How and When to Prune Mango Trees in Australia

Mango trees are not only gorgeous but yield scrumptious fruit when tended to correctly.

For those lucky enough to have a mango tree in their garden, understanding the proper pruning techniques is essential for the tree’s growth and well-being.

In this article, we share the most effective methods and optimal timing for pruning your mango tree.

Is it necessary to prune a mango tree?

While I’ve seen many majestic mango trees in my life, these trees can grow to an enormous height which is not ideal for a normal suburban backyard. 

Large Mango Tree | Fruit & Vegetables

Therefore, it is necessary to prune your mango tree to keep it to a more manageable size and to increase the yield and make the fruit easier to harvest. 

When to prune a mango tree

Something that I’ve learned recently is that mango trees actually do most of their growing in the first two to three years of their life.

Therefore, this is the most crucial time to control the tree’s growth. 

A well-pruned mango tree should have three to four main upright branches or trunks and an open canopy.

You also want to keep the height of the tree to a maximum of four to five metres.

Mango Trees | Fruit & Vegetables

The timing of when to prune your mango tree will depend on the pruning steps outlined below.

How to prune a young mango tree – first prune

You want to do your first prune when the mango tree has reached a height of 1 metre. Do this in spring or summer.

Here are the steps:

  • Cut the main leader branch so that it is around 0.6 to 0.7 metres in height
  • Leave around three to four horizontal branches and cut off the rest
  • Make sure the remaining branches are well spread around the tree
  • Once these branches grow longer than 1 metre, cut them back so that they’re 1 metre long

When pruning any of the branches including the main leader, ensure that you cut below the ring of buds. This is a concentrated whorl of leaves that grow on the stems.

At the base of each of these leaves, there’s a bud that will grow into a new stem.

This initial prune will produce the framework for your tree and is mainly done to control the width of the tree.

How to prune a mango tree after the first harvest – second prune 

The second prune needs to be done straight after you’ve harvested your first lot of fruit. This second prune should be completed by the end of December.

Pruning Mango Trees | Fruit & Vegetables

Here are the steps:

  • Remove any dead or diseased branches
  • Cut back any hanging branches so that future fruit does not sit on the ground
  • Remove any vertically growing branches
  • Reduce the length of the horizontal branches to 0.5 metres in length

Essentially, this should open up the centre of the tree to allow adequate airflow and prevent fungal diseases from taking hold.

How to prune a mango tree before it flowers – third prune

This third prune is done just before the tree flowers and is relatively time-sensitive if you want a good harvest.

Mango trees usually flower in May so it’s best to do this prune in April.

Time it so that it’s done around two to four weeks before the flowers appear.

Here are the steps:

  • Remove any dead or diseased branches
  • Cut hanging branches back so that they don’t reach the ground
  • Remove one major vertically growing branch – this should be done annually
  • If there are any horizontal branches that are growing into nearby trees, cut these back to a length of 0.5 metres away from the nearby trees
  • Make sure the centre of the canopy is nice and open

In subsequent years, you only need to prune your mango tree once a year before it flowers.

And, after a few years, even this prune may not be necessary if your tree has a nice shape and growth habit.


Can you cut the top off a mango tree?

You should cut back the main growth leader or trunk once it reaches 1 metre in height. This will ensure that the tree only reaches a height of around 4 to 5 metres.

How far back can you prune a mango tree?

All horizontal branches can be cut back to a length of 0.5 metres once you’ve harvested your first lot of fruit. When pruning in subsequent years, make sure you do this just before the tree flowers.

How do you control the height of a mango tree?

The best way to control the height of a mango tree is when the tree is young and has reached a height of 1 metre. At this stage, cut back the main leader so that it is 0.6 to 0.7 metres in height.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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