The mango resists heavy winds much better than does the avocado. The wood is tough, and ordinarily the tree (except in the Cambodiana group) assumes a low compact form if not crowded. It is not essential, therefore, that the young tree be trained with a view to making it of such form that it will be able to withstand a hurricane or cyclone.
Mango culture in California presents some unusual aspects. Although experience is limited, it is apparent that the great variations in temperature between night and day, coupled with the comparatively cold winters, have the effect of retarding the growth of the tree, as well as preventing the rapid development of the fruit. The dryness of the climate, on the other hand, makes the tree bear at an early age and yield very heavily. In certain situations near the sea, the summers are so cool that the fruit does not ripen properly. This has proved to be true of Santa Barbara, Hollywood, and San Diego. In the foothill regions, where the summers are warmer than near the sea, good mangos have been produced. It is necessary to protect the trees from frost while they are young; even large trees are sometimes injured by an unusually severe winter. All of the mangos which have fruited in California up to the present time have been seedlings or inferior budded varieties: only recently have budded trees of choice varieties been planted. Localities such as Glendora and Monrovia, which have warm summers and are comparatively free from winter frosts, are probably the most suitable for mango culture. The hot summer weather of such districts hastens the development of the fruit and brings it to maturity before the onset of cool weather in autumn.
Commercially, mango culture has never been considered promising in California. It should be possible to produce good fruit on a limited scale in a few of the most protected situations, but the greater number of mango trees which have been planted in the state have been killed by frost.
In Florida, commercial mango culture is successful from Palm Beach on the east coast and Punta Gorda on the west coast down to the southern end of the peninsula. There are a few trees as far north as New Smyrna on the east coast and Tarpon Springs on the west, but the hazards are great in any except the warmest parts of the state.
The largest commercial plantings have been made in the vicinity of Miami. There are a few small groves near Palm Beach and Fort Myers. At Oneco, near Bradentown, the Royal Palm Nurseries have one of the best variety collections in the state, but it is necessary to protect the trees during the winter. They are grown within a large shed whose top is made of thin muslin which can be removed in the summer.
In southern Florida the weather is normally dry during the flowering season. Sometimes there are light rains in this period, or many cloudy damp days. In such seasons many of the Indian mangos, notably Mulgoba, fail to bear good crops, although the seedling mangos which are found throughout this region fruit abundantly. Mangos differ in their ability to flower and fruit under adverse climatic conditions. Some of the Indian varieties will only flower after a period of three or four weeks of dry sunny weather; certain Cuban seedling races (and those of other countries as well), on the other hand, will insist on flowering even though the spring months are unusually wet; and if one crop of flowers is destroyed by the anthracnose fungus, as is often the case, they will flower a second and even a third time in an attempt to produce fruit. Methods of encouraging the Indian varieties to flower and fruit are discussed in a later paragraph.
The soils of the Fort Myers region produce larger trees than those of Miami. The latter, which are mainly light sands underlaid with oolitic limestone, are nevertheless satisfactory when properly fertilized. The mango requires much less fertilizer than the avocado or the citrus fruits, but it only reaches large size when grown upon reasonably deep soil.
Cuban soils are well suited to the mango. In commercial orchards near Habana, however, the anthracnose fungus has caused great damage and discouraged some of the growers. Methods of combating this pest are discussed under the heading diseases. In Porto Rico at least two orchards of considerable size have been planted with choice Indian varieties. Both of these are on the north side of the island, where the soil is excellent but the climate somewhat too moist for the best crop results.