Horticulture experts call for skilled pruning for apple orchards
Post by Javid Sofi on Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Pulwama, Nov 20: Experts from Horticulture department in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district have urged orchardists to avoid employing unskilled individuals for pruning of apple trees.
The experts informed Rising Kashmir that pruning is a crucial activity with a significant impact on bud formation and fruit production of an apple tree.
"Pruning is a skill, a technique which is acquired by learning,” Chief Horticulture Officer Pulwama, Javid Ahmad Bhat, said, adding that they do issue various do’s and don'ts but the technique of pruning is better acquired by practicing this art while working in an orchard.
The experts emphasised that a person hired for this job should be well-versed with the technique.
Chief Horticulture Officer, Pulwama said that as orchardists have started pruning of apple trees they have activated their field staff to guide and train them while they work in their orchards.
The Chief Horticulture Officer added that keeping view of their limited staff strength it will not be possible to reach every orchardist.
“We are planning small camps in far flung areas for imparting knowledge of pruning to orchardists and we may begin from Pampore,” he said, adding that they want to impart the knowledge to people in groups in these far off places.
He also reiterated that they can arrange short term training programmes for youth desirous of learning this skill with the KVK or SKUAST-K.
The activity of pruning assumes much significance for maintaining a balance between vegetative and reproductive growth of a fruit tree.
Through pruning excessive vegetative growth is regulated, ensuring the removal of diseased branches and parts of a fruit tree.
Regulating vegetative growth reduces the nutritional requirement for the tree.
It is plausible to delay pruning if orchards are in an active growth phase.
However, Chief Horticulture Officer, Pulwama advised orchardists to start pruning at around 30 % leaf fall keeping in view inclement weather conditions.
Dr. Jahangir, a Pomologist at SKUAST-K's KVK in Malangpora, outlined certain do’s and don’ts for pruning.
He explained that once a shoot is cut, the action can't be undone, emphasizing the importance of visualising the results before training and pruning a tree.
He stressed that a plant should be trained to develop a strong framework capable of bearing snow or fruit load effectively.
"Pruning should ensure space in the tree canopy for spray, sunlight, and ventilation," he advised, also suggesting the application of Chaubatia paste to large wounds.
Dr. Jahangir strongly recommended avoiding unskilled persons for pruning apple trees, stating that pruning should be postponed when the temperature becomes sub-zero.
Large cuts, he warned, could shock the tree.
Secateurs, vital tools in the pruning process, were not exempt from scrutiny.
Dr. Jahangir recommended their sterilization with hydrogen peroxide or boiling in hot water, cautioning that apple mosaic, a viral infection, spreads from a diseased plant to a healthy one through the use of infected secateurs.