Size and taste of fruits may be affected by continuing dry spell, say Horticulture experts

‘We need rain and snow in Kashmir’

In the absence of electricity and lack of proper management during winters, the rainless dry spell in Kashmir, except for a brief three day precipitation, is seemingly enjoyable.

However, according to the Horticulture experts, Kashmir needs rains and snow. ‘The more it rains at this point in time, the better.’

The dry spell, this year has already affected the horticulture here: plants and trees including the size, colour and taste of the fruits (mostly apples).

“The size of fruits and their colour was most affected because of the dry spell. The taste of the fruits could have possibly suffered as well. 95 percent of apples of the last crop of the season and up to 85 percent of the crops grown here, have also been affected,” says Prof. Fayaz Banday, Dean Forestry, and Expert Horticulture.

Fruits including peach, plum and apricot, Prof Banday says, grew perfectly and the diseases like leaf fall were under control, this year. However, he said the soil here is parched and needs moisture.

The intermittent precipitation will not affect the horticulture, he says explaining that the plants after harvesting go into the state of dormancy (sleeping) and the precipitation cannot have a bad impact on them.

“Only good is going to come out of this. The soil is very dry already. It will charge up with the natural snowfall that will eventually increase its fertility,” he says suggesting that it’s high time for people to go for pruning in their orchids.

“If the temperature improves they can go for pruning, else, ending February is good for that”.

“If the snowfall takes an extreme, people are advised to make timely interventions and prevent the trees or plants from breaking by shaking them. They should avoid too much of water retention in the orchids as it can damage the roots,” advices Prof Banday.

Though the fresh snowfall on December 11 provided some relief, Director Meteorological (MeT) department, Sonum Lotus Friday said that the dry spell will continue.

To this, Prof Banday says that the climatic adversaries or drought conditions cannot affect the horticulture now as ‘the stage is over’. However, he adds that there is a dire of rain and snow for a healthy crop.

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