The first Keitt Mango Tree was grown in the Homestead, Florida yard of Mrs. J. N. Keitt (pronounced “keet”) in 1939. The Keitt Mango Tree was originall Keitt y thought to be a seedling from a Mulgoba Mango, but later studies have indicated that the variety is more likely the seedling from a Brooks Mango. In either case, The large fruits are green with red blush, grow to 7-inches long, and can weigh as much as 3 pounds each.
Keitt Mango Trees grow to mature sizes of about 20 feet tall and 12 to 15 feet wide. They can be grown in the ground in USDA Zones 9 to 11, or in a pots within Zones 4 to 11. Keitt Mango Trees like well drained, slightly acidic soil, frequent deep watering, and a steady diet of fruit tree fertilizer. They are self-fertile but when paired with other late-season mangoes will produce even larger yields.
In USDA Growing Zones 9 to 11 the best way to grow a Keitt Mango Tree is in the ground. Pick a spot that drains well and gets at six or more hours of direct sunlight daily. Prepare a hole that gives the potted tree’s rootball at least 6-inches of growing room on all sides, but that is of the same depth as the rootball. Also be sure the area is free of grass and weeds in a 6-foot diameter circle around the tree base. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain fully. Position the tree rootball in the hole and backfill with 1-part soil and 1-part composted manure. Water the new tree in well.
Once planted, water the new Keitt Mango Tree deeply every other day for two weeks. After this period, reduce watering to once per week, or any time the soil is dry down to two inches. Help prevent weeds and retain soil moisture by adding a 4 to 5-inch layer of organic mulch around the tree. Keep mulch 6-inches away from the base of the trunk and always remove any fallen fruit or trimmed branches from the area under the Keitt mango Tree.
Keitt Mango Harvesting and Uses
Even ripe and ready to pick Keitt Mangoes will remain mostly green. Harvest Keitt Mangoes when the fruits begin to develop their red blush. They are ready to peel and eat when they yield to a slight squeeze. Ripe Mangoes can be eaten fresh, or peeled, sliced, and frozen for use in smoothies or baking. Mangoes are great for making ice cream, cobbler, and jam. Many Caribbean and Asian dishes use Mangoes in stews, rice, and as a topping for cooked fish.
Mango trees drop many leaves over the course of a year, but this need not be a problem. In fact, Mango leaves make excellent mulch under other fruit trees or in the vegetable garden. You can also add raked Mango leaves to the compost pile and turn them into rich plant food. Unlike many other fruit trees, the wood from Mango Trees should not be used as cooking fuel. Mango wood contains certain compounds that can cause irritation. However, dried Mango wood can be used to make bowls, trays, and decorative items like carvings and signs.
A Keitt Mango Tree will grow the most fruit when planted in a spot that receives at least six hours of sun each day. The trees are compact compared to other Mango varieties, so they only need about 12-feet of growing room on each side. That means you can fit a Keitt Mango Tree into a smaller garden that you may have thought too small for a larger tree. You can also keep the trees even smaller by pruning them each year after the fruit is harvested.
If you live in a colder area, you can still grow a Keitt Mango Tree in a container and bring it indoors over winter. Use a pot that gives the roots at least 3-inches of growing room on all sides. The pot must have drainage holes, and leave a 2-inch space between the soil top and the pot’s top edge for watering. Repot into progressively larger pots each year in spring until the Keitt Mango Tree is growing in a 15-gallon pot or larger. Also, reduce the recommended amount of fertilzer by ½ when feeding potted Mango Trees.
Can Keitt Mangoes be grown from seeds?
Mango Seeds will sprout and grow fruit-bearing trees. However, the resulting fruit may be of lesser quality than the parent tree. Grafted Trees are the best bet for getting a true Keitt Mango Tree.
Do I have to Prune my Keitt Mango Tree?
Keitt Mango Trees need not be pruned in order to bloom and produce fruit. The trees can be pruned to maintain them at smaller sizes.
How Cold Hardy is a Keitt Mango Tree?
Keitt Mango Trees can survive short periods of temperatures below 40ºF, but freezing can damage fruit, leaves, and trees. Cut back frost-damaged trees in spring and water once per week until new growth appears.
Do Keitt Mangoes turn orange when ripe?
Many Mangoes ripen to an orange or red-orange color, but Keitt Mangoes stay green even when mature and ready to pick. They will develop a reddish blush as they mature.
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