Agri varsity cautions farmers on apple cultivation in Pb

By Times Of India on 28 May 2018 | read
LUDHIANA: “Although a prized fruit, apple with its unique taste and nutritional value is typically a temperate fruit requiring winter chilling below 7 degrees Celsius, which is why the commercial cultivation of apple in the country is being done in high ranges of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh,” said PAU director of research, Dr Navtej Singh Bains.

Dr Harminder Singh, head of department of horticulture, said apple with its short juvenile period as compared to pear comes into first fruiting after three years of planting in the field and commercial bearing starts after 4four to five years. Under sub-tropical climatic conditions of Punjab, flowering in apple takes place in Feb. Although this climate is suitable for fruit set and initial fruit development, the prevailing high temperature coupled with low humidity during harsh summer months of May and June impact the physiological fruit development, thus leading to poor colour and flavor development coupled with undersized fruits which often do not mature properly. Rotting of fruits due to sun scalding is also an imminent issue during this phase of fruit development.

Dr Bains adds, “With high quality imported apple varieties having uniform size, shape and deep attractive colours finding extensive market in the state, and the apple belt in the country having moved towards higher altitudes in response to global warming, the potential of low chill apple cultivation in Punjab needs to be assessed very carefully.”