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Pruning and Thinning of Mango Trees
If trees are properly pruned and thinned, cutting down of trees may be delayed. Pruning and thinning remove unproductive, dead and broken branches, and those damaged by diseases and insects. Otherwise, these might serve as source of pest and disease infection. Pruning and thinning create spaces between trees, giving better light penetration and air circulation., 2002-04-01

When the canopies of mango trees overlap, the trees are usually cut down. This is because old trees with overlapping canopies are not very productive. They respond poorly to flower induction. Few flowers develop into fruits. There is often also a high incidence of pests.

Effectiveness of the Technology

Side pruning and thinning of trees increase fruit yields by 44.5%, and also improve the quality of the fruit. Pruning and thinning reduce the cost of production, particularly of pesticide sprays. There are fewer insect pests and less disease.

Pruning and thinning increase mango yields because they are effective in diverting nutrients and water taken up by the tree to productive branches. Trees have earlier and more uniform growth flushes, faster flush maturation, better response to flower induction, better fruit set and higher yields.

The Technology

When the canopies of mango trees partially overlap, alternately prune and thin the side branches of the trees ( Fig. 1(2)). This should be done according to the following steps:

  • Identify which trees are to be pruned and thinned.
  • Mark the trees to avoid error.
  • Cut the side branches at least 50 cm from the target ( Fig. 2(1)).
  • Cut the remaining branch close to the main branch, and parallel to it. Be sure to make a clean cut.
  • Allow the cut surface to dry, then paint it with coal tar or paint to seal the surface and promote healing of the wound.
  • Remove small branches and dead twigs from the upper half of the canopy.

In the meantime, prune trees growing between those side-pruned ones. Remove dead branches, and small branches inside the canopy, and the middle topmost twigs from each branch.

Returns on Technology

The extra cost invested in pruning and thinning has a good return, in terms of higher mango yields of better quality. When this technology was tested in Pangasinan, Philippines, every US dollar invested in side pruning gave a net return of US$2.75, while every dollar invested in thinning gave a return of US$5.40.

In Davao Oriental, in southern Philippines, every additional dollar spent on pruning gave an additional profit of US$3.42.

Cooperating agency for this topic:

Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines 4030

Fax: (63 49) 536 0016

Index of Images

Figure 1 When Canopies of Mangoes Overlap, You Should Prune and Thin the Side Branches

Figure 2 Cut the Side Branches at Least 50 CM from the Target

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