I. From Drop to Crop: How to Prevent Mango Fruit and Flower Loss – an Introduction
Mango is one of the most popular fruits in the world, known for its unique flavor and versatility. However, one of the major challenges faced by mango growers is the issue of fruit and flower drop. In this article, we will discuss the definition of mango fruit drop, its importance, and ways to prevent it.
Definition of Mango Fruit Drop
Mango fruit drop refers to the phenomenon where mango trees drop their fruit or flower buds prematurely, resulting in a reduced yield. This can occur at any stage of fruit development, from the initial formation of the fruit to the time when it is ready for harvest.
Importance of Mango Fruit Drop Prevention
Mango fruit drop can have a significant impact on the yield and quality of mango crops. Farmers rely on mangoes for their livelihood, and a reduced yield can result in financial losses. Additionally, fruit drop can lead to an increase in pests and diseases, which can further impact the health and productivity of mango trees.
II. Causes of Mango Fruit Drop
There are several factors that can contribute to mango fruit drop, including climatic factors, nutritional imbalances, pests and diseases, hormonal imbalances, and cultural practices.
Climatic factors such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, and wind can significantly affect mango fruit set and retention. High temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds can cause early fruit drop, while excessive rainfall and high humidity can lead to late fruit drop. It is essential to consider these factors when planning and implementing management practices.
Mango trees require specific nutrients in order to thrive and produce high-quality fruit. Nutritional imbalances, such as a deficiency or excess of certain nutrients, can lead to fruit and flower drop. For example, a deficiency of nitrogen can result in early fruit drop, while an excess of potassium can lead to late fruit drop.
Pests and Diseases
Pests and diseases such as fruit flies, thrips, mango seed weevils, anthracnose, and powdery mildew can cause mango fruit drop. These pests and diseases can affect the tree’s growth and development, leading to low fruit set and retention. Therefore, proper pest and disease management practices are crucial to minimize fruit drop.
Hormonal imbalances can also lead to mango fruit drop. The plant hormones responsible for fruit set and retention are auxins and cytokinins. A lack of these hormones or an imbalance between them can result in excessive fruit drop. Hormonal management practices can help prevent hormonal imbalances and minimize fruit drop.
Cultural practices such as pruning, harvesting, and post-harvest handling can also affect mango fruit set and retention. Improper pruning practices can lead to low fruit set, while improper harvesting and post-harvest handling practices can cause excessive fruit drop.
III. Symptoms of Mango Fruit Drop
Mango fruit drop can occur at any stage of fruit development, and the symptoms can vary depending on the timing of the drop.
Early Fruit Drop
Early fruit drop occurs during the early stages of fruit development. It is caused by various factors, including climatic factors, nutritional imbalances, and pests and diseases. The affected fruits usually fall off the tree before reaching maturity, leading to low yields.
Late Fruit Drop
Late fruit drop occurs during the later stages of fruit development, close to maturity. It is caused by factors such as high humidity and excessive rainfall. The affected fruits usually fall off the tree before harvest, leading to significant economic losses.
Flower Bud Drop
Flower bud drop occurs during the flowering stage of the mango tree. It is caused by factors such as low temperature, drought, and pests and diseases. The affected flower buds usually fall off the tree before fruit set, leading to low fruit yields.
IV. Prevention and Control of Mango Fruit Drop
Mango fruit drop can be prevented and controlled through various management practices, including agronomic management practices, nutritional management practices, pest and disease management practices, hormonal management practices, and cultural management practices.
Agronomic Management Practices
Agronomic management practices such as irrigation, mulching, pruning, and soil management can help to prevent mango fruit drop.
Proper irrigation is essential for healthy mango trees and can help prevent fruit drop. Over-irrigation can cause waterlogging and nutrient leaching, while under-irrigation can lead to water stress and ultimately fruit drop. The optimal irrigation frequency and amount will depend on factors such as soil type, climate, and tree age. In general, mango trees require frequent but light irrigation during the growing season, with less water in the dormant season.
Mulching can also help to prevent fruit drop by maintaining the soil moisture and regulating the soil temperature. Mulching involves adding a layer of organic material such as dried leaves, grass clippings, or straw around the base of the tree. This layer helps to reduce the evaporation of water from the soil, keeping it moist for longer periods. Additionally, mulch helps to regulate the temperature of the soil, keeping it cool during hot weather and warm during cold weather.
Pruning can improve light and air penetration into the tree canopy, reducing the incidence of fungal diseases and helping to regulate vegetative growth. This can ultimately lead to higher fruit quality and lower fruit drop. Pruning should be done during the dormant season, and care should be taken to avoid damaging the tree.
Soil Management is also essential for preventing mango fruit drop. The soil should be well-drained and have a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. The soil should also be rich in organic matter, which helps to improve the soil structure and fertility. Regular soil testing can help to determine the soil pH and nutrient levels, allowing for adjustments to be made as necessary.
V. Nutritional Management Practices
To prepare doses for mango trees, it is important to consider the age of the trees. For young trees, which are typically up to 3 years old, a ratio of 10:10:10 NPK fertilizer with 1-2 kg per tree can be used, while for mature trees above 3 years old, a ratio of 15:15:15 NPK fertilizer can be used with the same amount of fertilizer per tree. The frequency of application should be three times a year for young trees and four times a year for mature trees. Apply fertilizer at the beginning of the rainy season, during flowering, and after harvest.
For foliar spray, a solution containing 1-2% urea, 1% DAP, and 0.5% MOP can be used, and it should be applied every 15 days during the growing season. When preparing foliar spray, it is important to avoid spraying during the heat of the day or when the tree is wet. The exact amount of the solution per tree depends on the age and size of the tree.
In addition to the above, the use of humic acid potassium humate flakes 98%, micronutrients, boron, and Epsom salt can also be effective in preventing mango fruit drop. To use humic acid potassium humate flakes 98%, 2-3 kg of the flakes mixed with water should be sprayed onto the soil around the base of the tree once every 3-4 months.
Micronutrients, such as zinc, iron, and manganese, can be applied as a foliar spray. Use 1-2 grams of micronutrient powder per liter of water, and the spray should be applied every 15 days during the vegetative stage and every 10 days during the fruiting stage.
Foliar spray is another nutritional management practice that can help to prevent mango fruit drop. Foliar sprays involve applying a solution of nutrients directly to the leaves of the tree. This method can help to provide a quick source of nutrients to the tree and improve its overall health. It is recommended to apply foliar sprays early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler and the leaves can absorb the nutrients more efficiently. Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, can help to improve fruit quality and reduce fruit drop. It can be applied as a foliar spray at a rate of 10 grams per liter of water, once every 20 days during the fruiting stage.
While water-soluble fertilizers like NPK 12-61-00 and NPK 00-52-34 can be used for mango cultivation, it is important to note that they may not provide all the necessary nutrients required by the mango tree. Therefore, it is recommended to use a balanced fertilizer like NPK 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 as the primary source of nutrients and supplement with water-soluble fertilizers as needed.
When using water-soluble fertilizers, it is important to follow the recommended dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer. Generally, for NPK 12-61-00, a dose of 10-15 grams per tree can be applied every 15 days during the growing season. For NPK 00-52-34, a dose of 5-10 grams per tree can be applied every 15 days during the flowering and fruiting stages.
It is important to dissolve the water-soluble fertilizer in water before applying it to the tree. The solution should be applied at the base of the tree, avoiding the leaves and fruit. Overuse of water-soluble fertilizers can lead to salt buildup in the soil, which can damage the roots and reduce the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients.
In addition to water-soluble fertilizers, it is important to supplement with micronutrients like zinc, iron, and manganese. Micronutrient powders can be dissolved in water and applied as a foliar spray, with a recommended dosage of 1-2 grams per liter of water. The spray should be applied every 15 days during the vegetative stage and every 10 days during the fruiting stage.
Overall, while water-soluble fertilizers can be beneficial for mango cultivation, it is important to use them in conjunction with a balanced fertilizer and to follow recommended dosage instructions to avoid damage to the tree. It is also important to supplement with micronutrients to ensure optimal growth and fruit production.
VI. Pest and Disease Management Practices
Pest and disease management practices are essential for preventing mango fruit drop. Pests such as fruit flies, mango hoppers, and mealybugs can damage the fruit and cause it to drop prematurely. Diseases such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, and bacterial black spot can also cause fruit drop.
Identification of pests and diseases
Regular monitoring of mango trees for pests and diseases is important for early detection and treatment. Common pests that can cause fruit drop include fruit flies, mango hoppers, and thrips. Fungal diseases such as anthracnose and powdery mildew can also lead to fruit drop. It is important to consult with a local agricultural extension service or professional for identification and treatment recommendations.
At Shehri Kisaan®, we understand the challenges of managing pests and diseases in mango farming. Fruit flies, mango hoppers, and mealybugs are common pests that can lead to fruit drop if not properly controlled. For fruit flies, we recommend using products such as Malathion @ 5 ml per liter and Imidacloprid @ 2.5 ml per liter of water. These should be sprayed every 15 days during the fruiting season.
Mango hoppers can be controlled using products such as Thiamethoxam @ 1.5 ml per liter, Acetamiprid @ 2.5 ml per liter, and Chlorantraniliprole @ 2.5 gm per liter of water. These should be sprayed every 15 days during the fruiting season.
Mealybugs can be controlled using products such as Imidacloprid @ 2.5 ml per liter and Chlorpyrifos at the rate of 5 ml per liter of water. These should be sprayed every 15 days during the fruiting season.
In addition to pests, mango trees are also susceptible to various diseases such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, and bacterial black spot. Anthracnose can be controlled using fungicides such as Mancozeb, Carbendazim, and Tricyclazole at the rate of 2 gm each per liter of water. These should be sprayed every 15 days during the fruiting season.
Powdery mildew can be controlled using fungicides such as Sulphur @ 2-3 grams per liter and Hexaconazole @ at 1 ml per liter of water. These should be sprayed every 15 days during the fruiting season.
Bacterial black spot can be controlled using copper-based fungicides such as Copper Oxychloride and Copper Hydroxide at the rate of 3 gm per liter of water. These should be sprayed every 20 days during the fruiting season.
It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the type, amount, and frequency of application of these products. Care should also be taken to avoid excessive use of pesticides, which can lead to environmental contamination and resistance development.
These methods include the use of natural enemies such as parasitic wasps and ladybugs, which can effectively control pests without harming the environment.
For fruit flies, we suggest using the biological control method known as Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), which involves the release of sterile male fruit flies to mate with wild females, thereby reducing the population over time. This method has been successful in various parts of the world and is a cost-effective alternative to chemical pesticides.
To control mango hoppers, we recommend using the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, which is a naturally occurring fungus that can infect and kill the hoppers without causing harm to the mango tree or other non-target organisms.
Mealybugs can be controlled by introducing their natural enemy, the parasitic wasp Anagyrus lopezi, which lays its eggs inside the mealybug, ultimately killing it.
It is essential to consult with a local agricultural extension service or professional for recommendations regarding the appropriate biological control method for specific pests in your region.
As for diseases such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, and bacterial black spot, we recommend using biofungicides like Trichoderma spp., Bacillus subtilis, and Pseudomonas fluorescens, which are effective in controlling these diseases without harming the environment. In addition, it is important to follow cultural practices such as proper pruning, irrigation management, and nutrient management to reduce disease incidence.
Overall, incorporating biological control methods in pest and disease management can result in sustainable and eco-friendly fruit production.
Implementing cultural control methods can help to reduce the incidence of pests and diseases that contribute to fruit drop. These methods include removing fallen fruit and debris regularly to eliminate breeding grounds for pests such as fruit flies and mealybugs. Proper pruning and thinning practices can also improve air circulation, reducing the incidence of fungal diseases such as anthracnose and powdery mildew.
Regular pruning involves removing diseased and dead wood from the mango tree to improve its overall health and productivity. Thinning is also necessary to prevent overcrowding and ensure the tree can support the weight of the fruit. We recommend thinning by removing small, misshapen, or diseased fruit early in the season to allow the remaining fruit to develop to their full potential.
It is important to note that cultural control methods are not a one-time solution and require ongoing attention to maintain their effectiveness. Regular monitoring and maintenance are necessary to prevent the buildup of pest and disease populations.
For mango farmers, we recommend implementing these cultural control practices alongside chemical and biological control methods for optimal fruit management. By combining these practices, farmers can effectively control pests and diseases, reduce fruit drop, and increase their yield and profitability.
We at Shehri Kisaan® suggest prioritizing cultural control as the first line of defense against fruit drop. If necessary, biological control can be used as a secondary option. Only if other methods are ineffective, chemical control should be considered as a last resort. We believe that using a combination of these methods will lead to more sustainable and effective pest and disease management.
VII. Hormonal Management Practices
Use of Growth Regulators
Growth regulators are substances that can modify the growth and development of plants. The application of growth regulators can help regulate mango tree growth and improve fruit retention.
One of the commonly used growth regulators for mango fruit retention is Ethephon. Ethephon is a plant growth regulator that is converted to ethylene, which induces fruit ripening and abscission. The application of ethephon can help retain the fruit on the tree for a longer period, which can result in better fruit quality and yield.
Application of Plant Hormones
Plant hormones are naturally occurring substances that regulate plant growth and development. The application of plant hormones can help regulate mango tree growth and improve fruit retention.
One of the commonly used plant hormones for mango fruit retention is Gibberellic acid (GA3). GA3 is a plant hormone that promotes cell elongation and division. The application of GA3 can help improve fruit retention and increase fruit size and yield.
The application of growth regulators and plant hormones should be done at the right time and in the right dosage to achieve the desired results. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and application schedule provided by the manufacturer or the agricultural expert to avoid any adverse effects on the mango tree.
VIII. Cultural Management Practices
Cultural practices such as harvest and post-harvest management can also play an important role in preventing mango fruit and flower drop.
Harvest management practices can help prevent fruit drop and improve fruit quality. The following are some of the harvest management practices that can be adopted to prevent fruit and flower drop:
- Harvest the mango fruit at the right stage of maturity
- Use sharp tools to harvest the fruit to avoid any damage to the tree
- Avoid overloading the branches with too many fruits
Post-harvest management practices can help prevent fruit and flower drop during storage and transportation. The following are some of the post-harvest management practices that can be adopted to prevent fruit and flower drop:
- Sort the mango fruits based on size and maturity
- Pack the fruits carefully to avoid any damage during transportation
- Store the fruits at the right temperature and humidity levels to avoid any physiological disorders
It is important to adopt appropriate cultural practices to prevent mango fruit and flower drop and improve fruit quality and yield.
Mango fruit and flower drop can have a significant impact on mango production and quality. Understanding the causes and symptoms of mango fruit and flower drop is essential to prevent and control this issue. Adopting appropriate agronomic, nutritional, pest and disease, hormonal, and cultural management practices can help prevent mango fruit and flower drop and improve fruit quality and yield.
Effective prevention and control of mango fruit and flower drop require the implementation of integrated management practices that take into account all the factors that can affect mango growth and development. By adopting these practices, mango growers can improve fruit retention, quality, and yield, and maximize their profits.
Thank you for reading The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Mango Fruit and Flower Drop: Causes, Symptoms, and Comprehensive Management Practices. We hope you found this guide informative and useful in understanding the complex issue of mango fruit and flower drop. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about mango cultivation, please visit our website at www.shehrikisaan.com. At Shehri Kisaan® — The Urban Farmers, we are dedicated to promoting sustainable and responsible agriculture practices in urban areas. Let us work together in creating a greener and healthier environment for all.