Fruits (11)

Apple (Malus sylvestris)

Apple is an important temperate fruit suited for growing in the high ranges of Kerala. Sloping sites to allow free drainage are considered more suitable than level tops. The ideal soil types are loam, sandy loam and silt loam with open porous and well-drained subsoil.

Preparation of land

The planting distance in India varies from 7-10 m, depending upon the vigour of plant. The pit should be of 1 m wide and 20 cm deep so that all roots may be accommodated in a well spread condition.

Planting material
Apples are ordinarily propagated by budding or grafting on seedlings of Crab apple, Yellow Newton or Golden Delicious. Winters are best for whip grafting. Shield budding is done in June with the season's bud. Both whip grafting and shield budding are widely practiced in India. Low chilling varieties are suitable for Kerala.

Time and method of planting
Apples are planted in the ground free of weeds, regularly irrigated for about two years in the beginning. Planting is done late in winter. For adequate root development a temperature of 7ºC is considered ideal.


Pruning and training are important in apple cultivation. One year old plants are cut back at about 80-100 cm above ground. If branches are present at this time, only 4 to 5 of them ought to be retained and shortened in length. No shoot is retained below 50 cm from ground. At the time of first dormant pruning, the main scaffold branches are cut back to about half a metre in length.

Secondary branches arise from these main limbs. Some of the new shoots arising early in the second summer are rubbed off in order to develop only a few vigorous secondary branches. During the second dormant pruning, the crowded, misplaced or diseased secondary branches are removed and the extra vigorous ones headed back. This process is continued for 4 or 5 years, at the end of which there are 8 to 10 scaffold branches.


It is desirable to add 100-150 g of nitrogen as sulphate of ammonia. Similar quantities of phosphate and potash should be added when required. Five quintals of bone meal and 10 quintals of wood ash per hectare are given annually besides the fertilizers. Fertilizers should be mixed with the soil at a radius of 1 m from the plant.


Thinning of fruit

Thinning of fruit is also practised in order to improve fruit colour and fruit size. It is desirable to retain one fruit for every 40 leaves. This spaces the fruit at about 15-20 cm apart and there will be only one fruit per spur.

Much of the success in apple production depends on proper picking, storage and disposal. When a fruit separates easily from the spur, firmness of flesh and taste are desirable. The harvested fruits may be stored for 120-150 days at 4-5ºC, provided there is good circulation of air.

West Indian Cherry (Malphigia punicifolia)

West Indian cherry, also known as Barbados cherry is the richest source of vitamin C. It is a medium sized shrub, which thrives well in tropical climate. It is best suited as a homestead fruit crop and prefers a rich well drained soil.



Two distinct types are seen.

Pink flower type
Flowers are pink and are born in clusters in leaf axils. Fruits are large in size (about 6 g) and red coloured when ripe.


White flower type
Flowers are white and are borne in clusters in leaf axils. Fruits are small (about 1 g) and orange coloured when fully ripe.


Planting materials

West Indian cherry is usually raised from layers. Vegetative propagation by means of hardwood cuttings along with leaves is feasible, though the percentage of rooting is very low. Air layering is highly successful when treated with IBA. Layers strike roots within 3-4 weeks. When the roots peep out through the ball of moss or coir pith, the stem may be severed in stages. The rooted layer is potted after removing the polythene film and kept in shade till new flushes appear. Plants may be hardened in full sunlight prior to transplanting. Chip budding, shield budding, side grafting and veneer grafting are also successful to a limited extent.



For planting, pits of size 0.5 m x 0.5 m x 0.5 m are made, 6 m apart. Fill the pit with topsoil and 10 kg cowdung. After planting, mulching may be done with dry leaves to conserve moisture. July to December is considered to be the best time for planting. Irrigation once in four days during early stages of growth up to one year of planting and later on, once in 7-10 days is necessary.



A fully grown, bearing plant should be top dressed with fertilizers @ 100 g N, 160 gP2O5 and 260 g K2O. These may be applied in two splits, in June-July and again in January, when there is sufficient moisture in the soil.


Pruning is done once in a year to maintain regular shape. Pruning consists of removal of dried and diseased wood and also the drooping branches.


Flowering, fruiting and harvesting
Rooted cuttings and layers flower in six months. Flowering commences in the middle of May and extends up to August. The harvest of fruits commences from August and continues up to November. Rarely, flowering is noticed in March and the crop comes to harvest in April / May.



The average yield during fourth year is 2 kg per plant.


The fruits may be consumed fresh or its pulp can be used for preparation of juice, jam, jelly, preserve, syrup etc. The juice or pulp may also be used to fortify ascorbic acid contents of various other products. Its juice can be used to blend with other fruit juices to give delicious mixed fruit cocktails and also to improve their nutritive value. As the richest natural source of vitamin C, the fruits have considerable scope to be developed on a commercial basis, for the production of vitamin C.


Sapota (Manilkara zapota)

Sapota requires a temperature range of 11 to 34ºC and an annual precipitation of 225-375 cm. It can be grown in all types of soil but well drained soil is necessary for good growth.


Cricket Ball, Oval, Kalipatti, Badami, Baramasi, Calcutta Round, Pala and PKM-1



It is propagated through layers and grafts. Manilkara hexandra (khirni) is the best rootstock for inarching sapota.

The season of planting is May-June. Planting should be avoided during the periods of heavy rains.


Planting is done in pits of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm at a square spacing of 7-8 m.



The recommended nutrient dosage for a full-grown sapota tree per year is: weather; but good crops can be obtained with irrigation.


FYM                                 55 kg

N:P2O5\:K2 O                 500:360:750 g

Apply FYM in May-June with the onset of monsoon. Apply the fertilizers in two equal split doses, the first during May-June and the second during August-September.


Apply the manures and fertilizers in trenches 30 cm deep taken at a distance of 1 m from the base of the tree.

Irrigation may not be necessary except during the early stages and in the hot


Training and pruning

No pruning is necessary; but in old trees, lower branches can be removed up to 1 m height.

Flowering and fruiting
The tree flowers continuously in several flushes at short intervals throughout the year. But there are two seasons when flowers will be produced profusely i.e., October to November and February to March. Grafted sapota begins to bear in the third year after planting. Fruit production increases with age up to 30 years followed by a decline. Fruits mature about 4 months after flowering.


Mature fruits, which are dull brown in colour, are harvested and stored for about five days before they are fully ripened for consumption. Ripe fruits can be kept for about 5 to 7 days.


Pineapple (Ananas comosus) 

Pineapple is mostly grown at low elevations in areas with a temperature range of 15 to 30ºC. Pineapple is tolerant to drought because of the special water storage cells. They can be grown with a wide range of rainfall from 600-2500 mm/ annum, the optimum being 1000-1500 mm. Pineapple can be grown in a wide range of soils, but does not tolerate waterlogging. It can be grown as a pure crop on plantation scale or as an intercrop in coconut gardens.



The planting season is May-June. Planting should be avoided during the periods of heavy rains.


There are three varieties viz., Kew, Amrutha and Mauritius.


  1. KEW

Kew is a variety recommended for large scale commercial cultivation in Kerala. The Package of Practices recommendations for its cultivation is detailed below.


Preparation of the land

Prepare the land for planting by ploughing or digging followed by levelling. Depending on the nature of land, prepare trenches of convenient length and about 90 cm width and 15-30 cm depth. The trenches are to be aligned at a distance of 165 cm from centre to centre.


Selection and treatment of suckers
Select healthy suckers of uniform size weighing 500-1000 g. Keep suckers in open space under shade in a single layer for about 7 days for drying. Strip off a few lower old dried leaves. Allow the suckers to dry and cure for another 7 days. Dip the cured suckers in 1per cent Bordeaux mixture at the time of planting.


Rake the soil and plant the suckers in double rows at spacing of 70 cm between rows and 30 cm between plants. Limit the depth of planting to 7.5 to 10 cm. Adopt triangular method of planting in each trench so that the plants in two adjacent rows are not opposite to each other (plant population 40400 / ha).

Apply compost / cattle manure at 25 t ha-1 as basal dressing. Apply fertilizers at the following dosage:


Dose                                     N:P2O5:K2O

Per plant per year (g)             8:4:8

Per hectare per year (kg)     320:160:320


Apply full dose of P2O5 at the time of planting. Nitrogen and K2O may be applied in four splits, during May-June (at planting), August-September, November and May-June (2nd year)

Note: In places where rains are scanty during November, N and K2O may be applied in three equal splits - two doses in 1st year (May-June and August-September) and the third in May-June of the second year. After application of fertilizers, cover with soil by scraping the sides of trenches.


During summer months, pineapple should be irrigated wherever possible at 0.6 IW/ CPE ratio (50 mm depth of water). It requires five or six irrigations during dry months at an interval of 22 days. Mulching the crop with dry leaves at 6 t ha-1 will help to conserve moisture.


Weed control
For effective and economic weed control, use weedicides. Pre-emergent spray with diuron 3 kg or bromacil 2.5 kg in 600 litres of water per hectare completely controls all types of weeds in pineapple plantation. If there is subsequent growth of weeds, herbicide application may be repeated at half the above dose. Spraying should be done when there is adequate moisture in the soil. Avoid periods of heavy rainfall for spraying.


Induction of flowering
For inducement of uniform flowering, apply 25 ppm ethephon (2-chloro ethyl phosphonic acid) in aqueous solution containing 2 per cent urea and 0.04 per cent calcium carbonate as follows:


The mixture (50 ml/plant) is to be applied pouring into the heart of 16-17 month old plants (39-42 leaf stage) during dry weather. For treating 1000 plants, 50 litres of the solution would be required. (The ingredients for preparing 50 litres of the aqueous solution are ethephon 1.25 ml, urea 1 kg and calcium carbonate 20 g, made up to 50 litres with water. The dosage has to be fixed depending on the availability of commercial formulation and the active ingredient contents)


Flowering will commence from 40th day after application and complete by 70th day.

Plant protection

No serious pests or diseases are noticed in the crop except for light incidence of leaf spot disease and mealy bugs.


For control of leaf spot, spray any one of the following fungicides when symptoms of the disease are noticed:


Bordeaux mixture             1 per cent, 225 litre/ha

Zineb                                 1 kg in 225 litre water/ha

Mancozeb                         1 kg in 225 litre water/ha

For control of mealy bugs, apply quinalphos at 0.05 per cent. Destroy grasses and other monocot weeds, which serve as alternate hosts for the pest.


Mauritius is recommended for commercial cultivation for table purposes and distant marketing, due to its shorter duration, better fruit quality, keeping quality and transportability.


Main season of planting is April-May and August-September, but can also be planted in all months except during heavy rain of June-July. The best time for planting is August. For getting maximum price and better keeping quality, the best planting time is April-May. During summer months, if there are no summer showers after planting, irrigation should be given three weeks after planting for proper establishment.

Cropping system
Mauritius can be grown as a pure crop in garden land, reclaimed lowlands and wetlands and as an intercrop in coconut and newly planted rubber plantations. In rubber plantation, it can be grown for the first 3-4 years only.


Land preparation

Pure crop: Prepare the land by digging the area to be planted at 90 cm width in rows/ strips, leaving the interspaces undisturbed. However, ploughing can be adopted in level land. Planting is done in paired rows of 45 cm distance between rows and 30 cm between suckers. Suckers may be planted in triangular method in the paired rows. Interspace between the paired rows is kept at 150 cm. Contour planting may be adopted in sloppy areas.


Intercropping in coconut garden: Land preparation, spacing and planting are the same as described above. There can be three-paired rows in between two rows of coconut.

Intercropping in rubber plantations: System of planting is in paired rows at 45 cm x 30 cm. There will be only one paired row of pineapple in between two rows of rubber.


Cowpea, sunhemp or daincha can be sown in the interspaces and covered with soil soon after planting the suckers. The biomass can be uprooted at flowering and applied to pineapple plots as manure. This will also help to control the weeds by smothering them up to four months.

Wetlands / lowlands: Pineapple is highly sensitive to water stagnation and high moisture regimes. Hence it is important to provide good drainage, if grown in wetlands. In paddy lands, pineapple is planted in paired rows at 45 cm x 30 cm spacing on ridges taken at 60-90 cm height, depending on the water table and drainage requirement. The ridges are separated by drainage channels having 60 cm width. The width of the ridges varies from 120-150 cm. Wherever water stagnation and poor drainage are expected, a wider and deeper channel is given in between ridges.


Selection of suckers

Suckers are selected from disease and pest free healthy plants. Suckers are to be graded into those having 500-750 g and 750-1000 g. The graded suckers are planted in different blocks or plots, to get uniformity in growth and flowering. Bigger suckers give early yield. Dipping in 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture and 0.05 per cent quinalphos will protect the suckers against diseases and pests.


Prophylactic treatment of suckers _ A combination of Mancozeb (0.03 per cent a.i.) and Chlorpyrifos (0.05 per cent a.i.) can also be used for sucker treatment. Dipping suckers in 0.2 per cent Pseudomonas is also effective to control suckers from diseases.


After preliminary land preparations, planting is done in small pits of 10-15 cm depth at a spacing of 45 cm between rows and 30 cm between plants in the rows. There is no need to plant the suckers in trenches.



Apply compost / FYM @ 25 t ha-1 at the time of planting. Application of 10 t ha-1 (250g/ plant) of poultry manure or vermicompost., or 2 t ha-1 (50g/plant) of neem cake along with 2.5kg of Azospirillum (1g/plant) and 2.5kg ofPhosphobactor is also equally effective.Apply fertilizers @ 8:4:8 g N:P2O5:K2O per plant per year. Full dose of P2O5 is applied at the time of planting. Nitrogen and K2O are applied as four equal split doses after planting. First dose may be applied at 40-50 days after planting and thereafter at 60-70 days intervals.


Vegetables and tuber crops can be grown as rainfed intercrops. Plant ginger or coleus (in four rows at 30 cm x 30 cm spacing in raised beds), or brinjal or bhindi (in two rows at 75 cm x 60cm spacing) in the inter space in May last week. This will help to obtain additional returns and also control weed growth.


Wherever irrigation facilities are available, providing irrigation in summer months at two weeks intervals results in good fruit size and high yield. If there is no irrigation facility, the crop should be scheduled for harvest before summer months (before March).


Weed control

Pre-emergence (within a few weeks after planting) spray of diuron @ 1 kg ha-1 in 600 litres of water can keep the field free of weeds for about four months. For subsequent weed control, herbicide application is repeated. For controlling Mikania micrantha (vayara valli or American valli), spot application of diuron can be adopted. Spraying should be done in moist soil, but avoid rainy periods. Weeds in interspaces can be controlled by spraying glyphosate 0.8 kg ha-1. While spraying in interspaces, care should be taken that the weedicide shall not fall on pineapple plant.


Flower induction
For inducing uniform flowering, 25 ppm ethephon is applied on physiologically mature plants having 39-42 leaves (7-8 months after planting). The solution for application in 1000 plants is prepared by adding 1.25 ml of ethephon (3.2 ml of 39 per cent ethrel or 12.5 ml of 10 per cent ethrel), 1 kg urea and 20 g calcium carbonate to 50 litres of water. Pour 50 ml of the prepared solution to the heart of the plant during dry weather conditions (when there is no rain during the time of application).


Flowering starts by 30 days and completes within 40 days of growth regulator application. Fruits will be ready for harvest by 130-135 days after the application of growth regulator. Harvest over 
different months / seasons could be obtained by carefully phasing / planning the planting and growth regulator application.

Plant protection
Sun burn: During summer months it is necessary to protect the fruits from scorching sun by putting dried grasses, coconut or arecanut leaves.


Root rot / heart rot / fruit rot caused by Phytophthora sp. is common in poor drainage conditions. Providing drainage is most essential. The water table should be at least 60 cm below the soil surface. Badly affected plants should be destroyed and the remaining plants should be drenched with 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture in the soil. Leaf spot can be controlled by spraying 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture or 0.2 per cent zineb/ mancozeb.


Mealy bugs (Dysmicoccus brevipes/ Pseudococcus bromeliae): Spray quinalphos 0.05 per cent, chlorpyriphos 0.05 per cent or dimethoate 0.05 per cent. Care should be taken that the spray shall reach the base and also the sides of the plant.The plot should be kept weed free. For the control of mealy bugs, control of ants is a must.


Pineapple wilt associated virus is transmitted by mealy bugs (Dysmicoccus brevipes Cockerell). Mealy bugs are mobilized by ants. For the management of the disease, preventive methods like, destruction of diseased plants, treating suckers by dipping in chlorpyrifos 0.05 per cent before planting, keeping pineapple fields weed free, control of ants by dusting car-baryl 10 per cent in the ant colonies and control of mealy bugs by spraying/drenching with chlorpyrifos 0.05 per cent are to be adopted.


Scale insects (Diaspus bromeliae): Spraying of chemicals for the control of mealy bugs, mentioned above, will be sufficient for the control of scale insects.


Ratoon cropping

The plant crop after harvest can be retained as ratoon crop for two more years. After the harvest of the plant crop, chopping the side leaves of the mother plant should be done for easy cultural operations. The suckers retained should be limited to one or two per mother plant. Excess suckers if any should be removed. Earthing up should be done. Other management practices are same as for the plant crop.

Papaya (Carica papaya)

Papaya thrives well in tropical climate. The occurrence of low temperature and frost limits its cultivation. The optimum temperature for the growth and development of papaya is 22-26ºC. In Kerala, the limiting factors for commercial cultivation are high rainfall and severe drought in summer. However, this is best suited as a homestead fruit crop. The papaya prefers a rich, well-drained soil. It will not tolerate waterlogging around the trunk.


Washington, Honey Dew, Coorg Honey Dew, Solo, Pusa Dwarf, Surya, Co-7, Pusa Nanha, Pusa Giant, Co-2 and Co-5 are suitable for papain extraction.


Papaya is propagated almost entirely by seeds. The best time for raising papaya seedlings is from February to March. The seeds are sown in raised seedbeds of 2 m x 1 m made 15 cm above the ground level or in polythene bags. A mixture of sand, leaf mould and dried FYM is spread over the seedbed. The seeds are sown 2-3 cm deep at a distance of 5 cm in rows 15 cm apart. To raise seedlings for planting in a hectare, 250 g seeds are required. Seed beds should be watered daily, if there is no rain.

Papaya seedlings raised in polythene bags can stand transplanting better than that raised in seedbeds. Polythene bags of 20 cm x 15 cm size and 150 gauge thickness are used as containers. They are filled with a mixture of FYM, soil and sand in equal proportions. Two seeds are sown in each bag and after germination, only one seedling is retained. Vegetative propagation by mound layering is also possible.

Two months old seedlings are transplanted in the main field in May-June at a spacing of 2 m x 2 m. Pits of size 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm are taken and filled with topsoil. Male plants are removed as soon as they flower and the female and hermaphrodite plants are retained. In pure female plantations, one male plant is retained for every 10 female plants. Seedlings are shaded to protect them from excessive sunlight until they establish. In hermaphrodite or monoecious types male plants may not be required.


Organic manure may be applied @10 to 25 kg / plant / year at the onset of southwest monsoon in basins around the plant. Each papaya plant should also be supplied with 40 g N, 40 g P2O5 and 80 g K2O at bimonthly interval.


Intercultivation and intercropping

Keep the papaya plot free of weeds. Two hand diggings, one in the beginning of the rainy season and another in January- February are necessary. When papaya is grown as the main crop, vegetables can be profitably cultivated as intercrop for about six months from planting of papaya seedlings.



The crop should be irrigated in summer. The ring system of irrigation is better for papaya than the basin system because the ring system prevents irrigation water coming into contact with the stem, thus preventing collar rot.



The seedlings flower and set fruit within 3-5 months after transplanting. The number of fruits harvested per tree per year varies from 25 to 30. Fruits showing streaks of yellow colour are harvested. Although papaya trees bear flowers and fruits continuously for many years, it is not economical to retain the trees after 2.5 to 3 years.

Extraction of papain

Papain is an active enzyme present in the latex or milky secretion of papaya plants and immature fruits. Half to three-fourth matured fruits (about 70 to 100 days from fruit set) are preferred for papain extraction. Tapping of fruits can be done early in the morning by giving longitudinal skin depth incisions (3 mm) on the surface of the fruits from the stalk end to tip. Stainless steel blades or knives or bamboo splinters are used for incising papaya fruits. The milky latex is collected in arecanut spathes or aluminium or glass vessels. The incisions are repeated in two or three subsequent occasions at 3 to 4 days intervals. The latex collected in this way is dried in the sun or in an artificial drier at 50-55ºC. A small quantity of potassium metabisulphite is added to the 
liquid latex to extend the storage life of papain. The dried latex can be stored in airtight polythene or glass containers for a period of six months. Tapped fruits are equally tasty as untapped fruits, although impaired in appearance.


Plant protection

Papaya mealy bug

Please refer page no: 309


Damping off
It causes rotting of seedlings in the nursery. This can be prevented by sterilizing the soil of the seedbed with 2.5 per cent formaldehyde solution and covering it for 48 hours with newspapers or polythene sheets. This treatment is given 15 days before sowing.

Collar rot or stem rot
Waterlogging and poor drainage are the chief contributing factors. Application of Bordeaux paste on the stem and soil drenching with Bordeaux mixture are control measures.


It causes premature fruit fall and leaf fall. To control, spray Bordeaux mixture 1 per cent. Papaya mosaic and papaya leaf curl are two serious virus diseases of papaya. Remove the affected plants and burn them immediately.

Mango (Mangifera indica)

Mango is adaptable to a wide range of climate and soil conditions and grows well from sea level up to about 1500 m above mean sea level. It withstands both fairly dry conditions and heavy rainfall.


Alphonso, Kalapady, Neelum, Mundappa, Pairi, Baneshan, Alampur Baneshan, Mulgoa, Suvarnarekha.

Hybrid No.45 (Bennet Alphonso x Himayuddin), Hybrid No.87 (Kalapady x Alampur Baneshan), Hybrid No.151 (Kalapady x Neelum)



Plant one year old grafts with the onset of monsoon showers so that they get established before the rains. If rainfall is heavy, planting should be done during August-September.


Vegetative propagation
Stone grafting is successful in mango. August is ideal for the operation. Select four month old scion materials. Defoliation of scion shoots 10 days prior to grafting is beneficial. Grafting of 8 cm long scion on rootstocks at a height of 6 to 8 cm is most successful. The dieback disease of grafts caused by Colletotrichum can be controlled by spraying 1 per cent Bordeaux mixture.



Select good grafts for planting. Planting can be done in square system or hexagonal system. Prepare pits of size 1 m x 1 m x 1 m at a spacing of 9 m, one month before planting and allow to weather. Refill pits with mixture of topsoil and 10 kg of compost or FYM per pit to a level higher than the adjoining ground. Plant the grafts at the same depths as they were in the containers, preferably in the late evening. Deep planting results in poor growth of the plant. Ensure that the graft joint is above the soil level. Tie the plants to stakes to prevent snapping at the graft joints.



Apply FYM/compost and fertilizers at the rate indicated below:


Age of plant



1st year



2nd year



3-5 years



6-7 years



8-10 years



0ver 10 years




Green leaves (25 kg/plant) and wood ash (10-15 kg/plant) may be applied additionally. Apply organic manures in May-June with the onset of monsoon.Apply the fertilizers in one dose during May-June until bearing stage and thereafter in two equal split doses, the first during May-June and the second during August-September. Apply manures and fertilizers in trenches 30 cm deep taken at a distance of 2.5 to 3 m from the base of the tree.


After cultivation

Irrigate twice a week during summer months till the plants are 4-5 years old. Grow vegetables, horse gram, black gram, pineapple and banana as intercrops in young orchards. Carry out intercultural operations by ploughing or digging twice during the year in June and October. For reducing fruit drop and to improve productivity, NAA at 10-30 ppm concentration may be sprayed to the entire inflorescence at the peak stage in the second week after fruit set.

Plant protection
The important pests of mango are hoppers, stem borers, shoot midges, leaf feeding insects, fruit flies and psyllids. The common diseases are the powdery mildew, anthracnose and dieback. To control mango hopper, spray carbaryl 0.1 per cent or malathion 0.1 per cent at the time of flowering. To control mango stem borer, apply paste made of crude carbolic acid (130 ml), soft soap (1 kg) and hot water (3.7 litres) to holes in the bark and plug the holes. To control fruit fly, spray malathion 0.1 per cent emulsion / suspension containing 2 per cent sugar. Collect and destroy attacked fruits that rot and drop down. Fruit flies can be effectively managed by keeping Ocimum trap @ 4/tree and a bait spray of 0.1 per cent mala-thion with 2 per cent sugar at monthly intervals from initial fruit set up to harvest. To control the leaf feeding insects, apply carbaryl 0.1 per cent. To control shoot midge, which causes the drying of tender shoots, apply carbaryl 0.1 per cent or dimethoate 0.05 per cent. Apply wettable sulphur for the control of powdery mildew and anthracnose. To control dieback of twigs and branches, cut the affected twigs below the infected region and apply Bordeaux paste to the cut ends.

Mandarin Orange (Citrus reticulata)


Mandarin orange is a subtropical fruit growing in the high ranges of Kerala. It requires deep soil rich in humus. The crop cannot withstand waterlogging. It is grown in regions having good drainage.


Preparation of land

Dig pits of size 70 cm x 60 cm x 70 cm at a spacing of 7-8 m at least one month in advance of planting.


Planting material

Use budded plants for planting. For raising seedlings, extract seeds from selected fruits by squeezing. Wash the seeds free of pulp and dry them. Make seedbeds 1.5 m long, 1 m wide and 15 cm height. Sow the seeds giving a spacing of 13 cm in a row and 3 cm between the rows. Thin the seedlings if necessary or plant selected seedlings in secondary nursery. For budding, use rough lemon (jambhiri) seedlings as rootstock. Raise the rootstock seedlings in a nursery and when they are 18-24 months old, budding may be done by the inverted "T" method. The best time for budding is from July to September. A month after insertion, lop off the vegetative growth of the seedling above the bud joint completely. The budded plants are ready for planting in 6-12 months.


Time and method for planting

Planting is done during July-August. Lift the plants carefully with a ball of earth around the roots and plant them carefully without disturbing the roots. While planting, remove the bandage around the bud joint and keep the bud joint at least 10-15 cm above soil surface. Remove the vegetative growth arising below the bud union periodically.


The manuring schedule recommended is given below.


Time after planting





1st year



2nd year



3rd year



4th year



5th year



6th year



7th year onwards




Apply organic manure in May and fertilizers in two equal split doses during June-July and in September-October. In addition to the above manures and fertilizers, spray micronutrients such as zinc sulphate 500 g, copper sulphate 500 g, manganese sulphate 300 g and lime 500 g in 100 litres of water per ha twice in a year during March and October-November.


Give a light digging or ploughing when the rains start.


In the early stages, give some formative pruning to establish a strong framework. Remove all shoots arising from rootstock below the bud union. Remove dead branches and smear the cut ends with Bordeaux paste. Do not prune the roots.



Crops like coffee, cardamom, banana and pineapple can be planted as intercrops depending on soil fertility status.


Plant protection

For controlling citrus butterfly, hand picking of caterpillars and spraying with a contact insecticide are to be done.


To control stem borer incidence, chip off the affected new shoots and spray 0.2 per cent carbaryl suspension once in three months. If borer tunnels have already been formed, inject 1 per cent dichlorvos into the tunnels. To control aphids apply dimethoate 0.05 per cent.


Stem borers (Chelidonium sp., Chloridolum sp. and Nupserha sp.) cause withering of branches. Gum exudes from holes on stems and branches. Accumulation of wood dust on ground around the base is another symptom of borer damage.


Cutting and burning of the affected branches, injecting petrol or suspensions of carbaryl 1 per cent using syringe and painting the stem with carbaryl 0.3 per cent suspension during May are recommended against the borers.


Among diseases, dieback, root and collar rot are important. Periodical removal of dried twigs and application of Bordeaux paste on cut ends and application of Bordeaux mixture can control dieback disease.

Against root and collar rot, removal of soil from the base of the trunk, scraping of the dead bark and application of lime sulphur are to be done. As an alternative, smear Bordeaux paste over the treated roots and stem. Exposing the main roots to a depth of about 30 cm is also advised.

Jack (Artocarpus heterophyllus) 

Jack comes up well in humid regions up to an elevation of 1000 m. Soil should be deep and well drained. Any rise in water table or poor aeration of the soil is detrimental to the crop.


Varieties / types

Jackfruit differs in size, shape and qua-lity. The jackfruit may be classified into two groups: (i) soft fleshed (koozha) and (ii) firm fleshed (varikka).The firm fleshed type is highly tasty, sweet and crisp. The two groups are further classified depending on the taste, size of fruit, odour of flesh, and also the nature, shape and diversity of prickles on the rind.


Two distinct types with desirable qualities recommended for Kerala are:

  1. Muttom varikka which is a firm fleshed, sweet scented variety.
  2. Singapore or Srilanka jack which is an introduced variety from Srilanka. It bears fruits in 3 years after planting and is extremely precocious in habit. The fruits are more or less the same size as the common jackfruit. A tree may yield as many as 250 fruits.


Planting materials
Use grafts for planting. For grafting, raise seedlings in polythene bags and when they are 9-12 months old, do inarching. One month after grafting, behead the rootstock above the graft joint.

Epicotyl grafting can be undertaken successfully in jack. Three to four month old, 10 cm long scions are grafted on five days old rootstocks in polythene bags by the cleft method during the month of June and keep under moist conditions. The scions should be pre-cured 10 days before grafting by clipping the leaf blades and keeping the petioles intact on the twig. The graft union establishes by 80 days after grafting operations.

A new method of approach grafting utilizing sprouted jack seedlings (maximum 20 days old) as root stock and tender shoot tips of 2 to 3 weeks old with one or two tender leaves as scion is successful, fast and cost affective.



Plant one year old grafts at the onset of monsoon showers.


Prepare pits of size 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm at a spacing of 12-15 m. Fill pits with mixture of topsoil and 10 kg compost or FYM per pit to a level higher than the adjoining ground. Plant the grafts in the same depth as they were in the containers, preferably in the late evening. Deep planting results in poor growth of the graft. Ensure that the graft joint is above the soil level. Stake the plants to prevent snapping at the graft joints. Excellent drainage and adequate watering result in better performance. At no stage it should be exposed to drought or frost. It is useful to provide some protection, especially to young trees. Jack is rarely manured. Even without fertilizer application, the jack trees come up well under Kerala conditions.

The seedlings generally bear after eight years and the grafted plants after three years of planting. The fruiting season lasts about four months from January-February to May-June. The average yield from one tree is about 50-100 fruits per year.


Plant protection

The important pests of jack are shoot borer caterpillar, mealy bug and jack scale.

  1. To control shoot borer caterpillars spray any contact insecticide.
  2. To control jack scale apply contact insecticide.
  3. To control mealy bug, spray contact insecticides like lime sulphur or dust sulphur.


The common diseases that attack the tree are the pink disease, stem rot and fruit rot. Pruning of affected plants and protecting the cut ends with Bordeaux paste are recommended against these diseases.


Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica

Indian Gooseberry/Emblica/Nelli is quite hardy and can be grown with little care in all types of soil except very sandy type. It prefers a warm dry climate and is found in the dry deciduous forests of Kerala.



Much genetic variability exists in this species. However, a high yielding larger fruited variety was located from the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats and popularized as "Chambakad Large". Other varieties are Banarasi, Krishna and Kanchan.


Emblica is usually propagated by seeds and vegetatively by wedge grafting. The seeds are enclosed in a hard seed coat, which renders the germination difficult. The seeds can be extracted by sun drying ripe fruits for about 2-3 days till they split open releasing the seeds. The seeds can be directly sown. Gooseberry can be vegetatively propagated through root suckers also.


One year old seedlings can be planted in the field during rainy season at a spacing of 8 m x 8 m. It can be planted as windbreak around the orchard.


No serious pests or diseases are generally found in this crop.


Seedlings will commence bearing from the 10th year and the grafts in 3-4 years. The vegetative growth of the tree continues from April to July. Along with the new growth in the spring, flowering commences. Fruits will mature by January-February. Yield ranges between 30-50 kg per tree per year when full grown.

Guava (Psidium guajava)

Guava thrives well in places receiving medium rainfall not exceeding 100 cm. In heavy rainfall areas, plants grow luxuriantly, but produce insipid and low quality fruits. It grows well on any type of soil. Red sandy loam soil with good drainage is the most ideal for commercial cultivation of guava.


Allahabad Safeda, Sardar (Lucknow-49), Red Fleshed, Apple Coloured and Pear Shaped.

Planting material
Air layering is widely adopted for propagation of selected varieties. Layers strike roots within 3-5 weeks. When the roots grow through the ball of moss, the stem may be severed below the girdled area in stages. The polythene film is removed from the finally severed rooted stem, which is then potted and kept in the shade until new leaves appear. When the new flushes are produced, the plant can be hardened in full sunlight preparatory to transplanting in the field.



Pits of one metre cube are made 6 m apart. Fill the pits with topsoil, sand and cowdung. Layers are planted in the centre of the pit. Staking of plants is also done, if necessary. After planting, mulching with dry leaves should be done to conserve moisture. June-July is the ideal time for planting. Plants should be irrigated in summer. Square system of planting facilitates easy orchard operations. Guava can be grown as an intercrop in coconut gardens.



A fully grown-up bearing plant should be manured with about 80 kg of FYM, 200 g N, 80 g P2O5 and 260 g K2O. These may be applied in two or three split doses when there is sufficient moisture in the soil.


Guava layers start bearing from 3-4 years after planting. About 500-800 fruits per year can be obtained from a 10 year old tree.


Plant protection

Fruit rot disease

This is a serious disease of guava especially during rainy season. The symptoms are manifested as development of dark brown circular spots at the blossom end of the immature green fruits. Application of zineb (0.2 per cent) or aureofungin (10 ppm) as monthly sprays during June to October can control the disease.


Guava wilt
In affected trees, the branches wither and die one after another and in a few weeks or months the tree, which seemed entirely healthy will be dead. Remove such trees as soon as the symptoms are identified to prevent the spread of the disease.


Fruit fly
This is a serious pest of guava. The insect affects the fruit when it matures. The infested fruits show depression with dark green punctures. As a precautionary measure, the crop should be sprayed just before fruit maturity with carbaryl (0.1 per cent) or dimethoate (0.05 per cent).