Chandigarh’s mango growers in a pickle

January 22nd, 2012 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 22 (IANS) The early flowering of mango trees in and around Chandigarh has left the growers worried, with horticulturists saying it could indicate an impending poor yield this season.

Erratic weather conditions have made the mango trees around the tri-cities of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali flower early this year.

Mango trees across Sector 29 and the Industrial Area in Chandigarh have grown a yellow canopy that is indicative of its flowering. Concerned growers and horticulturists believe the early flowering is not good for the ‘king of fruits’ that is eagerly awaited in summers.

Before the city of Chandigarh was planned in the late 1940s and early 1950s by the central government in post-independent India, the whole area on which Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali stand now as an urban mass used to be a huge mango grove. Tens of thousands of mango trees were cut down at that time to clear the land.

However, the authorities retained a few portions of the earlier mango groves, like the ones in Sector 29 and part of the Industrial Area belt.

Horticulture experts say that usually the flowering in the mango trees around the city takes place during late February and March.

“The flowering of trees is dependent on the weather conditions and the variety of the trees,” said R.K. Kohli, senior ecologist and chairman, Department of Botany, Panjab University here. “However, all the trees have developed new buds much before their usual time this year,” he added.

Even as some people are happy with the phenomenon and are awaiting an early fruit, experts say this cannot be a sign of a good crop. “If the ripening of this early crop is disturbed, then the trees might not fruit the entire season,” a grower said.

Kedar Nath, a fruit grower and vendor at Industrial Area, pointed out: “If it rains now, the crop will be destroyed, which is the usual problem with early blooming. It is unusual for the trees to flower at this time of the year.”

Growers are worried that even if the trees become infertile for the season, contractors appointed by the local authorities are likely to spray the trees with medicines to get some crop. “After that, trees bear fruits but they are not natural,” one grower said.

However, according to Kohli, the trees can still bear fruit naturally. “However, even if these trees ripen naturally again, the fruits will not ripen properly and fall off before time,” he added.

The ripening of these trees may have taken place a month earlier than usual because of the Western disturbances and the strange changes in weather conditions. Therefore, the kind of insects that breed in a particular season also affects the growth of the trees, he added.

Satish Narula, a senior horticulturist in Chandigarh’s forest department, said: “If the trees have bloomed early, there is a possibility of the early fruit getting attacked by insects.

“The kind of insect that breeds in a particular season will decide the further growth and flowering of the trees. Since it’s an untimely flowering, we cannot be sure how the crop will be.”

(Japjeet Duggal can be contacted at

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