Premature leaf fall hits apple crop in Kullu valley


By: ML Verma

Kullu (July 22): Premature leaf fall in apple-laden trees has created fear among apple growers in the entire Kullu valley of fall in apple production while horticulture officials have advised them to take necessary measures to avert decline in production.

State horticulture development officer (HDO-plant protection) Kullu,
KL Katoch told HimVani that during premature leaf fall in apple crop, initially the leaves develops dark-green irregular areas on the upper surface, which later turn brown. The infected leaves then turn yellow and fall in mid-season.

The leaf fall is so sever that fruits can be seen hanging on defoliated
branches in the district and on the terminal tips of branches large
brown blotches are seen. Severe defoliation may result in failure of crop
next season. Diseases symptoms also appear on the fruit in the form of
brown spots, which later become oval, dark brown, almost black and
small visible spots, officials disclosed.

Suggesting farmers to take steps, Katoch said graft union should be kept 20 to 25 cm above soil level, the orchard area should be kept clean from bushes to avoid excessive humid conditions. Rootstocks like M-2, M-4, M-113 and M-114 are resistant to premature leaf fall.

Katoch said the farmer should spry fungus-side of leaves with Dodin
150 gm or Diathene 100 gm in 200liter drum, this would help in curbing
apple scab. He added that spry of Carbendazime 100 gm in 200 lt. drum is a boon for apple tree. Local MLA Govind Thakur, himself a horticulturist, said the state government is trying its level best to control leaf fall and awareness camps are being conducted by the department.

Deputy director, horticulture, Kullu, Arvind Gupta, said that apple production is mainly confined to Naggar block toward Manali town where export-quality royal apple is being produce by more than 10,000 farmers. Total apple production in the district is expected to be 60,000 MT in the ongoing season with 24,000 metric uonne in Naggar block, 14000 MT in Kullu, 8000 MT in Ani and 7000 MT each in Banjar and Nirmand.

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