An accurate irrigation management
The mango is suited to a broad subtropical and tropical climate, ranging from humid to dry, and hot to cold, and any combination therein. Mango trees are susceptible to frost, therefore, lowlands at high latitude (30°<) are becoming limiting for commercial mango production. Cold and/or dry weather induce mango flowering; therefore, the irrigation strategy and the physiological plant conditions when it comes to flowering in tropical and subtropical conditions may be quite different. While under cold weather conditions (10°C>), the mango trees will be resting or in a quiescence mode, and under tropical conditions (20°C<), it will be the opposite – the mango tree will tend to keep vegetating, therefore, water stress is crucial to stop the plant vegetating and induce flowering two to three months later. Therefore, an accurate water management strategy is very crucial from the very beginning of the productive cycle in mango trees.
Water supply to the trees must be optimal throughout the fruit growth period, and then during the growth of new shoots, where the next season’s crop will be set.
How to Establish the Best Irrigation Strategy for Your Mango Orchard
In order to develop the best irrigation strategy for your mango orchard, it is paramount to choose the best variable (e.g. soil, plant, weather, etc.) to base your irrigation strategy on. The ideal variable must have the following four main characteristics:
- The variable must be most sensitive to the minimum changes in soil water content (e.g. 0.5%).
- The velocity of the response of this variable to changing soil (water content) or environmental conditions (e.g. increase in temperature) should be as quick as possible (e.g. one hour later, the changes in the growing conditions happen).
- The same variable to base our irrigation strategy on can be used all-year-round, through the different phenological stages of the plant (e.g. flowering, fruit set, fruit development, fruit maturation, harvesting, and vegetative growth).
- This variable or variables behave and respond similarly, season after season at different growing regions, to different weather and growing conditions.
Therefore, the main plant organ responding to these four basic requirements is the stomata, the organ that allows the plant to exchange gasses with the surrounding environment to produce sugar by the photosynthesis process and at the same time to absorb water through the root system (passive absorption).