the skin side and you will find a hedgehog style collection of square tasty morsels. Enjoy!