A step by step guide for apple ber pruning process
Ber or Indian jujube is one of the hardy minor fruit crops appropriate for cultivation in arid conditions. Apple ber is a new variety of horticulture fruit and it is also known as the Indian jujube or Chinese date. The taste of this Apple ber fruit is sweet, crispy & Juicy. The weight of each fruit is around 150 to 200 gm. It appears to be similar to green Apple. That is the cause it is named as Apple Plum or Apple Ber. Its farming is currently trending and it has several advantages over traditional Plum farming.
Pruning Apple ber fruits is necessary to develop a strong structured tree, to maintain tree vigor and control size, and to produce abundant high-quality fruit.
Time of pruning of apple ber trees:
- The proper time to Apple ber prune is in early spring when the danger of severe cold weather has passed and before new growth occurs. However, suckers and broken, dead and diseased branches must be removed at any time.
- Sterilize fruit pruning tools between cuts with a 10% bleach solution (1 1/2 cups bleach to 1-gallon water) when pruning branches infected with fire blight.
- Pruning paint or a wound dressing must be used on trees which can be infected with fire blight. Either asphalt-water emulsion or shellac makes an excellent wound dressing. Latex or water-based paints are also satisfactory.
- The time of pruning in Apple ber is region-specific. In subtropical regions, the main appropriate time for pruning is during hot and dry summer when plants shed off their leaves and enter in dormancy but it must be done before the onset of new growth.
- Under the adverse conditions like in the arid region, the plant does not put forth new growth unless some good rainfall is received.
- In a tropical region with mild winter and rainfall during December-January month and early onset of summer rainfall (e.g. Tamil Nadu, Southern India), pruning can be carried out at any time from January to April with a possibility of regulating fruit maturity at the desired time.
- In a tropical region with no winter rainfall (e.g. Andhra Pradesh), it is advisable to prune Apple ber trees during the first fortnight of April which results in early flowering and thus early harvest of fruits, though the maximum fruit yield was recorded when the pruning was done in the second fortnight of April. In Maharashtra, the best time of pruning is before the end of April month.
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Importance of pruning of apple ber plants
Among the Apple ber fruit trees, ber cultivation requires perhaps the least inputs and care. It gives excellent production even without irrigation and can be grown as a rain-fed crop in semi-arid and arid regions. Therefore the tree can give assured income even under marginal growing conditions and provides nutritious food at low cost. The ber fruit is dried and is used as a dessert fruit. It can also be preserved as candied fruit.
Pruning process in apple ber trees:
- Pruning is an essential operation in Apple ber production as fruits are borne in the axil of leaves on the young shoots of the current season.
- Pruning is, therefore, done every year to induce a maximum number of new healthy shoots which Apple bear good quality fruits. The best time for pruning in Apple ber was observed to be 15th April to 15th May under the prevailing climatic condition of Maharashtra.
- Remove the rootstock sprouts and enclose a straight stem up to 75 cm from the ground level. It is important in the early years to build up a strong framework and in later years to maintain vigor to improve fruit size and quality.
- During February – March, prune the trees and thin the crowded branches to give maximum fruit-bearing area in the tree.
- Annual pruning is necessary to induce a maximum number of new healthy shoots which would bear good quality fruits. The undesirable, weak, intercrossing, diseased and broken branches are removed from time to time to encourage healthy development for maximum fruit-bearing.
- Pruning is done during the dry season when the tree sheds leaves and enters into dormancy. Spraying with 3% thiourea or potassium nitrate once in two days before pruning induces bud sprouting from a maximum number of nodes.
- During the first 2 to 3 years after planting, Apple ber trees should be trained to develop a strong framework.
- This basic frame of the ber tree is maintained by removing water sprouts as and when they emerge. Correction in the framework is done at the instant of annual pruning.
- In Tamil Nadu, the Apple ber trees are pruned during January – April, in Maharashtra and Gujarat pruning must be completed by the April-end and in Haryana by the May-end.
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Fruiting of apple ber trees:
There are two seasons for Apple ber tree fruits November to February is the best season for harvesting, we don’t have to care much in this season and there is always demand in these days for Apple ber.
Facts about apple ber pruning:
- Apple ber plant starts giving fruits after 6-8 months of the plantation. Generally, the height of the plant would be ranging between 10 to 15ft. Hyderabad is one of the famous markets for Apple ber fruits.
- In one acre Apple ber plant around 190 to 200 plants are cultivated
- The Apple ber plant life is about 20 years and can be propagated through seed and also can be multiplied by cuttings of half-ripe wood.
- The major Apple ber growing states are Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- Apple ber grows on a wide variety of soils-sandy, clayey, saline and alkaline soils.
- Planting is done at a spacing of 6 meters in low rainfall areas and 8meters in the irrigated condition or areas receiving high rainfall. In irrigated areas, Apple ber plants can be transplanted during January-March.
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