Mangifera indica, commonly known as the mango tree, is a tropical evergreen tree from the cashew family (Anacardiaceae). This plant is beloved for its delicious, fleshy fruit and is one of the most widely cultivated fruits in the world, with over 100 varieties in production(Flowerdale). The mango is originally native to southeastern Asia, specifically eastern India, Burma, and the Andaman islands,
however it has been introduced and is commercially produced across the tropics and even in parts of Florida and Southern California. Most commercial production occurs in South America in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico (Top Tropicals). It thrives in dry, hot, desert like climates as well as tough soils that are rocky, sandy, and clayey in nature. It can handle these rough conditions due to its preference for thoroughly drained soils and full sun, and it struggles in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (Flowerdale).
Although they are so highly commercialized, it is not uncommon for a home gardener from southern states with the right climatic conditions to reap the benefits of this tropical tree within a personal doorway garden. Home cultivators prefer shorter varieties that are easy to care for, such as ‘Keitt’ and ‘Nam Doc Mai’ varieties (Pine Island). Beyond its sweet fruit, mangoes can also be used for medicinal purposes. Their leaves can be dried and consumed to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and catarrh of the bladder due to its richness of tannins. It should be noted however that mangoes produce poisonous milky sap around the base of the fruit and leaves, so home gardeners should take care to thoroughly wash it off before further handling (NTBG).
A key influence of mango propagation is the nature of their seeds. Mango seeds are either monoembryonic or polyembryonic. Monoembryonic seeds consist of just one embryo, and they require cross pollination therefore they never grow true to type. The result is one seedling Polyembryonic seeds contain multiple embryos, one as the result of cross pollination and the rest as a result of apomixes. The apomictic embryos grow into clones of the mother plant, and the single seed gives way to multiple seedlings (Myers).
Mangifera indica is most commonly propagated by grafting or budding, veneer grafting and chip budding to be exact. This is to ensure a sturdy rooting and prolific fruiting, and is usually accomplished with polyembryonic rootstocks and monoembryonic scions. Monoembryonic seedlings are known to be more prolific, while polyembryonic seedlings are sure to have the qualities of its sturdy bred mother. Grafting/budding is often paired with seed propagation to grow the appropriate scions and especially the rootstocks. A mature mango grown purely from seed may result in small unsatisfying fruit or fragile roots, so grafting/budding is used to take advantage of optimal strains with the best rooting and fruiting characteristics (Hartmann & Kester).
Micropropagation is not commercially used in mango production, primarily due to woody plants being generally difficult to form callus and regenerate embryos. There have been recent experiments in micropropagation with goals of facilitating production of disease-free biotechnological strains along with other enhanced traits (Pateña). Propagating mangoes with cuttings is uncommon as well, since it is so impractical compared to grafting. Some success has been reported in India using high IBA treatment (10,000 ppm) and etioliation (Campbell).
Veneer Graft a Mango in 8 Steps
Materials needed: Very sharp grafting knife, sharp snips, wrapping material (parafilm, a pliable plastic material, will be used in this example).
1. The ideal time period to begin this process is from April to August. Select a terminal nonflowering shoot about three months old and a half inch in diameter. Select a year old root stock that is actively growing.
2. Trim the leaves of the scion but leave a small bit of each petiole (about 1 cm). Trim any shoots of the stock as well and rinse off any old soil.
3. Make a 2-3 inch deep downward diagonal cut in the rootstock about 4 inches off the base. Make a second downward cut meeting the bottom of the first, creating a downward diagonal notch in the rootstock. This is where your scion is going to go.
4. Shape the base (proximal end) of the scion with your knife so it fits cleanly and snuggly into the previously cut notch.
5. Gently insert the scion base into the notch, ensuring that the vascular cambium of both pieces line up. This can be accomplished by lining up the bark so the edge of the scion bark sits cleanly around the edge of the rootstock bark.
6. Holding the scion firmly in place, wrap the parafilm snuggly around the entire union, enough to completely cover the wound and hold the scion in place.
7. The scion and rootstock should connect in 2-3 weeks. You must “break” the shoot at this point by making a small horizontal one inch cut about two inches above the union. During this time and after the initial connection was made, make sure you regularly prune any other shoots off beyond the grafted one. After the scion experiences visible growth, cut the rootstock entirely off above the union. The cut should be made as close to the union as possible without damaging it.
8. Continue to maintain the graft by pruning additional shoots for about 6 months. After this time has passed, your new mango tree will be ready to be finally planted in its desired location.
Campbell, Carl W., Sauls, Julian W. “Mango Propagation.” University of Florida. Florida Cooperative Extension Services. April 1994. Web. 07 Nov 2014. http://university.uog.edu/cals/people/PUBS/MANGO/Mg05300.pdf.
Hartmann, Hudson T., Dale E. Kester, Fred T. Davies, and Rovert L. Geneve. Hartmann & Kester’s Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices. 8th ed. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011. 746. Print.
“Mango Variety Viewer.” Pine Island Nurseries. 2009. Web. 07 Nov 2014. http://tropicalfruitnursery.com/mango/index.shtml.
“Mango (Mangifera indica) Varieties.” Top Tropicals. 2014. Web. 07 Nov 2014. http://toptropicals.com/html/toptropicals/articles/fruit/varieties_mango.htm.
“Mangos” Flowerdale Nursery and Landscaping. 2014. Web. 07 Nov 2014. https://flowerdalenursery.com/Mangos..
“Mangifera indica.” National Tropical Botanical Garden. 2014. Web. 07 Nov 2014. http://www.ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=7334.
Myers, Josie. “Can You Graft…” SFGate. Web. 07 Nov 2014. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-graft-mango-tree-different-type-mango-tree-56181.html.
Pateña, L.F., Barba, R.C.; Tecson-Mendoza, EM.; Laurena, A.C.; Ines, MB.C.; Endonela, L.E.; Laureles, L.R.; Juanillas, J.L.; Formaran, A.B.; Delgado, R.W.; Orte, A.L.; Nemis, D.M.; Reyes, T.N. “Tissue Culture of Mango.” PCARRD HIGHLIGHTS 2008. Pp. 111-113. Rpt. in Mango Information Network. Web. 07 Nov 2014. .