So Whose Mango Is It Anyway? Comment(s)

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I found your article interesting, as I, and my family, are “mango hunters”.  In fact, we make a yearly trip from NC to Florida, to the area in which I was raised, to pick a carload of mangoes, after which we return to our current home. 

In our case, we almost always ask permission (In some cases the trees are on public property, in some cases on vacant land with rotting mangoes on the ground that lead us to believe that no one is using them.), and, over the nine years we’ve been doing this, we’ve developed a list of homeowners who look forward to our arrival each mango season.  In some cases the people do not like mangoes, and hate the mess created by them rotting on the ground.  In some cases we pick the trees clean and leave an agreed-upon amount of mangoes for the property owner, or we might just take an agreed-upon number.  We are prepared to pick up to 20’ off the ground, standing on the ground, and we can reach over fences if the situation demands:  one property owner has large dogs in their backyard, so we stay outside to pick.

We have had one experience that speaks to your column, a situation where the owner of a small mango farm sold property along the edges of his farm to people who built homes.  In one case, some of his trees had limbs extending over the fence.  In Florida, your property legally extends vertically from your property boundaries, and tree limbs extending from your neighbor’s property become your property.  You can cut the limbs off at your property line, if you wish.  If there is fruit on the limbs, you own the fruit. The person on whose property the tree grows has the right to trim his tree so the limbs/fruit do not extend past his property line, but that is his only right.  If he has a friendly relationship with his neighbor, the neighbor might be open to letting him harvest the fruit, but it is not a legal right.  In this particular situation, the reverse was true:  the neighbors did not get along.  The homeowner did not like mangoes, and gave us permission to pick them, which we did for two years, until the tree owner trimmed the tree back, to prevent us taking “his mangoes”. (Actually, we shared the mangoes with him one year, to try to keep the peace, but he was not happy even with that arrangement.)

The laws in your state may be different than those in Florida.  I lived in Florida for 30+ years, from the time I was very young, and mango trees grew everywhere, with a high percentage of people originally from the north who did not like the fruit.  We had a readily available supply each year, as many as we wanted for the asking.  Those unwilling to ask, those who try to stretch what they’ve been given permission to do, should expect to be told to take a hike.  We’ve had no problem getting a full load each year, and we have a freezer full of mango slices for our two family’s use through-out the year.

Posted by glassblaster  on  06/24  at  06:56 PM

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