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For high mango yield, CISH recommends tree rejuvenation

Lucknow : Overgrown and unproductive mango trees may get a fresh lease of life through canopy management technology developed by ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), helping enhance the yield.

The dense canopies when trimmed scientifically not only increase the volume of yield over the years but also the size of the fruit.

It is a technology meant for ‘mango rejuvenation’ and can help growers increase their yield and income.

CISH claims that in Malihabad, at least 80 per cent of mango trees have hit the stage where they produce lesser fruits or no fruits because they are overgrown and unmanageable and deprived of the requisite amount of sun.

The overgrown trees have their branches entangled with each other which prevents sunlight from percolating down to branches at the bottom. A mango tree has no age defined. The mother tree of Dussehri at Kakori, for example, is hundreds of years old and still bearing fruits.

The canopy management will keep them in productive stages for years.

Principal scientist, horticulture, CISH, Dr Sushil Kumar Shukla said, “The mango orchards in Malihabad, Lucknow’s mango belt famous for Dussehri, look more like mango forests than orchards because the trees are overgrown, crowded and dense. Canopy management exposes branches to sunlight, the biggest requirement for fruit formation.”

The mango trees develop panicles (branched clusters of flowers) by mid-February. Before that, the dense canopies need to be pruned.

CISH trains farmers in the technique as canopies need to be cut in a scientific manner and not haphazardly.

The canopy has to be managed regularly for three years and the technique would differ for orchards with varying ages. After three years, the tree will rejuvenate and sprout new branches which will increase production. The average yield of a healthy mango tree is over 100 kg of fruits.

The regular pruning of branches will reduce the height of the tree by at least 50 per cent but enhance the size of the fruit significantly. A healthy fruit should ideally weigh at least 250 grams.

“The biggest advantage of this technology is that damage by stem borer in this case is negligible. This is how tall and old and unproductive trees can be dwarfed and productive,” said Shukla.

The rejuvenation work, however, requires obtaining permission from the forest department to cut trees, which takes time. “The research work on mango rejuvenation is still in progress at the institute for developing newer techniques of mango canopy management,” he said.

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