Mango Pruning - Agric Extension Platform

This document was developed with support from the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) Trade and Investment Program for a Competitive Export Economy
(TIPCEE). Contract No. GS-23F-9800H, Order no. 641-M-00-05-00037.
The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the
United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.
Mango Pruning Practices
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Table 1: Types of pruning and time schedules
Types of Pruning
Production pruning
• Tree height control
Time Frame
• Young plants within
first year of planting. In
mature trees after every
harvesting season.
Maintenance pruning
• Removal of damaged, dead
• Any time of the year as
and when it occurs.
• Removal of floral remains or • After every harvest
dry panicles
or diseased branches
• Removal of diseased and
malformed fruits
• During fruiting period
• Removal of overlapped
leaves and unproductive
panicles close to fruits.
Window pruning
Skirt pruning
• Removal of weak hanging
branches that droop and
touch the ground. Branches
should be a minimum
height of 500mm. (2feet)
• After harvesting
Fruit-thinning pruning • Removal of malformed fruits • During fruiting
to improve fruit size and
avoid friction.
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This training guide covers the reasons for pruning, basic
equipment and tools needed, pruning methods and the
recommended time schedule for pruning. This illustrated
guide is structured for easy comprehension and to
complement hands-on training.
This guide does not replace the direct advice of trained
extension field agronomists. It is recommended that an
accredited agronomist be consulted by the farmer prior to
undertaking any significant pruning program.
• Removal of a branch on the
• After harvest
east and west sides of the
• When fruits have
canopy to create windows
reached marble size
for light and agro-chemicals
to penetrate
Mango Pruning Practices
This guide is intended as introductory technical reference
material for the training of small, medium or large scale
mango farmers and farm workers to improve their knowledge of pruning practices to enhance the productivity of their orchards.
• Saws are used to cut hard wood and heavy
branches larger than 4 cm (1.5 inch).
• Curved saws with single serrated edges
are designed to cut only during the
backward stroke.
This guide is part of a series of technical training guides destined for
the Ghanaian horticulture export industry. These reference materials
were used by mango farmers during training sessions for pilot sites
with the USAID/TIPCEE project.
• Foldable double-serrated edged saws are
designed to cut during the forward and
backward strokes.
Curved and foldable types of saws
For copies contact:
USAID/TIPCEE : [email protected]
This publication has been prepared under the technical supervision
and financial support from USAID’s Trade and Investment Program
for Competitive Export Economy.
Pole pruner
• This is a pruning head mounted on a 2m
(6 feet) pole to remove branches up in the
• The pruning head is a heavy scissor-action
Technical contributions by:
Mr. Kwame Nyamekye Boamah, Horticulturist/Agri-Business Consultant
Accra, Ghana
blade operated by pulling an attached
• Curved pruning saws can also be fitted to
the pole to remove larger branches up in
the tree.
Pole pruner
Johan Botha, Subtropical & Citrus Consultant, South Africa
Inappropriate pruning tools
Edited by:
Takyi Sraha, USAID/TIPCEE Project, Accra, Ghana
Charles Ofori Addo, USAID/TIPCEE Project, Accra, Ghana
• Cutting branches with a cutlass is
inappropriate and referred to as
• Using a cutlass produces ragged and torn
• This provides entry points for pests and
diseases to damage plant tissues.
Cutlass or machet
Mango Pruning Practices
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SECTION 4: Pruning Equipment and Tools
Mango pruning requires the careful selection of tools for a particular pruning
operation. Specific tools are designed to cut specific sizes of tree branches. The
pruning equipment and tools should be kept in good operating conditions. Proper
care will help equipment do a better job and last longer. Equipment must be kept
sharp, clean, cutting edges oiled and stored in a dry room. Please note: When pruning
diseased plants, disinfect the cutting edge with alcohol or liquid chlorine bleach after
each cut to prevent spreading diseases to healthy plants.
Hand shears or secateurs
SECTION 1 : Basis for Pruning
What is pruning?
Reasons for pruning
• Hand shears or secateurs are used to cut
small branches.
• They should be used to cut branches
thinner than 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) in diameter.
SECTION 2 : Mango Tree Canopy
Structural parts of mango tree
SECTION 3 : Pruning Methods Hand shears or secuteurs
Hand lopping shears
Pruning of young mango trees
V-frame pruning
Pruning large branches 7
SECTION 4 : Pruning Equipment and Tools
• Hand loppers are used to cut small
branches in hard to reach parts of the
• They should be used to cut branches of up
Appropriate equipment and tools
Inappropriate tools
to 3 cm (1 inch) in diameter.
A pair of hand loppers
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Mango Pruning Practices
Annex 1 : Pruning and time schedules
SECTION 1: Basis for Pruning
Pruning large branches
• The third (3) cut is a final slant cut above
the bud leaving a stump.
Pruning is an important activity in a mango orchard to attain the desired canopy and
good architecture that will enhance productivity of the trees. The pruning of mango
trees in the past received little attention which resulted in trees with dense canopies in
most orchards established 10 years ago. As a result, many producers need to develop
or improve their skills. It is also important to note that use of inappropriate equipment
and tools for pruning may result in dieback and damage to branches.
branch collar
Never cut a branch flush to the trunk. Begin the cut
out-side the bark ridge and angle it away from the
trunk to avoid cutting the branch collar
What is pruning?
Final slant cut of big branch
• Pruning is the selective removal of shoots
and branches to improve the health of the
tree and control its growth.
• The removal of dead or injured plant
parts; this should be done continuously in
an orchard.
Pruning lateral branches
• The head back technique is used to prune
lateral branches as follows:
Matured mango tree after 30%
reduction in canopy
Pruning branches carefully in relation to
the buds that will form new growth.
too close
too far
Just right
1/4 inch
Make cuts about 1 cm (0.4 inch) above
an out-facing bud or lateral branch.
Cutting too close to the remaining bud
will damage it.
Cutting too far away may allow
additional buds to break.
The appropriate slant cut
Reasons for pruning
• To thin trees which are too dense to admit
light and air into the canopy.
• To enhance fruiting, flowering and tree
Selecting buds
• Buds should be well selected to direct new
Chose the direction of new growth by selection the
bud to leave in place.
• When pruning branches with buds
opposite each other, angle the cut to
remove interior bud.
Cut here
OR here
• This prevents growth going in two
A dense mango tree
Growth will go in two directions
unless one bud is removed,
preferably the one towards the
interior of the plant
The appropriate slant to select bud
for new growth
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Mango Pruning Practices
Mango Pruning Practices
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Establish alternative branching,
with branches spaced far enough
apart so they will not cause
problems as they increase in size.
V- frame pruning of mature mango trees
Reasons for pruning
• Step by step procedure for V-frame
• To create compact trees, prevent broken
pruning system:
A tree is a three-dimenensional object.
Establish radial space of its branches by
early shaping, and then maintain it by
periodic pruning.
branches and ensure tree balance.
Identify and prune the leader to open
up the canopy.
Select main primary and secondary
branches, spaced at 15-30cm (6-12
• To control tree height to ensure easy and
effective harvesting. Maximum plant height
should not exceed 4m (13 ft).
Position the lateral branches.
A sketch of V-frame pruning
A well pruned tree, compact with
appropriate height
V-frame pruning of branches
• Thin out closely placed stems or branches
with narrow crotch angle.
• This improves light penetration and
increase resistance to wind damage.
• Allow new shoots to develop to become
future branches.
• To enhance fruit quality by removing
leaves and unproductive panicles to
prevent mechanical damage to fruits
(scratches and punctures).
• To ensure effective control of pests and
After the first thinning,
the canopy will be
more open.
Thin centre by
removing some
main stems.
Reasons for pruning
• To reduce production costs by reducing
the amount of agrochemicals needed for
pathogen control.
Another sketch of V-frame pruning
Pruning unproductive panicles or stalks
Pruning large branches
Three step pruning a large branch.
• The first (1) cut is an undercut about 30cm
(1 foot) from the trunk.
• Saw about a third of the way into the
• The second (2) cut is an upper cut about
scribe back
here before
making cut 3
3cm (1 inch) further from cut.
• Continue cutting until the branch falls off
leaving a 12 inch (1foot) stub.
Three step pruning method
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Mango Pruning Practices
Mango Pruning Practices
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SECTION 2: Mango Tree Canopy
SECTION 3: Pruning Methods
To prune a mango tree you must understand its structure. This will guide the selection
of which parts to cut to build a compact tree canopy. The trunk is the main support
of the tree and is considered to be the part of the plant from the ground to the lowest
main branch. Other branches subsequently develop from the main branch. The
mango tree has different branches as indicated below.
Young mango trees grow slowly so pruning them is essential to ensure proper
branching and canopy formation. Usually the growing point is cut back or pinched off
to simulate the development of lateral branches during the first growing season.
Structure of a mango tree
• The leader branch is a continuation of
trunk pointing skyward.
• Primary scaffold branches are side
branches that grow from the trunk.
• Secondary scaffold branches grow from
the primary scaffold branches.
• Laterals are small branches growing from
the leader and scaffold branches.
A mature mango tree in an orchard with wide spacing (7m to 10m) may be trained
to develop a strong framework by the open–centre system which is called the V-frame system. There is no leader on trees trained by this method but several
strong branches form a bowl-shaped scaffold.
Under intensive production with close spacing, the modified leader system called
the A-frame system which resembles a pyramid is the recommended choice. There
are several approaches to remove a large branch without tearing the tree’s bark as
sketched below.
Pruning a young mango tree
• The young tree is allowed to grow to a
height of about 70cm (27.5 inches).
• The growing terminal bud is cut back to a
height of 60cm (24 inches).
A mango tree showing primary and
secondary scaffold branches and
• This encourages development of lateral
shoots which become the scaffold
Other parts
• Water shoots are primary lush growth
from main branches.
A young mango tree growing
uncontrolled without a canopy
• Spurs are short lateral branches which
often bear fruit.
Pruning a young mango tree
• Hangers are thin, weak and slow growing
branches that droop.
• When the lateral branches reach the
thickness of a pencil, the growing points
are cut back.
• This will lead to further branching of each
terminal shoot.
A lateral branch with water shoots
• The result is a tree with well positioned
A young tree with well positioned
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Mango Pruning Practices
Mango Pruning Practices
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