Apple occupies nearly
12,141 hectares, mostly in the temperate regions of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal
Pradesh and Kashmir and to a small extent in the Nilgiris.
Apple varieties fall
into two categories; diploids and triploids. Diploids have plenty of good pollen and are
self-fruitful. Triploids are self-unfruitful and become productive only when pollinated by
using suitable pollenizer varieties. Even self-fruitful varieties have to be interplanted
to get commercial crops through cross-pollination. Varieties selected for interplanting
should sufficiently overlap in their blossoming periods. Important varieties are listed
Red Delicious, Golden
Delicious, Worester Pearmain, Newton Wonder (all diploids) Coxs Orange Pippin
(triploid), King of Pippins (No. 13), Starking (Royal) Delicious and Richard.
(dipliod), Baldwin (triploids), Ambri Kashmiri, White Dotted Red and Blood Red.
Beauty of Bath
(triploid), Red Delicious, Jonathan, Rome Beauty (all diploids), Early Shanburry, Red
Astrachan, Red Sudeley, Stayman Winesap, Winter Banana and Yellow Newton.
Jonathan, Rome Beauty (all diploids), Blenheim Orange Pippin, Delicious, Early Shandburry,
Golden Pippin, King of Pippins, Rymer and Winter Banana.
Ben Davis, Red
Delicious, Golden Delicious (all diploids), Coxs Orange Tippin, Blenheim Orange,
Baldwin (all triploids) Red Astrachan, King of Pippins, Yellow Newton and Granny Smith.
Rome Beauty (diploid)
and Irish Peach
Propagated mainly be
shield budding, bench grafting and tongue grafting on seedlings raised from seed. Use M.IX
dwarfing rootstock for propagating dwarf apple trees. One-year-old grafts are planted
during the dormant period or in early spring 81.5 cm apart on M.IX dwarfing stock and 7.5
to 9 meters if on seedling stock. Standardized clonal rootstocks of the Malling Merton
series are recommended where woolly aphis is serious.
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.)
varieties of apricot are mainly exotic and they grow successfully at varying elevations.
The following varieties are recommended; Shipley Early, Kaisha, New Castle, St. Ambroise
and Royal. All these varieties are self-fruitful.
Apricot is propagated
by shield budding on wild apricot stock, i.e. zardalu. Peach stock may also be used. Plant
one-year-old grafts in autumn 6 to 7.5 metres apart.
Apricot grafts usually
have numerous lateral branches unlike the straight whips of apple, pear and cherry. If the
laterals developed in the nursery are not properly spaced, cut off the main stem while
planting, about 50 to 75cm above the ground level to promote the growth of new laterals.
During the first summer, remove all unwanted laterals, leaving three to five well-placed
branches to form the framework. Leave the upper branches longer than the lower ones, as
the latter grow faster and crowd out the upper branches. By the end of the second growing
season, the tree produces a large number of laterals on the seaffold branches and trunk,
which should all be removed, except a few short growths (7cm to 12cm long) on the trunk
and the main branches. Retain only five to seven secondary seaffolds. In subsequent years,
thin only the branches, which are either crossing or crowding one another. This practice
admits light into the centre and encourages the growth of spurs.
The pruning of old
trees should aim at producing new spurs to replace those broken during picking. The kind
and the amount of pruning depend upon the bearing habit of the variety. Light to moderate
thinning of branches and the shortening of new wood back to the laterals is the usual
practice. If new growth is less than 40 to 80cm each year, resort to severe pruning.
A dose of fertilizers
to supply 55 to 65kg of N, 55 to 65kg of P and 110 to 135kg of K per hectare may be
applied to the bearing trees in spring.
Thin the fruits 4 to
8cm apart, leaving not more than two to three fruits on each spur.
The fruits should be
picked when it is still hard, but has attained the proper colour. For drying, the fruit is
harvested by hand-picking when it is fully ripe.
Cherry (Prunus avium)
Cherries are of two
types: - Sweet used for desert, and sour used for cooking, grown mainly in the Simla
Hills, the Kulu Valley and Kashmir at elevations above 1,500 metres.
varieties of proven merit are;
Early Rivers, Governor
Wood, Bigarreau de Schrecken, Elton, Bedford Prolific, White Bigarreau, Monstrue use de
Mezel, Bigarreau Napoleon, Emperor Frencis and Late Black Bigarreau. It is desirable to
choose varieties that will ripen in succession in order to obtain the crop over a longer
period. A large number of varieties are self-unfruitful and do not set fruit with their
own pollen. As they are also cross-incompatible, only the compatible varieties, whose
period of flowering overlaps to effect cross-pollination, should be interplanted to get
The plants are
propagated by whip or tongue grafting on seedlings of wild cherry stock, called paja.
Grafts are ready for transplanting in two years. Sometimes, the rootstock plants are
planted in permanent positions in the orchard and grafted in situ.
As cherry-trees are
generally affected by frost, the site selected for planting should be such that the sun
reaches the trees gradually. The distance between the trees varies from 9 to 12 metres,
depending upon the variety. The trees should be properly staked after planting.
Cherry-trees grow into
shape without much pruning. Crowded branches should be thinned out and dead-wood removed
in the dormant season. The pruned cuts should be painted with tar.
Cherry orchards are
best put under grass, which is grazed by sheep. In addition to sheep manure, phosphate
manures are applied to obtain a good growth of cloves. A dressing of fertilizers to supply
75 to 100 kg of N, 55 to 90 kg of P2O5 and 110 to 165kg of K2O
per hectare may be recommended.
The area under peach
(Prunus persica (L) Stockes) is very small and is mainly located in the Himalayas at
Some of the promising
varieties are Early Beatrice, Alexander, Early Rivers, Duke of York, Peregrime, Noblesse,
Late Devonian, Elberta, J.H. Hale and Triumph. Except J.H. Hale, all other varieties are
self-fruitful and set good crops without cross-pollination.
Propagation is done by
budding on seedling peach. One-year-old grafts are planted 6 to 8 metres apart I early
spring. Immediately after planting, the trees are white-washed to protect the bark from
At the time of
planting, the stem is cut to about 0.6metre from the ground and three to four branches are
allowed to develop, distributed round the main stem. All other shoots that grow during the
first summer are removed. During the first dormant season, two well-spaced secondary
branches on each main branch are selected and the main branch is cut close to the
secondary branches. During the second summer, water-sprouts, if any are removed. At the
time of second pruning in winter, secondary branches are not cut, except to regulate the
shape of the tree. In pruning, cut always to the outside buds to encourage a spreading
shape. In the case of bearing trees, annual pruning is necessary to maintain the centre
open. Two to three-year-old branches may be cut back to the outward-pointing side branches
to encourage a spreading growth. Shorten and thin outside branches to stimulate the growth
of new fruiting wood every year. A satisfactory annual growth should be 45 to 50cm long.
Fruit-buds are borne
laterally upon one-year-old wood and on short spur-like twigs. Ordinary, they develop two
fruit-buds and a leaf-bud at one node. The fruit buds are usually located from the middle
of the shoot upwards. In cutting away branches, the position of the fruit-buds should be
taken into consideration.
A peach orchard should
be regularly cultivated. Ploughing, which should not be deeper than 10cm, is generally
done in winter. A suitable cover or green-manure crop may be sown in the rainy season
after the fruits are picked and ploughed-under during winter. A dose of fertilizers to
supply 55 to 65kg of N, 55 to 65kg of P and 110 to 135kg of K per hectare may be applied
to the bearing trees in spring. Immediately after the natural fruit-drop in May and June,
the fruits should be thinned out so as to have them 10 to 15cm apart.
Peaches are picked
when they are still hard, as they can ripen well during storage or in transit.
Pear (Pyrus communis L.)
Pear is grown mainly
in the hills at elevations ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 metres. Its cultivation is rather
restricted, mainly because the fruit does not store well.
following varieties are recommended;
Willan Bon Christien
(Bartlett), Clapps Favourits, Thimpsons, Doyenne du Comice, Easter Beurre, Winter
Nalis, Conference, Dr. Jules Guyot, Marie Louise dUccle, Baggugosha (Citron des
carmes) and Emile dHeyst. Baggugosha can also be grown in the submontane tracts, but
there its quality is poor. Nashpati is another variety that is grown successfully in the
Most of the pear
varieties are self-unfruitful and the planting of pollenizer varieties is advocated.
Nashpati is a self-fruitful variety.
Pear is propagated by
shield-budding which is done in June-July. The stocks are raised either from the seeds of
a commercial variety or from those of wild pear, shegal (Pyruspashia). To produce dwarf
trees, quince C stock is employed. Some varieties are not compatible with
quince. They are propagated by double-working, using as intermediate a pear variety which
can successfully be grown on the quince stock. One-year-old grafts are planted in autumn.
Those propagated on the quince stock are planted one to one and a half metres apart, if
they are trained as cordons. Those trained as pyramids are planted 3.5 to 4.5m apart.
Grafts propagated on semi-dwarf stocks are trained either as bushes or modified leaders
are planted 4.5 to 6m apart.
Pears on the pear
stock make vigorous growth as develop into large trees. They remain dwarf on the quince
stock when they are trained into different forms. For the pyramid form, cut the graft
while planting at about three-fourths of a metre above the ground. Next winter, prune the
leader to about 25cm and the laterals to about 20cm to the outward-pointing buds. In the
second summer, all the branch leaders are laterals should be pruned to give to six leaves
from the clusters, allowing the central leader to grow unchecked.
In the third winter,
the central leader is cut back to about one-third its length, but the branch leaders and
laterals are not pruned. In the third summer, the branch leaders and the laterals, except
the central leader, are again cut back to five or six leaves as in the previous summer. In
the fourth winter, the central leader is again cut back to one third its length. By
following this procedure, a pear-tree on the quince stock would start flowering in fourth
year. The bearing pear-trees are pruned as in the case of apples.
As a rule, less
thinning is required in the case of pears than in the case of apples. One fruit per
cluster in the case of prolific varieties and one to two fruits per cluster in other may
be retained after thinning.
The method of manuring
and the time of its application are the same as for apple. The amount of nitrogen to be
applied should, however, be a little more than in the case of apples.
Bartlett is picked
when still green and hard. The early varieties are packed without storing, whereas the
late varieties require storing to develop full flavour. The fruit should be size-graded
Strawberry (Fragaria spp)
varieties of strawberry grown in India are all imported. The following are recommended;
Laxtons Latest, Royal Sovereign, Early Cambridge, Huxley Giant, Phenomenol and
(runners) that have not borne any crop are used for planting. The planting-distance is
half a metre between plants and three fourths to one metre between rows. Runners with a
good root-system are used to set a new plantation. Transplanting is done in March-April in
the hills and in January-February in the plains.
Prepare the land by
ploughing deep, followed by harrowing. Add bulky organic manures. Keep down weeds by light
hoeing and runners, as and when they form. Manuring is done in winter. When plants blossom
in spring, bed the plantation with straw to keep fruits off the soil. After fruiting,
remove the straw and weeds and cut off all runners. Continue hoeing. Rotate strawberry
with vegetables every three years.
Apply irrigation at
five-day intervals during summer.
Persimmon (Diospyros kaki)
Persimmon is grown in
the Kulu Valley at elevations ranging from 900 to 1,500 kilometres. The promising
varieties are Fuy, Hachiya, and Hyakume. Several good varieties, such as Dai Dai, Maru and
Tenanshi, are also being grown successfully at the pomological station, conoor in the
Nilgiris in southern India. The tree is propagated by grafting (Whip and tongue method) on
seedlings of Diospyros lotus and D. viriginiana. The grafts are planted in winter, 6.5 to
The trees are headed
back one or two metres above the ground at the planting time. Four to five shoots are
allowed to grow round the stem to avoid narrow crotches and to develop a well-balanced
head. There is no further pruning after this. Dead, broken and interfering branches are
removed every year. The fruit is picked when it has attained a yellowish or reddish
colour, characteristic of the variety, when still hard. It is clipped from the tree,
keeping intact the calyx and a short piece of the stem. It is wrapped up in tissue paper
and packed in a two layer box for transport. With astringent varieties, the fruit has to
be cured before it is fit for eating out of hand. The simplest method is to place the
fruits in a closed chamber with other ripening fruits such as pears and tomatoes.
Plum (Prunus domestica)
Plum is grown mainly
in the Himalayas where the following varieties have been successfully grown; Grand Duck,
Early Transparent Gage, Victoria, Santa Rosa, Wickson, Beauty and Kelsey. Nedu state,
several choice varieties of the Japanese plum (P. salicina) are grown. The more important
of these are Rubio, Alu Bokhara, Gaviota, Shiro, Combination and Hale. All varieties,
except Beauty, Santa Rosa, Gaviota, Rubio, Alu Bokhara and Hale, which are self fruitful,
require cross-pollination from other varieties. Plums are usually propagated by
shield-budding on wild apricot or common peach stock. Planting, spacing, cultivation and
fertilization are the same as for peach.
Cut back the top to
about 60cm at planting time. Select three to five scaffold branches situated spirally
round the stem, equidistant from one another, and remove the unwanted ones. At the time of
first winter pruning, the main branches are headed back. All growth, except the main and
secondary branches, is removed during the year. At the second winter pruning, crossing and
other undesirable branches are removed. In the case of varieties having a tendency for
upward growth, heading should be done to outward-pointing buds to make out every year on
similar lines. The pruning should be light as far as possible. The bearing trees are
pruned to secure a balance between vegetative growth and fruiting.
Thinning should be
carried out after the natural fruit-drop in April and May but before the hardening of the
For transporting, the
fruits are picked a few days in advance of full maturity. The change of colour for each
variety determines its stage of maturity. The fruits are required to be harvested in three
or four pickings.