Tommy Atkins Mango Tree: Best Choice for You? (Full Guide)

Is the Tommy Atkins mango tree the perfect choice for you? Let’s find out.

The Tommy Atkins mango tree generally takes between 3 and 5 years to bear fruit after planting though this can vary based on the growing conditions. Grafted and air-layered trees produce much faster (1-2 years), but trees grown from seed often don’t produce for 6-7 years.

Key Takeaways

  • Tommy Atkins mangoes are a resilient and widely loved commercial mango variety with a balanced tropical flavor and a notable red blush on their skin.
  • These mangoes are ideal for a range of culinary uses, from fresh consumption to inclusion in salsas, baked goods, and frozen treats.
  • Tommy Atkins mango trees thrive in specific Grow Zones and require specific care to bear healthy fruits, which includes monitoring for common pests and diseases.
  • Tommy Atkins mangoes are distinguishable from other popular varieties like Kent and Ataulfo by their appearance, texture, and flavor profile.

Tommy Atkins Mango Trees

Mangoes, renowned for their juicy flesh and tropical flavor, come in various shapes and sizes.

The Tommy Atkins mango stands out among mango varieties due to its rich history and extensive use in the mango industry.

A named mango cultivar, the Tommy Atkins is one of the most popular commercial mango varieties grown.

This cultivar finds its origins in Florida. It is believed that Thomas Atkins submitted the variety repeatedly to the committee of the Florida Mango Forum back in the 50s, but the mango was rejected again and again.

Eventually, he convinced commercial growers to give it a try, and the new cultivar took off.

It wasn’t just another new mango; it was a game-changer.

Botanical nameMangifera indica ‘Tommy Atkins’
Grow ZonesUSDA Zones 10-11
Mature height15-20 feet
Mature width15 feet
Growth rateModerate
Light preferencesFull sun
Ideal soilWell-draining, slightly acidic
Watering needsRegular, but let the soil dry between waterings
Years to bear3-5 years
FruitsDark red blush on skin, fibrous flesh, not too sweet, up to 2 lbs.

General Appearance

The Tommy Atkins mango stands out among mango varieties primarily due to its vibrant, multi-tonal skin. The green skin is almost always covered with a dark red blush with occasional orange or yellow accents.

This cultivar has a thick skin, protecting its juicy yellow flesh within. The Tommy Atkins mango’s broadly oval shape and medium to large size make it easily distinguishable from other mangoes.

Its fibrous flesh may not be as buttery as some other cultivars, but it offers a reliable consistency, particularly valued for its very long shelf life and tolerance of handling and transportation.

Furthermore, the mango sports a lustrous shine when ripe, which makes it a favorite not just for consumption but also as a decorative fruit in many tropical displays.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

The Tommy Atkins mango tree is a vigorous grower, especially when provided with ideal growing conditions. Within the first few years, the tree showcases a rapid growth rate.

This mango tree can reach a mature height of about 30 to 40 ft. However, in controlled environments or when pruned effectively, it can be maintained at a height of around 15 ft., making it more manageable for harvesting.

The Tommy Atkins mango tree’s width, or canopy spread, is typically around 25 ft. when fully mature. Its robust structure and dense foliage make it a prominent fixture in gardens and orchards.

Its stature signifies not just its productivity but also its resilience, especially when faced with common adversities that fruit trees might experience.

Blooms

Blossoming usually in early spring, the Tommy Atkins mango tree flowers are a sight to behold.

These blooms, although small, cluster together to form a flamboyant display of yellowish-pink hues.

Each flower cluster can comprise hundreds of individual flowers, which attract various pollinators. These flower clusters are not just pivotal for fruit setting but also add an ornamental charm to the tree.

The blooms last for several weeks, setting the stage for the impending mango season.

Fruits

A whole Tommy Atkins mango, one sliced in half, and one sliced and diced into small pieces.

While the Tommy Atkins mango is a popular commercial mango, it’s essential to fully understand the characteristics that have earned it this acclaim.

The fruit is broadly oval-shaped and showcases a mesmerizing blend of green, dark red blush, and occasional orange or yellow accents.

The Tommy Atkins mango’s skin is thick, which aids in its long shelf life and tolerance to handling and transportation with little or no bruising.

Upon slicing the fruit open, you are greeted with vibrant yellow flesh.

The flesh is juicy with a tropical flavor that, although generally not considered to be the best in terms of sweetness when compared to varieties like Haden or Kent, still offers a delightful taste that many mango consumers appreciate.

The fibrous nature of its flesh is a distinct trait of the Tommy Atkins mango.

While some might argue that its fibrous texture isn’t the most desirable, it certainly offers a chewy consistency that holds well in baked goods, salads, and especially in mango salsa.

The seed within is medium-sized, and with careful handling, the maximum amount of flesh can be enjoyed.

Pollination

Mango trees, including the Tommy Atkins mango tree, are monoecious. This means they produce both male and female flowers on the same tree.

While many mango trees are capable of self-pollination, the presence of diverse mango varieties in proximity can enhance the fruit set through cross-pollination.

Bees, butterflies, and even wind play crucial roles in this process. Growers often plant various mango cultivars in an orchard setting to maximize this natural pollination synergy.

Additionally, Tommy Atkins, when cross-pollinated with varieties such as Haden or Kent, can yield fruits that potentially inherit a mix of desirable traits from both parents.

Average Yield

The productivity of the Tommy Atkins mango tree is impressive. A mature tree, given the right conditions and care, can produce anywhere from 150 to 200 fruits in a season.

The initial yield might be lower in the first few fruit-bearing years but generally increases as the tree grows in size and vigor.

Factors like consistent watering, proper fertilization, and effective pest management play pivotal roles in ensuring a bountiful harvest.

For commercial mango growers, the Tommy Atkins is a reliable choice due to its consistent yield and the fruit’s favorable handling and transportation characteristics.

Tommy Atkins Mango Pros

  • With its vibrant green skin almost always covered with a dark red blush with occasional orange or yellow accents, the Tommy Atkins mango is visually appealing, making it a favorite in markets worldwide.
  • One of its most significant advantages is its long shelf life. Its thick skin ensures little or no bruising during transportation, making it a primary choice for import and commercial use.
  • This mango variety is resistant to many common diseases that typically afflict mango trees. Its hardiness extends to its adaptability in varying soil types and climates.
  • As a popular commercial mango, Tommy Atkins provides growers with consistent and bountiful yields, ensuring a steady supply for mango consumers.
  • Its fibrous flesh, while not everyone’s favorite for raw consumption, works wonders in culinary applications like mango salsa, baked goods, and smoothies.

Tommy Atkins Mango Cons

  • One of the most common criticisms of the Tommy Atkins mango is its fibrous flesh. Many mango enthusiasts prefer a smoother, butter-like consistency found in varieties like the Kent or Ataulfo.
  • Not considered to be the best in terms of sweetness, it might not cater to those who seek an intensely sweet mango experience.
  • The Tommy Atkins mango has a relatively large seed, which means slightly less flesh to enjoy compared to some other varieties.
  • While the Tommy Atkins mango tree is resilient against many diseases, it can occasionally attract pests that love its succulent leaves and fruits. Regular monitoring and interventions like neem oil applications might be required.

Tommy Atkins Mango Tree Growing Conditions

Mangoes have long captivated the senses with their rich flavors, tantalizing aroma, and beautiful aesthetics.

Among mango varieties, the Tommy Atkins mango tree holds its unique place, especially in commercial mango orchards.

Whether you’re a grower hoping to diversify your orchard or a home gardener keen on adding a tropical touch, understanding the optimal growing conditions for the Tommy Atkins mango tree is paramount.

This section explains the specific requirements that ensure a bountiful yield and a healthy, thriving tree.

Grow Zones

The Tommy Atkins mango tree flourishes in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-12. These zones, comprising about 80% of mango plantations, provide the warmth and consistent temperature essential for the mango’s growth.

While it’s commonly planted in regions like Florida and Jamaica, many growers in contiguous US states have successfully cultivated it by bringing it indoors during the winter.

This adaptability makes it a favored choice among mango cultivators across diverse regions.

Sun Requirements

Like most fruit trees, the Tommy Atkins mango tree thrives in full sun.

A minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily is crucial for optimal fruit production and ensuring that its green skin obtains a dark red blush.

Trees grown in shady conditions tend to bear fewer fruits and can be more susceptible to fungal infections.

It’s essential to ensure the tree’s placement allows for ample sunlight throughout the year.

Soil Preferences

While the Tommy Atkins mango tree showcases a level of adaptability to various soil types, it thrives best in well-draining soil. The ideal pH range is 5.5 to 7.5.

A blend of loamy and sandy soil, rich in organic matter, offers the best environment for root growth. Proper soil ensures adequate moisture retention without waterlogging the roots.

Regular soil tests can help in amending its richness and pH to the tree’s liking. When planting, adding compost or organic matter around the root ball can boost the soil’s nutrient content, promoting robust growth.

Planting Tips

  • Always opt for grafted Tommy Atkins mango saplings from a reputable nursery. Grafting ensures you get a tree genetically similar to its parent, which translates to reliable fruit production.
  • Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper. The top of the root ball should be slightly above ground level to prevent water from pooling around the trunk.
  • After planting, adding a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch around the tree (avoiding the trunk) helps retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature.
  • If planting multiple trees, ensure a spacing of at least 25-30 feet between each tree. This allows ample growth space and prevents competition for resources.
  • Once planted, water the tree generously to settle the soil and ensure the roots have adequate moisture to kickstart their growth in the new environment.

Tommy Atkins Mango Tree Care

Tommy Atkins mango trees, with their impressive stature and abundant yields, have become a staple in many orchards and gardens.

However, as with all fruit trees, achieving such productivity and beauty doesn’t come without its share of dedication.

The care given to a Tommy Atkins mango tree directly correlates to its health and bounty.

From regular watering to judicious pruning, let’s explore the best practices to ensure your Tommy Atkins mango tree thrives.

Watering

A young Tommy Atkins mango tree requires consistent moisture to establish its root system.

During the first few months post-planting, water the tree 2-3 times a week, ensuring the soil remains damp but not waterlogged.

As the tree matures, you can reduce the frequency, focusing on deeper, infrequent watering to encourage root growth.

While the tree is resistant to drought once mature, it’s essential to monitor the soil moisture, especially during fruit-bearing seasons, to ensure a healthy yield.

Using a soaker hose or drip irrigation can provide consistent moisture without wetting the foliage, which could attract fungus or pests.

Mulching

Mulching serves multiple purposes for the Tommy Atkins mango tree. A good layer of organic mulch, like wood chips or straw, helps retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Apply a 2-3 inch layer around the tree, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot or pest infestations.

Over time, as the mulch breaks down, it also adds beneficial nutrients back into the soil.

Fertilization

Tommy Atkins mango trees, like most fruit-bearing trees, appreciate a nutrient boost to support their growth and fruit production.

During the initial growth years, fertilize the tree every 2-3 months with a balanced fertilizer. As it matures, you can reduce this frequency.

Ensure that the fertilizer has adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and essential micronutrients.

Monitoring the tree’s growth and the soil’s nutrient content can provide insights into specific fertilizer needs.

Be careful not to overfertilize because excessive nutrients can hinder fruit production and even damage the tree.

Pruning

Pruning is an essential aspect of mango tree care, especially for the Tommy Atkins mango tree.

It helps in shaping the tree, removing dead or diseased branches, and promoting better air circulation.

After the fruiting season, inspect the tree for any weak, overlapping, or pest-infested branches. Using clean, sharp shears, prune these branches to maintain the tree’s health and shape.

Proper pruning can also stimulate better fruit production in subsequent seasons, but incorrect pruning or pruning at the wrong time of year can negatively impact fruit production for several years.

Harvesting

The allure of the Tommy Atkins mango lies in its visually captivating appearance and its robust, fibrous flesh.

When ripe, the mango showcases its signature green skin, almost always covered with a dark red blush with occasional orange or yellow accents.

It’s essential to wait until the fruit fully matures on the tree before harvesting. Generally, the fruit’s slight softness, a sweet aroma at the stem, and a change in skin color indicate ripeness.

Use clean, sharp shears to cut the fruit, leaving a short stem attached. This helps in extending the mango’s shelf life post-harvest.

Pests & Diseases

Tommy Atkins mango trees, while resilient, are not immune to pests and diseases.

For all pests and diseases, regular inspection of your Tommy Atkins mango tree is essential. Catching issues early can be the difference between a minor treatment and a major problem.

Using organic and environmentally friendly treatments can also ensure the fruit remains safe for consumption and the local ecosystem is not adversely affected.

By understanding the common threats and how to combat them, you can ensure a healthy, thriving tree that produces bountiful yields year after year.

Mango Fruit Fly

One of the major threats to mangoes globally, the fruit fly lays its eggs inside the mango fruit, causing it to rot.

Prevention involves regular monitoring, using pheromone traps, and ensuring fallen fruits are cleared and disposed of promptly.

Scale Insects

These tiny pests suck sap from the tree, weakening it and potentially introducing diseases. They can be controlled using neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Mango Hoppers

These pests suck sap from mango trees, causing the leaves to curl and turn yellow. Regularly spraying the tree with a mild insecticidal soap can help control their population.

Anthracnose

This fungal disease causes black, irregular spots on leaves, flowers, and fruit. It thrives in humid conditions.

To prevent and treat anthracnose, ensure good air circulation around the tree, prune regularly, and use fungicides recommended for mango trees.

Powdery Mildew

Recognizable by the white powdery substance on leaves and flowers, this fungus can reduce fruit yields.

Control measures include ensuring proper air circulation, pruning, and using sulfur-based fungicides.

Bacterial Black Spot

This disease manifests as raised black spots on the fruit and leaves. Infected fruits may drop prematurely.

To manage bacterial black spot, use copper-based fungicides and ensure the tree is pruned for better airflow.

Verticillium Wilt

While not as common, this soil-borne disease can be devastating. It causes yellowing and wilting of leaves, eventually leading to the death of branches or the entire tree.

The best prevention is ensuring the tree is planted in well-draining soil and avoiding areas where tomatoes, potatoes, or citrus trees have previously been planted as they can be hosts to this fungus.

Best Ways To Enjoy the Fruit

The Tommy Atkins mango, with its rich, fibrous flesh and tropical flavor, is not just a treat to the eyes but also to the palate.

Incorporating Tommy Atkins mango into your diet not only brings a taste of the tropics to your table but also a host of nutritional benefits.

Whether you choose to enjoy it in its natural state or as part of an elaborate dish, this mango variety is bound to impress.

Fresh Out of Hand

Nothing beats the simple pleasure of eating a Tommy Atkins mango fresh. Slice it up, and enjoy its juicy yellow flesh, or get creative and carve it into fun shapes for kids.

Its slight fibrous nature ensures that the fruit retains its shape even when sliced thin, making it ideal for decorative fruit platters.

Mango Smoothies

Blend Tommy Atkins mango chunks with yogurt, a dash of honey, and a sprinkle of chia seeds to create a refreshing and nutritious smoothie.

Its natural sweetness often reduces the need for additional sweeteners.

Mango Salsa

The robust structure of the Tommy Atkins mango makes it perfect for salsas. Dice it, and mix it with red onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice for a salsa that pairs wonderfully with grilled fish or tortilla chips.

Baked Goods

From mango muffins to tarts, the Tommy Atkins mango can be a delightful addition to baked goods.

Its fibrous flesh ensures it doesn’t become overly mushy when baked, allowing for defined mango chunks in every bite.

Preserves and Chutneys

Given the Tommy Atkins mango’s long shelf life, it can be used to prepare preserves, jams, and chutneys that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Its slightly tart undertone complements the sweetness in such preparations, creating a balanced flavor profile.

Frozen Treats

Pureed Tommy Atkins mango can be the base for various frozen delights such as ice creams, sorbets, and popsicles.

Its intense tropical flavor ensures every cold treat is a burst of summer, regardless of the season.

Grilled Mango

With a slight brush of honey or maple syrup, Tommy Atkins mango slices can be grilled to perfection. The grilling intensifies the mango’s flavor, adding a smoky undertone, making it a unique dessert or side dish.

Where To Buy

For those looking to plant a Tommy Atkins mango tree, trusted nurseries are the best bet. Always ensure that the nursery adheres to USDA regulations and provides healthy grafts or seedlings.

A fantastic option is to order through an online nursery. This is where you’ll often find the healthiest trees that come backed by a guarantee. Some excellent nurseries include:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Tommy Atkins Mangoes Good?

Tommy Atkins mangoes are one of the most popular commercial mango varieties in the world, especially in the U.S. and Latin America.

Their resilience, long shelf life, and eye-catching red blush make them a preferred choice for many mango consumers.

While their taste might not be considered the best in terms of sweetness when compared to other varieties like Kent or Haden, they offer a balanced tropical flavor with fibrous, juicy flesh.

Their extensive planting in regions like Florida and Jamaica underscores their appeal.

How Do You Know When a Tommy Atkins Mango Is Ripe? 

Tommy Atkins mangoes undergo a noticeable transformation as they ripen. Their green skin gets covered with a dark red blush with occasional orange or yellow accents.

Pressing the mango gently and feeling a slight give is another indicator of ripeness. The aroma near the stem will also become sweet and fruity.

However, as with many mango varieties, the best method to determine ripeness is a combination of color, feel, and aroma.

What Is the Difference Between Kent Mango and Tommy Atkins?

While both are cherished mango varieties, there are distinct differences:

  • The Kent mango typically has smoother skin without the pronounced red blush seen in Tommy Atkins. It’s more of a greenish-yellow with occasional red overtones.
  • Kent mangoes are often considered sweeter and less fibrous than Tommy Atkins. They offer a buttery and juicy flesh, while Tommy Atkins has a firmer, more fibrous texture.
  • Kent mangoes originated in Florida in the 1940s, while Tommy Atkins has roots that trace back to Florida in the 1920s.

What Is the Difference Between Ataulfo Mango and Tommy Atkins Mango?

Ataulfo and Tommy Atkins mangoes offer contrasting experiences:

  • Ataulfo mangoes, often referred to as honey or champagne mangoes, are smaller and have a golden-yellow, slightly wrinkled skin when ripe. Tommy Atkins mangoes are larger with a vibrant red blush over green.
  • Ataulfo mangoes are incredibly sweet with a creamy, non-fibrous texture, making them a favorite for desserts. Tommy Atkins has a more fibrous consistency with a balanced tropical flavor.
  • Ataulfo mangoes have a shorter season than Tommy Atkins, which are available for a longer period due to their long shelf life.

Closing Thoughts

The Tommy Atkins mango tree, with its historical roots in Florida, has made a mark in the mango industry.

Whether you’re a grower, a mango enthusiast, or someone exploring different mango varieties, understanding the nuances of the Tommy Atkins mango can guide your choices.

While it may not be the sweetest, its long shelf life, impressive tolerance to handling and transportation, and striking appearance make it a noteworthy contender in the world of mangoes.