The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana in a statement Monday said that according to a recent study done by the varsity experts, paddy straw mulch has been found useful to improve productivity and manage weeds in Kinnow mandarin. A team of scientists conducted this trial on mulching in Kinnow mandarin at PAU, Ludhiana and Abohar.
Dr H.S. Rattanpal, Head, Department of Fruit Science said that the mulch was applied in the end of December after the application of Farm Yard manure and Phosphorous fertilisers.
Dr Rattanpal added that the effect of different floor management practices on moisture conservation, per cent fruit drop, weed infestation, fruit yield and quality of kinnow mandarin was assessed. The data on fruit yield and quality of kinnow fruits was also recorded. The data on moisture saving, weed count and dry weight was recorded at monthly interval.
Dr Harsimrat Kaur Bons, senior fruit scientist who conceived the idea, revealed that using paddy straw as mulch reduces fruit drop and effectively manages weeds in kinnow orchards. This recommendation will also contribute towards better utilisation of paddy straw in Punjab, she affirmed.
Dr Krishan Kumar disclosed that at Abohar, the maximum fruit yield was obtained with the use of paddy straw mulch which was at par with the treatment of mowing of weeds and plastic mulch. Higher fruit yield and superior quality of fruits (high TSS, low acidity) was observed in Ludhiana too. The paddy straw also reduced weed incidence and resulted in saving of moisture in soil.
For improved productivity of kinnow mandarin through eco-friendly weed management, conservation of moisture during hot months, reduced fruit drop and effective utilisation of surplus paddy straw, the scientists recommended application of paddy straw mulch at the rate of 3.0 tonnes/acre in kinnow orchards during the end of December.