Thinning fruit on a small mango tree

julia42(9a)June 1, 2012

I have a mango tree (Nam Doc Mai #4) that's very young and has set a lot of small fruit (probably close to 100). I bought it last spring and planted it in the ground. Early this spring, I decided that I had chosen the spot poorly and dug up the tree and potted it. It then flowered and set a ton of fruit, obviously way more than it will carry. It's only about a 3' tall tree. It has about a 1.5" diameter trunk, with four scaffold branches where it was pugged.

I've read that mangoes will self-thin by dropping fruits they can't carry, but I'm wondering if it would be beneficial for me to thin some of the fruit early, since there's so many. Should I thin to 1 mango per branch (this would mean about 10, which I'm guessing is still too much), or 1 per scaffold (4), or maybe just a couple total? Should I just leave it alone and see which fruit drop on their own? I'm pretty new to this.

Thanks!

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BestDay23

I'm pretty new to this also but that sounds like a small tree to carry any fruit. We'll have to wait and see what the more experienced people say.

Bill

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 1:24PM
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gnappi

I have 5 mango trees, three of them fruiting. One I pugged severely, the other gave me crummy fruit and I'm probably going to pull it next season if they are not better.

Anyway... My experience with mango is that they do drop all the fruit they cannot support, BUT allowing this they suffer a growth cycle too. In January I bought a little Pickering in a container and it had blooms all over it, I let it drop everything it didn't want. Two came to edible size.

I am glad I did this. because I don't want a tree in the ground for three or more years only to find out that I'm not crazy (see above) about the fruit. Now that I know that I like it, I'll put it in the ground and wait. Maybe it will have several growth flushes this coming year, and next year it may hold more fruit.

Gary

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:01PM
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julia42(9a)

Well, I went ahead and thinned the fruit yesterday. I just figured it would save the tree some energy. I thinned to the 2 largest fruit per branch, and then I'll thin further once they've grown a little more and I can pick better. I'd really like to let it set at least 1 or 2 fruit.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:11AM
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mangodog(palm springs 9B)

Julia - where do you live? If you are in SoCal or some place without the long growing season of say, Florida, I would advise to take them all off, as it sounds like it is a grafted tree. I just did with most of mine because this developing of fruit takes ALL the energy of the tree until they are picked.

That is, unless you are like gnappi and want to taste a fruit or two before you decide if you want to keep it. I just know with my Keitt last year, I let 3 fruit stay on it and it had a total of 4 inches of growth last year AFTER i picked the last one. This year, they've all been recently picked off and I wish I had done it 6 weeks ago when they were forming....

I've been told that a grafted tree THINKS it is a much older tree because it came from another,more mature tree, and thus will think it's OK to fruit....

That's my opinion anyway. We jsut don't have the 12 month growing season that Florida has - more like around 8 months or so, with much overall colder winter temps to also delay the onset of growth....

MangoWoof

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:38PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Gnappi, which mango variety gave you crummy fruit...out of curiousity?

Hi Julia, Mangodog is right...its best to let the tree concentrate and put all its energy to growth. I can't believe your 3ft. NDM's has around 100 baby mangoes, that's amazing! Having said that I can't blame you for wanting to taste at least 1 or 2) fruits and we certainly won't hold it against you,lol...We've all been in the same boat. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:08PM
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mangodog(palm springs 9B)

boy....we sure have!

mangodog

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:50PM
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gnappi

"Gnappi, which mango variety gave you crummy fruit...out of curiousity? "

I don't know, it was here when I got here hidden in a pair of "binary avocado" trees' foliage. Jeff tasted it and we looked for a graft line and found none so it looks like it was grown from seed.

It has been opined that it was a "turpentine" mango but for the life of me I have no idea where the previous owner would get one.

IMO, the answer is to buy grafted trees, but if you do grow one, use it as root stock or work the top to different cultivars.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 7:37PM
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gnappi

I wrote above: "Maybe it will have several growth flushes this coming year, and next year it may hold more fruit"

Well new news, I cut the tips off of all the branches and all are now erupting new growth! YAY!!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 1:50PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Congrats Gnappi!! Tipping mango trees works really well for me also.

I tipped this Glenn tree June 4 2011

Here is it 3 weeks later...June 25 2011

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 3:54PM
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charleslou23

puglvr, by tipping, you're basically trim or prune the top branches?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 11:29PM
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tropicbreezent

Grafted trees are basically the same tree as the one the graft came off. If you remember the cloned sheep "Dolly" of a number of years back. Although it started off going through the lamb stages it died early because genetically it was the same age as the one if was cloned off. In the same way, a graft is a clone of the original tree, biologically having the same age. That's why they fruit virtually straight away.

Another point, Nam Dok Mai is a cooking mango and I don't think it's much good eaten as fresh fruit anyway. So it would be best to take off all the undeveloped fruit to give the root stock a chance to grow to a decent size to be able to support a lot of fruit. Leaving the fruit to fall off itself means the tree gets stressed to the point where a survival mechanism kicks in. (Mind you, stressing trees to produce fruit is another whole new topic.)

Tip pruning is usually done during harvest when the fruit stems are cut back into the supporting branch. Although, on a commercial scale it's done with 'helicopter-type' blades afterwards which trims and shapes the whole tree. But you also need to thin out some of the branches to allow more sun and air into the centre of the tree. This reduces fungus problems and produces better fruit.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:52PM
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charleslou23

cooking mango? None of online nursery websites describe NDM as a cooking mango, more so a dessert mango...

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:22AM
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tropicbreezent

Charleslou23, I replied on the other thread. They are often referred to as "Nam Doc Mai or Cooking Mangos".

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:59AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Charles, sorry for the late reply. YES, tipping is basically
light pruning. Just nipping a few inches off the "tips" off...

Pruning is a little more in length...longer branches are cut.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:51AM
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