Orchard Care

Care of the Orchard

  • For the successful establishment of a mango orchard. it is necessary to protect the newly planted sapling from excessive heat, moisture and cold.
  • Winter in north India is severe and plants must be protected from frost.
  • For this they are thatched with any type of dried grass or dried stalk of maize or bajra along with paddy straw.
  • The plant is covered from 3 sides. leaving a gap towards east to allow entrance of sunlight and air.
  • Likewise it must be protected in summer to avoid scorching from hot winds and intense heat of the summer months.
  • During these months, timely irrigation is very necessary .
  • The frequency of irrigation for young plants ought to be at least once a week.
  • Care should be taken to remove the weed.
  • If any as they compete with the plant for moisture and nutrients.
  • During rainy season, water must not be allowed to stagnate around the plant. as it will affect the root activity adversely.
  • For this a perfect drainage must be maintained in the orchard.
  • When mango grafts have grown taller, the stem may be whitewashed with lime to protect from sunscald.
  • The young grafted plants of mango may start giving inflorescences even after a year of planting.
  • If these are allowed to bear fruit growth of the plant is adversely affected.
  • Therefore such inflorescences should be nipped off immediately after their emergence, so that the vegetative growth is not hindered.
  • This practice should continue till the trees complete 4 years.
  • By this time the plants will have formed a definite framework.
  • After satisfactory completion of the juvenile phase. trees could be allowed to commence bearing.
  • For a proper framework. it may be advisable not to allow branches at the base of the main stem to trail on the ground. Such branches should be removed in the early stages of growth. to leave a standard main trunk without any branch up to a height of 1 m.
  • Main scaffold branches along with the leader should be allowed to develop at this height.
  • This will facilitate cultural operations in a mango grove.

Intercrops and Cover Crops

  • As mango 'trees take longer time to yield any profit to the grower. it is desirable to supplement one's income by growing some short-term crops till they are shaded by the trees.
  • Such crops when taken in the orchard are called intercrops.
  • There is another kind of cropping in the orchard when the orchard soil is covered with some crop which in due course is turned back to the soil to supplement organic matter of the orchard soil.
  • This is called cover crop.
  • These 2 types of crops (intercrops and cover crops) are important operations in the management of a good orchard, although many growers in India do not pay much attention to it.

Principles of intercropping

  • Intercrops should occupy a secondary place in the orchard, primary consideration being given to the perennial fruit trees.
  • The crops that may grow tall and have a tendency towards excessive growth should be discouraged.
  • At least 120cm radius must be left from the base of the growing fruit trees for taking intercrops.
  • Water requirements of the intercrops should as far as possible coincide with the requirement of fruit trees.
  • Such intercrops should be selected that do not exhaust the nutrients and moisture from the soil, so essential for the growth of fruit trees.
  • Perennial or exhaustive crops should be discouraged as an intercrop in the orchard.
  • This may have devitalizing effect on the growing trees.
  • For example, sugarcane, pigeonpea, maize, jowar should invariably be excluded from an intercropping programme in the orchard.

Different intercrops

  • Vegetables that have their roots within 25cm depth of the soil are considered good for intercropping.
  • These are tomato, onion, cauliflower, beans, radish, palak etc.
  • These vegetables can be taken profitably in a growing orchard by appropriate application of nutrients to the soil and also maintaining an optimum level of moisture.
  • Among the annual crops, due consideration should be given to the legumes such as pea, lentil, mothbean, blackgram and greengram.

Fruit crops as intercrops

  • While taking some of the short-term and early bearing fruit crops as an intercrop, due consideration is essential in the selection of a particular fruit.
  • This is essential because the roots of such trees may start competing with the roots of main fruit trees for nutrients and moisture.
  • The filler trees, unless removed at appropriate time when primary fruit trees start giving economic crop, may create problems of low orchard efficiency.
  • Keeping this point in mind, it is apparent that wherever pineapple and strawberry can be grown, these may serve as an ideal intercrop.
  • Wherever frost hazard is less, an intercrop of papaya can be taken profitably in a mango orchard.
  • Likewise, in the northern plains of India, 'Sharbati' peach can be an excellent intercrop for mango orchard.
  • Phalsa and guava could also be included in the early stages of growth of the trees, provided these are maintained properly by adequate pruning and removal at proper time.

Cover crops

  • These save the orchard soil from being eroded during the rainy season, particularly in areas where drainage is not proper.
  • When the cover crops are turned into the soil, the organic matter of the soil is increased, and this results in many advantages.
  • For example, if organic manure such as compost or farmyard manure is not available, the nutrient requirements of fruit trees can be met by applying only artificial fertilizers without any adverse effect on the soil.
  • Water-holding capacity of the soil is increased and the biological complex of the soil is also improved.
  • It is preferable to take leguminous crops for cover cropping so that nitrogen fixation in the orchard soil is facilitated.
  • Another advantage of cover crops is that they will prevent the growth of weeds.
  • During rainy season (kharif) greengram, blackgram, cowpea and guar are preferable.
  • During winter season (rabi) it is desirable to take sweet clover (senft), pea, lentil, mothbean and fenugreek.
  • The most important point in the selection of cover crops is the requirement of water of a particular crop.
  • If a particular crop needs to be irrigated very frequently when the orchard trees are not in need of moisture, this will certainly tell upon the productivity of the fruit trees.
  • For example, if berseem is taken in a mango orchard during winter when fruit-bud differentiation and flowering is expected and the orchard is irrigated too frequently, it may not be conducive to the productivity of the tree in general.

Lacuna in Research

  • So far no authentic experimental data are available regarding the merits and demerits of individual cover crop or intercrop to be taken in a mango grove.
  • Recently some trials have been in progress in the experimental orchard of mango at Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology.
  • The following information is based on the general observations made so far at the Horticultural Research Centre, Patherchatta.
  • From the trials under way on the soil management of mango orchard, it was observed that selection of intercrop for a bearing mango orchard has to be made with caution.
  • Crops which are cultivated during rabi and which require regular and good amount of irrigation should not be preferred.
  • The reason is that the fruit-bud differentiation of mango under subtropical conditions of northern India takes place in November- December, and irrigation during this period or before will interfere with the fruit-bud differentiation and affect ultimately the production.
  • In this group of intercrops are included crops like berseem and wheat, which have to be avoided.
  • Also, with growing of berseem in between the tree rows, the nitrogen status of the soil rises, which encourages good vegetative growth at the cost of fruit quality.
  • Another groups of crops which need to be avoided as intercrops are those which are grown for seed/grain.
  • In this are included wheat, oats, gram, oilseeds, pea and radish (for seed).
  • The reason is that the period of seed formation and subsequent development of seed in the intercrop generally coincides with the period of active fruit development in mango, and during this period the intercrops extract maximum amount of moisture and nutrition from the soil and deplete it, irrespective of the care taken to replenish it for fruit trees.
  • Similarly, certain crops such as ginger, Colocasia and turmeric are basically heavy feeders and extract maximum amount of nutrients from the soil for several months during which these crops stand in the field.
  • Severe defoliation of trees has been observed in the plots where ginger was grown as an intercrop at Pantnagar.
  • Such crops should therefore be avoided.
  • Hence, to make intercropping a profitable venture for better utilization of land in between the tree rows, it has been found practically feasible to grow limited number of crops (under Pantnagar conditions) in the following rotation:

(A) Bearing orchard

Tomato : February-June
Cowpea : July-September
Soybean : June-September
Spinach (palak) : October-January
Cowpea : June-September

(B)Non-bearing orchard

Pea : October-March
Soybean : June-September
Spinach (palak) : October-January
Cowpea : June-September
Chillies : March-August
Pea : October-March
Cauliflower : September-January
Cowpea : March-July

Cover Cropping in Mango Orchard

  • All the crops mentioned do not fare well under dense shade, which obtains in an old orchard having large spreading trees.
  • Intercropping under such a condition is not advisable.
  • However, such orchards should be protected from weed infestation and soil erosion commonly seen during rainy season.
  • For such a situation, in north India cover crops should be grown in between the tree rows.
  • Cowpea variety 'Russian Giant', which is a fodder type with bold and brown grain, has been found very suitable.
  • It is quick-growing, fast-spreading and broad-leaved and covers the ground effectively, thus smothering the weeds.
  • This crop can be turned in under the soil during September-October as it does not mature before October.
  • 'Pusa Barsati' cowpea is also good but not as effective as the former.

Growing Intercrop in an Orchard

  • The method of growing intercrop in an orchard is different in the young and the bearing orchards.
  • In the former the entire land is utilized, leaving only the basin portion of the tree.
  • The tree is located in the middle of the bed in which the crop is grown.
  • As the trees grow in age, the size of the basin increases and the area for intercrops gets reduced gradually.
  • When the trees attain good bearing age, the intercrop is grown in between the tree rows in 1 direction, i.e. on 2 opposite sides of the trees, leaving the other 2 sides open.
  • The tree rows are enclosed by a strong bund on 2 sides running from one end of the orchard to the- other.
  • This facilitates irrigation of trees within the bunded space independently of the intercrop.
  • It also provides space for movement during plant protection and other operations in the orchard.
  • While taking intercrop, a common mistake is to leave the fruit trees to obtain nutrients from the same fertilizer dose applied to the intercrops.
  • This is one of the main causes of orchard decline in most parts of the country .
  • The intercrop and the fruit trees must receive separately their independent requirements of fertilizer and irrigation.
  • Besides, intercropping in orchard promotes infestation of pests and diseases in greater intensity than under clean cultivation.
  • This is due to increase in the humidity and vegetation around the trees due to intercrops.
  • Hence regular plant-protection measures against pests and diseases of the mango crop are essential.
  • Cultural schedule and its importance Factors responsible for the decline of fruit yield and proper fruiting pattern mostly pertain to management practices such as nutrition of trees and control of weeds, insect pests and diseases.
  • If the trees do not present a healthy appearance and leaves look somewhat yellowish, it is obvious that such trees suffer from under-nutrition.
  • The amount of nutrients to be applied and its timing have been discussed under the chapter on Nutrition.
  • If the cover crops or intercrops are taken regularly, the weeds will be automatically suppressed.
  • A schedule for this has already been given.
  • A constant watch over the diseases and insect pests of mango is necessary for ensuring quality crop from the trees.
  • When the humidity builds up appreciably during the flowering time, incidence of mango hopper and powdery mildew is very much increased, and sometimes this may result in no fruit set.
  • One of the important schedules in mango orchard management is maintenance of excellent sanitary conditions in the orchard and regular pruning of the malformed parts (both vegetative and floral) in the tree, if any.
  • This will ensure reduced incidence of mango malformation.
  • Proper irrigation of trees, particularly during summer, is very essential to get quality crop from the bearing trees and proper growth in young plants.
  • While bearing trees ought to be irrigation at an interval of a fortnight during summer, younger plants need weekly irrigation.
  • Trees must be regularly observed for any setback due to any cause and steps must be taken immediately to remedy it.
  • A proper round-the- year cultural schedule must be drawn up before hand and operations should be done as per schedule.
  • This will ensure production of quality crop from healthy mango trees.

Calender of Operations for Mango Orchards

  • It has been observed that orchardists are active in their orchards only when flowers or fruits are present on the trees.
  • For rest of the period, they take little care of their orchards. This practice is not good.
  • To maintain vigour, growth and productivity. it is necessary to perform proper operations throughout the year.
  • In the following text. suggestions /recommendations based on research work are given regarding various operations required to be carried out during different months.


  • Spraying ofo.05% fenitrothion (1 ml insecticide/litre of water) or 0.045% dimethoate (1.5ml. insecticide/litre of water) or 0.04% monocrotophos (1ml. insecticide/litre of water) may be done to control blossom midge at the bud burst stage.
  • Cleaning of the dust on the polythene band. applied in the month of December. to prevent ascent of nymphs of mealy bug.
  • Normal care of the small plants with particular attention to irrigation.
  • Arrangement for the procurement of pesticides for the control of mango hoppers and powdery mildew.
  • In case the inflorescence have elongated to about 3 inches in the last week of this month. spraying of pesticides is suggested.
  • To control the small size hopper (Idioscopus clypealis). spray of 0.15% carbaryl (3 gm insecticide/litre of water) or 0.04% monocrotophos (0.5 mi insecticide/litre of water) is suggested.
  • In case of big size hoppers (Idioscopus nitidulus or Amritodus atkinsoni). spray of - 0.075% fenitrothion (1.5 ml insecticide/litre of water) or 0.06% quinalphos (2ml. insecticide/litre of water) or 0.2% carbaryl (4 gm Insecticide/litre of water) or 0.04% chlorpyriphos (2ml. insecticide/litre of water) is suggested.
  • In case of mixed population. spraying as suggested for big size hoppers may be done.
  • First spray may be given when the panicle is of 3 inch length.
  • Second spray may be given at full length stage of panicles but before full bloom and third spray after the fruits have attained pea size.
  • To minimise the use of pesticidal spray. one spray of neem product (alcoholic) 0.5% may be done in place of second spray.
  • In case the Inflorescence have elongated to about 3 inches in the last week of the month. spraying to control powdery mildew ( Oidium mangiferae) is suggested.
  • To control this disease. spraying of 0.1 % dinocap (1 ml fungicide/litre of water) or 0.2% wettable sulphur (2 gm fungicide/litre of water) or 0.1% carbendazim ( I gm fungicide/litre of water) or 0.1% Tridemorph (1 ml fungicide/litre of water) is suggested.
  • These sprayings may be done along with the spraying of the insecticides as suggested for the control of hoppers.
  • This means in all the three sprays. one insecticide and one fungicide may be mixed and sprayed.
  • Mixing of insecticide and fungicide with neem products may be avoided. Similarly. mixing of insecticides with copper oxychloride be also avoided.


  • Spraying against mango hoppers and powdery mildew disease to be continued.
  • Removal of thatches erected over the young plants for protection against frost in the last week.
  • Care of intercrops and sowing of summer crops like Okra and cucurbetaceous crops.


  • If required. spraying against powdery mildew and mango hoppers may be done.
  • When the fruit is of pea size. spray of nepthalene acetic acid 20 ppm (2 ml chemical in 4.5 litres of water) is recommended. This is done to pre- vent fruit drop.
  • To control black tip disorder or internal necrosis, spray of 1% borax (10 gm chemical/litre of water) may be done when fruits are of pea size.
  • Three sprays may be done at 15 days intervals.
  • Removal of thatches erected over the young plants for protection against frost in the first week, if not done earlier.
  • Completion of second transplanting of seedling stock in the nursery .
  • Soft wood grafting on the current year stock.
  • Irrigation at 15 days interval for 2-3 times when the fruits are of pea size.
  • Pruning and burning of hanging malformed panicles.


  • Pruning and burning of hanging malformed panicles.
  • Proper care of grafted plants.
  • Irrigation of fruit bearing orchards.
  • Spraying of 0.1% carbendazim to control anthracnose in young plants.
  • Harvesting and processing of intercrops.


  • To control fruit.f1ies. bait spray of 0.2% carbaryl + protein hydrolysate or molasses.
  • Hanging sex attractant traps containing 0.1% methyl euginol + 0.1% malathion to control fruit.f1ies.
  • Arrangement of packing materials for mango fruits.
  • Reservation of plants with reliable nurseries for planting new orchards .
  • Proper care of grafted stocks in nursery.
  • Layout and digging of pits for planting new orchards.
  • Marketing and storage arrangements for the produce of intercrops.


  • Harvesting of fruits and arragement for its marketing.
  • Layout and preparation of pits for new orchards.
  • The planting distance may be 12 x 12 meters, but in dry zones where the growth is less. it can be kept to 10 x 10 meters.
  • The size of the pits in shallow and hill soils may be 0.5 x 0.5 meters.
  • The pits may be filled with 50 kg of rotten farmyard manure + 250 g. of 5% carbaryl dust.
  • The proportion of manure and soil may be kept as 1:3.
  • Reservation of plants with reliable nurseries for planting new orchards.
  • Preparation of seed beds in the nursery.
  • Sowing of mango stones in nursery beds.
  • Proper care of grafted stocks in nursery.
  • Marketing and storage arrangements for the produce of intercrops.


  • Harvesting and marketing of fruits to be continued.
  • Layout, digging and filling of pits for planting new orchards to be continued.
  • Defoliation of 6 months old shoots for grafting.
  • Grafting to be started i.e. stone grafting on new seedlings still attached
    with stones and veneer or soft wood grafting on one year old seedlings.
  • This is to be done if rains have started (at the end of July) .
  • Lifting of last year's grafts for sale purposes.
  • Sowing of mango stones in nursery .
  • Hanging fruitflies (Bactrocera spp.) traps containing sex attractants i.e. methyl euginol + 1% malathion and changing the liquid every third day.
  • In the second fortnight after fruit harvesting, spray of anyone insecticide at the concentration of 0.04% monocrotophos (1ml. insecticide/litre of water) or 0.06% dimethoate (2 ml/litre of water) or 0.04% diazinon (2 ml/litre of water) to control scale insects, leaf and twig gall midges, shoot borers and leaf cutting weevils. Repeat another insecticide after 15 days interval.
  • On completion of harvesting, application of half the dose of 1000 9 each of N, p and K per plant (10 years old and above) on the basis of soil analysis recommendations be done.
  • Sowing of green manuring crops such as sunhemp or diancha or rainy season intercrops like green gram, black gram, cowpea, etc.
  • Lifting and transplanting the new seedlings at 25 x 25 cm distance in the nursery beds.
  • Gap filling in young orchards.


  • Sowing of mango stones in nursery to be continued.
  • Llft1ng and transplanting of new seedlings at 25 x 25 cm. in nursery for grafting purposes.
  • Grafting to be started i.e. stone grafting on new seedlings and veneer grafting and soft wood grafting on one year old seedlings.
  • Lifting and sale of grafts to be continued.
  • Harvesting and marketing of fruits to be continued.
  • In the Tarai belt of the country .control of shoot gall psylla (Apsylla cistellata) may be initiated by 15th of August.
  • Two sprays are required after 15 days interval.
  • The insecticides recommended are: 0.05% quinalphos (2 ml insecticide/litre of water) or 0.054% monocrotophos (1.5ml. insecticide/litre of water) or 0.06% dimethoate (2 ml insecticide/litre of water).
  • During this month. in certain pockets. serious outbreak of mango leaf webber (Orthaga euadrusalis) commonly called "tent caterpillar" occurs.
  • To control this pest. spray of 0.05% quinalphos (2 ml insecticide/litre of water) or 0.04% monocrotophos (1 ml. insecticide/litre of water) or 0.2% carbaryl (4gms insecticide/ litre of water) is suggested.
  • In case both the pests i.e. shoot gall psylla and leaf webber are present. insecticides which are common to control both may be used.
  • If rains continued planting of new orchards and gap filling may be continued.


  • Ploughing of green manuring crops.
  • Second spray to control shoot gall psylla and leafwebber as suggested in August month.
  • If infestation of shoot borer or leaf cutting weevil is observed. spraying as suggested in July may be done.
  • In the nursery to control anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides). spraying of 0.1% carbendazim ( I gm fungicide litre of water) is suggested.
  • The second spray may be repeated after 15 days.
  • Planting of new orchards and gap filling may be continued.
  • Lifting and sale of the grafts to be continued.
  • Grafting to be continued.
  • Ploughing, cleaning and removal of weeds to be done.


  • 1. Spraying against leaf webber, if required, may be done. New insecticides may be used in each spray to avoid possible development of resistance to insecticides.
    2. Spraying of 200 ppm napthelene acetic acid (20 ml chemical/4.5 litres of water) in the second fortnight may be done to overcome mango malformation malady.
    3. Completion of lifting and sale of grafts.
    4. Completion of planting of new orchards.
    5. Gap filling in the orchards to be completed.
    6. Mixing of 40-50 kg well decomposed farm yard manure/compost in the basins of each mango plants.
    7. To control die back disease (Botryodiplodia theobromae). cut the affected twigs and burn. Spraying of 0.3% copper oxychloride (3gm fungicide/litre of water) is suggested. The spraying may be repeated after 15 days.
    8. Ploughing. cleaning and removal of weeds to be continued.
    9. Remaining half dose of N. P and K may be applied.
    10. In the orchards having small plants, sowing of winter crops such as gram. French bean, mustard, wheat, barley, pea and red gram and winter vegetables as intercrops may be done. Avoid sowing of the crops which require frequent irrigation such as barseem. lucern and paddy. Avoid tall crops.
    11. To control phoma blight (Phoma glomerata), spraying ofo.2% benomyl (2 gm fungicide/litre of water) or 0.3% copper oxychloride (3gm fungicide/litre of water) in the second fortnight is suggested.


    1. Spraying against leaf webber may be done if required.
    2. Second spray to control phoma blight.
    3. Second spray to control mango die- back.
    4. Sowing of intercrops.
    5. To protect the young mango grafts against frost arrangement of grass, bamboo, ropes etc. for making thatches may be done.
    6. Deep ploughing, cleaning and removal of weeds may be done.
    7. For the control of die-back disease spraying as suggested in October may be repeated.


  • Spraying against phoma blight if required.
  • Fastening of 25cm. Wide, 400 gauge thick alkathene strips around the tree trunk about 25 cm above the ground in the third week to stop the ascent of mealy bug (Drosicha mangiferae) nymphs.
  • Dusting of 2% methyl parathion dust or 5% carbaryl dust at the rate of 250gm per tree towards the end of the month to control nymphs.
  • Making of thatches over young plants to protect them from the frost.
  • They may be kept open in the east direction.
  • Particular attention to be given to irrigations of young orchards from frost protection.
  • Proper care of lntercrops.
  • Deblossoming may be done to control malformation.


Andhra Pradesh