Pre-mature falling of apples from trees

Horticulture Department and apple growers together need to tackle the problem
A man picks apples at an orchard in south Kashmir's Pulwama on Friday October 29, 2021. [Image for representational purpose only]
A man picks apples at an orchard in south Kashmir's Pulwama on Friday October 29, 2021. [Image for representational purpose only]File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

The increasing pre-mature falling of apples from trees has caused panic among the fruit growers in South Kashmir.

Experts, and orchardists say that the falling of small number of apples in June and early July was a routine matter.

But, this time the number of dropping apples is increasing with every passing day.

This is a cause of concern. The apple growers fear that they will suffer heavy losses if this continues, or worsens.

The experts from Horticulture Department and other related departments need to find out the actual cause and guide the apple growers accordingly.

The apple growers and traders had suffered losses due to unseasonal snowfall at several places last year and earlier due to COVID related lockdown. Over 20 lakh metric tonnes of apple are produced at an average every year in Kashmir

A revenue of Rs 8,000 crore is said to be generated annually through apple trade in J&K, where 30 lakh people are directly or indirectly associated with apple growing and its business.

The apple production is expected to go over to 25 lakh metric tonnes annually in the next few years. This year the growers were expecting a good crop.

But the pre-mature dropping of apple has become a cause of worry for them now. This year, as the spring was about to begin, the pre-mature blooming of trees due to unusual high temperature at that time had taken the orchardists by surprise.

They feared that even a fresh light snowfall in those conditions can prove very damaging. But, luckily, the snowfall did not occur and the orchardists heaved a sigh of relief.

They sprayed the required number of pesticides and also used fertilisers. According to experts the early apple drop from trees sometimes is nature’s way of reducing a heavy fruit set and it is not bad. That way a tree produces largest and healthiest apple.

However, lack of fertilisers, excessive use of fertilisers, lack of water, and attack by either pests or disease can also cause the pre-mature apple fall, and subsequent losses.

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