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FRUITING
 
     Fruits determine the income of orchard farmers. The quantity and quality of the harvest depends on the fruiting habit of the tree (prolific, biennial or alternate bearing) as well as cultural management that includes fertilization, irrigation, water stress, pest and disease control, and weather condition.

     Pomologist define fruit as the excess food manufactured by the leaves through photosynthesis. And to have excess food, the plants must be supplied with raw materials such as NPK fertilizer with trace element. It should also be provided with adequate water so that roots will absorb and supply the nutrients to the leaves for photosynthesis activities.

     To maintain the food reserve, always remove unnecessary branches and leaves (that are not exposed to sunlight) and watersprouts because these will consume the excess food manufactured by the leaves thus depriving the plant the ability to bear more fruits.

     To make the fertilizer effective for fruit production it must be applied at least 3 months or more prior to expected flowering.

     Though trees must be physiologically mature to bear fruits, grafted mangoes can produce fruits even when less than two years old. But if grown from seeds, the tree shall mature and bear fruits only after 10 to 12 years.

     In addition, grafted lanzones reaches its reproductive age after five to seven years while those grown from seeds reach their physiological maturity only after 15 to 25 years.

     No amount of fertilizer, growth hormone or retardant can make the tree bear fruits if it is not physiologically mature or if hasn't reached its reproductive age yet.


Biennial Fruiting or Alternate Bearing Trees

     Almost all local fruit trees yield biennially or alternately which mean that they do not regularly bear fruits. This is the usual problem encountered by many carabao mango planters. Consequently, farmers use smudging, a traditional but very laborious way of inducing local mangoes to flower.
 
     Fortunately, after the discovery of Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) as flower inducer for carabao mangoes, it is now possible to make the tree bear fruits anytime of the year. Nevertheless, precautionary measures should be taken since excessive use of KNO3 shortens the life span of mango trees. Even a century old tree will be affected by excessive application of KNO3.

     To prevent untimely death of mango trees due to excessive usage of the said flower inducer, observe the vigor of the tree by regular fertilization of chemical and organic fertilizer. See to it that the carabao mango yearly changes its entire leaves or produce new shoots or flushes. This is the normal year cycle of carabao mango trees. It will take 5-8 months from the date of flushing before the trees are ready to bear fruits. If the mango has yet no excess food for fruiting, shoot will come out instead of flowers when sprayed with KNO3.


Knowing When A Mango Tree is Dying

     A dying tree particularly Carabao mango can be detected and prevented by knowing the life cycle. Every year, the Carabao mango changes its entire leaves of the crown. After 5-8 months from flushing or leaf-change, the tree is now ready to bear fruits- the quality and quantity of which depends on the fertilizer applied and weather condition.
 
     Once a Carabao mango tree did not change its entire leaves or even one half (1/2) of the crown, do not spray the tree with KNO3. The tree is now suffering stress due to over-spraying of the said chemical. At this stage, do not spray flower inducers because doing so will lead to the tree's death.

     To save a dying Carabao mango tree, stop spraying KNO3. Instead, rejuvenate the dying tree by treating it with growth hormone and fertilizer.


Flower induction for Carabao Mango

     In terms of flower induction and fruit setting, the Carabao mango is the most delicate tree among local and imported varieties. Although it will flower profusely when induced with KNO3, with the absence of pesticides, pests and diseases may wipe out all the flowers or fruits. But with knowing proper timing on controlling pests and diseases, Carabao mango fruit productions will be easier for the orchard grower.
 
     Most farmers take advantage of off-season fruiting not knowing the risks it entails along with the high cost of chemicals. Because of humid environment and rains, systematic fungicide should be used which costs P1,500 to P2,000 per kilo compared to ordinary fungicides used during season fruiting which cost only P300 per kilo.

     Under traditional practice, Carabao mango growers let the trees to the care of nature and spray KNO3 only when flowering season comes. But because the tree's natural fruiting habit is biennial fruiting or alternate bearing, when a tree heavily fruit this year; expect it to bear only half or even no fruit at all the next if you will not apply it with any complete fertilizer with trace element.

     To make Carabao mango tree prolific and to enhance its physiological maturity, plant double or triple rootstock of superior prolific varieties like Guimaras Carabao mango G.E.S. # 77, #84, and #85; Talaban; Fresco; Lamao # 1 ad MMSU gold registered and approved by the National Seed Industry Council. These superior varieties of Carabao mango command higher prices than ordinary local Carabao mangoes. Shy bearer and inferior strains of Carabao mango will never give the owner good harvest or income.
 
 
 
 

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