In the tropics seedling mangos usually come into bearing four to six years from the time of planting. More time than this may be required in some instances. Certain races are more precocious than others. In Florida, growth is less rapid than in the tropics and fruiting is delayed in consequence.
Budded trees should fruit at an earlier age than seedlings. As regards a given variety or race, they usually do so; but grafted or budded trees of some varieties do not fruit so early as seedlings of certain races. In Florida, dwarf kinds such as D'Or and Julie sometimes fruit the second year after planting. Haden has produced good crops four years from planting. Mulgoba should fruit at four to six years of age. Malda and several other sorts have been grown in Florida ten years or more without having fruited as yet. At Saharanpur, India, A. C. Hartless has found that it commonly requires four to nine years for inarched trees to come into bearing.
The yield of many budded varieties is uncertain, while of many seedling races it is uniformly heavy. Seedling trees in Cuba and other parts of tropical America often carry as much fruit as the branches will support. Budded mangos sometimes bear heavily one season and nothing the next. The following table prepared by A. C. Hartless shows the behavior of the orchard of grafted trees in the Botanical Garden at Saharanpur, India, during a period of twenty-seven years. Numerous varieties are included; and it is probable that some bore more regularly than others; but the table takes account of the crop as a whole:
Character op Crop
Character of Crop
Character of Crop
Almost a failure
Poorest on record
Records from Lucknow, India, show that during a period of thirty years there were nineteen in which the crop was poor, six in which it was fair, and five in which it was heavy. At Nagpur during a period of nine years there were six in which the crop was poor and three in which it was good.
In Florida Mulgoba has, up to the present, produced a good crop about once in four years.
These figures would be discouraging, were it not for the certainty that much can be done to increase the likelihood of good crops by attending to cultural details and by planting varieties known to be productive. The extensive tests which have been made in Florida have brought to light a number of choice sorts which combine excellent quality of fruit with a degree of productiveness far above the average. Amini, for example, has borne much more regularly than Mulgoba. In Porto Rico also it has done remarkably well. Sandersha has produced a fair crop nearly every year. Cambodiana has also given a good account of itself. Pairi has fruited much more regularly than Mulgoba and is almost as good in quality. When reasonably productive kinds are planted, and their cultural requirements are thoroughly understood, such records as that of Saharanpur should no longer be encountered.
The varieties now grown in Florida supply the market with ripe fruit from July to October. The main season is August and September. Cambodiana is one of the earliest varieties. Sandersha is probably the latest. A few of its fruits ripen as late as the first half of October. In India a kind known as Baramassia (more likely a number of different mangos known under the same name) is said to mature fruits throughout most of the year, doing this by producing two or three light crops. It is probable, however, that many statements regarding this variety are exaggerated, for it seems to be known much better by reputation than by the personal experience of those who describe it. A variety in northern India, Bhaduria, ripens later than most others. In this part of India the mango season extends from May to October.
"The mango is gathered as soon as the fruit comes away freely in the hand. . . . When gathered too early the sap exudes freely, does not agglutinate, and the fruit shrivels. The collection of the fruit should be by hand as far as practicable; a bag-net with the mouth distended by a circle of cane, and suspended by a strap from the shoulder, leaves both hands free to gather. None must be allowed to fall to the ground; all should be handled as gently as eggs because a slight bruise brings on decay quickly. To bring down the higher fruit a bag-net 15 inches in depth, the mouth distended by a circle of cane, traversed by and bound to a light bamboo and having a piece of hoop iron bound across the mouth of the bag at right angles to the bamboo forms an efficient apparatus for the purpose; the hoop iron breaks the stalk, and the fruit falls into the net and is gently lowered to the ready baskets. It is then carried to the fruit room and arranged in single layers, with soft dry grass above and below. The room must be well ventilated and cool, yet not subject to decided changes of temperature ; a moist atmosphere hastens ripening and decay, coolness and fresh air retard destructive changes.
"For transport, small baskets fit to contain a dozen mangos should be provided, each with a lid and some hay for packing at top and bottom. Each basket should be filled so as to prevent motion of the fruit, choice specimens being separately wrapped in soft paper. Twelve small baskets may be packed firmly into one large one, and the load becomes sufficient for a man to carry when the basket has been raised on to his head. By this means bruised and damaged fruit is reduced to the lowest terms, and repacking for distribution is avoided."
A. C. Hartless of Saharanpur says: "It is a common practice here to ripen the fruit artificially. This is done to save the expense of watching and protecting from predatory animals and birds. When the fruits attain the desired size they are taken off and packed in straw in closed boxes where they will ripen. The taste may in this way differ slightly from those ripened on the tree, but it is not uncommon for the fruits on the same tree to differ materially in taste." C. Maries reports that the variety Mohur Thakur is ripened on the tree at Dar-bhanga, small bamboo baskets being placed around the fruits to keep flies and moths from eating them. When the basket falls to the ground the fruit is ripe and ready for eating.