Planting and spacing
Mango seedlings are ready for transplanting when the second set of leaves appears.
- Dig holes 60cm deep x 90cm wide. When digging, separate topsoil from subsoil.
- Ix 1 tin full of well decomposed manure with top soil and put it back into the hole to cover the first 30cm down in the hole.
- Remove polythene sleeves before planting.
- Transplant at the start of rains.
- Make a basin around each plant for harvesting water. Mulch around each plant and provide a cage to avoid damage by animals.
- Mangoes are spaced depending on rainfall pattern.
- Use spacing of 10m x 10m that is 52 plants/acre for high rainfall areas or 8m x 8m giving 80 plants/acre in relatively low rainfall areas.
Management in the field
- Remove binding tape a month after transplanting. If this tape isn’t removed, it will cut into the plant tissues, retard growth and eventually kill the scion part of the plant.
- Remove shoots which grow below the graft union. These shoots if not removed will retard growth or kill the scion part of the grafted plant.
- Plants take long to produce fruits, as the shoots below the graft union will take up most nutrients.
- Farmers are advised to keep their fruit fields weed free.
- Ring weed around the trees and slash the rest of the orchard.
- At the young stage of the crop, intercrop with lowly growing crops like beans or groundnuts.
- It is essential in faster growth
- It helps fend off some diseases and other stresses
- It builds productive capacity
- It helps in conserving moisture and suppressing weeds.
- Mulch the plants immediately after transplanting.
- Add more mulch especially after every weeding and manure application.
- This encourages continuous growth in plants and brings forth good output.
- Plant the mulch at least 1 foot away from the plant.
Maintain a basin around the plant
- This basin is important especially in the districts that experience prolonged periods of harshly dry weather like Soroti and Apac.
- Its purpose is to harvest and hold water for the plants so the plants have enough water for production.
- Irrigate young trees during dry periods.
- Irrigation during the first period prior to first flowering will encourage vegetative growth and increase the size of the first crop.
- Irrigate immediately after fruit set.
- As a rule of thumb, young trees should be irrigated every two weeks.
- In most areas, irrigation is stopped when trees reach bearing age.
- Pruning a mango tree with a view to shaping the tree is not necessary.
- It clearly tends to nature without any human intervention.
- Reduce the number of branches growing from the same point to at most three.
- Pruning is also done at a young stage of trees at the height of 0.5m to 1m above the ground. This is done by decapitating the terminal shoots of the young trees.
- The purpose is to stimulate branching at a young stage of the growth of the trees.
- Grafted trees will begin to produce in the 2nd and 3rd year after establishment.
- Time from flowering to maturity is only 100-150 days depending on variety.
- Sometimes mango plants produce flowers when they are very young and too small to bear fruits.
- When this happens, the fruits should be removed just after formation.
- Flowers should never be removed as the tree will just continue to produce more flowers.
- The best quality fruit is obtained at full maturity.
- The fruit left on the tree until this stage acquires the characteristic mango scent and flavor.
- Fruits for export should be harvested as soon as the green color of the peel begins to turn.
- It is difficult to determine the harvest stage because of major differences from one variety to another.
- Mangoes re best harvested by picking by hand. It avoids injuries to the fruits. The local methods applied for harvesting the local mangoes should not be used for harvesting the high quality commercial trees.
- Throwing stones or sticks and shaking the tree shouldn’t be encouraged. These methods injure the fruits reducing their marketability and shelf life.