Fungal disease hits south Kashmir apple orchards, farmers worried

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Apple growers in south Kashmir are concerned about the outbreak of alternaria leaf blotch in orchards, causing huge scars on the leaves of trees.

According to apple growers, the disease became evident on the leaves and trees spread over vast tracts of land after recent incessant rains.

Aafaq Ahmad, a grower from Pulwama said that those trees are shedding leaves and it could hit the yield of fruits. “We have sprayed different types of insecticides but still the disease is spreading rapidly,” he told a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

Meanwhile, authorities have issued an advisory, asking orchardists to ensure proper orchard sanitation.

“In view of the recent rains followed by prevailing hot and dry weather conditions, most of the apple plantations are experiencing physiological stress, giving rise to Necrotic Leaf Blotch/Apple Lenticle Blotch/Yellowing of seaves and minor incidences of Alternaria Leaf Blotch as well,” reads an advisory, a copy of which lies with KNO.

“All the apple farmers are advised to adopt measures to check the adverse effects of prevailing weather conditions which includes ensure Proper Orchard Sanitation, ensure Removal of Green Grass/Weeds growing in their Orchards especially under tree Canopy, ensure Proper Basin Management and Mulching with Straw/Grass/Mulching Film under Tree Canopy for Soil Moisture Conservation and addition to this, ensure spray of any one of the Fungicides during early morning hours before any fresh rains are received,” it read.

It further added: “The recommended fungicides as per advisory includes Metiram 55% + Pyraclostrobin5% 60WG 100 gm per 100 litres of water, Zineb68% + Hexaconazole4% 72WP 150 gm, Mancozeb-75WP 300gm, Zineb-75WP 300gm and Propineb-70WP 300 gm per 100 hundred litres of water.” (KNO)

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