HD and UHD are the abbreviations we commonly associate with display resolution. Few of us from technology industry also associate these abbreviations to density as in HD storage or pixels etc.
Lo and behold, When we heard UHD Mangoes, we could not resist learning more about it. UHD in case of Mangoes is not about colour or contrast of the fruit but the density of trees in a given space.
Just to draw a parallel, increasing density of Mango trees is like fitting an elephant into the living room. But it seems this is doable, so read on...
When planting any trees together, the rule of thumb is to ensure that canopies do not touch each other. This has two purposes, complete exposure of canopy to sunlight and enough roots space to gather nutrients. In the wilderness, trees are taller because they are densely packed and compete for sunlight. A taller tree is not suitable for horticulture, as access becomes a challenge.
How short can the trees quick get? Here is a Twelve-year-old Mango tree to give you an idea.
Traditionally farmers would plant Mango plants 10 meters away, and this would allow them to place 40 trees in an acre. By dwarfing the trees to about 8 feet, we can accommodate 200 trees and further shrinking them to 6 feet or under we can have 500 plants. The former is called HD plantation and later is called UHD, the objective of packing more trees into a given space is to increase the collective yield and improve accessibility.
The trick in creating a UHD plantation, therefore, is to limit the growth of the tree. Vegetative growth in plants is influenced by a plant hormone called Gibberellin. Controlling Gibberellin is the key to retarding the plant growth in addition to pruning. A chemical compound called Paclobutrazol is commonly used to suppress Gibberellin in the plants. Application of Paclobutrazol is where the problem starts, there are studies out there which show the residual effect on the soil bacteria and even mammals.
As much as we loved the concept UHD, we had to let go of the idea as it was against our principle. But overall this was a great learning experience, and the weekend we spent on this was worthwhile.