SRINAGAR: The recent snowfall has run riot with the apple orchards across Kashmir and most of the damage is reported from south Kashmir where orchards are literally massacred. Initial reports suggest that the high-density orchards which have come up in recent years have suffered slightly less damage than the traditional orchards.
Root 2 Fruit, the company that has pioneered the high-density orchards in Kashmir has issued an advisory suggesting system that the growers must adhere to everywhere there has been damage to the high-density orchards. Here are the four main points:
If the plant has come out of soil completely, put it back into the soil and there is a strong possibility that it will survive.
If the plant is broken 2-3 feet above union but bark (flesh) is intact, re-erect the plant and wrap-up the damaged spot with polythene and sutli (jute threads). Also, make sure the branches are pruned. It is expected to survive.
If the plant is completely cut 2-3 feet above the union, make a slanting cut at the top and apply Chaubattia paste on the cut. This plant is expected to survive but may not produce any apple this year.
If the branches are broken and the main leader is intact, prune the branches and the plant will survive.
If the main leader is broken but there is side branch which is approximately parallel to the main leader, make a slanting cut on the main leader and make another branch as the new main leader and apply Chaubattia paste on the cut. Make sure other branches are pruned. The plant is expected to survive.
Chaubatia paste which is otherwise available in the open market. But the growers can prepare it on their own by mixing one kilogram each of copper sulphate power with one kilogram of lime and dissolving the same in 100 litres of water. A Root 2 Fruit executive said the SKUAST has advised them that growers must take 50 litres of water separately and mix them with copper sulphate and lime separately. When the two solutions are ready, they must slow mix the two.
Kashmir has started replacing the traditional varieties of apple trees with high-density plans. Though the process is already more than three years old, the overall number of trees is yet to reach a million trees.