|The fruits are pale yellow in colour and taste bitter|
DROUGHT TOLERANT: About 60-70 kilos of fruits can be harvested from a full grown tree. — Photo: H&PC
AMLA TREES are hardy, prolific bearers suitable for cultivation in all types of soils with good drainage facility. In India amla is cultivated in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Researchers at the Bhavanisagar Research Institute of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, have released an amla (grafted) variety named BSR-1 amla.
The fruits of the new variety (Emblic myrobalans) are similar in appearance to the common Indian gooseberry, but slightly bigger with more fibres. The fruits are a rich source of Vitamin C and are used in the manufacture of several ayurvedic and siddha medicines.
Amla fruit is known as Amla in Hindi, Nelli in Malayalam, Amalakamu in Telugu and Nellikai in Tamil.
The variety is found to grow well all over India and is ideal for contract farming and for medicinal plant cultivation.
Full-grown trees reach a height of about 8-10 metres with wide spreading branches. The ideal period for planting is during June-December.
The fruits are pale yellow in colour and weigh about 27 gms each. They are round in shape with flat ends and taste bitter.
About 300 grafts are required for planting in one hectare.
Pits of about 60 cubic cm have to be dug spaced about 6 metres apart. They have to be filled with 10 kg of red sand, 5 kg of farmyard manure and 3 kg of sand.
While planting, care must be taken to see that the grafted portion remains above the soil surface. Irrigation must be done immediately after planting.
About 20-30 days after planting, new leaves start growing. To facilitate better leaf growth the plastic tape used for tying the grafted portion must be removed.
Irrigation can be done twice a week for the first two years after planting. After one year of planting the grafts, about 20 kg of farmyard manure, 100 gms of nitrogen, 50 gms of phosphorus and 100 gms of potash must be applied as a side dressing at the base of the trunk for every tree.
This application of manure must be repeated every year. To conserve moisture and arrest weed growth green/dry leaves can be mulched around the base of the trees.
Drip irrigation will help increase fruit bearing. If drip irrigation is not feasible, then channel irrigation may be done.
The variety is susceptible to bark-eating caterpillar and fruit borer infestations. To control the bark-eating caterpillar, farmers may spray 2ml of monocrotophos diluted in one litre of water once every week. For controlling fruit borer infestations, spraying 2ml of monocrotophos or carboryl powder at the rate of 2gms diluted in one litre of water once every week may help in the control of the pest.
Though the variety starts bearing fruits from the third year of planting it is advisable to start harvesting from the fourth year. About 60-70 kilos of fruits can be harvested from a tree.
The fruits must be harvested at the right time to avoid yield loss. For more information readers may contact the Special Commissioner of Horticulture and Plantation Crops (H&PC), Chennai 600005, phone:044-28521645, e-mail: email@example.com