Apples are the oldest commercial fruit that is grown every corner of the world. After Banana farming, Orange farming, Apple farming | Cultivation top the list of commercial farming. So, growing apple trees is a good idea, rather than going for any other commercial farming. So, friends, today, we are going to learn step by step, Apple farming in detailed, along with health benefits of apple.
Apple (Malus sylvestris)
The varieties with warm winter resistance with low chilling requirements alone are suitable to the hills of Tamil Nadu.
These varieties bears yield during April – May.
Irish Peach and Zouches Pipin are popular early varieties.
Mid season varieties
These varieties bears yield during June – July.
The popular mid season varieties are KKL 1, Carrington and Winterstein.
These varieties bears yield during August – September.
Rome Beauty, Parlin’s Beauty and KKL 1 are early varieties.
Soil and climate
Red lateritic soils with good drainage and high organic matter are more suitable. The soil pH should be around 5.8 to 6.2. Apple can be grown at an elevation of 1200 to 2000 m.
Planting spreads from June to December
One year old grafts with M.778 or M.779 as rootstocks can be used for planting.
Apple is normally planted at a spacing of 4 x 4 m in pits of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm.
The water requirement of apple is 114 cm. per annum which can be scheduled in 15-20 irrigations. In summer, irrigation is provided at an interval of 7-10 days while in winter it is given at an interval of 3-4 weeks. At least 8 irrigations are to be provided during critical period (April-August) i.e. main requirement after fruit set.
Application of fertilizer
Farmyard manure @ 10 kg./ year age of tree is applied along with other fertilizers. The ratio of N, P and K which is applied in an orchard of optimal fertility is 70:35:70 g./year (age of the tree). After 10 years of age, the dose is stabilized at 700:350:700 g. of N, P and K /year. The standard fertilizer dose of N, P and K in an “off” year (when the crop load is low) is 500 g., 250g. and 400 g. respectively. On some trees deficiency of zinc, boron, manganese and calcium may be observed which is corrected with the application of appropriate chemicals through foliage spray.
Training and pruning
The tree is trained to open centre system. Pruning done during November enables harvest during June – July and pruning during January will enable harvest during July – September.
The rootstocks resistant to wooly aphis viz., M 778, 799, MM 104, MM 110, MM 112, MM 113, MM 114 and MM 115 can be used.The parasite Aphelinus mali and the coccinellid predators should be conserved in the field. Apply carbofuran 3 % G @ 166 g/tree or phorate 10 % G @ 100 g/tree or spray any one of the following insecticide
Chlorpyrifos 20%EC 2.5 ml/lit.
Malathion 50%EC 1.0 ml/lit.
Oxydemeton –Methyl 25% EC 1.0 ml/lit.
Quinalphos 25%EC 2.0 ml/lit.
To control apple scab, the following spray schedule at various stages of the crop can be followed:
1. Silver tip to green tip : Captafol or Mancozeb or Captan 2 g/lit.
2. Pink bud or after 15 days : Captan or Mancozeb 2 g/lit.
3. Petal fall : Carbendazim 0.5 g/lit.
4. 10 days after petal fall : Captan or Mancozeb 2 g/lit.
5. 14 days after fruit set : Captafol 2 g/lit.
Add stickers like Triton AE or Teepol at 10 ml/10 lit of spray fluid. Use low volume sprayers.
The orchard start bearing from eighth year and the economic life of an apple tree exceeds 30 years. From eighth to seventeenth year, productivity goes on increasing and thereafter remains constant upto 30 years. The level of productivity varies form elevation to elevation. Production stage extends upto even forty years depending upon agro-climatic condition. Apple being a climacteric fruit, the maturity period does not coincide with ripening. The fruits are usually harvested before they are fully ripe.
The yield ranges between 10 – 20 kg / tree / year. The tree starts bearing from 4th year of planting.