Scientific Cultivation of Apple

Scientific Cultivation Practice of Apple

King of temperate fruit crops
Botanical name: Malus pumila

Family: Rosaceae
Origin: Asia Minor to western Himalaya
Type of fruit: Pome
Edible portion: Fleshy thalamus
Chromosome number: X =17, 2n=34, 51.
Production: Himachal Pradesh, J & K, and some parts of U.P. which accounts
nearly 90% of total production.

Also read: Pear Cultivation Guidance


Chilling hours is below 7 degree Celsius for 1000 to1500 hrs.
Conditions suitable for chilling hours are available at an elevation of 1500to 2700
Average summer temperature suitable for growth is 21 to 24 °C
Both lower temperature and cloudy weather affecr cross pollination.
Temperature below 15 degree Celsius during flowering effects fruit set.
Bee activity in apple is completely inhibited below 4.4 °C.
Fully open blooms will be killed at temperature of -2.5 °C.
Optimum temperature for pollen germination and fruit setting is 21.1 to 26.7
Ideal rainfall 100 to 125 cm.


Loamy soil having high organic matter, moderate slope and proper drainage are
Soil pH is 5.5 to 6.5.


Early season varieties& Tyteman’s early, Penoni, Michael, Molies, delicious ,

Mid season variety: Starking delicious, Red delicious, top red, Red chief, Red
spur, Red gold, American mother, queen’s Apple, Rome beauty, Cortland, Golden

Late season varieties: Winter Banana, yellow Newton, Lal ambri, Rymer,
Granny Smith.
Varieties with specific characters:
Ambri × Cox orange Pippin.

Green English variety: Bledwin, Cox orange pippin, Black Bendavish, pippins.

Spur type: Stark rinson, well spur, Red chief.

Scab resistant varieties: Prima, Sir- Prize, Priscilla, Florina, Macfree, Nova
easy grow, Red free, Liberty, and freedom.

Low chilling variety: Michael, Anna, Tamma, Vared, Neomi.

For processing: Tropical beauty and Parlins beauty.
Pollinizing varieties are planted with main variety in 11-30 % proportion.

Tytemans’s early, Red Gold, Golden delicious, McIntosh, Winter
Banana, and Golden Spur.
These varieties are planted with main variety for cross pollination.

Hybrid variety

Lal Ambri: Red Delicious × Ambri
Ambre red: Red Delicious Ambri
Amb starking: Starking delicious × Ambri
Amb Royal: Royal delicious × Ambri
Sunheri: Ambri × Golden delicious
Amrich: Rich-a-red × Ambri
Choubattia princess: Red Delicious × Early Shunburry.
Good seed viability: Golden delicious, yellow Newton, Northern Spy.
Most popular variety of India: Red delicious.
Commercial variety of USA: Golden delicious.
Variety having longest storage life: Ambri.
Triploid cultivars: Baldwin, Winesap, Gravenstin.
Resistant to wolly Apple aphid: Northern spy.
Bitter pit of apple: Golden Delicious, Yellow Newton.

Internal browning: Yellow Newton.
Indigenous variety grown in J & K: rymer.

Root stock

Seedling root stock
Crab apple: Most commonly used rootstock in India.

Clonal root stock

Dwarfing: M9 (HDP)
Semi Dwarf: M-4, M-7, MM-106 (Suitable for HDP and resistant to wolly
apple aphid).
Semi vigorous: Merton-793, MM-111 (resistant to wooly aphid and
Vigorous: Merton-793 (resistant to wooly aphid)
Ultra dwarf: M-27 (M13 × M 9)
Winter hardy and clonal rootstock: MM104.
Commercial method of root stock propagation Stooling/ layering (stooling
is also known as layering)
Apple seeds need stratification and it is done at 4-7 °C for 60- 90 days.
Stratification: Keeping the Apple seeds along with moist sand at low
temperature for breaking dormancy is known as stratification. It is done during
Pre stratified seeds are sown during February to March in raised beds with a spacing of 10 cm × 5 cm.

Sowing depth is 2-3 cm.

These root stocks are introduced in the following research station
Regional horticultural research station, Mashobra, H.P
Temperate fruit research station (H.P)
Government hill fruit research station (U.P)
Spacing for clonal root stock is 30 × 60 cm.
PGR for root imitation ie IBA (1000-2000 ppm).
Storage temperature for scion is 2-3 weeks at 5 °C.
1-3 months at 0 °.

Scion should not be used for grafting in the active growth stage.

Ideal method of grafting, scion cultivar on the rootstock: Tongue grafting (90
% success rate)
The scion should be grafted 15-20 cm above the ground.

Ideal time for Tounge grafting is February to March.
T-Budding during monsoon and chip budding during August can also be used for
propagation scion.


Tounge grafting, Layering (also known as stooling), Chip and T budding.


Planting system in flat and valley areas: Square or hexagonal system.
Planting system for sloppy areas: contour/terrace planting.
Pit size: 1m × 1 m × 1m
Pit should be dug and filled up 1 month before planting.
Early planting of apple is done during December to January
Graft union should be kept 25 cm above ground level to avoid collar rot.
Planting distance is 6 m is 7.5 m.

High density planting (four category of HDP)

Low density: Less than 250 plants /ha.
Moderate density: 250-500 plants/ha.
High density: 500-1250 plants/ha.
Ultra high density: Greater than 1250 plants/ha
Super HDP: 20,00-70,000 plants/ha (practice in European countries).
Trees of HDP should have maximum number of fruiting branced and minimum
number of structural branches.

Advantages of HDP

High yield potential per unit area.
Low labour cost.

Improves fruit quality.
Potential bearing.

Training and pruning


Plants are trained according to the growth habits and vigorous of the root stock.

It mainly helps to establish a strong frame work.
Standard tree are trained in modified central leader system.
The growths of unwanted shoots are removed by pinching during mid April to
mid May.
The ratio between the growth of central leader and side branching should be 1-1.5.
At the height of 4-4.5 m the central leader should be headed back.


It is generally done to maintain proper balance between vegetative growths and
spur development.
The basic principle of pruning: It should be start at the top of the tree and work
Large pruning wounds (injury) should be protected with Bordex pest to check
the entry of rot causing fungi.

Manure and fertilizer

First application of pits should be made at the time of filling the pits
Optimum dose of NPK should be applied in the ratio of 70:35:70 gm/year age
of the tree.
The dose should be applied as 700:350:700 gm NPK/tree after 10 year.
Application of organic manure: 10 kg/tree/year.

Nutrient deficiency and there corrective measure


Leaves become pale yellow in colour and older leaves are affected first.
Control: Application of urea 0.5 % can be used.


The deficiency symptoms appear on fruits.
Control: Application of basic acid 0.1% can be used.


Little leaf and rosssete at tips
Control: Zinc sulphate 0.5 %.


Poor coloration in fruits
Control: MnSO4 4 % in fruits.


Bitter pit symptoms
Control: Calcium chloride 0.5 % can be used about 30-45 days before


Clean basin management is the common practice in apple.
Applications of Glyphosate 800 ml/ha or Gramoxone (0.5%) are used as post
emergence herbicide for weed control.

Green manuring crop like bean can be cultivated between the basin to improve
the soil texture and nutrient status.
Nitrogen fixing legumes like red clover, white clover and Lucerne can be
introduced between the tree basin for improving the fertility status.
Heavy bearing in apple results in alternate bearing cycle.
Judicious fruit thinning regulate fruit size and quality.
The practice of fruit thinning is essential in delicious group for regulating cross

Fruit drop

There are 3 phases of fruit drop:

Early drop
June drop
Pre harvest drop

Early drop

This drop is considered natural and occurs due to lack of pollination.

June drop

Caused by moisture stress and it can be controlled by proper irrigation or

Causes most serious economic loss and it occurs due to reduction of oxygen or
increase in ethylene level of fruits.
Early ripening variety experience 40-50 % fruit drop.

In delicious group fruit drop occurs 15-20% of crop load.
Application of NAA (910 ppm) before 20-25 days of harvest is useful for
controlling pre harvest fruit drop.


Apple requires uniform distribution of rainfall through out the year.
The most critical period of water requirement is April-August.
The peak requirement: After fruit set.

It requires 114 cm or 1140 mm during the whole year in 15-20 years.

Irrigation interval during summer 7-10 days and in other season 3-4 week’s
Number of irrigation during critical period: 8

Harvesting and post harvest management

Apple is a climatric fruit.
The maturity of the fruit considered with ripening.
The first usually do not attain fully ripe, edible quality during harvesting..
Fruit should be harvested at proper picking maturity for proper edible quality.
Picking of immature fruit produce poor flavour and test.
Over mature fruits developed soft scaled and have poor shelflife.
The maturity indices is change in colour from green to pale

Post harvest management

Pre cooling
L: After peaking the fruit should be place in cool ventilated place to remove field
Fruit surface should be free of moisture before grading.


They are graded according to fruit size, appearance and quality.
Based on the fruit size apples are graded on six grade:


Based on colour, shape and quality they are graded in three graded:

Extra fancy
Fancy class-I
Fancy class-II
For size grading-Mechanical grading can be used.


Wooden box are used


Storage temperature : 1.1 to 0°C
Relative humidity: 85-90 %
Can be stored for 4-8 months
Longest storage life is found in Ambri.

Physiological disorder

Storage disorder.

Immature fruits are susceptible to scale with higher temperature in storage.
Bitter pit
Occurs near the blossom end with a sunken spot in fruit surface.
Internal browning
Browning streaks in two places from the coat.
Storage temperature of less than 1°C is suitable for controlling this disorder.


Leading apple producing state: J & K
Apple bowl of India: Himachal Pradesh.
Area: 55 % of total area of temperature fruit crop.
Apple ranks 11th in apple production in the world.
Apple is typical temperate fruit.
Almost all variety have a chilling requirement of 1000 hrs at on below 7.2 °C
In India 11 to 30 % pollinizing trees are recommended for regular cropping.
There are usually 6 size grades of apple.
Early fruit drop is due to lack of pollination and competition.
June drop is due to moisture stress and environmental conditions.
Pre harvest drop is due to development of Abscission layer formation of
Scarlet, red fuzi are high yielding variety.
San Jose scale (insect) got is entry into India in Kashmir from France in 1906.
Optimum temperature for pollen germination and fruit setting is 21.1-26.7°C.
Cider is a fermented wine prepared from apple.
.Average summer temperature should be around 21-24°C during active growth
Most critical period for water requirement is April-August.
Thomas Andreo Knight produced the 1st apple cultivar.
Red delicious cultivar is mother of all delicious group of cultivar.
Baldwin, Mastu, Bramlay, seedlings are triploid variety of apple.
Ambri: Cultivar of apple is said to be indigenously grown in Kashmir (India).
The diploid cultivar is self fruitful and triploids are self unfruitful.
M-9 is a dwarf root stock of apple is evolved as a chance seedling.
M-27 is a result of cross between (M-13 × M9). It is ultra dwarf.
Crab apple: Malus baccata is most commonly used rootstock of apple in India.
Golden delicious and red gold are recommended pollinizers in apple.
Malling Merton series of root stock is result of cross between malling series with
woody apple aphid resistant.
EMLA-east Malling Long Ashton series of root stock is resistant to virus.
Pollinizers facilitate cross pollination .pollination is carried by insects.
Apple is easily propagated -Budding & Tongue grafting.
Bitter pit in apple is due to “Zn” deficiency.
Malus Sikkimiensis, M. tarngoides and M. hupeheusis are apomictic rootstock of
Malus floribunda is a small fruit species and is good pollinizer of apple.
Malus floribunda is source of resistant against apple scab caused by Venturia
Subinaequalis, Prima, Priscella, Freedom, Liberty, Coop-12, Sir Prize are
scab resistant cultivar of apple.
Resistant to powdery mildew in cultivated apple is transferred from M. Sumi.
Northern spray is resistant to wooly apple aphid.
All root stock of MM series are resistant to wooly apple aphid.
Aphilenus Mali is a predator to wooly apple aphid

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