In order to protect mango trees from frost and cold, bring any potted mango trees into your home or garage. If you are planting a new mango tree in the ground, choose a location that is sheltered from the wind. If your mango tree is already planted in the ground, spread mulch around the base of the tree to protect the roots from cold. Water your mango in winter, making certain to water the ground thoroughly when cold weather is incoming. Before frost arrives, cover your tree with horticultural fleece and place a lamp under the fleece to provide extra warmth.
Can a Mango Tree Survive Frost?
Mango trees do very poorly in cold weather. They are adapted to tropical and subtropical climates which almost never get cold enough to cause frost. If your mango is not protected from frost, it will suffer damage to its fruit, leaves, and branches.
- Without protection, your mango tree will be damaged by frost.
- A light frost will harm the branches, leaves, and fruit of all mango trees.
- Young mango trees can be killed by frost.
Young mango trees are extremely vulnerable to frost and cold. Temperatures that reach freezing can kill trees that are under 3 years old. Older mango fruit trees are a bit more cold-hardy, but can still be damaged even by a light frost.
How Much Cold Can Mango Trees Tolerate?
Mature mango trees can survive temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4℃). However, they can only tolerate these temperatures for a few hours. A cold night must be followed by an above-freezing day for your mature trees to survive without protection.
- Established mango trees can survive nighttime temperatures down to 25℉ (-4℃).
- Young mango trees can be killed by temperatures below 32℉ (0℃).
- To prevent tree damage and death, protect your mango trees from frost.
Young mango trees are even more susceptible to cold temperatures than larger ones. A mango tree less than 3 years old can be killed any time temperatures go below 32℉ (0℃). Frost protection is a must if you have a new mango tree.
7 Steps to Protect Your Mango Tree from Frost
Proper mango tree care is extremely important when cold weather is in the forecast. Even a little bit of frost and cold wind can harm a mango. Taking the steps below can ensure your tree survives a cold snap without harm.
Bring Potted Trees Indoors
If you have any mango trees in pots, bring them inside during cold nights. The goal is to get them out of the wind and prevent frost from forming on them. Potted plants can often be moved with a furniture dolly to make the task easier.
- Use a furniture dolly to move potted mango trees indoors before a cold night.
- Even unheated indoor areas (garages and sheds) help protect potted trees from frost and wind.
- Consider using a space heater to warm up trees that are stored in unheated areas.
Although you can bring the trees into your home, this may not be possible in all cases. Consider moving the trees into a garage, garden shed, or greenhouse. You can even put a space heater in one of these areas to keep your potted mango trees warm through a cold night.
Plant Ground Trees in Protected Areas
If you are planting a new mango tree, choose a location that is protected from the worst of the winter weather. Plant mango trees on the south side of the house, near a building or fence. Here, they will get direct sun and will be shielded from the wind by nearby structures.
- Plant a mango tree on the warmest side of the house—typically the south side.
- Make sure your tree is shielded from wind by a nearby building or fence.
- Do not plant your mango tree in an area that receives a lot of wind in winter.
Avoid planting mango trees on the north side of a home or in areas that are exposed to a lot of winter wind. Wind exposure worsens frost damage for mango trees. They grow best in calm environments.
Mulch the Base of the Tree
It’s essential to add a thick layer of mulch around the base of your mango tree in fall. This mulch layer helps retain moisture and insulate the soil, protecting the roots from cold damage. To properly mulch around your mango tree:
- Spread mulch in a circle around the base of the mango tree.
- The mulch should extend 2–3 feet (60–90 cm) from the trunk in all directions.
- Pile the mulch until it is 3–4 inches deep (7–10 cm).
Make sure you do not pile the mulch up around the trunk of the tree itself. Create a mulch free zone 2 inches in diameter (5 cm) right around the trunk. This prevents moisture trapped in the mulch from damaging the mango tree trunk.
Water Through Winter
Continue to water your mango tree in winter and fall. One to two waterings per-week should be enough through winter. This will help the tree remain healthy and more resistant to frost damage.
- Water your mango tree 1–2 times per week in fall and winter.
- Moist soil resists freezing more than dry soil.
Watering the ground at the base of the tree also helps the soil resist freezing. So, even if a light frost arrives, the soil will remain relatively warm and moist. This can help prevent damage to your tree.
Water Before a Frost
If there is a frost in the forecast for the coming night, it’s essential to water your mango tree. The relatively warm water will provide extra frost protection for the roots of the tree. Water until the ground is well moistened.
- If frost is in the forecast for the upcoming night, water your mango tree that day.
- Add some extra mulch around your tree to trap moisture and warmth.
- Moist, insulated soil will help shield your tree from dangerous frost blankets.
After watering, add some more mulch around the tree. A good mulch layer retains heat and moisture. This provides more protection for your tree when cold weather arrives that night.
Wrap Your Tree in Fleece
Horticultural fleece is the best way to protect your mango’s fruit, branches, and leaves from frost. Use a roll of horticultural fleece to wrap the tree. Make sure to wrap the branches gently, to avoid damaging them. This layer will trap warm air, shield the tree from wind, and stop deadly frost from forming on leaves and branches.
- This horticultural fleece is the best tool for protecting your mango tree from frost.
- Drape the fleece over your tree to protect branches and leaves.
- Secure the fleece to the branches with clips.
- Stake the fleece to the ground, or use a bungee cord to secure it around the tree trunk.
Secure the horticultural fleece to the ground with stakes, or around the tree trunk with a bungee cord. You can use clothespins or similar clips to hold the fleece to branches.
- Lengthen your harvest times.
- Can be reused year after year.
- Ideal for protecting vegetation and plants from cold and freezing temperatures.
Use an Outdoor Light or Hot Water Jug
Believe it or not, light bulbs can help protect your mango tree from cold. Place a lamp with a 60-watt, non-LED light bulb under the fleece, near the tree. The heat from the bulb will help keep the tree warm through the frosty night.
- Place a lamp with a 60-watt bulb under the fleece, beside the tree, to warm the area under the fleece.
- Instead of a lamp, you can use a large jug full of hot water.
- Both these methods will heat the area under the fleece, keeping your tree warm on cold nights.
Instead of a light bulb, you can fill a 1-gallon jug with hot water. Place the water jug under the fleece, near the mango tree. The jug will radiate heat as it slowly cools. This will keep the area under the fleece warm, which stops your tree from freezing.
What is the Most Cold-Hardy Mango Tree?
Gomera mango varieties are the most cold-hardy mango trees. While most mango trees can only survive in tropical and subtropical climates, Gomera mango trees can handle Mediterranean climates with colder, drier winters. If you live in a region that receives occasional winter frosts, search for a local tree supplier that stocks Gomera mango trees.
How Do You Protect Your Mango Tree From Cold Weather
The essentials for mango tree care in cold weather are:
- Bring potted mango trees indoors on cold nights.
- Plant new mango trees in warm, sheltered areas.
- Spread a thick layer of mulch around the base of mature trees.
- Water your mango tree throughout fall and winter to improve its cold hardiness.
- Provide additional water and mulch just before a cold night.
- Use tree wrap to protect your trees from cold wind and frost.
- Place a lamp or hot water jug under the tree wrap, near the tree, to serve as a heat source on cold nights.
These tips are excellent for preserving mango trees during frosty nights. Mangos are sensitive trees, but with the right preparation, they can survive a cold snap without any harm.