Farmers growing amla (goose berry) in their fields may follow `training and pruning' method to increase productivity during the ensuing season, the Horticulture Officer, Radhapuram, S. Raja Mohamed, has suggested.
As per the growth habit of amla, shedding of all determinate shoots will encourage new growth, especially budding. An experiment conducted by Mr. Raja Mohamed in an amla orchard near here has showed that `training and pruning' of amla triggers productive phase in an amazing manner.
"Amla trees should be allowed to grow only as a medium-height tree and not as a tall one. After allowing the young plant to grow up to 75 cm to 1 metre height from the ground level, the plant should be allowed to branch out, which is vital for increasing the productivity," he said.
Two to four branches with wide crotch angles, appearing in opposite directions, should be encouraged to grow during early years and the unwanted branches need to be nipped regularly.
In the subsequent years, four to six branches are allowed to develop.
Though regular pruning is not required, dead, infested, broken, diseased, weak, criss-cross branches and suckers developing from rootstocks should be removed regularly. After training and pruning is done, copper oxy chloride should be applied in the `injured portion' or else it would attract stem borers, which destroy the plant completely.
"With these techniques, micro-irrigation should be strictly followed and amla should not be irrigated regularly. If water is provided regularly, the plant will tend to continue in the vegetative phase only and won't turn towards its productive phase. Even though the plant gives a skeleton structure, the farmers need not be afraid of it, as budding would start after that stage," Mr. Raja Mohamed said.
Since self-incompatibility is a common problem found among the cultivators, two varieties in alternative rows need to be planted for higher productivity. The best combinations are NA-7 and Kanchar or BSR-1.
"If these methods are followed carefully, farmers can get two to three harvest in a year," he says.