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  Orchard Establishment


Ikisan - Establishment of Mango Orchard

Establishment of Mango Orchard

  • Establishment of mango orchard is a long-term investment and trees continue to produce fruit for longer years than many other fruit crops.
  • Thus its planting requires proper planning which includes careful selection of site, provision of gentle slope to facilitate proper irrigation and prompt drainage to avoid harmful effect of water logging during rainy season.
  • Similarly, proper maintenance and care is required for profitable return through high production of quality fruits.
  • Special attention is needed in selection of site, field preparation, actual layout of the orchard, proper spacing, digging of pits, selection of planting material and planting, handling of young plants and intercultural operations.

Site selection

  • Selection of suitable site is the first step for a mango orchard on commercial scale.
  • The land which is chosen for mango orchard, planting should be near to main road and market.
  • It should have proper irrigation facilities and have a good soil and climate suitable for growth and production of mango trees.
  • Any mistake in selection of site can not be altered after planting while modifications in other factors are possible.
  • Therefore, selection of site should receive the primary consideration.

Field Preparation and Layout

  • Selected fields should be deeply ploughed followed by harrowing to root out the perennial weeds and heavy clods.
  • This operation provides congenial tilth to young roots for their healthy development.
  • Proper levelling of land follows this and a gentle slope is provided in one direction to facilitate irrigation as well as drainage of excess water during rains.
  • The soils which have drainage problems, should be provided with adequate trenching from the very beginning to avoid serious damage to young plants due to water stagnation.
  • After the proper field preparation one should move for layout.
  • Proper layout of an orchard is necessary.
  • Like selection of site, any mistake committed in beginning cannot be rectified later on.
  • Therefore very careful pre-planning is essential before the actual layout in the field.
  • The system of layout to be adopted is decided according to needs.
  • The main systems of layout usually in vogue are I) Square ii) rectangular iii) Quincunx iv) Hexagonal and v) Contour.

Square System

  • This system is most common for planting of mango orchards.
  • In this system, the distance from plant to plant and row to row remains the same.
  • The four adjacent plants of two rows form a square.
  • It is easy to layout and permits cross cultivation.
  • The only defect in this system is presence of small vacant space in the centre till the plants grow up sufficiently.
  • For actual layout in the field, one boundary line is chosen and along with this line a base line is fixed.
  • Then first line is made at the half of the proposed distance parallel to the base line.
  • Constructing a right angle triangle in a ratio of 3:4:5 draws a second line.
  • The lines of trees are drawn perpendicular to the base line.
  • It is so fixed that the lines meeting it are parallel to the field.
  • Now the position of trees on base line is marked with pegs.
  • From these pegs perpendicular lines, should be marked with the help of cross bars.
  • The plant positions can best be marked on all the four sides and finally in the field by running strings length and breadth wise and by putting pegs at the crosses.

Rectangle System

  • This system is a modification of square system.
  • It is adopted for planting of those fruit trees which require less distance between plant to plant than row to row distance.
  • It has almost all the advantages of square system but cultivation between plant to plant is difficult.
  • In field condition it is drawn in similar fashion as the square system except that the distance between plant to plant is difficult.
  • In field condition it is drawn in similar fashion as the square system except that the distance between plant to plant is less than row to row.

Quincunx or Diagonal System

  • This system of planting is exactly similar to the square system except that an additional sapling is planted at the centre of square at intersecting point of the diagonals of the square formed by four adjacent plants.
  • This system accommodates about 10% more plants than the square.
  • The additional plant at centre is temporary and termed as filler.
  • The fillers are precocious and short-lived.
  • They yield some crop before the permanent trees come into bearing.
  • The fillers make cross cultivation difficult.
  • Many times the grower often delays their removal and this adversely affects the performance of permanent plantation.

Triangular or Hexagonal System

  • This system is based on the principle of equilateral triangle.
  • This layout accommodates approximately 15 per cent more trees per unit area than the square system.
  • It is adopted with the advantage where the maximum use of the land is desired, especially on fertile soils.
  • The cultural operations can be done in three directions in the mango orchards laidout on this system.
  • For actual layout under this system in the field, a base line is fixed in the same way as done in square system.
  • The pegs of the first row are fixed on it at the proposed distance.
  • While making the second row, the first peg on it is so adjusted that it is equidistant from the two pegs of the previous row.
  • After adjusting two such pegs, a straight line is drawn through these and other pegs are fixed at the proposed distance along it.
  • When second row is complete, the third row is drawn in similar fashion as previous one and so on.
  • Six adjacent plants base are connected which form a hexagon and seventh plant is in centre of the hexagon.

Contour System

  • This system of layout is adopted where the mango orchard is established on sloping land of hilly regions.
  • The pegs on each slope are so fixed that each one of them falls in the centre of the slope and makes on a straight line drawn from its bottom to the top.
  • This is easily drawn by putting a string from the highest point to the lowest and locates the positions of the plants along the string.
  • The actual planting is started from lower point towards the upper point.

Planting Distance

  • The main purpose of planning of layout of an orchard is to provide adequate space to the plant for normal development to permit proper interculture operation and easy passage of air and sunlight for the maintenance or orchard sanitation.
  • The planting distance depends on various factors like nature of soil, type of plant weather grafted or seedling and variety.
  • In poor soils plants make slow growth, so require less space while in heavy soils growth of plants remain dwarf sized.
  • Planting distance depends on vigour of the cultivar.
  • The very vigorous cultivars like Langra, Chausa and Fazri are planted at 12 x 12 m while less vigorous cultivar like Dashehari, Bombay Green etc. are planted at 10 x 10m distance.
  • Dwarf varieties like Amarpalli could be planted at a spacing of 2.5 x 2.5 m with a plant population of 1600 per hectare.
  • High density planting of Dashehari mango could be planted at 3X2.5m spacing.

Wind Breaks

  • Before planting of mango orchard, it is essential to reserve some place for planting of wind breaks at the border sides of orchard from which hot and high winds and frost are expected.
  • Windbreak trees are commonly tall having dense foliage and keep the surrounding atmosphere humid.
  • These trees help in minimizing the wind velocity, low or high temperatures which affect adversely the young plants and immature fall of the fruits.
  • Now a days the recommendation of polyethylene sheet as wind break in place of trees are being made.
  • The trees, which are generally used as windbreak, are seedling mango (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.), mulberry (Morus alba L.), shisham (Syzygium cumini Skeels.), bamboo and carambola (Averrhoa caraurbola L.).
  • These trees are usually planted close to each other to provide an effective shield.
  • Tall growing trees like shisham and jamun are planted 6m apart while low headed trees like mulberry and carambola are planted at 7m distance.

Digging and Filling of Pits

  • Before digging the pits, two outer pegs are fixed with the help of planting board.
  • Already fixed peg is kept in the central notch to mark the right point to plant each tree.
  • During digging of actual pit, the central peg is removed and two outer pegs remain undisturbed.
  • These outer pegs help in locating the point where the plant is to be put in.
  • The size of pit depends on type of soil.
  • If there is mild hard pan and stone layer or hard pan within half a metre depth.
  • The pit size would be 1X1X1m dimension.
  • When the soil is fertile and does not have any type of hardmild/hard pan, the size of pits may be of 30X30X30cm indimension.
  • When the soil is taken out of the pit, the soil from upper half is kept on one side and from lower half on other side.
  • This soil is allowed to weather for 2-4 weeks during summer months so that any type of infection in soil may be destroyed by sunlight.
  • Before filling the pit, a mixture of well - decomposed FYM (50 kg), superphosphate (100 gm), murate of potash (100 gm) and fenvulrate dust (250g) is prepared and mixed with upper as well as lower soil of the pit.
  • The mixture of upper soil is filled first followed by lower soil mixture.
  • During filling of pits soil is pressed well so that there is no air pocket inside the pit.
  • The upper level of pit is kept 15cm above from the field level.
  • After filling, the pits are irrigated to settle down the soil of the pit.
  • The purpose of digging and filling the pit is to provide congenial conditions for plant growth and development, specially to young plants.

Time of Planting

  • Mango planting is done during rainy season (July to August) and spring season (February to March) in North India.
  • The spring season is short and followed by a hot dry period of low humidity and hence high percentage of mortality of young plants is observed in the field.
  • In South India the main season is from July to December.
  • The planting is done in evening when the high humidity prevails in the atmosphere, while planting, one should be careful that the earth ball does not break during pressing the soil and the graft union remains well above the ground level.
  • The plants should be irrigated just after planting.
  • During first week of planting one should rectify the defects like sinking of soil and leveling of plants etc.

Selection of Grafts for Planting

  • Mango grafts of desired cultivar are procured from genuine sources as in the long run the performance of the orchad depends on the quality of the plants particularly on the pedigree of the tree, their health and vigour. Normally, sturdy grafts with smooth union having equal thickness of rootstock and scion give good performance in the field and such type of grafts are preferred over weak one.
  • Six-month to one year old grafts having upright scion growth with 3-4 scion branches are desirable for planting as compared to scion having too many branches.
  • Grafts should be purchased from the place having similar soil and climatic conditions that are almost identical with those of the place where the orchard is to be planted.
  • Only those grafts should be procured which have been already shifted in the nursery bed to avoid the mortality in the field.

Digging and Packing of Grafts

  • The grafts prepared by inarching are planted in the nursery after detachment from the mother trees while raised by other methods remain in the nursery bed for 6 months to one year.
  • When the grafts are needed for planting, they are dug out carefully with minimum injury to the roots specially to the taproot.
  • During digging it should be kept in mind that earth ball should be clean, medium in size having about 1-1.25kg. weight.
  • Heavier and bigger earth ball is likely to break and disintegrate in transit.
  • After digging, packing of earth ball is done with gunny bags or with dry grasses.
  • The wrapping of earth ball plays important role in transportation.
  • If loosely wrapped, chances of breaking of ball are more pronounced as compared to tightly wrapped.
  • The earth ball should be tied at collar portion as well as in middle of the ball.
  • Such type of tying avoids breaking of ball during transit.
  • After digging and tying, the grafts are packed.
  • Generally packing is done in medium type baskets.
  • About 10-12 grafts are easily accommodated in each basket.
  • Before packing the dried grasses are put at the bottom of basket which works as cushion and saves ball from jerk.
  • After making cushion the grafts are putin basket, they are tied together with string.
  • Finally the gunny bag piece is placed over the earth ball portion of the basket.
  • The packed grafts are trasnported to any distance by road or train without any damage to the plants.
  • If the distance is long and more time is required in transit, the grafts are sprinkled with water on the way and are handled gently during loading and unloading.
  • After receiving the grafts at the particular destination, they are put under the shade and sprayed with water.
  • Packing is opened and plants are checked.
  • Grafts having sound and intact earth ball are planted in the field and damaged ones are put in the nursery.
  • Generally 5-10 per cent more plants are needed than the actual requirement.
  • These additional plants are kept reserved for replacement of dead plants in coming one or two years.

Planting of Grafts

  • At the time of planting, a slightly bigger hole than the size of earth ball is dug at the already marked point.
  • The wrapping material is removed from the ball and unrapped earth ball is put in the hole in such a manner that the plant remains straight and collar portion of plant is kept in the level or slightly higher than the ground level.
  • After placing the plant in the hole, the soil taken out from hole previously is pressed firmly around it so that the plant is set firmly in the field.
  • During pressing of soil, the earth ball should not be broken.
  • Immediately after planting irrigation is done, the frequency of irrigation depends on the weather.
  • Regular checking of plants is essential to detect the faults like sinking of soil, tilting of plant and cracking in basin of plant after planting the grafts.
  • Sufficient moisture should be maintained till the plants do not set or start new growth in the field.

Protection of Young Plants

  • It is necessary to provide support to the plant by staking in the areas where in high winds is more prevalent.
  • The staking is helpful to keep plant stem straight and save the plant from damage by breaking from graft union.
  • The young plants are more prone to frost damage during winter months.
  • The most common method to save the plants from frost is to thatch them.
  • The thatching can be of any type of dried grasses or of polyethylene sheet.
  • The plants are covered on all sides except North-West and South-East so that the sunlight may enter in morning and evening times.
  • This thatching material is used in winter months and may also be used in summer months against the hot winds (Ioo).
  • During these months frequent irrigation (at 7days interval) is essential to save plants from desiccating winds and regular weeding of plant basin is required to eradicate weeds.
  • Blofencing is done on sides of orchard to save the young orchard from cattle and wild animals.

Early Deblossoming

  • Young mango plants prepared through asexual methods of propagation start flowering immediately after the year of planting or even at the nursery stage.
  • This adversely affects the growth and vigour particularly when such types of plants are allowed to set fruits.
  • This fruiting is one the expense of growth and hinder the formation of strong framework of the plant.
  • Therefore, these inflorescences should be nipped off immediately after emergence so that it may not disturb vegetative growth.
  • The deblossoming should continue till the plant attains four-days age.
  • By this time plant attains normal size and it is physiologically sound to bear the fruits.

Interculture and Intercrops

  • Good sanitary condition is a must for keeping an orchard healthy and disease free.
  • For proper growth of young plants timely hoeing and weeding is essential and plants should always receive priority over other considerations.
  • Orchards should not be kept in neglected condition in pre-bearing stage by paying more attention to the intercrops.
  • Such neglected orchards prove costly as fruiting is delayed and longevity and productivity are reduced.
  • Clean cultivation throughout the year is not desirable in mango plantation.
  • Therefore, vacant space between the trees is utilized for growing intercrops such as vegetables and legumes to earn extra income from the mango orchard.
  • Some additional income can be achieved by growing short lived fruit plants such as papaya, peaches, strawberry, pineapple, phalsa, guava etc.
  • These plants are removed later on when they start touching the mango plants.
  • The vegetable crops, which may be grown in mango orchard, are onion, tomato, radish, carrot, beans, cauliflower, cabbage and palak.
  • Heavy feeders like colocasia, ginger, turmeric and grain crops should be avoided.
  • Generally the intercrop should be planted well away from the mango plants and these should not compete for nutrition and moisture.
  • The nutrition and moisture to intercrops must be provided in additional amount.
  • In Gujarat, intercropping of tomato and clusterbean was taken in newly planted mango orchard and a net cost and benefit ratio of 1:1.22 was received.
  • Other than intercrops some crops like sunhemp in light soils and dhaincha in heavy soils may also be grown to protect the orchard soil from erosion and also for enriching the soil fertility.
  • These crops are sown in beginning before rainy season and ploughed after monsoon season.
  • Such type of crops is known as cover crops.
  • The intercrops should to be taken in initial stage of orchard establishment when there is no income from the primary crop and should continue till the main crop plants come in full bearing. By growing intercrop, the weeds are kept in control which lead to depletion of nutrients and become host for diseases and insects.
  • Press the soil firmly around it so that the plant is set firmly in the field.
  • During pressing of soil, the earth ball should not be broken.
  • Immediately after planting irrigation is done, the frequency of irrigation depends on the weather.
  • Regular checking of plants is essential to detect the faults like sinking of soil, tilting of plant and cracking in basin of plant after planting the grafts.
  • Sufficient moisture should be maintained till the plants do not set or start new growth in the field.

 
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