Shopian: Towards the end of the month of June, fruit growers in Kashmir usually face a big challenge: alternaria, a fungal disease which takes away leaves after any wet spell.
The alternaria fungus grows within 48 hours to three days and shows its symptoms when either the leaves start drying or copper-colour marks begin to appear on them. Soon, most of the infected leaves start falling, thus not only affecting the quality and growth of fruit but also hindering the growth of next year’s fruit buds as leaves are the lone source of food processing, or photosynthesis, for the tree.
Every year, hundreds of orchards in Kashmir get heavily affected by this fungal disease, bringing economic losses to the industry. Experts say that timely spraying of anti-alternaria fungicide can help to keep this disease at bay.
Dr Tariq Rasool, senior pathologist scientist at SKUAST, told Kashmir Reader that there is no point in spraying for a particular disease if the fungicide is not sprayed before rains.
“Spraying before rains gives a protection cover against alternaria or scab. However, when the spraying is done two or three days after rains, it results in more damage to leaves as till that stage the leaves have been fully infected,” he said.
Dr Rasool said that sometimes, spraying after infection leads to necrotic leaf blotch (Bukhar). “After rains there are few chances to save the damage done by any infection but spraying after the infection is gone gives protection against future infections,” he said.
Experts say that there are fungicides recommended in the government-issued spray schedule for each stage of fruit and it’s better to follow the schedule to avoid any kind of disease. It’s also better to spray before it rains than after.