Citrus Fruit Cultivation

Introduction and Importance

Citrus fruit is grown in all four provinces of Pakistan but Punjab produces over 95% of the crop because of favorable growing conditions. Citrus is divided into different groups namely Sweet oranges, Mandarins, Grape fruits, Lemons and Limes which are commercially grown on an area of 5 lack acres throughout the country with an average yield of 4.5 tons I acre.

Varieties

Following are the main commercial varieties:

Sweet Orange Succri: Mausami, Red Blood, Ruby Red, Tarnab Malta

Sherkhana: Valencia Late and Salustiana.

Mandarines: Kinnow, Feutrells Early

Lemon: Lisbon, Eureka, rough Lemon.

Grape Fruit: Mash Seedless, Duncan,

Foster and Shambet

Lime, Kaghzi Lime and Sweet Lime

Major Citrus Growing Areas in Pakistan

Punjab Distt: Sargodha, Sahiwal, Lahore, Sialkot, Jhang, Minwali, Multan, Gujranwala

KPK: Peshawar, Marlon, Swat, Sawabi, Nowshera, Khanpur, Haripur, Dargai, Palli sherkhana and Dir.

Sind: Nawabshah Sukkur, Khairpur,

Baluchistan: Mekran, Sibi and Kech.

Propagation

Rootstocks is generally grown through seed for propagation purposes. Improved varieties are propagated by means of budding on rough lemon or Sour orange. T budding/T grafting are the best propagation methods for citrus cultivars. Budding may be done in two seasons spring (Feb-March) and autumn (August-October). For budding purposes, buds should be selected from mature and healthy trees (mother plants).

Pruning

The top portion should be balanced with the roots by removing some of the leaves at the time of transplantation. Pruning is done for removal of dried’ diseased and unbalanced branches from the plants

Soil and Climate

In sandy loam, loam and clay loam soils, Citrus plants can be grown successfully in water logged. Sandy, alkaline and clayey soils citrus cannot grow well. Citrus trees are grown in tropical and sub-tropical climate. The Citrus orchard could be irrigated in a three ways namely.

Round Basin Irrigation System: The plants are irrigated through basins around the plants connected with water channel.

Flood Irrigation System

The plants are irrigated through flood water. In this way the loss of water is more and attack of disease is increased from one plant to other.

Drip Irrigation System:

The field is irrigated through drip irrigation. This way irrigating the plants is more economical and the chances of spreading of disease from one plant to other plant is least compared to other systems of irrigation.

Fertilizers and Manures

Before the flowering season, apply FYM at the rate of 40 to 80 kg per tree during Dec/Jan

  • Before the flowering season, apply 3-4 kg SSP and 1.5 to 2 kg of Urea during Jan/Feb
  • In Mar/Apr Supply a further amount of Urea of 1.5 kg per tree after fruit setting.
  • Potassium Sulphate may be applied at the time of applying FYM 1.5 kg/plant.
  • After each application of fertilizer, irrigation is essential

Pests and Diseases

Aphids:

Aphid attack is severe during Feb and April. These insects are small in size and are green & brown colored. This insect sucks the sap from the leaves and branches and cause great damage to trees and reduce the yield of the plants.

Citrus Whitefly:

This pest attacks on the fruits and causes great losses in yield and quality.

Red Scales:

They are sucking types of insects and cause great damage to kinnow and sweet oranges. These insects survive though out the year.

Citrus Leaf Minor:

This attacks on the leaves. The leaves become curled and deformed. It causes great losses in growth and yield.

Lemon Butterfly:

This also attacks on fresh leaves.

Wither tip:

This is a nutritional deficiencies attack. The branches and fruits of the affected trees start drying and the tree becomes uneconomical to maintain.

Foot Rot:

This fungus attacks on the roots of the plants in poorly drained soils, its attack is severe. After this attack plant gradually dries up.

Citrus Canker:

This is a bacterial disease, which attacks on leaves and fruits. It causes great reduction in yield and quality of the fruit.

When the fruit is fully ripe, it should be picked because it will not develop taste or sugar in storage after picking. To avoid injuries to the branches and fruits, the best method is to pick the fruit by holding in one hand and cuffing the stalk with a sharp knife and collecting in to the baskets.

Plantinuistem

There are many planting systems for planting the orchard. The following two systems are preferred for citrus orchard

  • Square
  • Rectangular

Plant to plant & row to row distance

Sweet orange and mandarins = 20 x 25ft

Lemon = 10x15ft

Planting season

Spring season plantation starts from 15th Feb till 30th March. Spring is the best season for transplanting the plants. Next season for Plantation is September. Plants are planted to the depths as they were in the nursery fields.

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