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Some advice please
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imelin
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Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:29 am    Post subject: Some advice please Reply with quote

Hi friends,

I feel shy to claim that I went to Serdang college for 3 years. In the garden of my little Chiangmai house, I have planted two mango trees, one Pandan coconut tree, one longan tree and a lime tree.

The Rad mango tree was yielding very nice fruits in earlier years but had stopped now, may be because I couldn't care for it when away. This season it doesn't even flower. The back mango tree had no sign of fruiting even after 7 years.

The coconut palm was yielding lots of nuts last few months but it has also stopped. The leaves don't look healthy and I suspect beetle infestation.

The lime tree is surviving and still bearing fruits but much less, may be its winter weather now.

The longan tree never bear any fruit for past 7 years, am very tempted to just chop it down.

Any good advice for me? I like to keep the trees but the problem is some months I'm not here to care for them.

Thanks
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Thean Teik
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Joined: 11 May 2009
Posts: 197

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Morning Adeline,
Have you consulted the extension officers from the Department of Agriculture for the Chiangmai area? They are your best and most reliable source of information.
Even if the trees are not producing, they are still valuable in edible landscaping.
Peace
Thean Teik
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imelin
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Joined: 30 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:39 pm    Post subject: Dept of agric Reply with quote

Hi Pheh,

No, I don't even know where that's located. Anyway, I'm trying what the Malay farmers advised me to do, isn't this a joke? To apply rock salt, may be to stress the tree to start flowering.

Will let u know if this works if not it will be a shade tree.

Regards
Adeline
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Thean Teik
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adeline,
Be careful with salt. A little too much and you may dehydrate the roots and cause wilting to the permanent wilting point. I know what I'm talking about cos I almost killed my tree.
Peace
Thean Teik
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Luke Tan
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Joined: 14 Jun 2009
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adeline,

Pheh is right about the best source for advice for your plant problems. Sorry to hear you don't know where they're located. The local farmers should know.

The information you furnished about your plants is too skimpy for anyone to give accurate diagnoses and/or to recommend any pointed remedial actions to be taken. Moreover, the cool weather in Chiengmai may present problems quite different from those experienced here in our hot lowlands. However, I want to give you some general information here, related to the problems with your plants, in the hope that they would be of some help to you. They are based on what I know from my past working experience and my stint at my own 7-acre orchard in Melaka (which I reluctantly sold off in 2003). I've also learned from my observations of other people's orchards and home gardens around the country.

I shall start with Mangoes, my favourite fruit.

a) The problem of regular fruiting.

I grew mangoes in my orchard because they will flower and fruit well in Melaka where there is a distinct dry period, which is necessary to trigger the flowering process. Mangoes will fruit well in other parts of the country provided they have this distinct dry period for a couple of months. This applies to most of the common varieties, including the 2 commercial Thai ones that I planted, viz. the Nam Dok Mai and the Chokanan.

Even for free fruiting varieties, they will exhibit the phenomenon we call the 'Periodicity of flowering/fruiting'. This means that they may yield heavily in an 'on' years, but followed by small yields, or even no yields at all in the 'off' year. Sometimes the 'on' year may come only after a few off-season years.

Then there are the varieties that will not fruit at all in some localities. These are usually imported varieties that can grow very well locally, but will not flower at all even in places with the dry period. I remember we had in our stations, some varieties from Hawaii and Australia that never flowered at all. Then we had a Thai variety the MAHA 65, so-called because it won the first prize at the 1965 MAHA Exhibition. It was from Melaka where it could fruit okay, but we never succeeded to get them to flower in all our other stations nation-wide. The Philippine variety Carabao also failed to flower locally. We had mixed results with Indian varieties.

I have not planted your Rad variety as it's not locally available here.

b) The Solution to regular flowering.

In the early 70's a Philippino researcher from the University of Philippines, Dr. Ramon Barba, found a simple solution to regulate the flowering of mangoes in the off-seasons -- foliar spraying with Potassium Nitrate (KNO3). Only one spraying with a 1% solution (1kg in 100 litres of H2O) was all it needed, with flower buds forming in a week or two after. Mango yields in the Philippines then tripled after using this simple method.

Soon after this, our own UPM applied this technology, but instead of pure KNO3, they used Welgro Standard, a foliar fertiliser compound which has KNO3 as its nitrate source. This they used in a cocktail mix together with an insecticide (dicrotophos) and a fungicide (Maneb). The spraying was done weekly on the variety Harumanis with very positive results. Besides stimulating the plants to flower, the use of the cocktail mix was to simultaneously control insects and disease as well.

The Philipinos also found that for the Carabao variety that did not quite respond to the KNO3 treatment, an application of the plant growth regulator paclobutrazol was necessary before the spraying of KNO3. For this paclobutrazol treatment, the trees are drenched at a rate of 1.0 gm/m canopy diameter. However, this growth regulator has it's bad side effect -- it stunts the plant and an over-dose can even kill it. I wouldn't recommend it's usage in your case.

(PS: This KNO3 breakthrough solution was discovered some 40 years ago. I don't know why our farmers and backyard gardeners are not using it. Could it be the gross failure of our extension system?)

c) Pruning and thinning

Especially for varieties with thick canopies, judicious pruning is advised to remove branches to prevent crowding which could hinder flowering. I have seen good results with good pruning applied.

d) Cinturing, girdling or ring-barking.

These are measures resorted to by farmers the world over. They work to stress the plant in the hope of triggering the flowering response. They may or may not work in your situation. Anyway no harm trying if everything else fails. Just don't overdo it less you over stunt the plants -- much like applying too much salt on them.


Adeline I hope these info have helped you decide what you're going to do with your mangoes.

Personally I practised what the UPM people had done and I had obtained good results. I like it also because it helped to ward off the insect pests as well as fungal attacks. In mangoes, the 2 most dreaded insects are the stem borer, Bactocera rufomaculata, and the nut weevil, Sternochaetus mangiferae. Plants badly attacked by stem borers will be weak, will stop flowering, and will eventually die.

Finally, I am assuming you're fertilising your plants well, because underfed plants will not bear much fruit, if at all. Also, I hope your plants have ample sunlight as they will not fruit in the shade.

I shall touch on your other plants in a later posting.

Regards.
Luke

Sorry for the long post. I tried to make it brief but I guess I got carried away, huh?
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imelin
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:52 am    Post subject: Thanks for advice Reply with quote

Hi Pheh and Luke,

Appreciate your very serious advice and I shall try to see which one is easy to follow. I do fertilise regularly, did pruning etc but my biggest problem is when I'm away, these plants don't get enough water especially during hot season.

I guess my Rad mango tree us taken this season off. In the past years, by January after the cold winter, it will start flowering. The mango trees in my housing estate are all flowering profusely.

Hope for the best cos I will be leaving them soon.

Cheers
Adelina
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Luke Tan
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adeline,

Continuing with my comments on your problem plants:

Non-flowering longan tree:

Frankly I'm a little surprised that you are having a non-fruiting longan tree in Chiengmai, which is to my knowledge, a major longan-producing province in Thailand. You have a period of cool and dry climatic conditions for induction of flowering. Maybe the variety/cultivar that you planted is not one of the easy to flower cultivars such as 'Thetsakon'?

Whatever the case, I think the local Agric. extension officers or even the farmers should be able to advise you on what to do about your problem.

From what I know, the normal fruiting habit of the longan tree is much like that of the mango's, -- i.e. with and 'on' year alternating with an 'off' year.
As with the mango, there is at least one chemical that has been used to stimulate it's flowering, especially for the off-season. About 10 years ago, Chinese farmers started using the chemical potassium chlorate (KClO3) and Thai farmers soon followed suite. Its success then led to the expansion of longan growing areas in Thailand. Sodium chlorate, which is cheaper and more easily available (KClO3 is classified as an explosive, where else NaClO3 is a weedicide), has been found to be just as effective.

Previous to this Thai growers mostly resorted to cincturing (ring-barking) the stems and main branches to stimulate the trees to flower, with varying results.

Experiments carried out in Sarawak sometime in 2005-6 showed that both KClO3 and NaClO3 were equally effective to induce flowering of subtropical longan cultivars such as Edaw and Kohala. Depending on the canopy size, the rates used were 10-15 g per m2 canopy. The chemicals were dissolved in 4 gal. of water and applied as a soil drench in a 60cm band around the canopy edge.

For good results, application of the chemicals should be made when trees have mature leaves with sign of new flushes.

If your longan tree is healthy enough, I suggest you try to apply this technology on it.

Good luck!

Regards.
Luke

P.S. My comments sound very serious because they are of a technical nature. How can I be joking about such things?
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Thean Teik
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chegu Luke,
Thanks for imparting your knowledge. It's of no importance but I thought MAHA 65 aka MA 165 was from Kelantan. Another selection that produces excellent mangoes that are a touch smaller than MAHA 65 from Malacca is the one we were having problems in Perak. I cannot remember what clone it is. MAHA 65 fruited very well in Perak and Penang. Problem was the fruits cracked badly on maturity.
Peace
Thean Teik
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imelin
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:29 pm    Post subject: Valuable advice Reply with quote

Hi Pheh and Luke,

Thanks again for giving me so much information on what to do with my longan and mango trees. I'm waiting to see what happened after the salt treatment on my longan tree. I'm not sure what variety because my brother bought the plant and planted for me when I was away. It's supposed to be king longan and that's the only tree around my neighbourhood.

The Rad mango did have a very good season after 4 years and I enjoyed the 16 sweet mangoes when I was back here. Since then, it didn't perform too well.

I think we shd start an "advice forum" so all the valuable advice can be shared with others. What do you think? I'm sure there are many who have problems too.

Regards
Adelina
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Luke Tan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pheh,

The Kelantanese mango is probably MA 167, a Thai variety, called 'pauh siku' by the locals. When I was in Kelantan in the 70's I did enjoy eating them and a lot of other mango varieties when in season, both those from Thailand and those produced locally.

The problem with planting the Thai mangoes here is that they do not fruit at all, or they do not consistently fruit well enough, to be considered for commercial planting. This now should not be a problem with the nitrate solution available. However, other problems like high costs of labour, pest and disease control, etc. may dissuade many farmers from growing this fruit commercially. The fruit therefore remains a favourite mainly among hobbyists and backyard gardeners especially in places where there is a pronounced dry season of a couple of months each year.

The cracking of the MA 165 fruits was due to the sudden occurrences of heavy showers after a hot dry spell. This problem can be alleviated with irrigation, preferably drip.

Regards.
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Luke Tan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adeline,

"Advice forum"? No harm in starting one, I guess. I just don't see how it can be used by the "many who have problems too" that you mentioned.

Continuing with my comments, this time on your lime tree:

Citrus trees in general have many pests and diseases, and also nutrient deficiency problems. They are therefore not easy to care and maintain throughout their useful years. So they show signs of decline in their condition and production as they age. Then there is this one big problem with all citrus plant varieties. They are susceptible to the attack of the dreaded Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV) which will cause them to show signs of decline and eventual death. The decline rate can be slow or fast, depending on the strain of the virus and other environmental factors.

CTV is found in all parts of the world where citrus plants are grown. The virus attacks the phloem tissues. It is rapidly spread by biting insects especially aphids. It is not easy to keep the plants free from the virus, and once infected there is no cure for it. It's the main reason why we don't see many old productive lime, grapefruit or orange trees around.

So, in the case of your lime tree, given the widespread occurrence of the virus, and assuming you've carried out good crop husbandry practices, I would strongly suspect CTV infection, if it fails to recover its condition and productivity after the winter months have passed.

Depending on the severity of attack, the symptoms can be: reduced leaf and fruit size, low yields, twig dieback, chlorosis of leaves and stem pitting.

If it has CTV, then there's nothing much you can do except hope that it would be a slow decline and you can still have some fruits for some time before it finally dies. In the meantime you need to continue the good husbandry practices, including pruning especially taking off the dead branches and twigs.

Good luck.

Regards
Luke
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imelin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:38 pm    Post subject: My lime tree Reply with quote

Hi Luke and Pheh,

Thanks for your advice. My lime tree is 7+ years old, I fertilise regularly but hardly do any chemical spray. I do get good harvest more than enough for my own consumption. Of late the fruits are much less, it had termite attack and when I had the termites control company over, they sprayed fipronil on the trunk of the lime tree too.

May be it is recovering now as I can see a some flowering.
The longan tree which I applied salt, didn't die and started to give a lot of new young leaves. Looks like it has finally woke up, about bearing fruits, really don't know until may or June.

Thanks again
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Luke Tan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adeline,

Now to comment about your coconut palm problem:

You say it was "yielding lots of nuts last few months but it has also stopped". Do you mean to say that there are now no more inflorescences and no more small nuts of any size left on the tree? Remember that the time taken for the nuts to mature from the inflorescence stage is approximately nine months. So, whatever the problem of your palm it must have started when it first started to show no production of inflorescences. Looks like your palm has been suffering the problem for quite a long while, without your noticing it from the beginning.

You also noticed that "the leaves don't look healthy" and that you "suspect beetle infestation". How are they not healthy? Do the fronds look smaller in size. What's the colour of the leaflets. Are they yellowish or brownish/burnt?

Anyway you can easily see the effects of attacks by the rhinoceros beetle -- they bore into the unopened fronds and spathes at the crown and feed on the sap of the soft tissue, resulting in the characteristic wedge shaped or "V" cuts in the fronds, and also holes in their midrib.

I suspect that it is also attacked by termites since your place is already termite infected. Hope I'm wrong though.

Regards,
Luke
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imelin
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:32 pm    Post subject: Coconut palm Reply with quote

Hi Luke,

Termites problem is under control since December 2013. Palm is growing taller with V cut fronds, no new inflorescence. A picture of the palm when nuts were abundant.

Shd I replant since the palm is over 7 years now?

Adelina
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Thean Teik
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adeline,
Unless the beetles have destroy the growing point, there is no point replacing the plant. At 7 yrs it's not even spring chicken yet and has many more years to go.
Peace
Thean Teik
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