After hefty loses apple growers threatened by ‘early scab’
Experts suggest spraying of fungicides to lessen impact
Shopian/Pulwama: Early scab infection in Apple orchards of Kashmir has left growers very much worried who have already suffered huge losses due to clampdown after August 5, early snowfall and now Covid-19 lockdown.
Orchardists in Kashmir are taking the advices from experts besides horticulture officials to deal with the infection which they are seeing after many years.
Some of the orchardists alleged that sub standard pesticides and fungicides were in the market and by their use the infection has grown beyond control.
They also said that due to lockdown teams from the horticulture department were not on ground due to which no expert opinion was available to the people on when to use sprays and other methods to control the scab from spreading.
“We have been visiting the offices of concerned authorities in lock down to get suggestions and get officials on the ground but most offices remained closed and officials remained busy in dealing with covid-19 due to which there was no one to guide us,” Mohammad Muzaffar, a fruit grower said.
Notably, the incessant rains and the dip in temperature is believed to be one of the reasons for the aearly spread of scab disease among the fruit trees.
“Due to incessant rains last summer besides early snowfall proved the main reasons of scab infection,” Dr Tariq Rasool, a senior SKAUST Scientist said.
“Orchardists who avoided use of spraying fungicide in early stages have more scab infection prevalent in their orchards,” he said, adding, that growers must spray fungicides two to three days before predicted rainfall or within 2 to 3 days after rainfall in order to stop spread of scab infection.
He said that every year a large chunk of fruit gets affected with scab disease due to inclement weather and untimely fungicide spray.
“The early snowfall last year left most of the residues including leaves scattered around in the orchards and as a result the orchards had to face early scab infection,” Dr. Tariq added.
“Due to improper pruning sunlight is not reaching the dense branches, which keeps moisture for longer durations on the trees and this also results in sprouting of scab infections,” he said.
He said that scientifically advised pruning of trees is a must as fungicides do not reach the entire plant when spraying is done.
Asking growers to stick to the schedule advised by SKUAST over fungicide spray, Dr Tariq said that orchardists should also use quality products of fungicides and not rely on recommendations of pesticide sellers.