Aaqib Naik

Experts caution against using chemical sprays during flowering period

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As apple growers of Shopian district are busy using pollination techniques

Photo/Aaqib Naik

Shopian: The apple growers of Shopian District, widely known as the Apple Bowl of the Jammu and Kashmir, are busy using apple pollination technique in a bid to enhance the apple production, the experts have cautioned against using chemical sprays for pollination during the flowering period.

According to the horticulture experts in the area, 90% of apple cultivation in shopian district is of Red Delicious including Royal delicious (Kulu delicious), and this delicious variety of apples cannot self-fertilize and thereby require the mechanism of cross pollination.

The experts said that cross pollinations of this delicious variety of apples need variety of other apple varieties such as Golden delicious, Red gold, crap apples etc. which act as pollinizers in apple orchards at the rate of 11-22%.

Apple producers across the whole district can be found very busy during the blossom period in this process. They use different methods of pollination like pollination sprays, bouquet pollination and other top working methods like grafting of delicious apple with other variety of apples and pollinizers.

Residents of Shopian district said that during apple blossom in early spring season, pollination is essential to have a good harvest of apples.

One of the resident and apple cultivators of Shopian district Murtaza Amin Itoo said: Using branches of other variety of apples for pollination has good effect on the apple production and I have been using this method from last 10 years.

“During initial period of apple blossom, I have witnessed that pollination is very effective, which increases the apple production, provided the atmospheric conditions are favorable,” said Murtaza Amin.

Another resident of the district and apple cultivator Shameem Ahmad said that pollination enhancing sprays have proven more effective for him, which he has been spraying from last 3 years.

Senior scientist/ Associate professor Ambri Apple Research Centre (AARC) Shopian Dr. Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, said that: “There is no alternative for cross pollination except to have a specific pollinizer ratio, and in addition to that pollinators are very important like different kinds of bees, bee hives should be kept in orchards, at the ratio of 2-4 hives per hector.”

“In order to have a successful pollination process, grafting of trees with other variety of apples should be done, bouquet pollination can also be done or during pink bud stage of apple, boron spray can enhance the crop yield,” suggested Dr Zahoor.

“However, we totally disagree with the use of chemical sprays during the flowering period, which is not recommended as it has proved harmful for trees and problematic to different kinds of pollinators,” he added.

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