Climate and soil for successful mangoes in Western Australia

Page last updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2017 - 11:12am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Mangoes are well suited to growing in many parts of Western Australia. They prefer low rainfall, low relative humidity at flowering, fruit set and harvest, with warm to hot temperatures during fruiting. Mango trees grow best in deep, well drained soil that is slightly acidic. They tolerate dry conditions, waterlogging and moderate salinity.

Suitable conditions for growing mangoes extend across the north of the state from Kununurra to Broome and southwards near the coast to Gingin.


As the mango originated in a monsoonal tropical environment with a period of drought, it is well suited to many parts of Western Australia. The mango will tolerate a wide range of climates, from warm temperate to tropical. It fruits best in areas of low rainfall and low relative humidity at flowering, fruit setting and harvest, and with a warm to hot climate during fruit development.

The mango is susceptible to cold. Young trees may be killed by temperatures below 0.5°C. Older trees will survive a few degrees of frost, but may be severely damaged.

In areas susceptible to frost such as Gingin, selection of planting sites is critical. Ideally, a north-facing slope is most suitable. Adequate frost protection is also essential.

Mangoes will tolerate temperatures up to 48°C without serious damage to established, irrigated trees. However sun-damaged fruit and fruit drop can be caused by excessively high temperatures combined with low humidity.

Mature trees can tolerate prolonged periods of moisture stress as well as having a high tolerance to flooding.

Flowers may be damaged by rain and cold winds in winter and early spring. Hot dry winds can reduce fruit setting.

Cyclones can seriously damage trees, but fruit is usually harvested before the cyclone season. In the West Kimberley and Pilbara, severe cyclones may defoliate trees. The result is often a poor crop in the following season, especially from young trees. Cyclones rarely occur at Kununurra, but strong wind squalls preceding the first wet season storms often cause the loss of large quantities of fruit.

Exposed fruits on the western side of the tree may suffer from sunburn. Varieties such as Glenn are highly susceptible. This can be limited by row orientation so that most fruits are not exposed to the full sun when solar radiation is at its highest.


Mangoes will grow on a wide range of soils from light sands to heavy clays. They do best in areas where soils are 1 to 2 metres deep, well drained and slightly acidic. They also grow well in Carnarvon where soils are alkaline.

Most commercial mangoes in northern Western Australia are grown on neutral to alkaline soils, whereas in the Northern Territory and Queensland they are grown mostly on acidic soils.

On the light levee soils of the Ord River Irrigation Area, trees grow more vigorously than on the heavy Cununurra clays, which provide a slight dwarfing effect.

In Kununurra, many new plantings are going onto the heavy Cununurra clays due to the absence of the giant termite, which can be a difficult pest to control on lighter soils. Generally, on the heavier soils nutritional management becomes more important as this has a great bearing on fruit quality. Light sandy soils, while tending to have low nutritional status, lend themselves to easy management.

Mangoes have only low to moderate tolerance to saline soils. Research is currently being conducted to identify salt tolerant rootstocks.



Tara Slaven