Getting ready for perfect mangoes

One good thing about our very dry winter and spring this year is that the mango trees are setting lots of fruit - I don't think I've ever seen such a good crop forming.

If you want good fruit that stores well you will need to spray. Fungal diseases are rife in both mango orchards and home garden trees in the Northern Rivers, with anthracnose the most common problem. To get perfect fruit, you can spray now and every four weeks until harvest with Mancozeb. While this is a fairly low-toxic spray, you should follow all the packet directions scrupulously - cover up, wear a mask and have a shower after spraying.

On the other hand, copper sulphate sprays will also control this and other fungal diseases, so if you are concerned about using Mancozeb, try this. Copper will control bacterial black spot disease, too.

What to do if you don't want to spray at all? Well, fruit is still perfectly edible even covered with black blotches. You might decide to practise Masterly Inactivity.

Before you spray, take a good look at the tree. If it is very leafy and dense you should thin out the canopy. This lets more light and air into the middle of the tree and acts as natural disease control, as well as making it easier to get good coverage with the spray. Make sure you get rid of any dead wood or twigs while you're at it.

Also, clear away the debris below the tree and bin it. Apply a complete fertilizer generously now (and again when you harvest the fruit) and water it in well before mulching over the top with clean cane tops or similar. Then spray if you want to. Keep deep-watering the tree until the weather breaks.

By doing all this you will maximise your chances of getting perfect mangoes.


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