The apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) is believed to have originated in the Caucasus mountains of south-western Asia. The cultivated apples belong to the species Malus pumila or Malus sylvestris. Apple is undoubtedly the most important temperate fruit. It is the most important temperate fruit in the world and India stands 5th in the production of apple. In India, apple cultivation is extremely profitable and has become the major industry of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The present commercial cultivars of apple are far improved from the wild apples from which they developed over many centuries. And to commercialize improved varieties of apple in India, the varieties need to be evaluated for their growth characteristics. Keeping this view, the study was taken to evaluate four new exotic varieties of apple viz., Super Chief Sandidge, Gala Red Lum, Fuji Zhen Aztec and Golden Clone B grafted on rootstock M9T337 for their various growth and phenological characteristics. The study showed statistically significant differences among varieties in their various characters. Tree morphological characteristics revealed variety Super Chief Sandidge to be the most dwarf variety with least tree height (1.31m) and incremental growth in tree height (23.64cm) while the variety Fuji Zhen Aztec reported to be most vigorous with an average tree height of (1.96m), and highest increase in tree height in a season (31.04 cm). Various phenological stages were observed earliest in variety Gala Red Lum and last in Golden Clone B. All the varieties appeared to be promising under Kashmir condition and can be recommended for further research, mass multiplication and ultimate adoption by orchardists of valley. On the basis of their vegetative behavior, Super Chief Sandidge appeared to be highly dwarf variety in terms of tree morphology and other as moderate. It was concluded that the different exotic cultivars studied had different flowering phenological features which will permit to establish proper varietal combinations for pollination to improve profitability of high density apple orchards. Further, it can be suggested that in variety Super Chief Sandidge further close plantings at the rate of 3906 trees/ha can be recommended to utilize the inter tree space more efficiently and the productivity further high.
Ms. Rafiya Mushtaq
Division of Fruit Science, Faculty of Horticulture, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science & Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar, Srinagar 190025, J&K, India.
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