A beautiful tree needs saving.

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by Mazare, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    Location:
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    I live in Miami, Florida and I have an old mango tree that was planted at least forty years ago, sitting in my backyard. My grandmother and grandfather used to sit beneath it before my grandfather passed away and my grandmother is quite attached to it.

    The problem is that Hurricane Andrew, a decade ago, uprooted the tree and semi-knocked it down. The tree was large then. Maybe 35' tall and with a large canopy, but the trunk is only 1-2' in diameter. With our limestone, it's tough, I'm guessing for the tree to have purchase. Our poinciana seems to grab on just fine. Because the tree was almost completely uprooted, we pruned it heavily, almost to a stump(it was maybe 3' tall), and we righted it as best we could.

    Well, somehow, mother nature can take a nice shot to the chin because the tree, even though it was effectively a stump and was sitting at a slant... grew back.

    I kept bothering my grandmother and mother to fix the tree before it got too large but they didn't listen and now, the tree is as big as before. Except, now, the tree is now tilting at a 45 degree angle. Everyone loves the fruit produced by this mango tree.
    I've tried researching what kind of mango it is and I'm relatively sure it's some kind of indian mango variety. It seems easily affected by mildew and it's florid, with little fiber, a pulpy, meaty flesh. The fruit is large, some being almost football-sized, with an orange pulp that is sweet and firm. People come from miles away to take a couple of mangoes from us and I have to admit, it is the best mango I've tasted.

    Unfortunately, all the descriptions are identical for the mangoes. Very tough to identify them without pictures. If anyone asks, I could photo some of the mangoes later and post them here.

    I'm worried about the tree because we have regular hurricane seasons and there's fear that he won't survive a second strike. The tree DID survive a fierce, storm/low-level hurricane last year but that has done little to assuage their fears. Ultimately, the tree is tilting and that's a constant worry. Also, some of the limbs have started growing out recklessly towards the leaning side. The problem is that the tree, while normally a reliable producer, seems to produce fruit most heavily(70%) on that side. I fear that pruning it might kill it or stunt fruit production for years. My grandmother is getting along in age and I'd hate to do that to her.

    Also, the tree produced a good amount of fruit this year but also produced hundreds of pigmy mangoes that are effectively uneatable. Do all fruits need to reach maximum size or is it normal for a tree of this nature to have so many miniature, stunted fruit? They all hit the ground now and while I've collected them, hundreds more have rotted, making it difficult to collect them.

    We have an indo-chinese mango tree behind it(smaller, always green mangoes) that seems to survive just fine, although the fruit isn't nearly as good). We also have two sapplings that have sprung up within the last five years.

    The problem with the sapplings is that they're still...well...sapplings, despite the fact that five years have passed. That may be a good thing, in this hurricane-common weather, since they bend and don't break but I'm wondering if their growth is being stunted. One is out in the open, in the sunlight, and I'm not sure if it's the indo-chinese or if it's the indian variety. My guess would be the latter since, well, the indo-chinese is very small and wouldn't really drop any fruit so far away. The other sappling is probably indian since it's right next to the large tree, and is in almost complete shade. Both are about four feet tall. Neither bears fruit. What do I need to do to protect these two sapplings? They may be the only "legacy" we have left of the tree if another hurricane hits.

    Right now, we fertilize the tree once a year. Water the tree regularly(it's rained like the dickens anyways). We have pests on the trees but I'm not sure how to remove them because every web site has conflicting information. I've tried to find arborealists and tree doctors but the last one we had over was completely clueless(AND he was certified...huh?) and the "tree doctors" that pruned our tree after Andrew basically were a bunch of grunts that did a hatchet job.

    I know it's a lot to ask a diagnosis and advice over the web, sight unseen but I really feel like this tree is a part of my family's history. I want to preserve it. Besides, despite all its ailments, somehow, it's still a beautiful tree and it's alive, you know? I would like advice about the large tree. Right now, I have a ladder propping up one of the longer limbs on the leaning side...it's getting ridiculous. :)

    And I would love to secure and nourish the sapplings so that when the large tree does eventually, pass, the family will have two new trees...descendents of the original.

    Any help would be great.

    M.
     
  2. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Can you post a couple of photos?
    Mangos often don't grow true to type from seed, so the seedlings may not be either of your two trees. You could use them as rootstock and graft from your damaged tree to ensure survival of true offspring.
    Ralph
     
  3. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    I'll take the digital camera(bit dark now) and post some pictures tomorrow. :)
     
  4. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    Ok, the page is done. Because I didn't want to kill anyone's bandwith on this page, I simply made a yahoo page and linked all the images in there. It's big. :) Like three megs. :) I hope noone minds but the images are fairly large in filesize and I took almost twenty. :)

    They're all labelled. Please. Anyone? :) Help.

    The page is:

    http://www.geocities.com/JMGmr/mango.html


    Thanks.
     
  5. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    Yahoo is bandwidth starved. :( The site will be up in an hour. :( Sorry.
     
  6. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    I'm wondering, is there a way to prop up the tree, without causing damage, creasing or sores to the trunk?
     
  7. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Look these links over as they may help for some
    of your questions. The main question in how to
    straighten the tree will be a little more dicey,
    actually probably easy as for what needs to be
    done but difficult in how to do it without causing
    any injury to the trunk. It can be done but it will
    be delicate. The hardest part will be to secure
    the tree afterwards and keep it from leaning once
    it has been either propped up or if need be lifted
    out of the ground entirely and reset back into the
    ground. I cannot see any of the photos from this
    end at this location so I am assuming that either
    procedure may apply. Since none of us in this
    forum that I know of offhand can do the work for
    you I suggest you contact a professional, an ISA
    arborist near you and learn what they would feel
    comfortable doing to help straighten your tree.
    We can worry about any diseases later I guess.

    http://www.isa-arbor.com/home.asp

    http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/mango.html

    http://www.extento.hawaii.edu/kbase/crop/crops/i_mango.htm

    http://mgonline.com/mango.html

    This link may help you determine which Mango
    you have. The poster of 143 varieties seems
    to be a nice one.

    http://www.fruitlovers.com/indexen.html

    Jim
     
  8. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    The link is working again.

    However, how would I merge the sapplings I have with the original tree materials?

    Are there any tutorials out there? Thanks.
     
  9. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Try a Google on "grafting". One of the bud grafting techniques might work for you as you don't loose the tree (sapling) if the graft fails to take. I'm sorry but I have no info specific to Mangos. Maybe someone else can "chip in" .
    Ralph
     
  10. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    Well, I've read up on the different types of grafting: Crown, Veneer, Bud and the like. They're all very similar. And, in a way, intruiging. The tree bears excellent fruit but it's monoembryonic. Does that mean that it's a fluke or that someone probably grafted it decades ago before my family purchased the house?

    The tree in my back yard is very large and must be at least 30+ years old. Probably close to forty years old. It is probably a "Haden" type mango tree(if you check the pictures, I think you'll all agree). That would explain it's inability to withstand fungi and disease(I'll have to do something about that).

    I really can't reset the tree. I'll try to support it as best I can and hope for the best. I would need a crane to reset it and that's simply not going to happen because there's not enough space for such a beast to reach my back yard. So that's that.

    However, my two sapplings hold promise.

    I'm just unclear about some little things. General grafting techniques and maybe someone can help with them.

    1)The sapplings are tall. One is over six feet. The other is five. Can I still graft them? I read that for larger trees, even mature ones, a crown graft could be attempted with good rate of success. I'm a bit nervous about using a knife on a veneer cut on the sapplings. The chance of me making such a deft cut, through their already forming bark has me worried. But a crown cut, on the softer, greener top, would be far easier.

    2) How do I keep the crown affixed on the tree. I'm worried about it coming off if it grows and the wound remains brittle or soft? Would I tie a stander or support next to the tree? I don't want to the sappling to accustom itself to a crutch however. :/ Would any plastic tape do?

    Finally:

    3) How do I wrap the wound and how do I check it for growth? Some sites insist that the entire shoot be covered in tape. Others emphasize that just the wound be covered. Most say that they should be covered in a bag but how would you cover it with a bag, if it's a crown cut? Surely you can't put a bag over the plant, so I'm assuming it's just wrapping the bag around the wound, with the top cut out, right? Can I tie a small stick or support so that the top of the crown, which might be large, doesn't fall? And how large should the shoots from the scion be if I'm going to affix them to a 6' sappling crown?

    How do I choose them? Should they be soft and green also?

    Any help in this, would be divine and thank you so much for the links and help so far. :) Now excuse me. I have to drive home and enjoy some Hadens. :)
     
  11. I am wondering what you have done with your mango tree, did you manage to get professional help?
     
  12. Actually, two hurricanes hit. Both quite nasty...and the tree survived both. The sheet of weeds/mold keeps spreading. The tree is still leaning. And my attempts at grafts(4), on a new large sappling have all failed. I'm in the process of composing a letter to Fairchild Tropical Gardens, in the hopes that their experts may know what to do.
     
  13. It would appear that you have sufficient room for a vehicle (truck) to be positioned on the downward side of the tree. Taking a rubber tire or a thick blanket between the bumper and the tree you could v-e-r-y gently "nudge" the tree back into an upright position. Remember that root systems in Florida are shallow at best so you would have little resistance from the tree (or gravity).

    Someone should be on the other side of the tree pulling ropes to assist in the s-l-o-w uprighting of the tree. Once positioned, backfill with lots of bags of garden soil mixed with either compost or cow manure and water well to enrobe the once-exposed root system.

    I have done this procedure with thin-trunked trees such as fig trees and grapefruit trees here in Pensacola quite successfully... which, IMHO, are more difficult since they tend to want to topple over the opposite direction if you are too heavy on the accelerator. The large trunk that your tree has is a benefit rather than a detriment.

    Hope this helps give you an action plan rather than have a parade of "experts" come out and adninister more benign advice (at a hefty fee-for-service).

    Good luck,

    Brian David
     
  14. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Location:
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    As a Florida Master Gardener with Manatee County, I would suggest that photos of each of the prox 40 commercial varieties of mango can be seen at your County Extension Office. They have U. of Fla. researched-based data to burn, on this kind of thing. Good luck.
     
  15. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

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    Location:
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    Mazare,
    I envy you after seeing those juicy mangoes hanging and ripening on the lovely tree. If I am not mistaken, your variety looks like "malgua" (not sure of the spelling -maybe malgoa) for the color of the flesh is exactly the same.
    From the photos, your tree despite the lean, is well anchored in the ground. Now contrary to what you may think, making the main trunk upright is going to weaken the anchorage of the tree to the ground. Why so? The center of gravity of the tree is probably lying towards the side of the lean, and the tree has a resultant force acting in the direction of the lean. Thus the tree will thicken the root that is situated directly opposite to this force in order to maintain an equilibrium against this force. Thus nature has ensured that the force exerted by gravity on the tree is in equilibrium with the resistant force of the root Anchorage. Now when you right the trunk you totally upset this natural equilibrium, and I know the tree will surely topple in the direction of the larger anchorage root as the roots directly opposite this anchorage line will be poorly developed.
    Another interesting point you made: some of the limbs are recklessly growing towards the lean. The reason must be the lean is pointing south, that is if you are north of the equator, and branches grow towards light. This problem can be cured by lopping off the longer branches furthest from the main trunk. If I were you I won't worry, the equilibrium principle will work again.
    If you are worried about the expectant hurricane, then you can use a line of grown trees as a wind barrier sited between the tree and the line of hurricane. If I were you I would move away from the hurricane area as I am more worried about human lives.
    Interestingly your mango saplings may not turn out to be like their mother plants due to the abundance of genetic diversity in each seed.
     
  16. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    jamkh: I agree that the roots will compensate for the 'list' that the tree has developed. I, myself, probably would not try to straighten the tree. It seems to be doing just fine.
     
  17. mikeyinfla

    mikeyinfla Active Member

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    you could also air layer the mangoe two or three air layers that way if something happens to the tree than you would still have pieces of the original plant until you get some more practice with grafting.heres a link that shows an air layer it shows two different trees but it shows how to do it pretty well http://www.mrfc.org/articles/airlay.html. hope this helps. i donot grow mangoes personally because i am alergic to them and no longer care for them even if someone else peels them for me. a few months ago a friend of mine got some of us together for a graft demo at his house, from an expert and i did not know it was going to be magoes. luckily i had some of the throw away latex gloves,realy hard to graft with those but out of the 10 i did about 3 of them took we used the cleft graft sometimes called a v graft. with grafting it takes practice practice and some more practice.
     
  18. Rashford Ricardo

    Rashford Ricardo Member

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    Dear friend,
    I am from Grenada in the west Indies residing in essex,uk. This mango is aJULIE or a BOMBAY. I will go for julie as you say it is large and sweet. Bombay is large too but julie is sweeter; the seeds will grow but no guarantee after 8 years it will taste the same as its mother. To preserve the strain, BUD a few nodes on your other trees and GRAFT 2 or 3 pieces of the branch to a local grown mango sibbling. Find 'how to Graf and Bud' fruit trees on your browser, and you will have all the tips you need. Also, to avoid it toppling over more, have you thought of putting a supporting stone wall, so preventing it from going any further?
    rick
    rashford12@hotmail.com













     
  19. lukeandpalms

    lukeandpalms Member

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    i also agree with jamkh. i have seen huge trees (80-100 feet tall) here in ohio that have recovered from being nearly horizontal. i have also seen a cupple that have parts of their trunk/branches touching the ground after being topled in storms, and in my opinion, they look quite interesting:) what annoys me, is when people have these unique trees, and dont give them a chance. sometimes, i even whish some of my trees would somewhat fall over, so i can have one of those unique trees. so, in my book, you did the right thing. i would leave the tree as is, but if you are really that worried about it, then you could do some ***selective*** but heavy pruning. do ***NOT*** top the tree. if you do, THIS could lead to health problems in the tree.
     
  20. Mazare

    Mazare Member

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    Progress report.

    Well, I asked around and everyone told me very little could be done. So I let my tree fight for survival and guess what? It's HUGE and quite alive. Thank goodness. :)
    The tree means a great deal to my grandmother, and it has great significance for her. The tree is still leaning but towers now. And yes, it seems to have hardened quite a bit. I can shove myself up against it but it shakes not. The tree has a large, canopy.

    I still worry about the lichen and moss that grows on it. It has not worsened. In fact, it may have bettered but since the tree trucks on and gave a record amount of enormous fruit, I suppose he's fine. The fruit is...well...huge. 3-4 pounds each. No, I'm not joking. Some are even the size of a small child's head. I'm enjoying one now but there are two problems and not everything is a happy ending.

    Ironically, I was right. The mango is a Haden. Behind it, we had a smaller, far healthier indo-chinese mango, with green/yellow/vanilla fruits that were smaller and less sweet. Somehow...that tree..Well it died. We don't know how. It might have been a lightning bolt but whatever the case, the tree has been positively covered in flat mushrooms. I'll get pictures online to show you guys but I'm very worried. While the mushrooms may be signs of saphrophism and they're probably just attacking that tree because it's dead, I can't be sure. And I'm a bit anxious that it might spread to the Haden next. It would break my grandmother's heart...and mine...if it did. I don't suppose if anyone knows if I should attack it with a fungicide?

    Second problem is that after many, many failed attempts, the two sapplings are now approximately 12 and 8 feet tall. No graft has been successful. I'm willing to try again. Probably crown and bud grafts but, will they work? Theoretically any limb should be graftable, regardless of size right?

    Any answers would be...well, huge. Thanks.
     

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