There is a sense of gratitude and joy among the Himachal Pradesh apple growers after a very timely heavy snowfall, considered crucial to the apple crop. Tuesday, Shimla woke up wrapped in a milky white carpet though with problems like road and power disruptions in the freezing sub-zero conditions.
"On Tuesday, snowfall had a good moisture content and today's snow provided a good second layer in the orchards on wet soil. Nearly two or three feet of snow is bound to last for a longer time to provide required chilling hours to the plants", said Dr Vijay Singh Thakur, former Vice-Chancellor of Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.
Thakur, who is also noted horticulturist scientist, also happy about the quality of the snow, apart from the volume. For the past some years, the orchardists had been complaining about deficient rains and snow not able to provide suitable moisture content and chilling period to the apple plants for fruit-bearing. Currently, the apple plants, after the crop season (between July-September) are in a dormant stage and orchardists take-up necessary pre-flowering operations like pruning and sprays, besides providing manures to the plants.
More fruit benefiting
It is not just the apples that will benefit from the snowfall; other fruits like almonds, apricots, pears , cherries and more will also get a boost. Dr Manmohan Singh, Director, Shimla centre of the Meteorological department: "Snowfall is almost on the predicted lines and good for the season. All farm crops including fruits, vegetables, and wheat, etc are going to be benefited. It's good for water recharging also in the region."