Temperate fruits in Himachal Pradesh
The commercial cultivation of temperate fruits in India in real sense was taken somewhere in second half of the 19th century through the efforts of European settlers and missionaries. The entry of Delicious apples in particular and some two hundred varieties of apples, plums, peaches and apricot etc. on the recommendations of Prof. Hadoson of California (USA) laid a strong base for a viable temperate fruit industry. Some of the notable introductions still enjoy popularity and commercial status amongst the growers and examples are Delicious apples, Bartlett -pears, Elberta -peaches, Santa Rosa –Plums and New Castle –apricot, etc.
Delicious group of apple such as Starking Red and Rich-a-red is commercially grown in Himachal Pradesh and Jamnu & Kashmir. But these cultivars have some inherent problems of low yield potential, prone to biennial bearing and poor adaptation under adverse environments. To overcome some of these problems, spur type cultivars viz. Starkrimson, Red Spur, Oregon Spur, Red Chief, Well Spur, Harde Spur, Silver Spur, Miller's, Sturde Spur and Bright-N-Early were introduced. These are and have compact growth habits. Out of new standard cultivars Top Red, Vance Delicious, Skyline Supreme and Hardeman are doing well. These spur types and standard cultivar matures 10-15 days earlier than Delicious group.
The early maturing cultivars which are EC 33683 Coop-12, Redfree, Early Mclntosh and Anna. The harvesting in these cultivars starts as early as in the end of June.
Non-synchronization of flowering period of Delicious apple with that of Golden Delicious and Tydeman's Early, results pollination problem. Pollinizers like Summer Queen, Manchurian, Crab apples, Redflush, Golden Harnet, Snowdrift, Spartan, etc. have shown better results in some areas. Among scab resistant cultivars, Coop-12 and Coop-12 and Coop-13 hold premise. In mid hills or lower areas of Himachal Pradesh , the low chilling cultivars viz. Michal. Schloait and Anna are found suitable.
The cultivars which have been bred in Indie, are Amred, Amrich, Amroyal, Ambstarking, Lai Anbri, Sunehri Chaubattia Anuoan, Chaubattia Princess, Hybrid-7/4/1, Hybrid 11-17/18. These cultivars could not attain commercial status because they were not comparable in quality with existing ones.
Both European and sand pears are grown in India with former restricting to hilly areas. European pear cultivars Bartlett and China pear suffer from late maturation and smaller fruit size, respectively while "Patharnakh'' is not fit for fresh consumption because of grit cells.
The cultivars which have been recommended for cultivation in Himachal Pradesh are early China, Laxton's Superb, Eartlett, Red Bartlett, max Red Bartlett, Dr Jule's Guyot, Clapp's Favourite, Flemish, Conference, Kashmir pear, Doyenne Ducomice, Pathernakh (sand pear) and Kieffer.
Newly selected regular and high yielding cultivars Laxton's Superb, Nouveau Pointeau hold good promise for cultivation in the hills along with early maturing ones Jusks Zlato, Sentya Bronskya and Smajkanska Pozdriaza suitable for early markets fetching higher price. Cultivars Flemish, Beauty, Jargon lie and Manning Elijabeth are regular and good yielders with fairly attractive fruits but late mid season in maturity under higher altitudes.
Pathernakh are soft pear varieties Le Conte and Baghugosha are comemrcially grown in North Indian plains.
Large number of cultivars were introduced and recommended in mid eighties and after evaluation at Nauni-Solan, Himachal Pradesh . These are Alton, World's Earliest, Early White Giant, Redhaven, Stark Red Gold, Snow Queen, July Elberta, kanto-5, Shimzu Hakatu, Sunhaven, J.H. Hale, Sharbati, Shan-i-Punjab. Redhaven, Sunhaven and Alton are early maturing than July Elberta. Four cultivars Stark Earliglo, Stark Early, White Giant, Starking Delicious and Candor were found good for mid hills. Cultivars prairie Down, Prairie Rambler, Prairie Rose are suitable for growing in cold areas of temperate regions at high altitude.
Of the 16 cultivars and clones evaluated Sharbati, Safeda Early Cream and SRE were found promising for commercial cultivation in Nainital A large number of low chilling peach varieties e.g. Flordasun, Sun Red, Sun Gold, Flordared, Flordabells were introduced in PAU, Ludhiana.' Of these introductions, Flordasun, Flordared, Sun Red and 16-33 (named Shan-i-Punjab) became very popular. Out of the later introductions from USA, TA 170 known as Pratap is 7 days earlier in maturity than Flordasun. Another two introductions from Florida, Flordaprince and Earligrande have been recommended for the cultivation for plains of Punjab. Another selection, peach F-LC has been found suitable for the south western districts of Punjab.
Saharanpur Prabhat an early maturity and better quality, low chilling peach were evolved.
Plum has wider adaptability among stone fruits and grown extensively, many cultivars have been recommended for different climatic conditions. These are Sweet Early, Methley, Kelsey, Sharking Delicious, Satsuma, Burbank, Frontier, Elephant Heart, Mariposa, Santa Rosa, Beauty, Early Transparent Gage, Alucha Purple, Titron, Red Eieaut, Tarrol. Among these Santa Rosa is grown mostly but has problems like sourness near pit and more perishable. This is being replaced by new cultivars like Red Beaut and Frontier. The other cultivars which have been found promising are Kanto-5, Kubid and Red Ace, but they cannot match in quality with Frontier, Red Beaut and Santa Rosa.
An evaluated area to develop low chill plums for growing in warmest areas is in progress other than Himachal Padesh at Ludhiana (Punjab), Hissar, Saharanpur, Patherchatta (UP, Kodaikar.al (T.N.) end Shillong. Several low chilling cultivars vis. Au Rosa, Au Amber, Au Rubrum, Au Cherry, Fla 73-4, Fla 85-2 to 85-5, Gulf Ruby, Fulfsola, Sungold, Redgold are being tested for their adaptability under Indian conditions.
Of the indigenous selections, Kala Amritsari gave the highest mean yield and Golden Lalri the highest TSS. The low chilling exotic plum Fla 1-2 has been recommended for Punjab because of its high yield and self compatibility.
Apricot culture in the hilly regions is on the decline due to non-availability of well adapted, productive and better quality cultivars especially better storage life. The cultivars recommended for mid hills of Himachal Pradesh are New Castle, Early Shipley. For high hills and dry temperate zone, cultivars Kaisha, Nagget, Suffaida, Charmagz, Shakarpara have been recommended. There is scope to expand apricot cultivation in dry temperate zone by introducing drying types apricot. Cultivars like Earlygold, Castleton, Golden Giant, Reliable, Scout, Harlet and Golden Gem appears to promising and should be introduced.