Propagating Mango Trees through Air Layering

Propagating Mango Trees through Air Layering

Mangoes, often hailed as the “king of fruits,” are not only a delectable tropical delight but also a prized addition to any home orchard. If you’re a mango enthusiast and wish to expand your collection of mango trees or cultivate a new generation of these delicious fruits, air layering is a valuable propagation technique you should consider. This method allows you to clone a mango tree, creating genetically identical offspring without resorting to seed planting or grafting. In this article, we’ll explore the art of mango air layering, a tried-and-true horticultural practice.


What is Air Layering?

Air layering is a form of plant propagation that encourages the growth of roots on a stem while still attached to the parent plant. This method has been practiced for centuries and is applicable to a variety of fruit trees, including mangoes. It offers several advantages, especially when dealing with trees that are challenging to propagate by other means. Here’s how you can air layer a mango tree.

The Air Layering Process

1. Select the Right Branch:

Begin by choosing a mature and healthy branch on your mango tree. The ideal branch should be about one year old with a diameter of approximately 1/2 to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.5 cm). Timing is crucial; perform air layering during the growing season, typically in the spring or early summer.

2. Prepare the Branch:

Using a sharp knife or grafting tool, make a small horizontal cut, approximately 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) long, through the bark and just into the cambium layer. The cambium layer is the tissue layer just beneath the bark where growth occurs. Then, make a small vertical cut at the center of the horizontal cut to form a T-shaped incision.

3. Apply Rooting Hormone:

To encourage root development, apply rooting hormone to the exposed cambium layer. Rooting hormone contains growth-promoting substances that enhance the chances of successful root growth.

4. Wrap with Moistened Sphagnum Moss:

Take a handful of moistened sphagnum moss and wrap it around the incision. Ensure it is tightly secured. To keep the moss in place, cover it with plastic wrap or a plastic bag.

5. Secure the Plastic Wrap:

Seal the plastic wrap or bag around the branch with tape or string to create an airtight environment. This is crucial for retaining moisture, which is vital for root development.

6. Monitor and Wait:

Over the next few weeks to a few months, check the air layer periodically to ensure that the sphagnum moss remains moist. The timing can vary depending on environmental conditions and the specific mango variety. With patience, you will observe root development.

7. Cut and Transplant:

Once you notice significant root growth (usually when the roots reach 1-2 inches or 2.5-5 cm in length), it’s time to cut the branch just below the air layer. The rooted portion can then be transplanted into a new pot or your desired location. Be sure to care for the newly propagated mango tree as you would with any young tree.

Benefits of Mango Air Layering

Mango air layering offers several benefits, making it a popular method for propagating these trees:

  • Genetic Cloning: The new plant is genetically identical to the parent tree, ensuring the same desirable traits and fruit characteristics.
  • Faster Fruit Production: Air-layered trees tend to produce fruit more quickly than those grown from seeds.
  • Variety Preservation: It’s an effective way to preserve and propagate specific mango varieties that may not come true from seed or grafting.
  • Higher Success Rate: Air layering often has a higher success rate than other propagation methods, making it a reliable choice for hobbyist gardeners.


Mango air layering is a skillful technique that allows you to expand your mango orchard, maintain genetic purity, and accelerate the time to fruit production. By following the steps outlined above, you can create new mango trees that are true to the parent tree’s characteristics, offering you an abundant supply of delectable mangoes for years to come.

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