Jahangeer Ganaie

Pollination crucial part of growing quality apples: Experts

Pollination crucial part of growing quality apples: Experts
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Say pollination must be done within six days after flowering takes place

Srinagar: Pollination is a crucial part of growing quality apples while this process must be done within six days after the flowering takes place, experts said.

Experts said that pollination is a crucial part of growing quality apples as apples require cross-pollination and bees help in moving pollen from a pollen-donating tree to the receiving tree.

Pollen-donating trees must be a compatible cultivar that has been intercropped or crabapple trees that have been interspersed within the apple orchard for this purpose, they said.

Typically, honey bees visit flowers in the morning and orchard management practices such as pesticide applications or mowing that disrupt their morning activity which may significantly impact the success of pollination, they said.

Apples that do not receive adequate pollination can become malformed as they develop, or will result in early fruit drop, they said.

Apple ovaries are typically divided into five chambers, each containing two ovules available for pollination. A fully pollinated apple will contain 10 seeds; however, a minimum of 6 to 7 seeds per apple will succeed in good fruit development, experts said.

The average blossoming period for apples when pollination can take place is about 9 days and cool weather during bloom will extend this period, whereas warmer weather will shorten it, they added.

They said that pollination is important as it reproduces, produces enough seeds for dispersal and propagation, maintains genetic diversity within a population and develops adequate fruits to entice seed dispersers.

Dr Tariq Rasool, a senior scientist at SKUAST (Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology) said that for most of apple varieties, pollination should happen within six days after the flowers open.

It is these days when temperature should be optimum and weather should remain sunny so that insects (pollinators) may roam around flowers, he said.

Insecticides must be avoided during this period, however, fungicides may be sprayed only when it is extremely necessary, he added.

“Actually this is the peak period for scab ascospore release and if 12 days have passed since last fungicidal spray and then there is heavy rain forecasting during this period then only some fungicides are recommended to be sprayed before the heavy rains,” he added.

Jahangeer Ganaie

Jahangeer Ganaie is a reporter and covers regional news and can be contacted [email protected]

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