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Peach cultivation

Peach (Prunus persica) is an important fruit crop of Meghalaya. Besides, Meghalaya it is also grown in almost all states of the NEH region because of introduction of the low chilling varieties. Fruits are rich in protein, sugar, minerals and vitamins. It has various uses as fresh fruit as well as processed product.

Soil and climate

It is cultivated on varied type of soils but deep sandy loam soil rich in organic matter is best. It is highly susceptible to water logging and prefer perfect drainage. It can be fitted in any type of farming system and can thrive well in high hills, foothills as well as mid-hills situations.

Varieties

Low chilling varieties like TA-170, Flordasun, Shan-e- Punjab and Sharbati are suitable for NEH region.

Propagation

Raising of root stock: For raising root stock, wild peach is propagated through seeds. Seeds are kept in moist sand for about 10-12 weeks for stratification. The germination and vigour of the seedling can be improved by pre-sowing treatment of seeds with thiourea (5g/l water), GA3 (200mg/l water) or IBA (100 mg/l water). The seeds are sown in beds about 5 cm deep and 15 cm apart at a row to row spacing of 20 cm in the month of October-November. Beds are mulched with dry grass followed by light irrigation.

Grafting: Tongue grafting in the month of November is commercial method of multiplication. A smooth slanting cut of 4-5 cm is made on the one year old rootstock at about 15-20 cm above the ground level and another downward cut is given starting approximately 2/3rd from the top of the slanting cut and about 2 cm in length. This formed a tongue like structure on the stock. Similar cut is also made on the lower side of the scion exactly matching the cut given on the rootstock. The scion of 20-25 cm length having 2-3 buds of previous season growth is then fitted lightly with the rootstock and tied with polythene strips. The union completed within 30-45 days and after that polythene strip is also removed to avoid girdling.

Intercropping

Additional income can be obtained by growing intercrops such as ginger, chilli, French bean, rice bean, urd bean and vegetable crops in the under storey of peach during pre-bearing stage.

Preparation of land and pits

Contour lines are marked and half moon terraces (1m.dia.) are prepared. Pits (size 0.75 x 0.75 x 0.75 m) are dug at 5 x 5 m apart on half moon terraces and refilled about 10 cm above the ground level with upper 30 cm soil along with 15-20 kg FYM, 100g Urea, 100g MOP, 300g SSP and 30g chlorpyriphos.

Planting

The best time for peach planting is June to August. If there is no rain after transplanting, light irrigation is given. Peach can also be planted during Dec.-Jan., if irrigation facility is available.

Training and pruning

Peaches are usually trained to an open-centre system. Cut back newly planted trees to about 30 inches high, just above a lateral branch; select 3-4 laterals with wide-angle crotches spaced evenly.

Peach require heavy and regular pruning because fruiting occurs laterally only on previous season’s growth. During early bearing, 20-30% linear growth of the shoots should be removed. The best time of pruning is last week of October. Water sprouts that come below the graft union is removed periodically.

Rejuvenation of old peach orchard

Manure and fertilizer Schedule

Tree age
(year)
Quantity
FYM (kg)Urea (g)SSP (g)MOP (g)
15200250150
210400500250
315650750300
42010001000400
5 and above2512001250500

The whole quantity of FYM along with SSP and MOP is given during December-January and urea is applied 15 days before bud break.

Diseases and Pests

Peach is less affected by diseases and pests. However, sometimes, powdery mildew and shot hole cause damage to the crop.

Powdery mildew disease cause white powdery substances on the leaves, buds and flowers. This disease is controlled by spraying Sulfex @ 2.5g/l of water.

Shot hole diseased is caused by fungus, in which dark brown scattered lesion on leaves appears. This disease is controlled by spraying with Captan @ 2g/l of water.

Peach leaf curling aphid suck growing buds. Leaf buds become weak and result in poor setting and fruits falls-off prematurely. It can be controlled by spraying with Dimethoate (Rogor) @ 1.5 ml/l of water or Monocrotophos (Nuvacron) @ 2.5 ml/l of water at 7-10 days before flowering.

Stem borer feed below the bark, making minute irregular galleries, resulting the bark split and gum oozes out from the holes. The branches start drying up and do not bear fruits. The affected branches should be cut and destroyed. Nuvan or Monocrotophos @ 2.5ml/l of water or petrol at the rate of 5ml per hole should be injected and close the holes with clay mud thoroughly.

Harvesting and yield

For distant market, fruits are harvested when they attain good colour with hard skin, whereas, for local consumption, ripe peaches are harvested by twisting with hand. The peak harvesting period of peach is last week of April to May

On an average, 20-30 kg fruit/tree can be harvested from 3 years old tree.

Source: ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umiam Meghalaya – 793 103

 


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