By Vina Medenilla
The Philippines takes pride in being home to the world’s sweetest mangoes, notably the Carabao variety, also known as the Manila mango.
One successful cultivator of the national fruit is Mashistro Farms in San Vicente, Bani, Pangasinan. Rida Mahshi, the farm owner, shared strategies that make their mango production a fruitful one.
Mango trees, like many fruit trees, take several years to bear fruit.
Mashistro Farms, however, does not grow these trees the ordinary way; they raise them with two or more rootstocks, which stimulates faster and more robust growth.
“Having two or three rootstocks is better than one! Trees [with] more root systems are essential in absorbing the nutrients from the applied organic fertilizer, thereby minimizing [nutrient] losses due to evaporation and leaching.”
Mahshi adds, “The trees also have better root anchorage, enabling them to resist strong winds and other adverse conditions and diseases.”
According to him, mango trees with more than one rootstock are more prolific than trees with a single rootstock because they “overcome the biennial fruiting habit,” or the erratic bearing of mango trees over time.
In the case of Mashistro Farms, one of their Carabao ‘Sweet Elena’ trees with double rootstock produced roughly 70 kilos of mangoes in 2017, then climbed to 250 kilos the year after.
The time it takes for young trees to fruit is also cut in half when using this rootstock technique. He explained, “The tree becomes non-seasonal due to its reinforced nature.” This presents the farm with higher pricing and a better profit margin during the off-season.
“Physiological maturity is also enhanced.” Mahshi continues, “A five-year-old tree with triple rootstock is equivalent to an eight to 10-year-old fruit tree that bears commercial fruits.”
The grafted seedlings have two parts: scion and rootstock. For the latter, they use native seed-grown mango varieties to promote root growth and build a strong resistance to pests and diseases.
According to Mahshi, the scion, or the cutting of a young mango plant, should be thick enough to touch the rootstocks. It’s to ensure that their flesh is firmly joined and that they continue to grow as one.
Finally, when transplanting the mango seedlings into their permanent location, they should be spaced at least 12 to 20 meters apart.
Photos courtesy of Mashistro Farms
For more information, visit Mashistro Farms