I gave up on sweet-smelling flowers, much less fruit, and pruned the mango a lot last week. It looked so shrunken afterwards but it was overdue. It was supposed to have ripening mangoes by now. It was just sitting there, the limbs getting a bit longer but nothing else, when last year, it was starting to flush in January. January!
Three weeks ago I did, reluctantly, prune just two branches, my first time ever, baby steps towards seeing whether that would change anything. Oh boy did it. One, and actually one that I did not, almost immediately sprang into the flush of growth you see here–but the other one I pruned is shaded by the rest of the tree and is still taking its time.
Now, how you prune a tree when you don’t know what its long term growth patterns are is a mystery. What I’ve seen in its first 18 months: the trunk goes up. Then it curves over. Then the branches hang down in the winter. Then they do a wavy curl back upwards in spring, and whether they harden that way or not, whether the new sprouts that showed up at the top in the last two days will continue upwards for long, I don’t know. It’s not a trunk–it’s a puzzle piece.
Cut the branches to about two feet long the first two years, Fairchild Gardens says. Okay.
The reddish new growth on the lower left of the tree? I’d read that the trick is to cut just past where there’s a grouping of leaves rather than a single one. I did. There are five new not leaves but full branches from it. I like that rate of return.
Cut where there’s a single leaf you’ll get a single branch. Or so they say.
But I found for the first time and bought a pair (and you do need two layers) of bigger frost covers for the coming winter, and I mean big, like, ten feet tall big. So now I don’t have to worry about it growing larger this year than I can keep protected.
I didn’t prune all the branches (see last photo). Maybe there’s still some last flowering hope? The bees so ardently love those blossoms, and so do I, and now that I know my next-door neighbors have a beehive, I can only imagine what their honey could taste like.
Whatever. I think my tree is suddenly going to be much, much fuller. Next year we will have mangoes.
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