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Chromosome Number: 24
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Fabales
Family
:
Fabaceae
Genus
:
Lablab
 
Lablab bean is an important vegetable grown in India.It is popularly known as sem. It is very nutritive vegetable grown for the consumption of green pods, green seeds and dry seeds as pulse also. Regional preferences are predominant, playing an important role in its cultivation. The green pods are mostly consumed in south India, whereas white ones are preferred in eastern India and green, fleshy pods in north India. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and West Bengal are major sem-growing states.
   
Climate and soil  

Lablab bean can be grown in a wide range of soils of average fertility having a pH up to 9.0. This can also grow well in alkaline and saline soils. For obtaining good yield loam soil is preferred.
Lablab bean responds to photo periods, there being some short day and some long day types. It is well-adapted to tropical and subtropical regions. High temperature and humidity favour plant growth, whereas fruiting starts when the temperature and humidity are low generally with the onset of winters and continues throughout spring. There are strains which are drought resistant and are being grown as a dry land crop in regions with 630–890mm rainfall. It is relatively cool season crop.

 
Varieties

On the basis of growth habit, varieties can be classified into 2 group—bushy field varieties and twining pole garden varieties. Many varieties having green, white and purple pods have been recommended from different sources in India. There are 3 cultivars of vining types.
Pusa Early Prolific
It bears early, medium-sized, thin, stringless pods in bunches. It is suitable for sowing both in summer and rainy season.
Pusa Sem 2
Its pods are long, dark, green, stringless and semi-round in shape. It is high-yielding, tolerant to viruses and insect pest, pod-borer etc. June–july is suitable time for its sowing in north India. Flowers appear on separate spikes, above the plant canopy.
Pusa Sem 3
The pods are green, meaty, very tender, stringless and flat in shape. It is high-yielding, flowers appear on nodes in bunches under the plant canopy. It is tolerant to viruses. It can be sown in June–July.
Apart from these, many climbing type of varieties have been released. They are Rajni, Deepali, KDB 403, KDB 405 and T 1, JDL series; Co. series of Coimbatore and HD 18. Many dwarf varieties have also been recommended.

   
Cultivation  

Lablab bean can be grown in flat beds as well as on trellis. It is an ideal crop for growing in kitchen garden and terrace as its vines can be trained on roof-tops and walls.
Field preparation
Field should be prepared thoroughly before sowing. Two to three deep ploughings are needed to make the soil friable. Channels are prepared 90cm wide and 2.5m apart so that weeding can be done by tractor till the vines start spreading. Sowing in channels saves the irrigation water. Labour can also be saved by hand-weeding in channels. Channel cultivation can also minimize the quantity of fertilizers which are mixed in pits rather than whole field. On one side of the channel pits of 45cm × 30cm × 30cm size should be dug at a distance of 1.5m between two pits. Each pit may be filled with a mixture of equal quantity of soil and farmyard manure with 50g of single superphosphate. After filling the pits channel should be irrigated to ensure proper moisture for quicker and proper germination.
In north India, sowing time is June–July, while in south India it is July– August. Three to four seeds are sown on each hill at 2.0–2.5cm depth. After germination one or two plants are kept on each hill. This method is adopted both for flat bed sowing as also for growing on trellis.
In north and central India, it is usually grown as a mixed crop with ragi or sorghum. Seeds are drilled 1m apart in between ragi or sorghum. Ear heads of these crops are harvested first leaving the stalk for giving support to the vines. The vines grow on them profusely and flower during November–December giving green pods as well as dry seeds throughout winter and spring. The vines when cut with sorghum straw give a mixed fodder for animals. It is also grown as a pure crop in these regions. For climbing type 10–12kg seed is enough for one hectare crop, whereas for bushy type 20–30kg/ha of seed is required. In kitchen garden, plants can be retained for 2–3 years.
Being a legume crop, lablab bean requires less nitrogenous fertilizers. When the crop is grown in channels, 5–6 tonnes farmyard manure, 10kg N and 20kg P are required for a hectare land at the time of sowing. If it is grown as mixed crop with ragi or sorghum, it requires 10–12 tonnes of farmyard manure, 15–20kg N and 20kg P/ha. After one month of germination, a dose of 10kg N is applied as topdressing.
Aftercare
Light irrigation is given when required. In summers, it should be watered at weekly intervals in winters at 15 days interval, and in rainy season as and when needed. Weeds may be controlled mechanically and by using the weedicides. Between two channels weeding can be done by tractor till the vines start spreading and after that with the help of spade. Within the channels weeds should be removed with the khurpee. Weeds can be controlled by soil application of Stomp or Basalin @ 2 ml/litre of water. Weedicides may be sprayed before and after sowing of seeds but sufficient moisture in the field ensures effectiveness of weedicides. Many insect pests and diseases attack the crop from early stage to harvesting of green pods and dry seed. To save the crop from these insects pests and diseases proper and timely spraying of insecticides and pesticides is recommended.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Green pods are harvested and packed in baskets, card-board boxes and in gunny bags for sending to the nearby markets. The picking may be done either early in the morning or late in the afternoon so that quality may not go down due to more water evaporation from the surface of pods due to heat during day time. Due to more heat the pods start shrivelling/shrinking. In climbing types, pods are harvested in 9–10 pickings at 7-day interval but in dwarf types only 2–3 pickings are obtained. Improved varieties such as Pusa Sem 2 and Pusa Sem 3 give 150–170q/ha of green pods when grown in flat beds. If these are grown on trellis then green pod yield may be doubled. In other varieties, the average yield of green pods varies from 50 to 80q/ha.
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Chromosome Number: 48
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Liliopsida
Order
:
Zingiberales
Family
:
Zingiberaceae
Genus
:
Amomum
 
Large cardamom has been used in Ayurvedic preparations since ancient times. Now it is mainly used as spice and for flavouring foods. Its seeds contain 2–3% essential oil, a powerful flavouring agents very much resembling to that of small cardamom. It also possesses certain medicinal properties that act as carminative, stomachic, diuretic, an effective cardiac stimulant and is a remedy for throat and respiratory troubles. India is the main producer of large cardamom though the area is confined only to the sub-Himalayan Sikkim and Darjeeling district in West Bengal, producing about 4,200 tonnes of cured cardamom annually. Arunachal Pradesh, parts of Himachal Pradesh and Garhwal hills of Uttar Pradesh have just initiated its cultivation in contrast to the present average yield of only 160kg. Bridging this gap is essential, particularly to gear up production without increasing the area further.
   
Climate and soil  

Large cardamom is a shade-loving plant (seophyte). Its natural habitat is humid, subtropical, semi-evergreen, forests, on steep hills of eastern sub-Himalayan region. The tracts receive a well-distributed rainfall spread around 200 days with a total of about 3,000–3,500mm/year. The weather remains mostly cloudy and foggy during monsoon season. It is grown up to 600–2,350m above mean sealevel. It is normally cultivated in lower altitudes of cooler areas (near to the snow-line) and higher altitudes of warmer areas. During severe winter its plants remain dormant and withstand up to 2°C, but the frosts and hailstorms are injurious. The flower bud differentiation occur from August in lower altitudes to October in higher altitudes. The initiation of flower buds occur prewinter on lower elevations but further development takes place only after the lapse of cold period in early-March. On the other hand, in higher elevations, the flower-bud initiation and development occurs post-winter in Arpil–May resulting in late flowering by at least 2–3 months compared to plants grown at lower elevations. The continuous rain during flowering is detrimental, as it hampers foraging activity of the pollinating bees, affecting the sensitive flowers and resulting in poor capsule setting and barren spikes.

It requires moist but well-drained, loose, sandy loam to loamy soils. Its crop requires at least moderate deep (0.6m) top for its good performance. Due to high rainfall conditions, the soils are mostly acidic (pH 4.5–6.0) and have high exchangeable iron and aluminium.

 
Varieties

There are mainly 6 varieties. Besides there are several sub-varieties or strains which are named in local dialects of Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. The varieties are:

Bebo

The plants have unique features of rhizome and suckering habit. The rhizomes raised above the ground level with roots penetrate deep into the soil making it tolerant to drought. The young suckers are covered under thick leaf sheaths enabling the plants mechanically tolerant to foorkey viral infection. The capsules are medium to bold in size. The seeds contain 2% essential oil.

Bharlangey

The plants grow very tall up to 2.8m with stout pseudostems and large leaves. Each pseudostem-rhizome bears normally 3 spikes. They are big-sized,bearing 15–20 capsules each. It yields 500kg of cured capsules/ha. The capsules are bold and elliptic, light reddish-brown containing 40–60 seeds each. The essential oil in seeds being 2.5%.

Golsey

The plants are less vigorous with erect leafy stems, bearing slant upright leaves. It is self-shaded, requiring less shade. The cultivar is mostly grown at low and mid elevations but some strains grow well even in north Sikkim. The clump size is smaller with less number of tillers and hence suited to close spacing. The leafy stem is greenish to maroonish depending upon the strain. The leaves are dark green, thick and glabrous with prominent midrib. The capsules are bold, roundish with reddish-brown to dark-pinkish and slightly echinated. On an average, capsules contain about 40–55 seeds. The volatile oil content of the seeds is 2–3.0%. It is known for its consistent performance though not a heavy yielder and also found immune to chirkey but not to foorkey disease. The cultivar is, however, susceptible to fungal leaf-spot disease.

Ramla

The plants are tall and vigorous like those of Ramsey. The capsules are dark pinkish, uniform and medium-bold in size having 25–35 seeds each. The seeds contain 2.2–3% volatile oil content. The plants are moderately tolerant to chirkey but susceptible to foorkey disease.

Ramsey

Its pseudostems are tall, vigorous, slanting with drooping leaves. The tussocks usually attain wider girth. It is suited to higher altitudes as well as on steep slopes, occupying a major area under cultivation in Sikkim and Darjeeling. Capsule size is small with less number of seeds (16–30), the colour being reddish-brown to maroonish. The essential oil content in seeds is about 1.5–1.8% on volume by weight basis. It is susceptible to chirkey and foorkey especially at lower altitudes.

Sawney

The plants are vigorous, with maroonish to greenish-brown leafy stems slightly tapering towards apex. The leaves are slender with smooth surface and papery texture and moderate to dark green colour. The variety is widely adapted to low, mid and high altitudes of Sikkim and Darjeeling. The capsules are reddish-brown to maroonish, variable in size from medium to bold with volatile oil content of 1.8–2.5%. The plants are susceptible to both viral and leaf-spot and spike-rot diseases. It is a heavy yielder under congenial conditions.

   
Propagation

Large cardamom is commercially propagated through suckers. Seed propagation is not recommended for such clonal material found to be tolerant to viral diseases. Only vegetative propagation is practised.

Primary nursery

Nursery must be located at low or mid elevations (600–1350m above mean sea-level). The nursery site must be open (sunny), with gentle slope having an access to perennial water source. Raised beds, 15–20cm high, 1.0m wide and of any convenient length are prepared. About 5.0kg of well-rotten cow-dung or forest litter along with 50g of single super-phosphate and 25g of muriate of potash area dded in 1m area of bed. The primary beds must be prepared with a moderate compactness, so that structure can be maintained until the seedlings are ready for transplanting into secondary beds. March–April is optimum time for sowing. Seeds are sown 2cm deep in rows 10cm apart. About 10g seed is enough for 1m area. Cover the seed gently with fine sand/silt. Mulch the beds uniformly to a thickness of about 2–3cm with dry paddy straw or any dried grass followed by gentle watering. Regular but minimum frequent watering in early morning hours is needed to keep the beds moist. Remove the mulch gently soon after there is peak germination and provide an overhead shade by a knee height slopy thatch. Nursery beds are kept weed-free. Seedlings are ready for transplanting into secondary beds 3–4 months after germination.

Secondary nursery

Shade is provided by bigger pandals of about 1.6–1.8m height. The roof is made of thinly woven bamboo mat to allow only the filtered light. The seedlings are spaced at 12cm in rows 15cm apart. About 8 secondary beds are generally required for each primary bed. The seedlings are ready for transplanting into the main field after 8–10 months. Polybag seedlings are also very popular. The bags with drainage holes, of 1kg capacity are filled with 1:1:2 parts of soil, sand and compost. After planting, these polybags are kept in shade as provided for the secondary beds. Only the true-to-type seedlings of medium to good vigour are selected. Under-sized or oversized seedlings and those with grassy shoots or sponge-like leafy stems should be avoided.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

The plantation site should be preferably near a perennial water source. If the area is under forest, it needs initial clearance of bushes, shrubs, vines etc. Keep only the appropriate shade trees. A layout for foot-paths, irrigation channels or for drainage is to be carried out. A permanent place for curing should be planned preferably at the entrance while compost pits are located on rear side of the plantations.

It is necessary to establish shade prior to planting of cardamom. Hence planning and planting of shade tree saplings should be made well in advance by at least 2 years. Keep only appropriate shade by thinning out excess branches so that only 35% of the sunlight is infilterated down to its canopy.

Utis or Himalayan alder is most important among shade trees. Other important shade trees are chillowne, Schima wallichi , panisaj, pipli, Bucklandea populnea , Malato, Macaranga dentalata and Edgeworthia gardeneri . The shade trees are planted either in alternate rows or mixed intermitantly in the same row with a spacing of 7–10m between plants for uniform shade on plantations. A few progressive planters do believe that a mixture of utis-siris-gurpis, utis-argeli-bilaune, utis-asare-chuletro etc., would be beneficial.

Aftercare

Generally, weed trashing is carried out twice a year, once during the onset of monsoons (May–June) and before harvesting. Mulching is done by covering fallen leaves around the collar region of the clumps during November–April.

Irrigation

Cardamom plants do not tolerate drought. A continuous dry spell of about 2 months may result in huge mortality. Constant maintenance of optimum soil moisture ensures better growth and early bearing. Irrigations may be provided once in every 10 days during December–April. Irrigation through the ground channels requires ample water resource and is difficult to manage over steep slopes. In such cases, either drip or sprinkler sets have proved efficient. Specialized and advanced systems of drip/sprinklers have come up which are practiced by few cardamom planters. These systems also provide nutrients through irrigation water.

Shade regulation

Tall-growing trees are beheaded regularly at a height of 4–5m to encourage spreading habit with renewed vegetative vigour to provide a uniform shade and higher quantities of leaf-litter.

Roguing and gap-filling

About 5–10% of the plants are damaged due to diseases, insect pests, hailstorm, frosts and drought conditions. Hence, remove affected plants and replace them by healthy ones. This also helps maintain an effective plant population. The ideal time for gap filling is May–July.

Manuring and fertilization

Provide forest soil or leaf litter @ 5kg mixed with low graded composite NPK fertilizer (15:10:12) @ 0.2kg/plant during April–May.

The suckers and bare-rooted seedlings are planted in shallow pits with stakes, whereas polybag seedlings do not require stakes as they have well-established roots.

Fertilizer mixture consisting of 20g di-ammonium phosphate and 15g muriate of potash dissolved in 2 litres of water may be drenched twice around each plant during April–May and October–November. Drenching of fertilizer mixtures @ 3–5 litres along with 10–15kg leaf litter/plant is very effective. Earthing-up around the clump, once, soon after harvesting, also ensures better management of available nutrients in the soil apart from acting as a mulch. However, it is necessary to maintain least interference in the soil.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The bearing clumps are cleaned at the collar region, prior to actual harvesting. All diseased, hollow hearted, old and dried shoots are removed from the clumps leaving no stubbles. Generally, harvesting is done during August–September at low and mid altitudes and November–December at high altitudes. The bearing spikes are removed from the base of their attachment at the collar region using a sharp edged knife.

The first crop is ready two-and-a-half years after planting in both cases of sucker and seedling plantations. However, stabilized yields are obtained only from fourth year onwards. An average yield of about 450kg dry or cured capsules may be obtained from a hectare of crop during fourth to tenth year. Sustained yields are normally expected up to fifteenth year from planting. However, constant replanting by replacing the old and degenerated clumps every year in the plantation along with optimum shade and nutrition may keep them productive for many more years.

Since raw capsules are fleshy, they contain up to 85% moisture. The fresh capsules have poor keeping quality and are highly perishable once they are harvested. Hence they are immediately cured to retain only about 10–13% moisture on dry-weight basis. The retention of natural colour and flavour during curing is most important. The flavour constituents are highly volatile and are easily lost due to direct heat and higher temperatures (>55°C). Whereas the packed, hot humid condition of curing chamber, may result in discolouration and oozing of capsules. Hence it is necessary to adopt appropriate curing techniques which involve indirect heating with optimum temperature range (50–55°C), rapid air circulation within and exhaustion of moist air from the curing unit. The maintenance of the unit must be inexpensive and can be installed and operated near or in the vicinity of cardamom plantations of remote hilly areas.

The cured produce needs to be packed in insect-proof bags. Coal-tar coated and polythene lined gunny bags are effective against insects attack during storage. Curing of capsules to a moisture level of 10% and packing them in air-tight containers also ensure protection against insects. But in any case, these packages should offer logistic advantages such as light weight, functionality and low cost. Packaging becomes specific especially when the commodity is exported in any form such as whole capsule, seed or spice powder. 

   
Physiological Disorders
The coriander crop is most vulnerable to frost damage at flowering and early seed formation stages. The damage due to frost can be minimized by adopting suitable measures as given for frost in fennel.
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Chromosome Number: 20
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Liliopsida
Order
:
Poales
Family
:
Poaceae
Genus
:
Cymbopogon
 

Lemon grass is a stemless, perennial sedge which grows wild in tropical southern states of India. It is now commercially cultivated in many parts of India. The leaves contain an aromatic oil, with a characteristic lemon like odour, containing 75–80% citral. The oil is used in scenting of soaps, cosmetics and as a disinfectant besides its aroma compound; citral is a starting material for manufacturing of ionones and vitamin A. The crop is commercially grown in about 30,000 ha land in Kerala and Assam mainly as rainfed crop, whereas smaller acreage is grown in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. India has been a large and traditional producer and exporter of its oil, citral and its upstream aroma compounds.

Lemon grass reaches up to 2m tall under cultivation. It produces flowers and sets seeds luxuriantly during autumn under short day conditions only. The inflorescence is a long, terminal, branched panicle, bearing paired spikes, sub-tended by a leafy bract. A spike consists of 5–11 spikelets in pairs, of which one is sessile and the other is stalked. The sessile spikelet is awned, holds bisexual florets with 4 glumes while stalked ones are awnless with 3 glumes and a staminate floret.

It is maintained for 4 years in field (rainfed crop for 6–8 years), allowing 3–4 coppicing of leaves in a year. Several varieties have been developed. Of these, Sugandhi is an old primary cultivar grown all over in Kerala. Its selection OD 440, yields more oil under rainfed conditions. Pragati, another clonal selection with dark purple leaf-sheath, is recommended for subtropical climate of the Himalayan foothills. RRL 16 and a tetraploid mutant Praman having erect, profusely tillering habit are recommended for growing in fertile, irrigated lands. They produce higher herbage and oil yields. None of these tolerate shady condition.

Lemon grass is a very hardy, drought tolerant crop, adapted to a wide variety of soils and climatic conditions. In Kerala, it is grown as a rainfed crop over sub-marginal, sandy, lateritic soils and hilly sopes. It can tolerate alkalinity to some extent. However, well-drained, acidic, loamy, medium to highly fertile soils under warm tropical climate with high, well-distributed rainfall (175–200cm) is good condition for rainfed cultivation. The subtropical tracts (40–100cm) need supporting irrigation. It ceases growth during winter in north India.

The crop is commercially propagated through seeds, sown in nursery during April–May. About 4–6kg of fresh seed is sown in 4 (raised) nursery beds of 60cm × 4m size. These produce enough seedlings to plant a ha of land. Seeds lose viability after storing for 8 months to one year. Two months old seedlings are planted in well-prepared fields at 40cm × 15cm during rainy season. Higher spacing (50cm × 30cm or 60cm × 40cm) is given when the crop is grown in fertile lands. Compost or well-rotten spent grass and wood ash @ 2 tonnes/ha is applied. Kerala farmers, however, seldom use inorganic fertilizers. Consequently, their yields are low. OD 19 and OD 440 respond to 40kg of N, P and K applied basally together with 20–25kg/ha of N topdressed in rows after each harvesting give higher returns. Other varieties under irrigated conditions respond to N application up to 120kg/ha. The crop is given 1–2 intercultures in the first year and one such interculture is given after 30 days of each harvesting. Earthing-up improves tillering. Pre-emergent application of Oxyfluron (1.0kg) controls rainy season weeds. Irrigation is given frequently (1–2/month) in dry season in north India.

It is harvested after 90 days in the first year and after 60–65 days thereafter except in dry summer season. The crop is cut at 20cm above the ground and left for withering for 4–6hr in the field. It is cut into small pieces later and distilled in a steam distillation unit. It has 0.5–0.8% oil. It yields 18–20 tonnes/ha of herbage from rainfed crop and 25–30 tonnes/ha from irrigated one, producing 80–100kg and 150–180kg oil/kg respectively from well-managed fields. Average citral content varies from 80–86%. 

   
 
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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Asterales
Family
:
Asteraceae
Genus
:
Lactuca
 
Lettuce is a very common cool season salad crop. Its leavesare rich in vitamin A (900IU), C (10mg), choline (178mg) and minerals—calcium (50mg) and phosphorus (28mg). If cooked, most of the vitamin C of leaves is lost.
   
Climate and soil  

Since lettuce is a cool season vegetable, it performs well under subtropical and temperate (13°–16°C) conditions. Both lower and higher temperatures affect its seed germination. High temperature induces bolting also. Increased CO2 enrichment (1,000–1,500ppm) under glasshouse conditions results in high yield.
Well-drained, sandy loam soil, rich in organic matter is best-suited for its cultivation. It is highly sensitive to acidic soils. Neutral soils or slightly acidic (pH 6.0–6.5) soils are suitable.

 
Varieties
Lettuce varieties are classified into various groups—crisp head (heading types with wrinkled non-wrapper leaves, brittle textured), butter head (with small, loose heads having oily soft textured leaves), Cos or Romainer (elongated leaves forming a loaf-shaped head), leaf or bunching (non-heading or leaf type, which produce a rosette of leaves) and stem type (produce thick stem, which are eaten after peeling). A number of varieties exist in each group. ‘Great Lakes’ (crisphead type), Chinese Yellow (leaf type) and Slow Bolt (leaf type) are varieties recommended for cultivation. Besides, private seed companies also supply seeds of a number of varieties suited to Indian conditions.
   
Propagation
Lettuce is propagated by seed. About 400–500g seed/ha is enough. Seeds have a period of dormancy. Chilling treatments given to seed (by keeping seeds in moist sand or cloth at 4–6°C for 3–5 days) in refrigerator breaks its dormancy and improves germination.
   
Cultivation  

Planting
Early-October–November is sowing time. The seedlings should be transplanted 5–6 weeks after sowing at 45cm × 45cm spacing in flat beds.
Manuring
Application of 10–15 tonnes of farmyard manure and NPK @ 25:90:25kg/ha is recommended as basal dose. At the time of head formation or rosette formation, a dose of 25–30kg N/ha should be applied.
Aftercare
Hoeing, irrigation and weeding are important intercultural operations. First hoeing is done 2–3 weeks after planting.
Irrigation
Pre-sowing irrigation is required in nursery/seed-sown field. Similarly it requires a good irrigation after transplanting. A light irrigation is given 3–4 days after transplanting. Subsequently, weekly irrigation is sufficient. Lack of adequate soil moisture results in bolting of plants.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Heading types are harvested when heads are fully developed. It is better to avoid harvesting when there is rainfall or dew, because the turgid leaves become very crisp and break easily on handling. The produce is graded for removing the diseased and injured leaf/heads and is sent to the market. Its yield varies from 10–12 t/ha.
It can be stored for 3–4 weeks under refrigerated conditions. Pre- and postharvest applications of BA (5–10ppm) helps delay senescence in storage and improves the shelf-life.

   
Physiological Disorders
Tip burn is a physiological disorder in lettuce. This results in burning or scorching of lateral margins of inner leaves of mature head. Unfavourable seasonal/climatic factors and calcium deficiency are the causes. By applying calcium chloride, this malady can be rectified.
Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Sapindales
Family
:
Rutaceae
Genus
:
Citrus
 

Limes and lemons are commercially grown in tropical and subtropical regions of India. Of them, acidlime is the third important fruit after mandarins and sweet oranges. On the other hand, lemons ( c. limon ) are cultivated to a limited extent. India ranks fifth among major lime and lemon-producing countries in the world. India is perhaps the largest producer of acid lime in the world. It is cultivated in almost all the states, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh being major producing states. Lemons are less popular than limes in India. They are cultivated to a considerable extent commercially in Punjab, Rajasthan, and tarai region of Uttar Pradesh.

Besides acid lime, sweet lime ( C. limettioides ), Tahiti lime ( C. latifolia ) and Rangpur lime ( C. limonia ) are also cultivated on a limited scale in India. Sweet lime, indigenous to India, is an important citrus fruit in north India. Tahiti lime grows well in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. However, Sweet and Tahiti limes could not replace acidlime under commercial cultivation. Rangpur lime is mostly cultivated for rootstock purpose:

   
Climate and soil  

Acidlime is tropical in its climatic requirements. Being tenderest among the citrus fruits, it is cultivated in all parts of the country which are free from frost. The principal centres of cultivation are the drier regions. The areas, which are warm, moderately humid, free from strong winds and frost are ideally suited for its cultivation. In north India, where the temperature occasionally falls below freezing, commercial cultivation of acidlime is risky. In frost-free areas of central and south India where rainfall does not exceed 750mm/annum, it performs well. It grows successfully even up to 1,000m above mean sea-level, provided humidity is low and favourable. In more humid regions of Assam and West Bengal, where rainfall is above 1,250mm, lime becomes highly susceptible to citrus canker and powdery mildew making its trees unproductive and short lived.

Unlike acidlime, sweet lime can be grown under a wide range of climatic conditions. Since it is more hardy than acidlime, it can withstand frost conditions better. It grows well under drier conditions of north India than equitable climate in south India.

Rangpur lime is raised throughout the country, particularly in drier regions. The optimum temperature requirement for Rangpur lime is 20°–30°C. In humid areas, it becomes more susceptible to scab.

Lemons are more liberal in their climatic requirements than acidlime. Lemons are hardier than limes to both heat and cold. They have wide adaptability, since they thrive both in humid and semi-humid region, plains and areas receiving high rainfall. Lemons grow well up to 1,200m above mean sea-level. They are more tolerant to frost than acid lime. Therefore, limes can be substituted by lemons in areas where there are chances of frost occurrence.

Acid lime adapts well to a variety of soils and is not very exacting in its soil requirement. It grows fairly well in black and light loamy soils. A loamy soil of uniform texture with a depth of 2–2.5m, well-drained and rich in organic matter and fertility is ideal for lime. It is highly sensitive to waterlogged conditions. Fluctuating watertable and lowlying areas, prone to water stagnation, are unsuitable. Heavy soils, if well-drained, give good growth and production, but the cultivation is difficult and tedious. A well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5–7.0 is ideal for better growth and yield. Alkaline soils and soils high in lime content are not suitable, since such soils may lead to deficiencies of micronutrients.

Sweet lime can be grown on a variety of soils and is rather tolerant to defective soil conditions. However, it grows well in well-drained, deep loam soils.

Lemons are also adaptable to a wide range of soils. Sandy loams or loamy soils possessing adequate drainage are generally preferred for successful cultivation. Lemons grow well and produce satisfactorily even in shallow soils provided the water and air regime are satisfactory at least up to 1m depth.

 
Varieties

Acidlime (sour lime, Mexican lime, keylime, west Indian lime)

Though lime has been in cultivation for several centuries, there are not improved varieties. Commonly grown lime is the acidlime called kagzi lime. There is not much variation among lime trees. Though they all have been multiplied sexually, because of the well-known phenomenon of polyembryony, there is a great variation in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In Maharashtra, Pramalini and Vikram are 2 varieties identified by clonal selection. These have been released for commercial cultivation as they are canker-free and prolific-bearer. The improved varieties are:

Pramalini: It bears fruits in clusters of 3–7 and yields 30% more than the normal kagzi lime. The fruits have 57% juice, which is higher than Vikram (53%) and normal lime (52%).

Vikram: This also bears fruits in clusters of 5–10 and some off-season fruits during September, May and June. It gives 30–32% more yield over the normal lime.

Chakradhar: It is a seedless strain of acidlime. The plants are erect, compact and dense in habit. Fruits are round, with thin papery rind, containing 60–66% juice and almost seedless compared with 52–62% juice and 6–8 seeds/fruit in others. Bearing starts by fourth year of planting. It bears fruits during January–February, June–July and September–October.

Pkm 1: Its fruits are round, medium to large-sized, with an attractive yellow skin, and 52.31% juice. It is high-yielder than the local strains.

Selection 49: It is a prolific-bearer, producing better-sized quality fruits. It has a tendency for bearing summer crop and shows tolerance to canker, tristeza and leaf-miner.

Seedless lime: It is a new selection of lime. Fruits are oblong, skin thin, primrose coloured, prolific-bearer, yields double that of normal lime but late.

Tahiti (Persian) lime: The large-fruited limes of Tahiti group are different in many characters from the true limes. The trees are larger, spreading and more resistant to cold, nearly thornless, leaves much larger, and of different shapes; fruits much larger and almost seedless. It is a triploid. There are no varieties being grown in India.

Sweet lime

The sweet limes form a separate group, with doubtful origin. They are similar to Tahiti limes but sweet. Fruits are globose, lemon-yellow, rind light, smooth, flesh yellowish-white, juicy and sweet, seeds have light coloured inner seed coat and chalazal spot. The sweet lime is grown for rootstock purpose and commonly for its non-acid fruits. Its two varieties are under cultivation in India.

Mithachikna: Fruits spherical, globose, yellow coloured, smooth, glossy surface with oil glands; rind thin, leathery; flesh medium coarse, juicy, sweet; seeds few.

Mithotra: Fruits large with depressed apex and necked back; lemon yellow coloured; rind tough, and thick with oil glands; flesh yellowish-white, juicy coarse, sweet and well flavoured, more pleasantly flavoured than Mithachikna.

Rangpur lime

It is indigenous to India. Trees evergreen, spreading in growth habit and highly productive. Rind and pulp orange-coloured, rind thin and readily separates from the pulp ball. It is commonly grown for rootstock purpose. To a limited extent it is also grown as an ornamental plant and for its fruits, whose juice is used for making limenade. There are several strains of Rangpur lime, but no recognized varieties.

Lemon

True lemons fall into 2 distinct groups—acid and sweet lemons. Acid lemons are most extensively grown in India, while sweet lemons in South America and Egypt. On the basis of fruit and tree characters, true lemons are divided into 4 groups—Eureka, Lisbon, Anamalous and Sweet Lemon.

   Eureka: Fruit colour lemon-yellow, surface slightly rugose, pitted; shape obviate to elliptical or oblong, medium-sized, base rounded, frequently necked, segments 9–10; pulp fine grained, pale, greenish-yellow, juice abundant, very acid; quality and flavour excellent; seeds a few (0–6). It is a heavy-yielder and it begins bearing early. It has a tendency to bear fruits at the end of the branches and is partly covered with foliage. In Punjab, its fruits mature from August onwards.

   Lisbon: Fruit lemon-yellow, surface smooth, shape ellipsoid to oblong, size medium, base tapering into short neck, apex rounded into a prominent nipple, rind finely pitted, thin, segments 7–10; pulp fine grained, pale greenish-yellow; juice abundant, very acid, quality excellent; seeds a few (0–10).

   Villafranca: It belongs to Eureka lemon group. Fruit oval-oblong, size medium to large, colour bright lemon-yellow, apex pointed, base rounded, rind smooth and thin; segments 10–12, flesh fine grained, light greyish-yellow; juice colourless, abundant, pulp melting, acid, flavour good; seedy (25–30 seeds).

   Lucknow Seedless: Fruit oblong; lemon-yellow, smooth, apex nippled, base rounded; rind thin, axis hollow; segments 10–13, pulp light yellow and coarse, juicy, flavour good and sour; seeds absent to a few. The fruits ripen from November to January.

   Kagzi Kalan: Fruits medium, spherical, yellow, with apex slightly nippled, base rounded; rind thin, smooth, flesh acidic, light yellow, juicy; seedy (8–13 seeds).

Nepali Oblong (Assam lemon)

Fruits are oblong to obviate: lemon-yellow; apex nippled and base rounded, rind medium thick, axis hollow; segments 11–13, pulp light yellow and fine, juicy, flavour good, sour, seeds absent to a few. The fruits ripen during December–January.

Nepali Round

Fruits are roundish and juicy with nipple seen just as a scar.

Pant Lemon I

It is a selection of Kagzi Kalan. Fruits medium (80–100g), round and smooth; rind thin; juicy; tolerant to canker, tristeza and dieback. It is the best replacement for Kagzi Kalan in the tarai region of Uttar Pradesh, because Kagzi Kalan is susceptible to tristeza, canker and dieback. It is self-incompatible.

   
Propagation

Acid lime

Acid lime is propagated commercially through seeds. It can be propagated by cuttings, layering and budding owing to high intensity of polyembryony (90–100%) and least chance of contamination of viral diseases. Besides, seed propagation is the cheapest and easiest method. The overall performance of seedlings is better than budlings—less mortality of seedlings, precious and sturdy seedlings withstand vagaries of nature better, tolerate diseases better are prolific and long-lived.

An elite mother tree, free from diseases, producing large-sized quality fruits is selected. Fully matured and ripe fruits are harvested from these elite trees for seed purpose during June–July or November–December. The seeds should be bold, well-developed, true-to-shape and size of the variety. Freshly extracted seeds are used for propagation. Maximum germination can be obtained by sowing freshly extracted seeds up to 2 days only. As the sowing of seeds is delayed, less germination takes place.

For raising seedlings, seeds treated with a suitable fungicide against damping off, are sown at 15cm × 2.5cm spacing on the raised seed beds, prepared from the well-pulverized and heavily manured sandy loam with well-rotten farmyard manure or compost, during June–July or November–December. The seed beds are drenched with 1% Bordeaux mixture to control damping off. The seed beds are watered regularly. Seedlings are transplanted to a raised nursery bed (for hardening) prepared in well-drained, fairly deep and fertile soil. Seedlings are transplanted at 45–60cm from row-to-row and 20–30cm within the row. Nursery beds are frequently watered and fertilized with nitrogenous fertilizers and weeded for quick growth. Acidlime seedlings are retained for 9–12 months in nursery beds and then lifted and disposed off in polybags or earthern pots, after immunization with mild strain of tristeza.

Nursery men are often encountered with the problem of slow growth of seedlings. The seedlings of Kagzi lime take about 12–14 months to become ready for transplanting in the main field. Spraying of urea (1–1.5%) at monthly intervals encourages their growth. Treating seeds with 40 ppm GA also helps enhance their growth.

Sweet lime

Sweet lime is generally propagated by layering or hard-wood cuttings, since it takes lesser time to establish the plants than budlings. Subterminal leafy cuttings with 3–4 leaves at the tip give 100% success in rooting if dipped in 50 and 100ppm IBA for 24 hr or in 2,000ppm for 10 seconds. The plants raised from cuttings are shallow-rooted and are surface feeders.

Tahiti lime is multiplied by ground and air-layering, whereas Rangpur lime is propagated by seeds only.

Lemon

Though lemons may be propagated by budding, layering, marcutting, stems cuttings and seeds, budding is preferred, as budded plants are precocious, produce more uniform crops, and root and trunk diseases can be avoided by using suitable rootstock.

Rootstocks

Acid lime

Gajanimma ( C. pennivesiculata ) is most promising rootstock followed by rough lemon for acidlime. Trials conducted reveal the superiority of rough lemon and sweet lime respectively. Thus rough lemon can be utilized as a rootstock for acidlime in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

Besides, seed propagation is prevalent even today in acidlime because of ease in growing of seedlings and in view of their economics. However, rootstocks for acid lime may be needed in arid zones against drought, saline, alkaline and calcareous soils. Otherwise under normal conditions, seedlings are more preferable in acid lime.

Lemon

Lemon plants on Trifoliate orange and Jatti Khatti have given better performance and survival under tarai conditions of Uttar Pradesh.

   
Cultivation  

Preparation of field

The preparation of field depends largely on its condition, previous history and grower's plans. If the land has already been under cultivation and well-maintained, nothing further may be required. On the other hand, if the field is a new one and uncultivated previously, it has to be dressed well for planting. The existing vegetation should be cleared completely. Then thorough and deep ploughing twice or thrice is done and finally levelled a season in advance after harrowing and cultivating to a fine tilth.

Spacing and layout

Limes can be planted at a distance of 4–6m. Any spacing less than 6m on light soils is inadequate for acid limes. In medium soils of central India, limes are planted at 5.5–6.0m apart, whereas in shallow soils at 4.0–4.5m and in Indo-Gangetic plains of north India, a spacing of 5.0–6.5m is ideal. A close spacing of 3m × 3m can be adopted initially and after about 8–10 years, alternate rows can be removed for providing sufficient space for each tree as it advances in age and grows. Sweet lime and Tahiti lime are set at 6.0–7.5m on fertile soils and at 5.0–5.5m on low fertile soils. Rangpur lime is generally grown on bunds or on either side of a drive or road or any corner of the nursery at varying spacings, from 4 to 6m between the plants in a row.

Lemons are more spreading than limes, hence they require wider spacing than limes. The recommended spacing for lemons is 6.0–8.0m depending on variety, soil and rainfall. Square system of planting is usually followed for limes and lemons.

Digging and filling of pits

Pits of 90–100cm 3 are dug at recommended spacing during summer or at least 2–3 weeks before planting. The pits are allowed to weather for about 15–20 days depending upon the locality, soil and climate. After weathering the pits are burnt with trash for sterilization. The pits are refilled with the first half of the dug-up soil mixed with tank silt, red earth, farmyard manure, bone-meal or superphosphate and any pesticide against rootgrubs and termites, a fortnight before planting and watered for settlement of the soil.

Planting

Planting can be done at the onset of the rainy season (June–August ) where rainfall is light, so that they can get the full benefit of the ensuing rainfall. In areas having heavy rainfall (Assam), planting may be done at the end of the rainy season, to avoid stagnation of water in pits. In areas of assured irrigation during summer, planting can also be done up to February. Summer planting is not advised, because it requires frequent watering and protection from the hot and desiccating winds and high temperatures.

Care of young plants

The newly-planted young plants must be protected during the initial 3–4 years from excessive heat, moisture and cold. Young trees may be trained to a single stem, with no branches up to 60–70cm from the ground level. However, these bare trunks are more prone to sunburn and must be protected by white washing the trunks or covering the trunk with strain paper or gunny cloth. The plants in the northern plains should be protected from frost and low temperatures by frequent light irrigations or by providing windbreaks all around the orchard. Young plants flush 4 or 5 times in a year. During flushing, there is an incidence of leaf miner, citrus butterfly and canker which should be controlled promptly. Further, just before flushing, light manuring with nitrogenous fertilizer is advised. Frequent watering of the newly set plants is also necessary. But during the rains, water stagnation, which is injurious to the roots, should not be allowed in the basins. Also proper drainage should be provided.

Training and pruning

Limes: Young acidlime plants may be trained to modified central leader system, with a smooth trunk up to 75–100cm height from the ground level and 4–5 well-spaced and well-spread branches, as scaffolding branches. All sprouts appearing on the trunk up to a height of 75–100cm should be removed. Similarly on grown-up trees, the water suckers appearing on the main trunk and scaffolding branches should be removed promptly.

Once a young plant is trained to a desired shape, it requires very little pruning. Light pruning may be given during later years. Lightly-pruned young trees make greater development of roots and shoots, producing fruits earlier than those pruned heavily. Pruning of bearing citrus trees though differs with the variety, chiefly consists of removal of dead, dried, diseased and broken, criss-cross branches, whose existence is detrimental to the health of the tree. Removal of water suckers is also essential. Pruning may be done just after harvesting. Soon after pruning, the cut ends may be smeared with Bordeaux paste or Blitox.

Lemons: The lemon trees differ from that of lime, needing a little different training and pruning. Young lemon trees have tendency to produce long, rambling branches, and bear fruits at the tip of the laterals, resulting in the drooping of the branches, except a few, which are necessary for the framework of the tree. The rest, particularly those in the centre, should be removed.

Mature lemon trees require more pruning. The long shoot which had already fruited at the tips, are to be headed back to the lower secondary shoots to develop the bearing region close to the ground. Annual light pruning of shoots which have fruited for a few years, is essential to stimulate new shoots and to maintain production of high-quality fruits.

Manuring and fertilization

The fertilizer and manurial practices differ widely from species-to-species and area-to-area. The plant nutrients must be supplied through organic and inorganic manures. Organic manuring is more beneficial, especially for citrus than inorganic manures. It is always advantageous to give a liberal dressing of bulky organic manure, as it keeps the soil mellow and in a good physical condition besides supplying plant nutrients.

The N should be supplied in the form of farmyard manure (25%), oil cakes (25%) and chemical fertilizer (50%), while P and K as superphosphate and sulphate of potash or muriate of potash respectively. In Andhra Pradesh, manuring is done twice a year—December–January (prior to main flowering) and June–July (during fruit development)—with equal quantities of manures and fertilizers.

A fully grown plant of acid lime should be given 50kg farmyard manure, 900g N, 250g P 2 O 5 and 500g K 2 O/year. Total quantity of farmyard manure and P 2 O 5 and half of N and K should be applied after rains, whereas the remaining half of N and K after flowering during March–April. Lime application is also recommended for acid lime in Gujarat.

Since lemon cultivation in India is not popular, a manurial schedule has not been worked out. Nitrogen (500g/tree) increases the height and yield, while heavy doses of P and K are detrimental.

Manures and fertilizers are generally applied through soil in tree basins by trench method. Acid lime plants do not possess very deep root system. Most of the feeder roots remain confined up to a depth of 45–60cm. A trench 15–25cm wide and 15–20cm deep is dug around the tree trunk at a distance of 60–100cm from the trunk, or at the drip line. Manures and fertilizers are also broadcast in the tree basin, 60–70cm away from the tree trunk and incorporated by digging with spades.

Irrigation

Limes and lemons require more water than oranges. Acid lime requires 875mm water/year under tropical conditions. Adequate moisture should be maintained at critical stages of growth and development. Vegetative growth and second stage of fruit growth are more critical. Scarcity of water at critical periods checks the growth of trees and lowers the size and quality of fruits and yield by promoting fruit drop. Therefore, it is necessary to provide adequate irrigation, especially during the fruiting and dry periods of the year.

Of the methods of irrigation, generally basin system is followed in India. But drip irrigation is also becoming more popular. In drip irrigation, 60% of soil in the root zone of the tree should be wetted. Drip irrigation gives highest fruit yield, with better fruit quality, besides saving water up to 22–50%.

In winter season, limes and lemons should be irrigated at 10–15 days, whereas in summer at 5–7 days interval. When the top 25cm soil becomes dry the lime trees should be irrigated. The most economic irrigation is at one-third depletion of available moisture during January–June, when generally droughts occur, as well as at flowering and fruit set, and two-thirds depletion in July–December. Highest yields can be obtained in acidlime at 50–60% of available soil moisture depletion. In general, trees subjected to higher soil moisture condition produce fruits with thin peel and low rind percentage, rag percentage, TSS and acidity. It is advisable to maintain soil moisture at 55–65% field capacity from bloom until the young fruits exceed 2–5cm diameter, thereafter temporary wilting in leaves can be used as a guide for irrigation.

Aftercare

Management of orchard soil includes soil tillage, mulching and weed control. Soils in the alleys should be cultivated to check weed growth, conserve soil moisture and fertility, incorporate green manure and provide aeration to the root system. The alleys may be ploughed at least twice a year, one just after the onset of the monsoon rains and next after the cessation of rains. Light hand-digging or hoeing of the basin after every 3 or 4 irrigations is essential to avoid soil becoming hard.

In tropical climates, mulching plays a significant role in economic orcharding. Further, summer is the most critical period in citrus groves. Clean cultivation in citrus orchards is an expensive process, hence mulching is essential for at least 6 months in a year. Mulching of tree basins is very necessary to check weed growth, conserve soil moisture, hinder soil temperature fluctuations and activate the biological properties of soil. After weeding, basin is mulched with dry leaves, paddy husk, groundnut husk, saw-dust, wood shavings, stubbles of cereal crops, coconut coir and dry grass. Mulching of basin to a thickness of 8cm or 100–120kg/basin of 16m2 is recommended for acid lime particularly from January to June. Green leaf mulch at 30kg/tree is also effective.

Weed control

Controlling weeds is necessary in tree basin below the drip and also up to 1.5–3.0m on either side of the tree rows in particular and in the entire garden in general.

In citrus orchards, weeds are generally controlled by applying Monouron, Diuron and Gramoxone. Diuron @ 2–5kg in 500 litres of water may be sprayed on soil, 30–40cm away from the trunk as pre-emergence spray. It checks weeds for about 10 weeks. Diuron as pre-emergence application and Gramoxone + Diuron as post-emergence application are effective in reducing dicot weeds. Diuron (3kg) + Gramoxone (1.5kg) once in 3 months is effective to control weeds in acid lime gardens. Post-emergence application of Glyphosate (2.0kg/ha) at fortnightly intervals is most effective.

Intercropping

During initial 5 or 6 years after planting, the lime groves present an excellent opportunity for utilizing the vacant interspaces in the garden. Legumes (berseem, lucerne, cowpea, groundnut, greengram and clusterbean) may preferably be grown in lime and lemon gardens. Vegetables like pumpkin, tinda , onion, mung, cluster-bean in summer and peas, turnip, carrot and cole crops in winter can be raised as intercrops in citrus. Flowers like marigold can also be raised as intercrop.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Harvesting of limes and lemons differs with different species, varieties and regions of cultivation. Limes in north-coastal Andhra Pradesh are harvested during March–April; in central Andhra during April–June and in Rayalaseema during July–September. In Tamil Nadu, harvesting season for limes is June–August and January–March. In central India (Maharashtra and Gujarat), the peak season of harvesting is from July to September. The off-season crop is harvested during November–December. In north India, peak arrival of acid limes is during June– July.

In north India, sweet lime comes to market in August–October, in Assam in September–November and in south India during August– September. The Rangpur limes are mainly harvested during June–August in south India.

Lemons are harvested from December to February in north India, June–September in Assam and May–September in south India. Main season for lemons in tarai region of Uttar Pradesh is June–August.

Colour break of fruits from green to yellow is ideal time for harvesting limes and lemons. However, they should be harvested when mature but still green so that their acidity at the peak may be utilized. In some areas, limes are picked when they turn from green to yellow. Lemons are frequently picked with size, without regard to maturity.

The fruits should neither be plucked nor torn off but cut off with clippers. Generally limes and lemons are harvested with a pole harvester, having an iron hook and a net at one end.

A good acidlime plant (7-year-old) may yield 2,000–5,000 fruits annually, the average yield being 3,000–3,500 fruits/tree. A lemon tree on an average yields 600–800 fruits/ tree. The yield may increase up to 1,000–1,200 fruits/ tree under favourable conditions.

Harvested fruits should be brought to packing sheds as soon as possible. They should never be allowed to stay under the sun for a long time. At present, no grading system is followed in India, in spite of the legislative acts enacted. The citrus fruits in India are, however, roughly graded by the vendors on the basis of size only.

Golden-yellow coloured fruits fetch premium price in fresh market. Limes and lemons are harvested generally at colour-break stage with different shades of green and yellow colour, which are not acceptable in the market. Therefore, harvested fruits are degreened.

Degreening of citrus fruits in India is achieved with the aid of calcium carbide crystals in the ripening chambers. Calcium carbide releases ethylene gas which destroys green colour and allows the development of yellow colour without affecting the quality of fruits. A simple technique has been developed to degreen the Tahiti limes. In this technique, fully matured limes are kept along with ripening bananas in airtight chambers in a 6 : 1 ratio of lime : banana. The ethylene gas released during ripening of banana, allows degreening of limes within 24 hr.

Waxing is a method by which wilting and shrivelling of fruits can be avoided and their shelf-life can be extended. Dipping fruits in 12% waxol extends their storage life both under common storage and cold storage. The wax emulsion reduces respiration and transpiration by sealing of the pores of the rind of fruits. Sealing fruits in polythene bags with ventilation is also helpful in extending the storage life of fruits.

Use of growth regulators—2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T—is also employed for extending the shelf-life of fruits. The shelf-life can be extended up to 25 days by dipping them in 2, 4-D (50 or 100ppm) aqueous solution, followed by waxing before packing. The GA3 (200 and 500ppm) and Cytokinin (10 and 25ppm) enhance their shelf-life, reducing decay and weight loss without affecting quality. A combination of 2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T with wax emulsion is more effective than any one of them in reducing storage loss and extending postharvest life of limes. Similarly, the best combination to augment the shelf-life is treating the fruits with Benlate, enclosing the fruits in polythene bags and storing at low temperature (10°c).

Acid limes can be stored in cold storage for 6–8 weeks at 8.3°–10.0°C and 85–90% relative humidity, while lemons can be stored for 8–12 weeks at 7.2°–8.6°C and 85–90% relative humidity.

   
Physiological Disorders

Cracking or splitting of limes and lemons is a common physiological disorder. Fruit cracking is associated with sudden changes in weather conditions, heavy irrigation or rainfall after a prolonged drought and infection of bacteria. Sometimes hot winds also cause fruit cracking. Splitting may be radial (longitudinal) or transverse, radial being more common. Lemons are more prone to fruit cracking. It can be minimized by giving timely and frequent light irrigations during summers. Irrigation after a drought should be light. Application of K also reduces fruit splitting. 

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Chromosome Number: 16
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Fabales
Family
:
Fabaceae
Genus
:
Glycyrrhiza
 

Liquorice or mulhati is a perennial, branched, bushy under-shrub. It has recently been introduced into cultivation in India. Its root is a commercial part traded both in un-peeled and peeled condition besides its solid aquous extract is sold in the form of stick, block and spray dried powder. The roots contain a sweet substance glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar besides liquiritoside and isoliquril. The isoliqril imparts yellow colour to its roots. It has emollient and demulsive properties, useful in soar throat, cough and catarrhal affections. It is also used as taste moderator in pharmacy. Itsanti-inflammatory and spasmolytic activity are useful in treating peptic ulcers. By far, its proportionately larger demand is for flavouring and blending of tobacco products besides its common use in confectionery. After extraction, the spent root is used in production of mushroom compost, insulating mill boards and fire-extinguishing boards. At present, India imports a large quantity of these roots annually.

Liquorice grows well in warm temperate region which has long day condition and longer winter season. It produces a shallow root system, which makes a thick network within 0.4m of soil surface. In fact, the root system runs parallel to the ground and reaches long distances with age when grown in light soils. The plant grows 1–2m tall under cultivation, bearing multifoliate, alternate, imparipinnate leaves, each having 4–17 elliptic-lanceolate leaflets. The flowers are borne in spring season over old bushes in axillary racemes, 1 cm long, blue-purple in colour and produces glabrous flattened pods of 3.0cm × 0.6cm dimension, containing 2–3 grey oval, seeds. In west and central India, flowering and fruiting are shy. The seed produced here gives 15–40% germination only.

Haryana Mulhati 1 is a common cultivar grown in western India. It produces high root and glycyrrhizin content with age.

Its crop grows well in deep, well-drained, fertile, light sandy to loamy soils of 5.5–8.5 pH. The areas having warm and dry weather with long winter season and 15–40cm rainfall are suitable for its cultivation. Heavy soils, waterlogged conditions, high rainfall areas or those having meagre winter season should be avoided. It grows well in undulating lands along river flooded periodically during rainy season and consequently receiving annual silt deposits. The land is ploughed deep and exposed to sun for 10–15 days before cross harrowing and levelling followed by laying out into small fields. The soil is mixed with 20kg of BHC (10%) or Aldrin (5%) together with 10 tonnes of farmyard manure/ha at land preparation. A basal dose of N, P and K at 20, 40 and 40kg/ha is given.

The crop is raised from 15–20cm long semi-woody, underground stem-cuttings (stolons) possessing 2 or more eye-buds. They are treated with Bavistin 50 wp or Benlate for 30 minutes. The stolons are planted in rows of 45cm × 20cm in 10–20cm deep furrows in February–March or July–August. Seradix B(2) treatment at growing ends hastens sprouting. Seed rate of 3 q/ha of stem-cuttings is enough. The planted fields are given irrigation if it does not rain soon after sowing. The planted sets begin sprouting in 15–20 days and the field is covered with sprouting plants in next 40 days.

It is slow-growing and grows about 20cm tall giving out lateral branches. The crop is given 2–3 weeding-cum-hoeings in a year. Its demand for inorganic fertilizers is met by drilling of 40kg N/ha in rows during February–March annually. Since it is a hardy crop, it requires moist soil initially till establishment. However, 7–10 irrigations during dry season are advised. The plants shed leaves in autumn and also during rainy season in heavy soils. At this time, plants should be cut 10cm over the ground to ward-off pest and pathogen attack over drying aerial parts.

Its roots are dug out in dry autumn season. These are cleaned, cut into 15–20cm long pieces and split if more than 2cm thick. These are dried in the open sun for 7–10 days when 85% of their moisture is lost. The root yield is 2.5–4.0 tonnes from 20 month-old crop and 7 tonnes/ha for 30–36 month-old crop. Older roots possess high (6–8%) glycyrrhizin content. Fresh roots are sometimes decorticated. The peeled roots are smooth, yellow in colour with faint pleasant odour and sweet in taste. Artificial drying through hot blast of air (40°C) is ideal. The produce is packed in gunny bags for storage in dry cool place. It can be stored for a long period without loss in quality.

   
 
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Chromosome Number: 30
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Sapindales
Family
:
Sapindaceae
Genus
:
Litchi
 
Litchi is most important subtropical, evergreen fruit tree. A native of South China, it reached India by the end of 17th century. India ranks second in the world next to China in litchi production. Most area falls in north Bihar comprising Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Begusarai, east and west Champaran and Bhagalpur districts. Litchi is famous for its excellent quality, pleasant flavour, juicy pulp (aril) with attractive red colour. Although litchi is liked very much as a table fruit, dried and canned litchies are also popular. A highly flavoured squash is also prepared from its fruits. The fruit consists of 60% juice, 8% rag, 19% seed and 13% skin varying upon variety and climate. Litchi is also an excellent source of vitamin C (40.0–90mg/100g) but it contains insignificant amount of protein (0.8–0.9%), fat (0.3%), pectin (0.43%) and minerals especially calcium, phosphorus and iron (0.7%).
   
Climate and soil  

Generally it flourishes best in a moist atmosphere, having abundant rainfall and free from frost. Its plants grow luxuriantly at 30°C. The maximum temperature during flowering and fruit development varies from 21°C in February to 38°C in June in Bihar.

Humidity is another important factor for litchi. The dry hot winds in summer cause fruit cracking and subsequently damage the pulp (aril). Sometimes it limits the expansion of litchi cultivation. Wet spring, dry summer and light winter are desirable conditions for fruiting in litchi.

Litchi grows in a variety of soil types. However fairly deep, well-drained loam soil rich in organic matter is best suited for its cultivation. Light sandy loam is ideal. High lime content in soil is also beneficial to its trees. If soil is deficient, lime must be added to it. Soils in north Bihar, where best litchi is grown, contain about 30% lime. A sandy loam or clay loam with a pH of 5.5–7.0 and sufficient soil depth is ideal for litchi cultivation.

 
Varieties

A large number of varieties are grown in different parts of India. Of these, Early Seedless (Early Bedana), Rose Scented, Dehradun, Gulabi, Calcuttia, Purbi, Kasba, Shahi, Bombai, Late Seedless (Late Bedana), China and Deshi are important.

Shahi, Rose Scented and China are commercial varieties of Muzaffarpur, while Kasba and Purbi are choicest litchies of the eastern parts in Bihar. Early Bedana and Late Bedana are other important litchi varieties. In Uttar Pradesh, Rose Scented, Dehradun and Calcuttia, and in West Bengal, Bombay Green and Kalyani Selection are extensively grown. Muzaffarpur, Dehradun, Seedless and Late Bedana are widely-grown varieties in Punjab. An early, non-cracking seedless selection, Swaran Roopa, has been identified for commercial planting in Chhotanagpur area.

   
Propagation

Litchi is raised both through seed and vegetative means.

Seed propagation

Propagation by seed is not common because the plants raised from seed take 7–12 years to come into bearing. These plants normally do not produce true-to-type fruits and often produce fruits of inferior quality.

Seeds are used generally to raise seedlings for rootstock purposes or raising hybrid seedlings. The seeds should be sown immediately after extraction from the fruit, as they lose their viability in 4–5 days. If seeds remain in the fruit and fruits are not allowed to dry, they can be kept viable for 3–4 weeks. For germination, seeds soaked in water for 18–20hr should be placed horizontally about 1.5cm below the surface of a well-drained soil. The growth of seedlings may be improved by the use of mycorrhizal soil.

Vegetative propagation

Litchi can be propagated successfully by cuttings and grafting (splice and inarching). Budding is not commonly practised. The most common and easiest method adopted all over the world is air-layering.

Air-layering is also called "Marcotting" in China and "Gootee" in India. About 2cm wide ring of bark is removed just below a bud from a healthy and vigorous twig about one-year-old and 2.5–4.0cm across. The cut is then surrounded by mud ball containing sphagnum moss (2 parts of damp moss and 1 part of soil from the foot of old litchi tree is best suited) and wrapped with a polythene sheet. Both ends are tied with fine rope or rubber bands to make it practically air-tight. When sufficient roots are formed in about 2 months, the branch is cut below the soil or sphagnum moss and potted in a nursery. July–October is most appropriate time. After removing the air-layers (marcotts) from the mother plant, it is desirable to provide some moist or humid atmosphere by sprinkling water mist for further 2 or 3 weeks. It is necessary to cut back the top of the branch, so as to secure a proper proportion of leaves to root. At least 6-month-old marcotted (air-layered) plants should be planted in the permanent field preferably in monsoon (rainy season).

IBA (2–10g/litre of water) is most effective in root promotion in air-layering of litchi.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Before planting, the land should be cleared and levelled with gentle slope on one side of the plot, on the opposite direction of irrigation source. Then pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size should be dug at the desired places a few weeks before the actual planting. These are kept open for 15–20 days and then refilled with a mixture of well-rotted farmyard manure, leaf-mould and canal silt. A mixture of farmyard manure (20–25kg), bone-meal (2kg) and sulphate of potash (400g) is also recommended to be mixed with a basket full soil in a pit from a litchi orchard, containing mycorrhizal fungi. It is helpful in establishment and quick growth of newly-planted plants. The pits are watered to set this mixture with the earth. Planting is done after a week. Water is applied immediately after planting.

Litchi trees are usually planted in a square system, 10m apart. The distance can be reduced to 7.5m apart each way where litchi plants need protection either from frost or from the desiccating winds.

For quick establishment and less mortality, healthy 6–9 months old, true-to-type plants, with fine roots should be selected. It is advisable that all the new plants should be inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi. After planting, the land should not be allowed to dry completely. Hence, the new plantation is recommended during early monsoon season. Planting can also be done in the spring, if irrigation facilities are available. Planting is not advisable when the weather is either too dry or too wet.

Training and pruning

Training young litchi plants for making a good framework is necessary. Once the desired shape and a strong framework is achieved, pruning is not required, except removing dead or diseased branches and damaged shoots. In India, this occurs indirectly when a part of the shoot bearing the cluster of fruits is removed during harvesting. However, heavy pruning of tree causes profuse vegetative growth resulting in poor fruiting. If trees become too old and produce small-sized fruits, pruning heavily improves the yield and quality of fruits.

Manuring and fertilization

In India, litchi is grown mostly in natural fertile soil. A little or no manure is given. The acute shortage of N, P and K seems to stunt all forms of litchi growth, including floral initiation. The fertilizer schedule recommended for litchi for north Indian plains is given in Tables 1 and 2.

Age of plant

Fertilizers / plant/ year (kg)

Farmyard manure

Calcium ammonium nitrate

Superphosphate

Muriate of potash

1–3 years

10–20

0.3–1.00

0.2–0.6

0.05–0.15

4–6 years

25–40

1.0–2.00

0.75–1.25

0.20–0.30

7–10 years

40–50

2.0–3.00

1.50–2.00

0.30–0.50

Above 10 years

60

3.50

2.25

0.60

(Table 1. Fertilizer schedule for litchi in north India )

 

Manure/fertilizer

First year

Increasing amount every year (up to 5–6 years)

Fertilizer dose of full bearing tree

Compost

20kg

10kg

60kg

Castor cake

1kg

½kg

5kg

Neem cake

½kg

½kg

3kg

Single superphosphate

2½kg

¼kg

5kg

Muriate of potash

100g

50g

0.5kg

Calcium nitrate

½g

0.002g

(Table 2. The fertilizer schedule recommended in Bihar)

Fertilizer should be applied just after harvesting during the rainy season. Applying fertilizers late results in more vegetative growth and less fruiting.

Method of manuring is similar to that of other fruit crops. The plants grown under deficiency of NPK can flower but do not set fruits. The plants grown under Mg deficiency do not even bloom.

Aftercare

Maintenance of good sanitary conditions is must to keep litchi orchards healthy and disease-free. Litchi is a deep-rooted tree with most of its feeding roots occurring 20–30cm deep. Therefore, deep tillage is harmful for its plants since it may cause injury to its roots. Tillage operations should be limited up to upper 7–10cm soil layers, whereas deep tillage up to 15cm during inactive growth phase is advised.

Since litchi is a slow-growing tree taking at least 6 years to come to flowering and fruiting, intercropping vegetables, pulses and berseem is advised. Some quick-growing fruit plants like phalsa and papaya can also be grown in early years of its plantation. The intercrops should be manured separately and protected from pests and diseases.

Weeds are controlled mainly by hand-weeding or hoeing which is very laborious and expensive. Applying pre-emergence herbicides Diuron or Atrazine @ 2kg/acre at one month interval keeps weeds under control. Use of black polythene mulch also controls weeds more effectively than organic mulch.

Irrigation

January-end to the onset of monsoon is a critical period for irrigation since vegetative growth and fruit development take place. Four months prior to normal floral initiation period (December–January) in northern India, the plants should not be irrigated. Though litchi is a deep-rooted, perennial fruit crop, the absorbing roots mostly occur in the upper topmost soil layer between 20 and 30cm depth. Therefore, this zone should have 50% soil moisture during the critical period. Young trees should be irrigated by the basin system. As the tree grows, the basin should be gradually enlarged. The fully grown trees are irrigated by flooding or by furrow irrigation, depending on the availability and source of water as per their requirement. The frequency of irrigation ordinarily depends on soil type. Generally weekly irrigation should be given in summer. No irrigation is required during winter in fruiting trees before fruit set.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The number of days taken by the fruit to mature varies with genotype and environment and hence cannot be the deciding factor for its maturity. Generally litchi fruits, mature 50–60 days after fruit set. The development of colour on fruits is a dependable criterion of maturity but it differs from variety-to-variety. Generally fruits turn deep red when fully ripe. Fruits harvested at this stage possess excellent fruit quality. Maturity of fruit is also determined by the shape of the tubercles which on ripening become somewhat flattened and the epicarp becomes smooth. Litchi fruits, like other fruits, are not harvested individually to avoid skin rupturing at the stem-end and quick rotting of fruits. They are harvested in bunches along with a portion of the branch and a few leaves. It prolongs the storage life of fruits. Harvesting of litchi is usually done in May and June. In Bihar, it is done in early-May, whereas in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab it starts during late-May to early- June. In India, yield varies from 80–150kg fruits/tree depending upon variety and tree vigour.

After harvesting, fruits should be packed as quickly as possible, as their quality deteriorates markedly, if they are exposed to sun even for a few hours. In packed litchi fruits, air should circulate freely. The damaged, sun-burnt and cracked fruits should be sorted and graded properly. There should be only fruits of one grade in a box. Fruits of different varieties should be packed separately. It is better if the box or container is tagged having name of variety and grade. These are lined with litchi leaves or other soft packing material as paper shavings, wool etc.

To maintain quality and avoid gluts, fruits should be stored properly. Keeping fruits in storage at 5°–7°C may minimize the losses. Besides retaining colour and taste, the storage also minimizes the heavy loss in fruit weight. At present almost entire litchi crop in India is consumed as fresh. Since litchi is a highly perishable fruit, its canning and preserving into squashes, jelly and juice is desirable to utilize surplus produce, if any.

The fruits for local market should be harvested at their full ripe stage, while for distant markets they start turning reddish. If marketing of packed fruits is delayed, they should be kept in a cold storage. Litchi fruits can be stored in good condition for 3–4 weeks.

   
Physiological Disorders

Sun-burning and skin-cracking in developing fruits is a serious problem in litchi. High temperatures, low humidity and soil moisture conditions during fruit development promote this disorder.

Inadequate moisture during early period of fruit growth results in the skin becoming hard and sun-burnt. It may crack when it is subjected to increased internal pressure as a result of rapid aril growth following irrigation or rain. Fruit cracking in litchi is also favoured if temperature goes above 38°C and relative humidity less than 60%.

Although effective control measures have not been recommended, frequent and adequate irrigation to bearing trees during fruit growth and development period is most useful.

Growth regulators NAA (20mg/litre of water), GA (40mg/litre of water), 2, 4-D (10mg/litre of water), 2, 4, 5-T (10mg/litre of water) and Ethephon (10mg/litre of water) reduce the incidence of fruit cracking. Spraying with ZnSO 4 (1.5%) weekly or CaNO 3 (1.5%) fortnightly from pea-size to harvesting of fruit is an effective method to reduce cracking incidence. 

Nutritional Value
 
TOP
 
Chromosome Number: 34
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Rosales
Family
:
Rosaceae
Genus
:
Eriobotrya
 
Loquat is an evergreen, subtropical fruit. It is available in the market during mid-March–May when there is scarcity of fruits. It is scientifically cultivated in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Indigenous to the hills of mild winter and moist regions of the central-eastern China, it was introduced in India under the name of ‘Japanese medlar’. Its commercial cultivation is mostly confined to Uttar Pradesh (Saharanpur, Dehra Dun, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Farrukhabad, Kanpur and Bareilly), Delhi, Punjab (Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Gurudaspur), Himachal Pradesh (Kangra) and to a small extent in Assam, Maharashtra and hills of south India.
   
Climate and soil  
Loquat is highly specific in its climatic requirements. It needs about 90cm well-distributed rainfall throughout the year. Frost is a limiting factor for its successful cultivation. At certain places, the crop may be destroyed by moderate winter frost, since flowering takes place from October to late-January. At –3°C smaller fruits (diameter<9.5mm) are more susceptible to cold injury than larger ones. Likewise, its cultivation is problematic in areas where summer sets in early along with hot scorching winds. There may be a heavy loss of crop because of sun burning. Loquat requires a well-drained, deep, sandy loam soil with inorganic matter.
 
Varieties

A number of varieties having different qualities and harvesting times are available. A good dessert loquat should be sweet, pulpy, mellow and melting and sub-acid though pleasant in flavour. It should sustain as few seeds as possible.

Early (Varieties which ripen from mid–March)

Golden Yellow: Fruit medium, oval to oblong, golden-yellow. Pulp medium thick, pale-orange, smooth and soft, mild taste, sub-acid, few seeded. TSS 10.5%.

Improved Golden Yellow: Fruit large, oval to pyriform, orange-yellow. Pulp thick, colour orange, smooth and crisp, mild taste, sub-acid, moderately seeded. TSS 9.5%.

Large Round: Fruit medium, ovate globose, pulp thin, creamy-white, coarse and firm, mild taste, sub-acid and few seeded.

Pale-Yellow: Fruit large, oblong to pyriform, corn-coloured. Pulp thin, creamy-white, smooth and melting, pleasant taste, sub-acid and moderately seeded.

Thames Pride: Fruit medium, pyriform, marble colour. Pulp medium, pale-orange, coarse and slightly granular, mild taste, sub-acid and moderately seeded.

Mid-season (Varieties ripening from last week of March)

Fire Ball: Fruit small, oblong to ovate, saffron-yellow, pulp thick, corn husk colour, smooth and crisp, taste mild, sub-acid and moderately seeded.

Improved Pale Yellow: Fruit medium, oblong-pyriform, pulp medium thick, cream colour, smooth and soft, pleasant taste, sub-acid and moderately seeded.

Large Agra: Fruit medium, oblong to ovate, pulp medium thick, pale-orange, smooth and firm, pleasant taste, sub-acid and moderately seeded.

Mammoth: Fruit small, oblong-pyriform, colour snowshine. Pulp medium,
orange, coarse and granular, pleasant taste, sub-acid and few seeded.

Matchless: Pulp medium, orange, coarse and granular, pleasant taste, sub-acid and few seeded.

Safeda: Fruit large, oblong-pyrifom. Pulp thick, creamy white, smooth and melting, excellent taste, sub-acid and moderately seeded.

Late (Varieties start ripening from mid-April)

California Advance: Fruit medium, oblong pyriform, pale-yellow. Pulp thick creamy white, smooth, melting, excellent taste, sub-acid and few seeded.

Tanaka: Fruit small, ovate, orange coloured. Pulp medium, yellow, coarse and firm, pleasant taste and sub-acid and few to moderately seeded.

There is ‘‘self unfruitfulness'' in loquat varieties. Therefore, a pollinizer variety should be planted along with the main variety. On the basis of self-fruitfulness, the varieties can be grouped as follows:

(a) Self-incompatible: Golden Yellow, Improved Golden Yellow, Pale Yellow and Agra Large

(b) Partially self-incompatible: Large Round, Free Ball, Thames Pride, California Pride and Tanaka

The variety Dalforma Advance is the best pollinizer for Improved Golden Yellow.

   
Propagation

Propagation of loquat through air-layering is highly successful. Treatment of smooth, old-ringed shoots with 3% NAA or IBA 2,500ppm is recommended.

Inarching is common method of grafting in loquat. Several rootstocks such as apple, pear, mespilus and cydonia have also been used.

Budded or grafted plants should always be preferred over seedling plants
for planting because they develop true-to-type plants, which come into early bearing.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Monsoon is the best time for planting. Spring planting may be done where adequate irrigation facilities are available. Planting distance may vary with variety and environmental conditions. It is advisable to keep a distance of 6–8m. Pits of 75cm × 75cm × 75cm size are dug and left for exposure to sunlight for 15–20 days. A dose of 40–50kg well-rotten farmyard manure and 200g single superphosphate along with Aldrin dust (50g/pit) to ward off termites should be given. The plants are planted in mid-August or mid-February. Generally square system of planting is recommended. A planting density of 180–300 plants/ha is considered profitable. High-density planting results in higher yields of the same quality as traditional planting.

Training and pruning

Central leader or open system is usually followed to train the loquat. The bearing tree benefits from annual pruning to regulate the crop. The flowers are borne on current years growth. The tree starts flowering during July–August and continues up to January–February. There are 3 flushes. Flowers appearing in the first flush are mostly shed, while the crop from the third flowering is generally poor. The major crop is obtained mostly from the second flush (October–November) of flowers. So, a timely and judicious pruning should be made by snipping off 5cm below the tips towards the May-end. Heavy pruning should be avoided, as it seriously hampers the yield.

Manuring and fertilization

Since loquat is a voracious feeder, it needs heavy fertilization for luxuriant growth and bumper fruiting. A fertilizer dose of 750g N, 300g P and 750g K/year to a young plant should be given.

Irrigation

Proper and timely irrigation augments loquat yield. Moisture condition of soil should be examined frequently and irrigation decided accordingly. During the swelling of blossom buds, an irrigation should be given. Two to three irrigations are recommended during picking season.

Aftercare

The soil should be kept in good physical condition by thorough cultivation, addition of organic matter followed by timely irrigation. For getting increased fruit size, application of Paclobutrazol (500ppm) around the base of the trunk is advised. Girdling too improves leaf photosynthesis, accelerates fruit development and improves fruit quality. Spraying of GA 3 (40ppm) and NAA (40ppm) is also helpful to enhance quality as well as yield.

Fruit thinning is essential to obtain enhanced fruit size. It is advocated to clip out the ends of bunches whenever there is overcrowding. The thinning should be done when the fruits are less than 1–2cm in diameter. Application of growth-regulator NAA (25ppm) is effective.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Loquat trees may start bearing 3 years after planting and give maximum yield at the age of 15 years. However, fruits should be allowed to fully mature on the tree. These should never be pulled from tree by hand as it causes decay. The best method is to harvest bunches with the help of a sharp instrument. Fruit usually takes 70 days to mature after fruit set. California Advance, Golden Yellow and Thames Pride should be harvested at 11% TSS. On an average, a loquat tree yields 16–20kg/tree. To save the fruits from sun-burning, spraying of 2,4, 5-T (20–40ppm) may be given as it hastens maturity. Covering of developing fruit bunches with paper bags may also prove beneficial. The well-managed trees yield 30–40kg fruits/tree.

For efficient marketing, fruits are generally graded into 2 grades. Large and fine fruits free from all defects are put in one grade and remaining ones in the other. As the fruit is very delicate, it needs very careful packing with sufficient cushion to avoid injury during transit. Loquat fruits could be stored for sometime without much spoilage in polythene bags provided the mouth of the bags are kept open. At room temperature, loquat fruits can be kept for 4–6 days. However, the fruits can be stored for 2 weeks at 11°C temperature and 85–90% humidity.

A major part of total produce is used for fresh consumption. However, it can also be used for making value-added products—jelly, jam, preserves, juice and squash. 

 
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