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Mango:King of all the fruits

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mango-cultivation

How to Cultivate Mango for Effective Output

Mango (Mangifera indica L) is one of the choicest and most ancient fruits known to mankind. It occupies a pre-eminent place amongst the sub-tropical fruits grown in Jammu region and occupies an area of 10,661.89 hectares with annual yield of 12,064.22  metric tones (2009-10).

It is extensively grown in Jammu district and also in the sub-tropical areas of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri, Udhampur and Reasi districts. However, in India, the total area under mango cultivation is 2.31 m ha with a production of 12.75 million tones.

How to Cultivate Mango: Appropriate Climate and Soil requirement

Mango thrives well up to 1400 m above mean sea level provided locality is frost free and there is no high humidity or rains during flowering.

The favourable temperature is 240C to 270C, however, it can tolerate temperature as high as 480C provided that trees are getting regular irrigation.

Mango has been found to grow on a wide range of soils. However, deep and well-drained loam to sandy loam soils are most suitable for mango cultivation.

Heavy black cotton, alkaline and water soils should be avoided. The ideal range of soil pH for mango cultivation is 5.5 to 7.5.

When we focus on how to cultivate mango we should also know about key Mango Cultivars

Bombay Green (Malda)

This is one of the earliest varieties of North India, harvested by the end of June. Fruits are medium sized having strong and pleasant flavour. Pulp is soft and sweet.

Dashehari

This is the mid season mango variety ripens in first half of July and most popular in North India. Fruits are medium sized with pleasant flavor, sweet and fibrous pulp.  Its keeping quality is good.

Langra

This is also a mid season cultivar and ripens in 2nd half of July. Fruits are medium to large in size, flesh is firm, fiber less, lemon yellow and strongly flavoured. This is an important variety of North India.

Samar Bahisht Chausa

This is a late maturing variety of North India ripening in first fortnight of August. Fruits are large with light yellow colour with soft and sweet pulp. It is shy bearing.

Some of the important hybrids of mango are

1)         Mallika,           2)         Amarpali

Cultivar Amarpali is dwarf and preferred for high-density plantations.

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Propagation and Rootstock

Rootstock used for grafting is grown from stones of seedling trees. The stones are sown soon after they are removed from the ripe fruit as they loose their viability very soon.

Before sowing, stones should be immersed in water and only those stones are sown which sink in water as these are considered to be viable.

The stones are sown in July-August in well-prepared beds. Stones are placed in the soil with the plumule up as it avoids dislocation of seedlings. The stones after sowing are covered with the mixture of sand and farmyard manure.

The seedling assumes graftable size in next July – August but some of the well cared seedlings become fit for grafting even in March-April.

Grafting methods

Mangoes can be propagated by several methods but it has been observed that veneer and side grafting are efficient as well as cheaper than inarching method.

The following points should be kept in view, while selecting and preparing  scion wood for grafting.

(i)  The scion sticks should have equal thickness to rootstock.

(ii) The scion sticks should be selected from terminal non-flowered shoot, which is of about 3 to 4 months of age.

(iii) The scion stick should be defoliated leaving a portion of petiole 7-10 days before their detachment from the mother plant.

Grafting time

Grafting can be done from March to April and from mid August to September.

Planting

The pits are dug during summer and filled with 20-25 kg   well rotten   farm-yard manure and garden soil.   The distance of   planting varies with cultivars. However, 8-10 m distance in both ways is   advocated.

During planting, earth ball should remain intact and graft union should be   above the ground level.   The following points should be kept in view while selection of   plant   materials:

(i)  Plants should be  obtained  from  reliable  nursery  and  should  be  of  known  pedigree.

(ii) The  graft  union  should  be  smooth  and  above  25cm  from  ground  level.

(iii) The  plants  should  be  vigorous  and  straight   growing  and  free  from  various  insect-pests/ diseases.

(iv) The  plant  should  be  taken  out  with  good  sized  earth  ball  to  keep   maximum  part  of  root  system  intact.

(v) The  plant  should  be  handled  carefully  during  transit    to  keep  the  graft  union  as  well  as  the  earth  ball  in  sound  condition.

After care of young plants

(i) Provide irrigation to   the newly planted young fruit plants.  Avoid heavy watering   and stagnation of water in their basins.

(ii) Remove / pinch off stock sprouts   whenever they appear.

(iii) Remove tying material at the bud/ graft union, otherwise it may cause constriction.

(iv)Provide support to the plants for   their upright growth.

Protection from frost and hot weather

The key element of how to cultivate mango is protect the young plants for at least 3-4 years against frost and low temperature injury by covering them with suitable thatching material.  Irrigation can also be useful to ward off ill effects of frost.

Protection of plants/tree against hot weather by white washing the lower basal portion of stem is also desirable.

Other measures, like wrapping the stem/trunks of plants/trees with old gunny bags or providing thatches to young plants may also be carried out.

Training and Pruning

Training  of  the  tree  for  well  spaced  branches  is  essential  in  early  years.  The  main branches  should  grow  in  different  directions  at  least  30cm  apart  and  with  good  crotch  angles.

As  mango  bears  terminally,  so  annual pruning   is  not  done  except  removing  over  crowding, diseased and dead branches.

Top-working of inferior mango trees

The  old  unproductive  and  inferior  seedling  trees  which  are  found  in  large  numbers  everywhere,  can  be  rejuvenated  and  improved  by  the  process  of  top-working.

The  selected  scaffolds    limbs  of  inferior  or  unproductive  trees,  desired  to  be  top worked  are headed  back  in  Feb-March. The cut  ends  are  treated  with  Bordeaux paste .

Many shoots emerge within a  short  time  below  the  stubs.  Out  of  these,  2-3 vigorous shoots  per  branch  or  limb  are  selected  and  remaining  are  removed.  These  shoots  make  fast  growth  and  become  suitable  for  grafting  by  August-Sept.  of  the  same  year.

Manuring and Fertilization

Age in Year F.Y.M.Kg/tree Fertilizer requirement  per  tree (g)
Urea Diammonium Phosphate Muriate           of Potash
1. 5 95 50 35
2. 5 190 105 65
3. 10 285 155 100
4. 15 380 205 135
5. 20 475 260 165
6. 25 570 310 200
7. 30 715 360 235
8. 35 865 415 265
9. 40 1010 465 300
10. 45 1155 515 335
11. 50 1305 570 365
12. 60 1450 620 400
13. 70 1600 670 435
14. 80 1745 720 465
15th year and  above 100 1945 770 500

Note:-Apply full nitrogenous fertilizers along with half of phosphorous and half of potash first after harvesting of fruit. Remaining quantities of these two fertilizers should be applied during October with last irrigation. Apply at this time organic manure also, as they are released slowly.

Irrigation

The  very  first  irrigation  is  needed  just  after  planting  in  the  absence  of  rains.  Subsequent  irrigations  are  needed  as  per need  of  the  plantation  upto  2-3 years  or  so.  The  interval  between  each  irrigation  may  be  of  3-4  days  in  summer  to  once  a  fortnight  in  winter  depending  upon  type  of  soil  and  climatic  conditions  .

Bearing  mango  trees  respond  well  to  irrigation  and  they  produce  more  yield  by  increasing  fruit  setting and fruit  retention.   Such  trees  should  be  irrigated  at  10-15  days interval   during  the  fruit  development  period.

Bearing  trees  should  not  be  irrigated  during flowering  stage,  rather  it  is  advantageous  to withhold  irrigation  that  will  induce  more  flowering  otherwise  it  will  result  in  more  vegetative   growth.

Interculture and Intercropping

Young mango orchards should be kept completely free of any weeds. At least one shallow cultivation at quarterly interval (once in 3 months) should be done. Bearing mango orchards are shallow cultivated in the beginning of the monsoon and again  cleaned in post monsoon season.

In the interspace of the mango orchard, certain vegetables can be intercropped viz. onion, tomato, radish, carrot, cowpea, cluster bean, french bean, okra, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, colocasia, turmeric, methi and palak.  Besides fruit crops can also be grown viz  papaya, phalsa and strawberry for initial 4-5 years.

Harvesting and Yield

During first 3 –4 years, any flowering on trees should be removed to develop a good frame work of tree. It is common practice to harvest mango fruits when they start falling from the tree naturally (Tapka Stage).

Fruits should be harvested by using bamboo  hand tool called mango picker.

The yield of the mango fruit varies due to several factors viz age of the tree, variety grown, climatic conditions, soil type, type of tree (Seedling or grafted one), on and off year and management practices followed.

However, from a well grown mango tree (10 year onwards) the yield varies from 40 to 100 kg and may go up to 3-5 quintals per tree at the age of 40 years.

Special problems

Fruit  drop  in  mango

The  natural  fruit drop of   mango  is  rather  severe  amounting  to  about  99%  at  various  stages  of  growth.  Regular  irrigation  during  the  fruit  setting  and development  period  can  reduce  fruit  drop  considerably.

Application  of  plant  bioregulators   like  NAA (40ppm)  or  2, 4-D  ( 20 ppm )  about  6  weeks  after  fruit  set, reduce  fruit  drop  considerably.

Biennial   bearing

This  is  one  of  the  most  burning  problems  since  it  renders  mango  cultivation  less  remunerative  to  the  growers.  Biennial  bearing  is  also  known  as  alternate  bearing.

It  indicates  yield  variations  in  alternate  years i.e.  an  year  of  optimum  or  heavy  fruiting    followed  by a  year  of  little  or  no  fruiting.

The  problem  of  biennial  bearing  is  a  varietal  character  governed  by  genetic  makeup,  and  this  tendency  starts  exhibiting  in  mango  plant  even  at  the  second  year  of  fruiting  and  become  more  serious  as  the  age  advances.

Control measures:

i) Proper  upkeep  and  after  care of orchards,  adequate  manuring   and  proper  irrigation  after  fruit  set  can  help  in  reducing  irregular/  erratic  bearing  in  mango.

ii) Soil drenching with paclobutrazol (5-10g/tree) results in minimum out break of September to October flushes, which results in early and profuse flowering.

Physiological disorders

1. Black  tip

The  black  tip  disorder  of  mango  fruits  is  a  very  serious  problem  in  mango  orchards  located  in  the  vicinity  of  brick kilns.  The  distal  ends  of  the  fruits  turn  black  and  spot  gets  hardened.

The  affected  fruits  become  ripe  prematurely  and  have  no  market   value.  The  varieties  having  more  lenticels  per  fruit  are  more  susceptible.

Control  measures

(i) Shift the site of brick kilns two  kms  on  east and west  and  one  km   on  north  and  south  of  the  orchard.

(ii) The  operation  of  existing  brick  kilns  should  be  avoided  from  February   to  May.

(iii) Increase  the  height  of  chimney  of  the  brick  kilns  near  the  orchard  to  about  15-18 m.

(iv) Spray  borax   ( 0.6 %)  before  flowering,  during  flowering  and  at  the  fruit  set  stage  or  spray  with  2%  sodium  carbonate  at  the  marble-size fruit  stage.

2. Leaf  scorch

Mango  leaves  particularly  old one  show  scorching  at  the  tip   and  margins.  Affected  leaves  fall  down  and  the  tree  vigour and  yield  are  reduced.  The  main  cause  of  this  malady  is  due to  an  excess  of  chloride  ions  which  render  potash  unavailable.

Control  measures

(i) Collect  and  destroy  fallen  leaves.

(ii) Apply  potassium  sulphate.

(iii) Avoid  brackish   water  for  irrigation.

3. Mango  malformation

Mango  malformation  is  of  two  types viz.  vegetative  and  floral.  The  vegetative  malformation  generally  affects  seedlings  of  young  plants  in which  there  is  a  swelling  of  buds  and  formation  of  small  shoots  with  short  internodes  at  the  apical portion and  give  an  appearance  of  witches  broom  like  structure.

In  floral  malformation,  panicles  become  deformed,  and  axis  become  short  and  rachis  thick , due  to  this  inflorescence  look  like  a  cluster.  Malformed  panicles  have  bigger  flowers  than  normal  flowers  and  are  mostly  male.

Control: Following measures can lower the malformed panicles significantly:

1) Deblossoming once at  bud burst stage

2) Single spray of 200 ppm NAA in October

Contributed By:

Dr. Parshant Bakshi

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