How long does it take a mango to produce fruit?
In the year 1998 i was just out of school and had a very long vacation. We had 4 months before the results were out and we had another month before we could fill in the application for colleges and entrance examinations. It’s also summer and mangoes are in season in kerala pretty early. It was during this time that I started planting mango trees from the seeds of the mangoes we collected. The rains were expected in 2 months and I was hopeful that they would sprout the seeds.
The rain arrived a bit late. Most of the mango seeds I planted were either destroyed by pests or rotten due to some reason. Staying in soil for more than 2 months does that i guess. But we still had a lot of mango seedlings which did sprout. What i did not know then was that these mango trees would take a while to be trees and yield fruits. One other thing I did not know was that these seeds wouldn’t really give the same fruit which I consumed. The mangoes I consumed were a hybrid and a seed from a hybrid will not yield a hybrid. It would end up yielding one or the other type of fruit from which the parent hybrid was developed.
Nevertheless, my dad allowed a tree or two to remain , just because he did not want me walking around with a sour face. All the other trees were eventually mowed down.
The trees which did remain gave its fruit after a good 12 years. I believe it started fruiting in the 10th year but there was only one or two fruits which were feasted upon by bats, squirrels and birds! The 11th year too was not so good either and my parents had told me that there were less than 20 fruits in all on that tree but nothing could be picked. But yes, the tree did start fruiting and I am thankful for that.
A year ago, after 21 Years i did have the opportunity to taste the mango from that tree. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what i had expected at all. I don’t remember what i had eaten all those years ago, but i am really sure that they were sweet. These mangoes were sour. Terribly sour. Mom tells me that she makes pickles out of it every year and gives them out to relatives. It’s impossible to eat those mangoes even when they are ripe.
While most mangoes grown from seeds take up to 10 years, The hybrid varieties on the other hand come grafted and start fruiting in less than 5 years.
Many trees are often found to be fruiting in 3 years. Grafted trees have a root stock of a wild mango variety and the seedlings are often polyembryonic.
The first year of the mango flowers are often cut off and trimmed and they are not allowed to fruit on a grafted variety. This practice is often continued to the second year if the plant is found not healthy enough to start fruiting. Cutting the flowers off at the flowering stage ensures that the nutrients are used to grow the plant itself and not utilized for the fruit. This makes the plant grow faster and stronger. The third flowering season often shows good results with more flowers and fruits. The plant is also able to withstand the weight of the fruits.
The time for yield usually does not differ from variety. All trees which are grown from seedling will usually take around 10 years. Some may start fruiting a bit early but 10 years is the average time for a tree to start yielding if grown from seeds. For a tree grown from a graft, the time is usually 3 years but the 5 year is when the yield is actually calculated. 4th and 5th year will see minimal yield , usually less than 20 mangoes a year.