Mango trees can survive winter weather down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit and a few frosts. You can help your mango to survive winter by top dressing the soil with compost and cow manure, layering a thick layer of straw mulch and water the mango regularly when there is low rainfall.
Mango trees are a fantastic tropical fruit tree and can survive the cooler winter of temperate climates. This article will explore some easy tips to help your mango tree to survive winter and be ready to grow new shoots in spring.
Top dressing mango trees for winter
Top dressing mango trees is a great way to protect the mango tree roots over winter. Top dressing will also add extra nutrients and organic matter to the soil and fee your mango tree gently over fall and winter.
Top dressing is best done in fall before the coolest weather hits. Rake back the mulch that you already have on top of the soil to expose the soil base. Avoid raking into the soil to protect the roots. Mango trees can have fine roots near the top of the soil.
Mix together some compost and aged cow manure and gently sprinkle it over the root zone. Rake it flat to around 1-2 inches thick. This will give the plant a gentle amount of nutrients and these will be washed down to the roots when it rains.
Cover the top dressing with some mulch. You can place bark mulch over the top or straw mulch. Both will protect the roots. If you have very cold weather layer 3-4 inches of straw mulch on top of the soil and it will act like a blanket.
Mulching mango trees for winter
Mulching is important for mango trees over winter to keep the delicate feeder roots protected. You will probably have some old mulch left on top of the soil by fall and this is the perfect time to top it up ready for a cold winter.
Straw is fantastic if you get very cold winters or even frosts. This will protect the roots and create a thick blanket to regulate the soil temperature. Cover the root zone with 3-4 inches of straw. This will still keep the roots moist when it rains, keep weeds away and reduce competition for your mango tree.
Fertilizer for mango trees (before) winter
Fertilizing mango trees in fall will help to strengthen the tree before winter. Add some organic slow release fertilizer to the soil before you put down mulch. Grab a couple of handfuls of pelleted chicken manure around the base of the plant.
You can also add some non-organic slow release fertilizer but organic is my favorite. It releases a gentle mix of nutrients. The mango tree can absorb the nutrients it needs and it will also feed the worms and improve the soil bacteria balance.
How to water mango trees in winter
Mango trees are tropical trees so love regular deep watering and time to dry out in between. Winter might seem like a time where you will not need to water mangoes at all but that is not usually the case.
In winter you should check your mango tree every 2 weeks and water it deeply if the soil is dry. If you are getting regular rain, you can deep water your mango tree once per month to keep it healthy. This extra water will help to wash the nutrients from the top dressing and slow release fertilizer down to the roots.
While mango trees slow their growth during winter this time is still important to keep their roots healthy and get them ready to burst to life in spring. You can add a small amount of liquid seaweed to the watering can to help to keep the soil healthy.
How to protect mango trees from frosts
You can still successfully grow mango trees in areas that get frosts but there are a few things you need to do to protect them.
Mulch and water
Mulch and regular water are the two most important things you can do to protect your mango tree from frosts. Mulch will protect the soil and the water will keep the tree hydrated and it can withstand the frosts for longer.
Full frost protection
If you live in an area that gets regular heavy, frosts you will need to take more drastic action to protect your mango tree. Build a wire cage that fits over your mango tree and cover the top with plastic. Use shadecloth around the sides for air movement and this can stop the frosts from landing on the leaves and causing damage.
If you see frost damage on the leaves it is best to leave the damaged leaves and stems on the plant until the frosts have passed. These will protect the other healthy leaves and can be trimmed off at the end of winter.
Potted mango trees can be moved into a greenhouse or even indoors over the winter months. While mango trees generally won’t thrive indoors all year they can do well with a winter indoors. Use a grow light to give them an extra boost if your house is dark. These are cheap and can be laid as strips near your mango to help it to photosynthesize.
Mango Tree Winter Care | Summary
Mango trees can survive cold winter if they are given a helping hand. Layer 2-3 inches of straw mulch around their base, water the plant each month and top dress the plant with compost and aged cow manure. Pelleted chicken manure can be added in fall to feed the plants and worms ready for a cold winter.
Mango trees love a topical and subtropical climate but if you live in a temperate region that only gets a few frosts mangos can still grow. These are slow growing in winter so don’t expect too much change. Plant a new mango seedling in fall, prepare it for winter and it will have settled in by spring.
In spring you will get new growth from the top which will start to branch out and the tree will start to take shape.
I planted a new mango seedling this year and in the first weeks of spring it has grown new shoots and leaves. Mango trees are fun to watch grow and in 2-3 years you will have your first fruit.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.