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Dwarf mango trees make sense for Taiwanese farmers

In Taiwan, particularly in Pingtung county in the south, farmers grow their mango trees differently from the way we grow them in the Philippines.

Low-growing trees are very much easier to manage. In terms of checking pests and diseases, it is very convenient to observe at close range what the problem is. And it is much easier to apply the cure. For instance, if you have to spray the plants against insects, that can be done very conveniently.

In the case of mangoes in the Philippines which are allowed to grow as high as 20 meters, it can be very laborious and expensive to spray just one tree. Inducing the tall tree to bear flower can also be very tedious. And when the flowers are overtaken by rain or shower, they have to be sprayed with fungicide immediately to save them. Applying the fungicide too late would be useless.

The recommendation these days is to wrap the fruits with paper bags while they are still small to protect them from the very destructive fruitfly and other insect pests. Bagging will result in more beautiful skin of the fruits, and it will also mean less sprayings to keep the insects away. Which also means less expense.

In tall trees, bagging the fruits is very expensive because the baggers have to go up the tree to reach the developing fruits. In the case of the dwarf mango trees in Taiwan, bagging is easy as ABC.

Harvesting is also very much more convenient in dwarf trees. Harvesters don’t have to climb the trees. And the fruits are handled more carefully resulting in fewer damaged fruits.

You will say that tall trees produce a lot more fruits than the dwarf trees. No doubt about that. Big mango trees can produce more than two thousand fruits per season. But that could be much less if they are not well taken care of.

Dwarf mango trees may produce a hundred fruits in one season. It could be less but it could also be more. While these low-growing trees produce fewer fruits, more trees could be grown in one hectare. At four meters apart, one can plant 625 trees per hectare compared to 70 trees of carabao mango planted at 12 meters apart.

If the dwarf mango trees could produce a hundred fruits each, that would mean 62,500 fruits per hectare. Since the mango variety they are growing in Pingtung is quite big (3 fruits to a kilo), the total yield per hectare could be about 20 tons. That’s not bad at all from trees that are much easier to manage.


Publication date: 7/17/2014

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