Intercultural Operations

Intercultural Operations

Intercultural Operations (5)

In general, 40-45 years old mango trees exhibit decline in fruit yield because of dense and overcrowded canopy. The trees do not get proper sunlight resulting in decreased production of shoots. The population of insects and pests built up and the incidence of diseases increases in such orchards. These unproductive trees can be converted into productive ones by pruning.

Intermingling, diseased and dead branches are removed. Thereafter undesirable branches of unproductive trees are marked. At the end of December, these marked branches are beheaded at 1.5 to 2.0 meter from distal end and the cut portions are pasted with copper oxy chloride solution. During March-April, a number of new shoots emerge around cut portions of the pruned branches.

After two years of pruning new shoots comes and the yield of fruit increases gradually.

Due to wide spacing and developing root patterns, the large unutilized interspace can be exploited for growing inter and mixed crops successfully.

The soil fertility can also be maintained / enhanced by careful selection of intercrops and adequate management of the orchard. This enables the orchardists to raise extra income during the years when the main crop yields no / low returns.

Selection of intercrops depends on agroclimatic region, marketing facilities, levels of inputs and other local considerations.

Some fertility restoring crops like legumes and leguminous cover crops should be included into the intercropping patterns. The partial shade loving crops like pineapple, ginger, turmeric, etc. can be grown in fully grown orchards. Some of important crop rotations recommended are as follows :

  • Greengram -gram
  • Blackgram -gram
  • Cowpea-gram

Immediately after planting the mango, the weed problem may not exist, but it is advisable to break the crust with hand hoe each time after 10-15 irrigations. However, subsequent hoeing may be done depending on weed growth in the basin.

Interculture operations are equally important for the bearing mango orchards. First ploughing should be done before the onset of rains. This will help in checking run-off losses and facilitate maximum retention of water in the soil. Orchard may be ploughed again after the rainy season is over in order to suppress weed growth and to break capillaries. Third ploughing may be done in the last week of November or first week of December with a view to checking the population of mango mealy bugs.

Amount and frequency of irrigation depends upon the type of soil, prevailing climatic conditions, especially rainfall to be given, and its distribution and age of trees.. During the first year the plants are to be watered every 2-3 days in the dry season. Trees in the age group of 2-5 years should be irrigated at 4-5 days interval. The irrigation interval could be increased to 10-15 days for 5-8 years old plants during dry season. When trees are in full bearing stage, generally 2-3 irrigations are given after the fruit set. Profuse irrigation during 2-3 months proceeding the flowering season is not advisable. Irrigation should be given at 50 per cent field capacity.

Grow vegetables, horse gram, black gram, pineapple and banana as intercrop in young orchards. Carry out intercultural operations by ploughing or digging twice during the year in June October. For reducing fruit drop and to improve productivity, NAA at 10-30 ppm concentration may be sprayed to the entire inflorescence at the peak stage in the second week after fruit set.

Apply FYM/compost and fertilizers at the rate indicated below:

Age of plant

FYM (Kg/plant/year)

N: P2O5: K2O (g/plant/year)

1st year



2nd year



3-5 years



6-7 years



8-10 years



Over 10 years



Green leaves (25 kg/plant) and wood ash (10-15 kg/plant) may be applied additionally. Apply organic manures in May-June with the onset of monsoon. Apply the fertilizers in one dose during May-June until bearing stage and thereafter in two equal split doses, the first during May-June and the second during August-September. Apply manures and fertilizers in trenches 30 cm deep taken at a distance of 2.5 to 3 m from the base of the tree.