The Mango Tree Project [continued]

Since my first post about our Mango Tree Project, we’ve completed Steps 3 and 4, and are now on Step 5 (waiting and praying…dum-di-dum-di-dummmm).

IMG_6512Step 3: We wait and watch for some new shoots to appear.
We didn’t have to wait too long. Pete gave the mango tree its dramatic haircut on October 1; we noticed the beginnings of tiny shoots within just a week or two, and after a month there was plenty of healthy growth noticeable from the lanai [photo, Nov 2].

IMG_7379Step 4: Pete grafts new varieties to existing shoots.
Once the shoots are large enough, about the thickness of his finger, a similar sized shoot of a different variety can be grafted. For us, after another three weeks of growth [photo], Pete decided our tree was ready.

IMG_7401So, on November 22, Pete gave us four initial grafts, and we’ll see how those take. He can repeat as necessary, when newer shoots grow to a suitable size.

Tools of the trade: A selection of potential grafts, tape, and a very sharp knife (which it appears he had already tested on his thumb!) 😉IMG_7386

Step 5: We step back, wait, and pray.
This will be a longer wait. Though I assume we’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if the grafts have not taken (if they wither and die!), we’ll have to be patient until next year to see if we have any fruit to harvest.

P.S.
For those who read the original Mango Tree Project post to the end, I’m sorry to say my stand-out against the coconut palm cull didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. Two palms have met their demise since that post.

However, while the exposed green belt at the bottom of our yard is currently rather straggly and unsightly (mostly caused, insists Steve, by lack of sunlight due to those palms), I have to admit that the increased light across the yard, together with a tiny peak of the mountains that we didn’t realize we’d be able to see, have probably justified this latest mini-massacre.

The Mango Tree Project

Mango prior to its near-death experienceIn our back yard stands a large mango tree.

Correction!

The effects of a chain saw massacreIn our back yard stood a large mango tree.

Today, that mango tree is a mere skeleton of its former self.

Weep not, however, as we have a cunning plan!

The huge mango-tree-that-was overshadowed much of the back yard, and with little benefit as we’ve not seen a single mango on it in the year+ that we’ve owned the house. It cost us a fortune to have it trimmed last November, and it was already back to its previous size.

Turns out that Steve’s massage therapist Pete (yes, Steve found an excellent chap who’s managing to keep Steve’s poor old damaged body ticking over with regular deep tissue massage) is something of a horticulturist/landscape gardener in his spare time. An odd combo perhaps, but we’re beginning to realize odd combos are pretty much the norm on this island.

Pete has another friend who’s an expert in growing different varieties of mango, and Pete has experience in grafting mangoes, to provide one tree that will fruit at different times of the year. (Heck, if we end up with mangoes of any damn type at one time of the year, we’ll be happy! Different types at different times? Clover!)

Pete and his victim

Hence our mango tree project!

Step 1: Pete (for a very reasonable fee) chain saws our existing tree to near-death.

Hanalei transfer (recycling) station

Step 2: Steve and I haul the debris from the back yard, up a wicked slope in searing heat to the front yard, and borrow a friend’s truck to take it to the local tip. (Anything to save a few bucks on haulage!)


[Steps 1 & 2 achieved!
]

Step 3: We wait and watch for some new shoots to appear.

Step 4: Pete grafts new varieties to existing shoots.

Step 5: We step back, wait, and pray.

Step 6 (in theory): We harvest tons of mangoes, and have a tree that we can ourselves keep trimmed to a manageable size!

Coconut AveBehind the mango, in fact across the whole back border of the property, is a row of coconut palms. Steve has been ‘negotiating’ with me for months, trying to persuade me that we should have the majority of them removed to let more light into the property. The theory (there’s that word ‘theory’ again!) being that this should encourage more growth of our sickly looking citrus trees, or more precisely our pathetic, mangled citrus bushes, and also (with luck) reduce our mosquito population.

I know he’s right (of course), but I’ve been resisting the demise of so many trees, following hard on the heels of the two attractive but admittedly useless pink tacomas that were removed last year to reduce the shade on our solar panels, as well as the enormous almost-barren avocado tree that had been planted as little more than a seedling 20 years ago in a totally inappropriate location.

We had finally come to a relatively amicable agreement, to conduct a 50% coconut cull but, thankfully, my tenacious negotiations had delayed that massacre. So, thanks to me, we still have a screen at the back border while our mango tree recovers.

Once we’re assured of some growth on the mango tree, we’ll start the coconut tree project, but that could be months away. Meantime, we are enjoying plenty of our home-grown coconut juice, fresh off the trees!