Apple known as Malus pumila, and it is an imperative temperate fruit. Apples are primarily used fresh, but a small part of the result is concocted into juices, jellies, preserved slices and other items.
Apple essentially cultivated in India in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal hills. However, it is also offered to a small area in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Punjab and Sikkim.
Climate For Apple Production
In India, the apple-producing areas do not fall in the medium zone. Still, the prevailing mild climate of the region is due to the Himalayan ranges and high altitudes. The average summer temperature should be about 21-24oC during the intense growth period. Apple succeeds best in areas where the trees experience uninterrupted rest in winter and abundant sunlight for good colour improvement. It can developed at an elevation of 1500- 2700 m above sea level. Well-distributed rain of 1000-1250 mm throughout the growing season is most useful for optimum growth and fruitfulness of apple trees.
Apples produce best on well-drained, loam soils with an intensity of 45 cm and a pH range of 5.5 – 6.5. The ground should be free from hard substrata and water-logged situations. Soils with inedible clay or compact subsoil are to avoided.
Propagation Of Apple
Several methods, viz. propagate apples; whip, tongue, cleft and roots are grafting. Tongue and cleft grafting at 10-15 cm over the collar through February-March give the best outcomes. Usually, grafting accomplished at the end of wintertime.
Apples propagated mainly by shield budding, which gives a high percentage of success. In shield budding, a single bud and a shield piece of the stem are cut along with the offspring and inserted under the rind of the rootstock through a ‘T’ shaped incision during the current extension time. Budding is done when the flowers fully formed during summer. The best budding time is September in Kashmir Valley, Kumaon hills of Uttaranchal, high hills of Himachal Pradesh and June in mid-hills of Himachal Pradesh.
Most of the apples are grafted or budded on the seedling of natural crab apples. Then, high-density planting is done using dwarfing rootstocks.
The planting range varies according to variety and the fertility level of the soil. The primary consideration in planting trees is the planting of sufficient pollinators to ensure enough pollination. Usually, one pollinator tree is required for two to three big trees located at 10 m distance or one-row pollinator for two rows of the primary cultivar. For high-density planting, the pollinator tree is produced after every sixth tree in a row.
The most widely used farming system is the square method. In this system, the pollinators are located after every sixth or ninth tree. The other traditional system of farming is the rectangular system. In hilly areas, apple orchards established by setting trees on the contours to prevent soil erosion and reduce runoff.
The average amount of plants in an operation of one ha. can range between 200 to 1250. Four different kinds of planting weight followed viz. . The order of rootstock and scion type determines the plant spacing and seeding density/unit area.
Time and method of planting
Planting regularly done in January and February. The cavities filled with good loamy soil and original matter. Farming done in the centre of the pit by dipping the ground and putting the soil ball, keeping the roots intact. Movable soil filled up in the waiting area and lightly pressed to displace air gaps. The seedlings staked and watered instantly.
Apple trees are susceptible to low soil moisture. Water stress during the growing season reduces the number and size of fruits and increases June drop. The success of apples largely depends on the uniform distribution of rain during the year. In case of dry spells throughout the critical periods, supplementary irrigation should be provided. Water stress conditions result in poor fruit set, heavy fruit drop, low product and poor quality.
The most critical stages of water requirement are April- August, and peak water requirement is after the fruit set. Typically the orchards irrigated immediately after manuring in the month of December-January. During the summer periods, the crop watered at an interval of 7-10 days. After the fruit setting stage, the yield washed at weekly intervals. Application of water during the fortnight leading harvest markedly increases the fruit colour. After that, till the onset of dormancy, irrigation given at an interval of 3-4 weeks. For a better irrigation process, Massey 245 is the best option.
Thinning of Apple Fruit
Thinning one of the primary techniques employed to regulate fruit quality. In apples, heavy bearing results in small-sized poor quality fruits and sets in an alternate bearing cycle. Proper thinning done at the appropriate stage of fruit growing can improve cropping and fruit size and quality. However, since manual thinning cumbersome and expensive, chemical thinning employed.
Chemical thinners should not applied in scorching and dry conditions as it adversely affects the conversion. Spraying should done completely to cover the whole canopy. Sometimes artificial thinning develops calcium deficiency. Therefore, an adequate calcium menu should completed after thinning.
It is advisable to employ one fruit for every 40 leaves. This separates the fruit at about 15-20 cm apart, and there will be only one fruit per spur.
Harvesting of Apple
Typically the apples are ready for harvest from September-October except in the Nilgiris, where the term is from April to July. The fruits grow within 130-150 days after the complete bloom stage, depending upon the variety grown. The ripening of fruits associated with colour, texture, quality, and characteristic flavour development. The outcomes at the time of harvest should be smooth, firm and crisp. The colour of the skin at development ranges from yellow-red depending on the type. However, the maximum time of harvest depends on fruit quality and the intended period of storage. Due to the introduction of dwarf rootstock, handpicking recommended to reduce bruising due to fruit fall during production harvesting. For the harvesting process, Powertrac 439 plus is excellent for productive farming.
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