Tribune News Service
Mandi, January 7
Apple orchardists in Kullu and Mandi districts are feeling relieved following recent snowfall and rain after a prolonged dry spell. Higher reaches of Kullu and Mandi districts had received mild snowfall in the first week of December last year, while lower region experienced rain. Thereafter, a wet spell eluded the region.
less Chances of diseases
Early snowfall in December and January is good as it reduces the chances of the spread of diseases like canker, woolly aphid and root rot. Nakul Khullar, Apple grower
On January 4, weather turned inclement and the higher reaches of Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul Spiti districts received fresh snow in apple orchards, delighting apple growers of this region. Snow is considered white manure for the production of apple crop. The fresh snowfall will also help complete the required chilling hours for apple orchards.
Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul Spiti is in the grip of cold waves after rain in lower reaches and snowfall in higher reaches. About 1,600 to 1,800 chilling hours are needed for better apple crop. Chilling hours refer to the period when apple plants remain at a temperature below freezing point during the dormancy period. This allows the apple trees to get moisture.
Nakul Khullar, a progressive apple grower of Kullu valley, said, “The farmers of Kullu-Manali are happy with the fresh spell of snow and rain in their apple orchards, which will enable apple plants get the required chilling hours. The dry spell in this region since the first week of December had worried the apple growers.”
Ravi Sisodiya, an apple grower of Seraj valley in Mandi district, said, “The apple crop is sensitive to the prevailing conditions early on and snowfall and chilling temperatures are key factors for good harvest.”
“We are hopeful that timely snowfall would play a crucial role in better production of apple crop in Mandi district,” he said.
Big areas of Seraj and Karsog valleys are under apple cultivation, while in Kullu district the fruit is grown in Banjar, Ani, Nirmand, Kullu and Manali subdivision.