The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, February 20, 2000
Garden Life

Tend the king of fruits
By Satish Narula

MANGO is the king of fruits, do not let it fall from grace. Barrenness should not be associated with this fruit. No doubt there is an "off-season" after a season of fruit-bearing. There is, however, no valid explanation for failure. If at all still there is no crop, the problem is self-created. Let us understand the causes and find the remedy.

When the flower penicles emerge, it is time to spray your mango treeThere is natural drop in mango called June drop. There is a gap of one or more years in fruit-bearing which is natural. There are also the vagaries of weather that cause drop. One can understand the losses due to these factors. The major factors that cause failure of crop in our conditions are powdery mildew and mango hopper — controllable and curable.

Just as the flowering in mango starts, both the fungus — powdery mildew and insect mango hopper — appear. Before tackling the problem of insect and fungus, one must get rid of malformed shoots popularly called Kaurh or cancer of mango. When you have full and healthy flowers there is no reason why the crop should fail? Such flowering could be saved with appropriate protection measures. Sometimes the growth of vegetative parts gives a witches’ broom appearance to the plant. This mango malformation could be due to environmental factors, mites, virus and/or fungus.

  The diseased shoots keep hanging on the tree and are the carriers of disease spores or insects. These should at once be removed with a little healthy shoot and destroyed by burying or burning.

With the emergence of flowering penicles, the activity of mango hopper starts. The young ones, the nymphs and later the adults suck the sap from the tender leaves and penicles which become sticky as if sprayed with gum. They may also become sooty.

Thus, weakened inflorescence (flowering penicle) falls as a consequence of even a slight wind disturbance, leaving behind only a stalk. To see the presence of young crawling hopper nymphs, jerk an inflorescence on your open palm. You will see hundreds of them crawling up your hand. Do not worry, they do not bite. For the control of mango hopper you could spray thiodan 35EC, 1.5ml to 1 litre of water at the time of emergence of flower penicles.

Close observation of penicles will reveal the presence of powdery mildew disease in the form of a whitish powdery growth on the flowering penicle.

The penicles turn dark and small fruits and branchlets fall, leaving the main axis naked. Do you want a full crop of mango? Spray karathane thrice, at 1 ml to 1 litre of water, at the time of flower penicle emergence, during flowering and after fruit sets in. The spraying should be thorough. Those who have a tall tree should try to cover the tree from a nearby roof.

This feature was published on February 13, 2000