Panruti taluk in Cuddalore district of Tamilnadu has many unique aspects in Jackfruit cultivation. Most outstanding out of these is the presence of pure JF plantations. Monoculture jack orchards here range from one acre to twenty acres.
Thinning of inflorescence is a simple, but important farmer practice probably not practiced elsewhere in the country. Here, almost all farmers follow it.
Jack tree is monoecious. That means both female and male inflorescences are found in the same tree. Active buds of female inflorescence appear mostly on trunks and branches. Emergence of female inflorescences followed by male inflorescences in single peduncle is common.
Male inflorescence (catkin) shows protrusion of anthers on its spike surface. Between 8.30 and 9.30 in the morning, it sheds pollen. After a few days it dries, turns black and falls down.
In female inflorescence (catkin), stigma would be visible by 8 in the morning from fourth day of its emerging out from the sheath. The pollination and fertilizations are completed within 3- 6 days.
Jackfruit, in reality, is a multiple or composite fruit. It is produced from the ripened ovaries of several flowers crowed on the female inflorescence.
What is thinning?
Allowing only one healthy female inflorescence / tender fruit per stalk (peduncle) by cutting off the rest is called as ‘thinning.’ This ‘population control’ has some unwritten norms. Based on the age, size of trunk, and canopy area farmers decide the final number of tender fruits to be permitted to grow. Thumb rule is 15-30 numbers for a 15 year old tree. A sharp knife is used for this ‘family planning’ activity.
Thinning is usually done when the first- opened female fruit attains a month’s growth. It will be half to one kilo in weight by this time. Generally this starts in the middle of February and completes in 3-4 weeks.
· Thinning gives uniform shaped quality fruits.
· Assures uniform maturity.
· Number of harvests can be reduced – say in 2-3 harvests, the whole process can be finished.
· Minimizes pest and disease like, fruit borer and fruit rot incidence. This is because the incidence of pest and disease is more in areas where one fruit overlaps the other.
· Balances the size of fruits, number of fruits & health of the tree.
Photo & Text: P. Haridoss, Asst Director of Agriculture, Panruti, email@example.com