Open Journal of Soil Science, 2012, 2, 155-161 Published Online June 2012 (
Mango Tree Response to Lime Applied during the
Production Phase
Eliozéas Vicente de Almeida1, Francisco Maximino Fernandes1, Renato de Mello Prado2*,
Aparecida Conceição Boliani1, Luiz de Souza Corrêa1
1São Paulo State University, Campus Jaboticabal, Brazil; 2São Paulo State University, Campus Ilha Solteira, Brazil.
Email: *
Received April 2nd, 2012; revised May 6th, 2012; accepted May 25th, 2012
Tropical soils are usually highly acidic and this may hamper mango trees nutrition and production. The objective of this
work was to evaluate the effects of lime doses applied to the soil surface on the plant nutritional status, the production,
and the technological quality of mango fruits. The study was carried out at Selviria, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil,
in a Typic Haplustox. Thirteen year old producing mango plants of the “Heden” variety, grafted on rootstock of the
“Coquinho” variety, were used in this experiment. Lime doses of 0, 1.55, 3.10, 4.655, and 6.20 t·ha–1 were applied to
the soil. Each treatment was replicated 4 times and the experimental units distributed according to a randomized com-
plete block design. Lime (CaO: 390 g·kg–1; MgO: 130 g·kg–1) was superficially applied to the soil and then incorpo-
rated at depths between 0 and 5 cm in the total area of the orchard. The soil chemical characteristics pH, Ca, Mg, K,
sum of bases, and bases saturation, in the 0 - 20 cm layer, were evaluated 16 and 28 months after soil liming. Plant nu-
tritional status was evaluated 12 months after soil liming. Fruit production and technological quality were evaluated
during the cropping years of 2006 and 2007. Soil liming had a positive effect on the evaluated soil chemical characteris-
tics and this improved plant nutritional status and fruit technological quality as well as increased fruit production. These
beneficial effects though were observed only in the second year after soil liming. The highest fruit production was veri-
fied when soil bases saturation was of 72% and the contents of Ca and Mg were of 32 and 8 g·kg–1, respectively.
Keywords: Mangifera indica L.; Productivity; Soil Acidity; Savannah
1. Introduction
Mango (Mangifera indica L.) is one of the most impor-
tant tropical fruits produced in Brazil where it grows in
an estimated area, in 2009, of 74,000 hectares, with a
fruit production close to 1.1 million tones [1]. The South-
east and Northeast Brazilian regions respond, respec-
tively, for 29% and 69% of the total production. Increas-
ing mango production in the central region (where most
of the Brazilian savannah is found) of the country de-
mands a better knowledge of its soils restrictions.
The Latosols are the most widely used type of soil for
agricultural production in the savannah region, since they
represent approximately 46% of the total area [2]. These
are soils characteristically deep and permeable what
makes them ideal for fruit production. On the other hand,
they are also high in acidity, having high concentrations
of Al and Mn and low concentrations of bases such as Ca
and Mg. These are characteristics which make them soils
of low fertility [3]. In acidic soils mango plants may ex-
hibit calcium deficiency what is shown in the plants be-
ing short and more chlorotic than the normal ones, the
leaves show more darkened margins except at their base
and apex, become yellow and fall [4]. Low levels of cal-
cium in the plant may cause the fruit to undergo internal
breakdown, making them worthless for consumption [5].
Although mango tree is considered a robust species [6],
incrementing fruit production and quality demand soils
with corrected acidity.
The response of mango trees growing under conditions
of commercial production to the application of lime to
the soil was not found in the literature. Although lacking
support from research works, indications can be found
pointing the ideal pH for mango trees as being between
5.5 and 6.5 [7] and bases saturation [Ca2+ + Mg2+ +
K+/Ca2+ + Mg2+ + K+ + (H + Al3+)] of 80% [8].
Taking in consideration these comments, the objective
of this work was to evaluate the effects of doses of lime
applied to the soil of a mango orchard on soil fertility,
plant nutritional status, and yield and the technological
quality of fruits.
*Corresponding author.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJSS
Mango Tree Response to Lime Applied during the Production Phase
2. Material and Methods
The experiment was conducted from May of 2005 through
February of 2008 in a mango orchard formed with plants
of the “Haden” cultivar, grafted on rootstock of the “Co-
quinho” variety. The soil was a dystrophic Red Latosol
(Typic Haplustox), of clayish texture, located in the ex-
perimental farm of the Selviria campus of the São Paulo
State University (UNESP), at 20˚14S of latitude,
51˚10W of longitude and at an altitude of 335 m. The
climate is described as of the Aw type according to the
Köppen’s classification system, with a mean annual tem-
perature of 23.7˚C. The total annual precipitation values
were of 1064 mm in 2005, 1665 in 2006, 1309 in 2007,
and 596 mm in January of 2008.
In March of 2005, soil samples, taken from the plant
rows and between rows, were submitted to chemical ana-
lyses to determine soil fertility with the following results:
pH(CaCl2): 4.7 and 4.7, Organic Matter: 30 and 26
g·dm–3, P (resin): 7 and 9 mg·dm–3, K: 1.5 and 0.9, Ca:
23 and 16, Mg: 16 and 11, H + Al: 42 and 42, Al: 3 and 4
mmolc·dm–3, and V: 49 and 40%, Cu: 3.6 and 3.1 Fe: 42
and 34, Mn: 13.3 and 9.5, Zn: 0.6 and 0.5, and B: 0.13
and 0.18 mg·dm–3, respectively.
The treatments were distributed in the field according
to a randomized complete block design, with 5 replicates.
The amount of lime to be applied was calculated to cause
saturation bases to reach 80%. The value taken in con-
sideration was that resulting from the soil sampling made
between rows at a depth of 0 - 20 cm, according to pro-
cedures described by Quaggio et al. [8]. Lime (CaO =
390 g·kg–1; MgO= 130 g·kg–1; reactivity of 89% and
Total Neutralization Real Power = 91%) was applied on
October 25, 2005, all over the area. After being spread all
over the orchard surface, the lime was incorporated at a
depth between 0 and 5 cm with the help of a light disk
harrow implement.
The treatments consisted of lime doses which were
values having as a referential the calculated lime dose to
raise V to 80% at the depth of 0 - 20 cm. The referential
dose was of 3.1 t·ha–1 and the treatments were as follows:
T1: no lime, T2: half the referential dose, T3: the referen-
tial dose, T4: 1.5 times the referential dose, T5: 2 times
the referential dose, or, in other words, the doses were of
0, 1.55, 3.10, 4.65, and 6.20 t of lime per hectare. The
experimental unit was formed by five 10 × 10 m spaced
plants. The three central plants of the experimental unit
were those used for measuring the effects of the applied
The experiment started on april of 2005. Initially, the
plants were pruned viewing the elimination of apical do-
minance, according to recommendation by Kavati [9].
Pruning for cleaning effects was performed after harvest,
during the months of March of 2006 and 2007. Cultural
practices viewing the control of weeds, insects and dis-
eases were made.
During the cropping years of 2005/06 and 2006/07,
fertilization viewing to preserve N, P, and K levels in the
soil was made with basis on soil analysis, according to
procedures described by Quaggio et al. [8]. The follow-
ing amounts of fertilizers (in kg·ha–1) were applied: 30 of
N (in urea), 40 of P2O5 (in simple superphosphate), 39 of
K2O (in potassium chloride), 2 of B (in boric acid), and 1
of Zn (in zinc sulfate). Phosphorus and the micronutri-
ents were all applied in December of 2005 and repeated
in december of 2006. N and K had their doses divided by
3: the first part applied during december, the second dur-
ing march/april and the third in may. All nutrients were
manually spread on the soil surface in an area corre-
sponding to the plant aerial part projection.
Soil samples were taken 16 and 28 months after the
liming procedures at a mean distance of 2 m from the
tree trunk at a depth of 0 - 20 cm. In these samples, the
following chemical characteristics were measured: pH, K,
Ca, Mg, H + Al, according to methodology recom-
mended by Raij et al. [10]. The soil sum of bases (Ca2+ +
Mg2+ + K+) and bases saturation were calculated.
At flowering, 12 months after soil liming, plants nu-
trional status was evaluated in two central leaves from
the second terminal branch flux at the median part of the
plant on the four cardinal points, according to procedures
recommended by Silva et al. [11]. These leaves served
for determining Ca and Mg levels according to proce-
dures found in Bataglia et al. [12]. Number and weight of
fruits in two harvests (November and December) were
also determined. The fruits had their pH and soluble sol-
ids content (Brix) determined by a refractometer and
their titratable acidity (g of citric acid per 100 g of pulp)
by method proposed by Tressler & Loslyn [13].
The data resulting from the experiment were submitted
to the analysis of variance according to procedures found
in Ferreira [14]. The statistical model used was that of
split plots for the analysis of variance for soil and sam-
pling time. Following that, the effects of lime doses on
the studied variables were compared by means of poly-
nomial regression studies.
3. Results and Discussion
The results show that no significant interaction was
found between lime doses and sampling time (data not
shown). Soil liming improved soil reaction chemistry,
increasing pH (Figure 1(a)), decreasing H + Al (Figure
1(b)), increasing the bases Ca and Mg (Figure 1(c))
which resulted in an increased sum of bases (Figure
1(d)), and in bases saturation (Figure 1(e)). These results
are similar to those presented by several authors in which
lime was spread over the orchard surface such as Correa
[15], with guava, and Silva [16], with citrus.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJSS
Mango Tree Response to Lime Applied during the Production Phase
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJSS
y = -0.0357x
+ 0.337x + 4.60 R
= 0.95**
0 1.55 3.1 4.65 6.2
pplied limestone, t· ha
pH in CaCl
y = 0.8473x
- 7.737x + 45.97 R
= 0.98**
01.553.1 4.65 6.
pplied limeston e, t·h a
H+Al, mmol
y = -0.8622x
+ 9.539x + 20.56 R
= 0.97**
y = -0.6095x
+ 6.134x + 10.37 R
= 0.98**
3.1 4.65
pplied limestone, t·ha
Ca, Mg mmol
y = -1.4702x
+ 15.751x + 31.2 0 R
= 0.97**
01.55 3.14.65
Calcário aplicado, t·ha
Sum of bases, mmol
y = -1.2933x
+ 12.696x + 40.39 R
= 0.99**
1.55 3.1 4.65 6.2
pplied limestone, t·ha
Bases satura tio n, %
Figure 1. Effects of lime on pH (CaCl2) (a), H + Al (b), Ca, Mg (c), sum of bases (d), and bases saturation (e) at depths be-
tween 0 and 20 cm of a soil being cultivated with mango plants (mean values of two sampling times). **significant by the F
test (p < 0.01).
It is possible to observe that the dose of 4.65 t·ha–1
(that is a dose 1.5 times larger than the referential dose)
resulted in the highest pH level (5.4) and bases saturation
(72%). Thus, none of the lime doses used in this experi-
ment was capable of raising bases saturation value to
80%, which was pointed by Quaggio et al. [8] as the
ideal one for mango trees. Oliveira et al. [17] also re-
ported that the liming procedure they made use of in their
experiment was not capable of raising bases saturation to
80%. Caires and Rosolem [18] have suggested that this
type of result may be ascribed to losses of Ca and Mg
caused by the soil buffering capacity, to the chemical
equilibrium between lime reactions, and to the coarse-
ness of lime granulometry—the coarser it is, the more
difficult its solubilization in the soil. It is also possible
that the time elapsed between lime application and soil
Mango Tree Response to Lime Applied during the Production Phase
sampling (22 months) was not sufficient for the complete
lime reaction to occur—according to Oliveira et al. [17],
the lime reaction with the soil may take 33 months to
The increment in soil bases (Figure 1(e)) by the lim-
ing procedure brought about an increment with quadratic
adjustment in the leaf contents of Ca and Mg (Figure 2).
The levels of these nutrients in the leaves in all treat-
ments are to be considered adequate in comparison with
those pointed by Quaggio et al. [8] as adequate, that is
Ca: 20 - 35 and Mg: 2.5 - 5.0 mg·kg–1.
The liming procedure did not affect fruit number (F:
0.37 ns) or production (F: 0.54 ns) in the first year of
study. In the second year though, soil liming promoted an
increment in fruit number with a quadratic adjustment
(Figure 3(a)) and also influenced fruit production (Fig-
ure 3(b)). Similar results were reported by Fidalski et al.
[19] who worked with orange of the “Pera” cultivar. Posi-
tive lime effects on fruit production were also reported by
Pavan [20], in apple, Prado [21], in starfruit, Natale et al.
[22], in guava, and Prado et al. [23], in passion fruit.
These effects of liming on mango production are to be
ascribed to the improvement of soil chemical attributes
(Figure 1) and of the plant nutritional status (Figure 2)
specially because liming provides the mango plant with
Ca and this is one of the most demanded nutrients by the
mango plant [11]. Ca is responsible for a larger devel-
opment of the root system of fruiting plants [24] and
these more voluminous root systems cause the plant to
absorb higher quantities of other mineral nutrients and
this permits larger productions of fruits.
The results show that the highest fruit yield was veri-
fied when the lime dose was of 4.6 t·ha–1 (Figure 3(b))
and that at that point soil saturation bases was of 72%
(Figure 1(e)). This value is a little below that indicated
by Quaggio et al. [8] as being the adequate one, that is,
80%, although these authors do not inform whether this
value is applicable for the moment the crop is implanted
or for when it reaches the production phase. The lime
dose that permitted the highest productivity was associ-
ated with Ca and Mg foliar levels of 31.9 and 8.2 g·kg–1,
respectively. These values are in accordance with those
indicated by Quaggio et al. [8], that is, Ca from 20 to 35
g·kg–1, Mg from 2.5 to 5.0 g·kg–1 and Malavolta et al.
[25], that is, Ca from 30 to 33 g·kg–1 and Mg from 5 to 6
y(Mg) = -0.0536x
+ 0.5464x + 6.8 R
= 0.95**
y (Ca)= 0.1921x
- 0.0599x + 28.13 R
= 0.98**
pplied limestone, t·ha
01.55 4.653.1 6.2
Ca, g·kg
Figure 2. Soil liming effects on Ca and Mg leaf contents of mango plants of the “Haden” cultivar.
y = -7.1230x
+67.0510x+512.49 R
= 0.79**
0.00 1.553.104.656.20
Applied limestone, t·ha
Fruit number per plan
y = -0.3954x
+ 3.6323x + 23.46 R
= 0.89**
0.00 1.55 3.10 4.65 6.20
Applied limestone t·ha
Fruits yield, t·ha
Figure 3. Soil liming effects on fruit number (a) and productivity (b) of mango plants of the “Haden” cultivar.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJSS
Mango Tree Response to Lime Applied during the Production Phase 159
Lime doses caused linearly adjusted increments in fruit
pH values during the two years of the experiment (Fig-
ure 4(a)) and, in the titratable acidity, quadratically ad-
justed reductions during the harvest of 2006 and linearly
adjusted reductions during the harvest of 2007 (Figure
4(b)). During the second year of harvest the titratable
acidity of fruits was lower and higher pH when in com-
parison with the first year and this is understood as an
indication of the liming effect. According to Manica [26],
the mango fruits adequate titratable acidity values should
be between 0.11 and 0.56%. It can thus be seen that the
results found in this work are in agreement with those
pointed by that author with the exception of those of the
check treatment and of the lime dose of 1.55 t·ha–1 (Fig-
ure 4(b)). This reduction in the titratable acidity of fruits
when lime is applied to the soil was also reported by Leal
et al. [27] in starfruit.
The results also show that the amount of soluble solids
was not affected (F = 0.53 ns) during the first year by the
liming procedures. In the second year though the amount
of soluble solids increased with a linear adjustment with
lime doses (Figure 4(c)). Rotondano & Melo [28], Leal
et al. [27], Paro et al. [29] report to have observed that
soil liming resulted in fruits with higher levels of soluble
solids and this resulted in the fruits reaching the harvest
point more precociously. The levels of soluble solids
found in this research work (Figure 4(c) 15.8 and 17.6)
are in accordance with those indicated as adequate for
mango fruits by Manica et al. [26], that is, between
11.9% and 28.2%.
4. Conclusions
Soil liming improved soil chemical attributes and this
resulted in improved plant nutritional status and in higher
fruits yield as well as fruits of better technological qual-
Soil liming effects on adult mango plants is slow and it
causes significant effects on fruit yield only in the second
year following liming.
The highest mango fruit production took place when
soil liming caused bases saturation to reach a value of
72% and Ca an Mg foliar levels of 32 and 8 g·kg–1, re-
5. Acknowledgements
The authors are thankful to Empresa Baiana de Desen-
volvimento Agricola S.A. and to the São Paulo State
y = 0.0632x + 3.874 R
= 0.84**
y = 0.029x + 4.002 R
= 0.93**
0.00 1.55 3.10 4.65 6.20
pplied limestone, t·ha
y = -0.0054x
- 0.0068x + 0.62 R
y = -0.0174x + 0.318 R
0.00 1.55 3.10
pplied limestone, t· h a
Titratable acidity
g citric acid per 100g pulp
y = 0.2594x + 15.958 R2= 0.91**
1.55 3.10 4.65 6.20
pplied limestone, t·ha-1
Soluble solids, Brix
Figure 4. Soil liming effects on pH (a), titratable acidity (b), and solid solubles (c) of mango fruits of the “Haden” cultivar.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OJSS
Mango Tree Response to Lime Applied during the Production Phase
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