India: Three insect diseases infect Kashmir apple trees

After heavy losses caused by hailstorm and then the problem of “rusting” due to heavy rains and humidity, now, with the high temperatures, three more diseases have infected apple trees in many parts of Kashmir.

The diseases are known as Redmite, Wooly Aphid, and San Jo’s Scale. According to the Sher-i-Kashmir Agriculture University, these diseases have different tendencies and symptoms and affect the tree as well as the fruit.

San Jo’s Scale according to scientists is a parasitic insect which grows rapidly in hot weather. The insects suck the sap of trees and this affects the fruit, reducing its shelf life as well as shine.

Scientists at SKAUST said that mostly this disease is controlled by horticulture mineral oil (HMO) before sprouting of buds. At this stage, however, people have to consult experts or follow the spray schedule given out by SKAUST Kashmir.

Wooly Aphids, according to experts, are an insect disease where the insects make a woollen cover and suck at the leaves as well as the fruit. This disease, according to scientists, is cured with the use of insecticide and HMO, but senior scientist Tariq Rasool of SKAUST wing KVK Balpora advised that people should contact experts for better diagnosis.

Redmite, which has currently infected orchards in many parts of Kashmir, is also an insect disease caused by high temperature. Dr Tariq Rasool said that Redmite affects the leaves of trees and stops their growth.

“It is the leaves on which the development of fruit is dependent. Once the leaf gets affected, it affects the fruit as well,” Dr Rasool said, adding that if alterneria and mite arrive at the same time then it leads to early leaf fall, causing major damage to the apple crop.

Dr Rasool added that this year, Wooly Aphid is largely being seen in apple trees. He said that “black smoked leaves” are also prevailing in many orchards and this is due to scab which can be treated with the use of fungicides.

As reported on, Kashmir has suffered a huge blow in the horticulture sector in the past couple of years due to inclement weather, diseases, and closure of the national highway that has led to stocks being damaged or fetching low prices in markets outside the valley.

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