Welcome to the Mango Loa project, a five-year initiative aimed at improving Hawaii's mango industry by incorporating and demonstrating high-density orchard management techniques, including ultra-high density plantation and open Tatura trellis systems.
Phase One: Focused on installing the orchard styles and observing the first three years of growth.
Phase Two: Continued observation in the fourth and fifth years, including production aspects and post-harvest improvements like pest control nets and cold storage units.
The project compared the traditional method of mango cultivation (50 to 70 trees per acre) with ultra-high density planting (up to 670 trees per acre, though the project used around 400-450 trees per acre) and the open Tatura trellis system (density around 650+ trees per acre).
High Density Orchard Benefits and Challenges
Management Efficiency: Shorter trees (8-10 feet) allow for easier management, including better observation, chemical application, and canopy management.
Spacing Issues: An 8 by 10-foot spacing between trees and rows was found to be a bit too tight, leading to increased pest issues like scale and mealybugs. A larger spacing of 10 by 20 feet is now preferred.
Mechanization Needs: In Hawaii, due to the limited labor force, mechanization is essential for larger orchards. This requires wider row spacing to accommodate tractors.
Cost of Trees: One of the challenges is the high cost of trees in Hawaii, as there are no commercial nurseries offering affordable options.
The Mango Loa project has provided valuable insights into high-density mango cultivation in Hawaii. It highlights the importance of balancing tree density with practical management and mechanization needs, especially in larger orchards. As the project concludes, it offers significant learnings for the future of mango farming in the region. Join the conversation on Facebook. Or Subscribe to our waitlist to eat the best mangoes you've ever tasted.