There are many factors that go into the production of fruits. One factor is optimum quantity of light. When the fruit tree absorbs the right amount of sunlight, it is able to produce high quality fruit. It is therefore essential for a fruit farmer to pay attention to the tree canopies. And this is where canopy management plays a role.
What is canopy management?
A tree’s canopy is, as the term implies, the topmost portion which spreads horizontally. This growth impacts the amount of sunlight that filters down to the roots and the rest of the tree.
Canopy management is the technique of pruning or training the treetop so that:
- A tree and its roots have optimum use of sunlight
- There is no buildup of diseases or disease causing agents
- The tree can be maintained in a healthy manner
- Excessive biomass can be eliminated
The primary aim of canopy management is to increase productivity of fruit trees.
Where is it used?
In India, canopy management is carried out in different ways for fruit trees such as:
- Banana and
- Jackfruit to name just a few.
Each fruit tree has its own canopy management system. For instance, pomegranate plants need to be pruned regularly so there is no bending of the branches. Farmers carry out canopy management in mango trees by removing carefully selected upright branches so light reaches inside the canopy.
What is being done in India?
There are different kinds of work being done in India. For instance, in Puttur, Karnataka, the Directorate of Cashew Research is training farmers on canopy management in cashew orchards. By following the right pruning practices in young cashew plants, farmers can ensure the crops have proper sunlight and air.
India has entered into a strategic partnership with Israel and one aspect of this partnership is the establishment of Centers of Excellence.Three such Centres are working on mangoes and pomegranates in Karnataka. Canopy management is one of the linchpins in the action plan.
As a part of the ultra high-density planning system in some parts of Maharashtra, canopy management has helped farmers double or even triple their mango yields. Regular pruning has resulted in profits worth Rs 6 lakhs an acre.
Horticulture departments in Jammu & Kashmir are highlighting canopy management in training programs for farmers in areas such as Bandipora and Ramban. Awareness camps are conducted so farmers have the benefit of networking with the community and with government officials as well.
It is also significant to note that the work being done on canopy management differs across geographical locations and types of fruits. For instance, the Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan States has brought out an extensive report on pruning for litchi trees. Here, the system of canopy management focuses on opening up the centres of the litchi trees. This helps reduce or eliminate microorganisms, improve air and light circulation and rejuvenate old litchi orchards as well.
Canopy management goes a long way in fostering healthier and more productive fruit trees. Farmers now have access to many resources and even international knowledge when it comes to canopy management.