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Apple: Climate, Soil, Manures, Fertilizers and Planting

Climate: Apple is a typical temperate zone fruit which requires 1000 to 1600 hrs chilling below to 70C temperature in winter to break the rest period. The temperature during flowering plays important role in yield and quality of the fruits and the range of temperature from 100C- 200C in April results good fruit set and quality. 
Shading effect reduces the red colour of fruits’ peel because anthocyanin content of peel is influenced by light

Soil: The deep, rich in organic matter content, good water holding capacity and well drained loamy soil is suitable for an apple orchard. Apple plants suffer from K and Mg deficiency on light soil whereas on calcareous soils plants suffer from Fe and Mn deficiency. The soil pH should be between 5.5 and 6.8. Underwater logging roots rot and premature plants death takes place.
Manures and Fertilizers: The manures and fertilizers dose varies according to age of tree, cultivars, soil and fruit bearing load. The soil and plant tissues analysis are the more reliable methods to determine the manures and fertilizers dose in apple. Normally 10 kg FYM, 70 g N, 35 g P and 70g K per year should be applied in 1-year-old apple tree. Additional dose of equal amount should be increased every year up to 10 years thereafter dose is stabilized to 100 kg FYM, 700 g N, 350 g P and 700g K per plant per year for coming years. The full dose of FYM , P and K should be applied during December before snowfall and half dose of N should be applied during February-March. Rest half N should be applied during March-April just after fruit set. The manures and fertilizers should be mixed with soil covered by tree canopy leaving circular area of 30 cm radius around the trunk. If deficiency symptoms appear micro nutrients like B, Zn, Mn and Ca should be sprayed at 0.1%, 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.5% concentrations, respectively.
Planting: The pits of 1x1x1m size should be dug and filled at least one month before the planting. The top soil and sun soil of the pit should be piled separately during digging. The sub soil should be filled first following top soil filling to get the good fertile soil at bottom of the pit. The 50 kg well rotted FYM or compost and 500 g single super phosphate per pit should be mixed thoroughly with soil before filling. The square or hexagonal planting system is suitable in flat areas while contour system of planting is best for sloping areas. The distance of planting is depending on agro-climate, soil fertility, cultivars, training and pruning system adopted and types of root stock. Normally 5-6 m spacing is kept for vigorous and semi dwarf root stocks and 1.5- 3.0 m for very dwarf to dwarf root stocks. The 500 to 1500 plants /ha can be accommodated under high density planting.

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