As a follow up on our last article- Fruit Tree Management, in this one we share basic information on the fruit tree management of Mango, Citrus, Litchi, Avocado, Banana and Pawpaw:
- Site selection
For such trees, they require frost free or dry areas maybe except for avocados and banana. They thrive just fine with enough rainfall of about 650mm, in well-drained and aerated loam soil with a pH scale of 6-7. The most ideal areas would be the Low and Middle veld.
- Field layout and land prep
The 60cm x 60cm x 60cm holes should be dug 3 months before planting with 4mx 8m line spacing. A 25kg bucket of manure is also very necessary to mix in with the soil. Not forgetting the field layout, which can be done in two ways: the square and triangle method which is most preferred as it is spacious and allows proper pruning.
It is best to plant trees before the rain season between August and September however you still need to irrigate the whole day before planting. Plant at the same depth as the soil with graft unions 30cm above ground (remove grafting tape). Then make basins of 45cm around each plant and protect it from sun burn by painting.
What irrigation requires depends on soil types, environmental conditions and development stage but basically, newly planted trees require 20L of water weekly for 4 months, every 2 weeks in first year and once in three weeks from year 2-3.
Before we even get to applying it, it is best to irrigate first then do a soil and leaf analyses of the tree after which the recommended 5:1:5 (45) can be applied. The most suitable times are in January, April, July and October.
- Pruning and training
We prune tress for one or more of the following reasons: to maintain strong frame; to encourage new fruiting terminals; to open canopies for light and air circulation which reduces disease incidence. Observe that the cut slants upwards and you spray with fungicides and paint larger wounds with disinfectant
- Pest and disease
Control fungal disease with Copper Oxychloride plus Dithane M45 and Actara for insect pests but be careful to start once the flower panicle is 5cm.
First rule in harvesting, avoid doing it on a wet weather. However, when harvest time comes, pick fruits with long stem about 5cm then trim it to 1cm and place it in water. Make sure when you pack the fruits, they are kept away from direct sunlight.