From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Norlia Ynus. Fruit Research Branch, M.A.R.D.I. Serdang, Malaysia

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Mango Culture in Malaysia

Scientific Name: Mangifera indica
Family: Anacardiacea


The Mango (Mangifera indica) is a popular evergreen fruit tree natural to South-Eastern Asia. It has been cultivated for over 4000 years during which time it has spread to other tropical and sub-tropical countries.

Mangifera indica L, belongs to the family Anacardiaceae. It is the only species grown extensively and commercially in India, Philippines, tropical Australia, the lowlands of South-East Africa, in Hawaii and in the lowlands of Central and South America.
The Malayan name of mango (mangga) attests its origin outside Malaya, being the same word as the Tamil mangas.


The mango is probably a more important fruit in the tropics than the apple in the temperate zones. It is universally considered as one of the finest fruits in the world. The fruit is a good source of vitamins A and C.
The most important use of mango is as a dessert fruit when ripe, but there are also other food uses in different preparations from ripe and unripe fruits. Mango can be processed into mango juice and concentrate, jams, jellies, preserves, pies, chutneys and ice cream. Unripe fruit can be pickled.
In Celebes, surplus mango is turned into vinegar; manufacture of a kind of brandy is also possible. The seed, bark and young fruits have some medicinal value and the bark and leaves yield a yellow dye suitable for dying cotton, silk and wool. The wood can be used for cheap furniture and for plywood manufacture.

Soils and Climate

Mango is not difficult to grow and is relatively tolerant to drought and poor soil conditions. Mango trees can tolerate some flooding, but good drainage is necessary for satisfactory fruit production.
The best region for mango cultivation is where rainy seasons alternate with a well-marked dry period. Mango readily grows in tropical and subtropical climate with a mean temperature of 23-30°C and no near frost temperature.
Annual rainfall of 127 - 254 cm. is suitable for mango. The total amount of rainfall is not so important as the season in which it occurs. Where dry season coincides with flowering time, good crops of fruit can be expected.


Cultivars and Varieties

It is generally accepted that there are two main types of mango, the Indian and the Indochinese.

Indian Type: Typically this has monoembryonic seed and often highly-coloured fruit. It is susceptible to anthracnose disease.

Indochinese Type: Typically this has polyembryonic seed and fruit often lacks attractive colouration. It is relatively resistant to anthracnose disease.

A third type of mango is the fibrous polyembryonic type originating from the West Indies and South America. These are poor quality fruits with a distinct turpentine flavour.

The Department of Agriculture has registered 209 clones of mango grown in this country, some of these were introduced from India, Indonesia and other mango growing areas. From these registered clones, some clones possessing high enough qualities can be recommended for general planting. Among the promising ones are: Malgoa and Apple Mango (for home planting), Harumanis, MA 162, Bahagia, MA 165, Bombay Green, MA 204 and MA 205.
Some of the promising and popular mango clones are described below:

1. Apple Mango (MA 194)
The fruit is roundish, the skin is pale green in colour with crimson patches around the upper portion of the fruit turning orange-yellow when ripe. The average weight of the fruit is 0.3 - 0.6 kg.
The flesh is golden yellow when ripe; it is sweet, fibreless, aromatic and tastes good. It is good for table.
For apple mango, the fruits have to be picked when they are fully ripe. If they are harvested before they are ripe they will not taste sweet.

2. Malgoa
There are a number of different types of malgoa mango. Among the registered clones are MA 135, MA 171, MA 172 and MA 200. MA 135 and MA 200 are the more important ones.
The fruit is roundish. The skin is green turning yellowish-green on ripening. The average weight of the fruit is 0.5 - 1.2 kg. The fruits of MA 200 are larger in size than that of MA 135.
The flesh is intense yellowish-orange when ripe. It is sweet with a slightly acidic flavour due to uneven ripening. Just like apple mango, malgoa fruits have to be harvested when fully matured. Because of its big fruit size malgoa mango tends to ripen unevenly.
It is fibreless, not so aromatic and is good for table.
Malgoa is a poor bearer and is non-seasonal. It is susceptible to fruit cracking and anthracnose.

Harumanis (MA 128)
The fruit is elongated with a curve distal end. The skin is smooth and is pale green in colour turning greenish-yellow when ripe. The average weight of the fruit is 0.5 - 1.0 kg.
The flesh is fibreless, sweet and is very juicy. It has good aroma. It is a good quality fruit. Harumanis is a prolific but a late bearer. One characteristic of this clone is that the branches tend to droop down. This can be overcome by staking or by pruning.

Maha 65 (MA 165)
The fruit is elongated in shape. The skin is light green in colour turning greenish-yellow when ripe. The average weight of the fruit is 0.7 - 1.2 kg.
The flesh is orange in colour when ripe. It is sweet and fibreless. However, it lacks aroma.
Maha 65 is a prolific and an early bearer. One disadvantage of this clone is that the fruits tend to crack even when they are still in immature stage.

Lebai Mohamad (MA 127)
The fruit is elongated in shape. The skin turns orange-yellow on ripening. The average weight of the fruit is 0.4 - 0.7 kg.
The flesh is deep orange yellow in colour when ripe. It is fibreless, sweet, juicy but not so aromatic. MA 127 is a prolific bearer.

Golek (MA 162)
The fruit is elongated in shape. The skin is light green when immature turning greenish-yellow when ripe. The average weight of the fruit is 0.4 - 0.7 kg.
The flesh is orange in colour when ripe. It is fibreless and sweet but does not have much aroma. Golek is a prolific bearer. It has been recorded to produce more than 180 kg per year per tree in an eleven-year-old mango orchard.



Mangoes are propagated either by grafting or by seeds. Grafting is preferred because the desired variety can be propagated true to type. There are, however, some varieties which will reproduce true from seed.
There are many techniques used in propagating fruit trees. The most common and successful method used in mango propagation is patch-budding. Young, vigorously growing seedlings are used for rootstocks. The scionwood is selected from mature terminals with swelling buds. A patch is removed from the stock and the budshield (scion) is tied in position, keeping only the bud exposed. Budded seedlings are ready for field planting after three to four months.   


Fruit production on mango trees is mostly on the outside of the canopy of the branches. When side branches of adjacent trees meet due to overcrowding there is a tendency to produce fewer fruits which are apt to be poorly-coloured and infected with anthracnose fungus. Overcrowding not only creates conditions more favourable for disease but also increases the difficulty in spraying to control diseases.

Planting distances from 9 - 11 metres on square, rectangular or triangular pattern can be used. Close planting increases the volume of the fruit per acre during the early years. Good yields of easily-harvested fruits are secured at a relatively young age and maintained fairly constant about 8 - 10 years with systematic, regular pruning, including topping, so as to avoid removal of large wood.

The choice of wide and close spacing often depends on the inclination and intention of the grower. Besides, the planting distance also depends upon the depth and fertility of the soil. With 9 x 9 m planting, the number of plants/ha is 123 and with 11 x 11 m planting is 82 plants/ha.

The method used in planting is essentially the same as that used with other fruit trees. Firstly, the land must be ploughed and levelled, planting holes must be prepared large enough to easily accommodate the root system. It is advisable to mix some topsoil fortified with 8 oz of CIRP and 2 pungkis of cowdung or chicken dung with the soil at the bottom of the hole before placing the trees. Generally the planting holes are 0.6 meter wide and 0.6 meter deep.

Soil should be firmly packed around the roots to avoid air pockets. The trees should be thoroughly watered after they are planted and the ground about them covered with mulch to keep the soil surface moist and cool.


Field Management

Fertilizers:General recommendation for mango fertilization using complete fertilizers.
First YearRate/Tree
1st applicationat planting time0.11 kg
2nd application4 months old0.11 kg
3rd application8 months old0.266 kg
Second YearRate/Tree
1st applicationat planting time0.266 kg
2nd application4 months old0.266 kg
3rd application8 months old
Third Year2 or 3 applications0.45 - 0.9 kg/application
Fourth Year2 or 3 applications0.45 - 0.9 kg/application

Generally for the first year of planting a complete fertilizer of 15: 15: 15 is used. The plants need equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for the vegetative growth. For poor soils CCM 22 can be used and this seems to be a better compound fertilizer 15: 15: 15.

For the second year NPK Blue Special is used instead of CCM 22. At this stage the plants need more potash than nitrogen. NPK Blue Special is used until the plants matured following the rates and schedule mentioned above.

For matured trees, 1.36 - 2.26 kg/tree is applied every six months. The amount and kind of fertilizer to apply on bearing trees will vary with the condition of the tree, the size of the crop and other environmental factors.


Young mango trees of most varieties ordinarily require little pruning since normally they assume a desirable symmetrical form. Training by pruning is desirable with certain varieties which tend to spread irregularly with long branch growth. Elimination of low side shoots and the heading back of shoots higher in the tree will tend to promote a more desirable and stronger framework. Generally, the main stem is allowed to grow to a height of 1 meter; any branches growing below this height are pruned. Three main branches are then allowed to grow. Above this point the branches should be at different points along the main stem.
The only pruning usually given until bearing trees start to crowd each other is the removal of dead wood and branches weakened by pests and diseases.



Seedling mangoes come into bearing in 4 to 7 years, while grafted trees may bear a few fruits the second year in the field. It is advisable to remove the fruit the first and second years but grafted tre,es should be able to set and mature a small crop by the third year. However, this again is dependent on the clones: Apple mango tends to bear fruit earlier than Harumanis. Generally grafted mango trees will begin to bear 2 - 4 years after planting.

One of the greatest drawbacks in growing mango has been the tendency for varieties of attractive appearance and good eating quality to bear erratically.

Productivity is dependent on a number of factors in addition to an inherited characteristic towards fruitfulness. Size of the previous crop, number of vegetative flushes and time of year when they are produced, weather conditions during the flowering period, control of insect infestations and diseases, the fertilizer program, pollination and other variables are involved.

At this time long-term yield records of the promising clones grown in Malaysia are not available. However, it has been recorded that a 4-year old Harumanis mango tree can produce up to 400 lb/year (Singh, Gurchan pers.comm.). Greater yields are possible with good management and favourable weather. Production also varies with clones.


The usual practice is to harvest fruit only when there is a change from green to yellow in the ground colour of the skin. This generally occurs about 15 - 20 weeks after bloom. With Apple mango and Malgoa the fruits have to be harvested when they are fully ripe, otherwise they will taste sour. For the other clones the fruits can be harvested when they tend to show the change in colour since practically they will ripen satisfactorily on storage within a week.

A maturity test that can be applied even before external colour break occurs which is the colour of the flesh around the seed. Select and cut several representative fruits from a tree. If the flesh is beginning to turn yellow near the seed, the fruit will ripen satisfactorily. If the flesh is completely white, the fruit will probably not ripen to good quality.

The mango is very susceptible to decay when the skin is bruised or. damaged. Careful handling at all times will help prevent loss. Fruit that can be reached by hand from the ground, ladder or mobile platform may be picked by a sharp sidewise or upward twist so as to snap the stem, or the stem may be cut with suitable clippers.



Successful control of fungus disease requires that all susceptible parts of the plant be thoroughly coated with the fungicide before infection occurs. Sprays applied after infection, which occurs several days before the disease is evident, have no effect on disease development.

The most common and widespread disease of mango is anthracnose, caused by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. It causes flowers and fruits to turn black and to drop prematurely. Humidity, rains and heavy dews during critical infection periods greatly increase the disease incidence. Most infections occur from the beginning of flowering until the fruit is about half grown.

Chemical control of this disease is obtained by using any fungicide like Captan, Thiram and Manzate-D. This is applied at the rate of 2 tablespoons/gallon of water during the blossoming and fruiting season. The fungicide is sprayed every 7 days. In very wet areas it may be necessary to spray more frequently, say twice a week.

Stem rot
Stem rot is a term applied to mangos that show a blackening of the stem end of the fruit. It occurs on fruits that are ready to be harvested. Often, external discoloration of the stem end of the fruit is not visible. The skin around the stem may show small blackened spots which are slightly depressed. The cause of the stem rot is not fully understood. It may be due to a deficiency or lack of moisture.

Mango scab
Mango scab is caused by the fungus Elsinoë mangiferae. It attacks leaves, flowers, fruits and twigs. In the early stages it resembles anthracnose. Lesions on the fruit usually become covered with corky brown tissue. Severe infections cause crinkling and distortion of the leaf followed by defoliation.

Anthracnose spray program can also control scab Infection in nurseries can be prevented by frequent sprays of neutral copper on young leaves.

Sooty mold
Sooty mold is a fungus disease brought about by scale insects. Affected leaves and fruits have a sooty black appearance. A heavy infestation of sooty mold can severely affect the producing capacity of a tree.

The best means of controlling this disease is by controlling the scale insects. Malathion is effective against scale insects. This is applied at the rate of 1 ½ fluid oz. per 5 gallons of water, sprayed at 4-5 days intervals.


In general, insects are less injurious to mangos. The fruit can be grown without excessive use of insecticides. However, it is at times attacked by insects such as the fruit fly (Dacus dorsalis), mango weevil (Sternochetus mangiferae) scale insects, thrips and mites.
Young nursery plants are usually attacked by a number of caterpillars. Malathion is used for the control of most of the insects. For Fruit Fly the rate used is 3 tablespoons of malathion in 1 gallon of water, sprayed at weekly intervals.
For the leaf-eating caterpillars, control is obtained by spraying Orthene 1 ½ Tablespoons per 3 gallons of water weekly.
Other insecticides like Bifrin and Dipterax can also be used.  

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Ynus, Norlia. "Mango Culture in Malaysia." Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Fruit Research Branch, M.A.R.D.I. Serdang, Malaysia. Sept. 1984. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

Published  28 Mar. 2016 LR
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