If you have a mango tree in your garden, you might wonder how to prune it properly to get the best fruit yield and keep it healthy. Pruning a mango tree is about aesthetics and improving its structure, light penetration, disease resistance, and wind tolerance.
However, pruning a mango tree can have certain drawbacks. It may lead to a reduction in the number of flowering terminals, potentially affecting fruit production.
In this blog post, we’ll look at how pruning mango trees affects their growth and fruit production and share practical pruning techniques.
Why Prune a Mango Tree?
Mango trees are vigorous growers that can reach up to 30 meters in height and 10 meters in width in their natural habitat. However, these trees only work well in some home gardens or commercial orchards with limited space and access. Therefore, pruning a mango tree can help to:
- Control its Size and Shape: Trimming a mango tree helps it stay a good size for easy harvesting and care. It also shapes the tree nicely, letting more light and air in, which makes better fruit and lowers the chance of fungal issues.
- Enhance Fruit Production: Pruning a mango tree can stimulate the growth of new shoots that will bear flowers and fruits in the next season. It can also remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches that might compete with healthy ones for nutrients and water. Pruning also helps spread out the fruit weight and stops the tree from producing too much fruit in one year, which could lead to years of high and low yields or fruit dropping.
- Reviving old, Neglected Trees: When trees have grown too large and stopped fruit bearing, or become unhealthy. Then pruning restores its health and productivity. It removes excess shading branches, promotes fresh growth from dormant buds, and enhances overall tree well-being.
How does Cutting off Branches From a Mango Tree Affect its Growth and Production?
Cutting off branches from a mango tree has both positive and negative effects on its growth and production. Depending on when, where, and how much you prune, you can either enhance or reduce the fruit yield of your mango tree. Here are some factors to consider:
Prune your mango tree after harvesting. This allows the tree to recover from pruning before the next flowering season.
Pruning at this time removes old wood, making way for new growth that bears flowers and fruits in the next season. However, pruning too late in spring or summer can remove the terminals that will flower in the next season, reducing the fruit yield. Pruning too early in winter can expose the new growth to frost damage or delay its development.
Location of Branches:
The location of the branches that you cut off from a mango tree also affects its growth and production. Cutting off terminals reduces flowers and fruits, as mango trees mainly flower on these ends.
However, trimming a few terminals can trigger new growth from side buds, leading to more flowers and fruits in the upcoming season. Therefore, pruning should aim to balance the removal and retention of terminals to optimize fruit production.
Intensity of Pruning:
The intensity of pruning (how much you cut off) also affects the growth and fruit production of a mango tree.
- Light Pruning (up to 10% canopy removal) enhances fruit production by improving light, air, and branch distribution.
- Moderate Pruning (up to 30% canopy removal) stimulates new growth and boosts fruit size and quality.
- Heavy Pruning (over 30% canopy removal) reduces fruit production by removing too many terminals or stressing the tree.
Proper Pruning Techniques of Mango Tree
To prune a mango tree properly, you need to have some tools, precautions, and techniques. Here are some tips to follow:
Tools of Pruning
To give your mango tree a makeover, you’ll need some handy tools:
- Sharp pruning shears for those itty-bitty branches (up to 2 cm thick)
- A pruning saw for those chunky branches that could double as a club (up to 10 cm thick)
- Loppers for the medium-sized branches that are kinda like a happy medium (up to 5 cm thick)
- Pole pruners for those branches that are way up there, like a monkey swinging from the trees (up to 3 meters high)
And to keep yourself safe and sound while pruning:
- Gloves to protect your hands from that sticky sap that might cause some irritation
- Safety glasses to shield your peepers from any flying debris
- A ladder to reach those high-up branches that are out of arm’s reach
- Protective clothing to prevent any skin contact with the sap
With these tools and gear, you’re ready to transform your mango tree into a healthy and happy specimen!
Precautions To Take:
Wear gloves, goggles, and appropriate clothing, and use a ladder if necessary.
Avoid pruning when it’s too hot, dry, or windy out because it can stress the tree or cause the wounds to dry out.
Similarly, avoid pruning during rainy or humid weather as it can increase the chances of fungal infections. Before and after pruning, ensure you sanitize your tools to prevent the spread of diseases.
Also, dispose of the trimmed branches away from the tree to avoid attracting pests or diseases.
Techniques for Different Purposes:
You need to use proper techniques when pruning a mango tree to achieve your desired goals. Here are some common techniques for different purposes:
1. Training Young Trees: The aim is to establish a strong structure with well-distributed branches along the stem. To train a young tree:
- Choose a leader (main stem) and remove lateral shoots below 0.8-1 meter from the ground.
- Select 3-4 scaffold branches (main canopy branches) evenly spaced around the leader.
- Remove competing side branches.
- Trim the leader and scaffolds by one-third to encourage branching.
- Repeat annually to reach the desired height and width.
2. Pruning Mature Trees: This optimizes fruit production, manages disease, and controls size. Start by removing problematic branches like dead or diseased ones.
- Thin the canopy by removing overcrowded terminals and low-hanging branches.
- Cut back overly large branches to maintain a manageable size.
- Avoid removing over 30% of the canopy in one season.
3. Rejuvenating Old or Neglected Trees: Restore vigor and productivity by:
- Removing problematic branches.
- Cutting back the canopy by up to 50% to stimulate new growth.
- Eliminating suckers or water sprouts.
- Providing fertilizer and water support.
- Monitoring and treating pests and diseases.
Mastering mango tree pruning can greatly enhance growth and fruit production. With well-timed, clean cuts on branches and trunks, your mango tree will thrive, yielding delicious fruits year after year.
Remember to prune before the flowering season, promoting new growth. Balance your approach by tending to side branches, removing large ones, and thoughtfully addressing the remaining branches.
Optimize your mango tree’s potential by putting these pruning practices into action. Your tree will reward your care with a bountiful harvest.
I am Gaushoul Agam,
𝐂𝐨-𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 & 𝐂𝐄𝐎,
As an experienced SA Horticulture Officer in the Horticulture Wing of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, I am dedicated to advancing agriculture and farming.
With a mission to address global food safety challenges amid a growing population, diminishing arable land, and the impacts of climate change on agriculture, I founded ToAgriculture. Through this platform, I empower readers with modern agricultural techniques, effective pest and disease control, and sustainable agricultural management, leading to a more secure and prosperous future in agriculture.
With over four years of expertise in field crops and seven years in horticulture crops, my knowledge spans fruit and vegetable farming techniques, adept pest-disease management, proficient irrigation strategies, and the art of grafting. Join me on this journey of discovery as I share insights and experiences to guide readers toward a sustainable future.