Jammu & Kashmir

Spray fungicide before rains to avoid scab: Experts to orchardists

A man and a woman spray chemical fertilisers on apple trees in an orchard in South Kashmir. [FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan].

‘Fungicide can be sprayed even when petals haven’t fallen’

Srinagar: In view of the rains predicted across Kashmir from April 17, the experts have advised orchardists to spray fungicide before rains to avoid scab-like diseases.

Experts told the news agency Kashmir News Observer that it is usually best to apply a fungicide before it rains, because rain causes leaf surfaces to be wet, a requirement for most foliar diseases, and rain may splash spores from leaf to leaf and from plant to plant.

Therefore, if one is able to coat plants with fungicides prior to a rain, the plant is better protected from disease, they said.

“Periods of wet weather are when a plant is most vulnerable to foliar disease. Fungicides, properly applied, may help to prevent or slow the initiation of disease and the spread of disease which commonly occurs during or shortly after a rain,” They added.

Dr Tariq Rasool, a senior scientist at SKUAST (Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology) said that as rains are predicted from Sunday, growers must spray fungicide before rains to avoid scab.

Orchards, where over 50 to 60 percent petals have fallen, must be sprayed with any SKUAST recommended fungicide to avoid any disease in the future, he said.

Those Orchardists who sprayed in around last week of March and apple flowers are in full, they too can go far fungicides as per the last research it has been found safe to spray fungicide in bloom and there won’t be any effect on the fruit, he said.

Diseases like scab won’t see that it is in the flowering stage and it won’t attack but it can attack anytime and those who have sprayed before 15-20 days must spray fungicide before it rains, he said.

He advised farmers that they must use mist spray not full speed spray so that it won’t damage the petals and fruits and mist spray must be used always and the practice of bathing the whole tree must be avoided.

“Best time for the spray is morning and this is the critical stage of the scab so people must avoid mixing more pesticides and insecticides and focus on fungicide only this time,” he said.

He said that even if it rains, a few hours after spraying fungicide, it will still provide protection to the fruit and keep diseases at bay.

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