Amla or Indian gooseberry (Emblica Officinalis) is an indigenous fruit to the Indian subcontinent. Owing to hardy nature, suitable to various wastelands, high productivity/unit area (15-20 t/ha), nutritive and therapeutic value, aonla have become an important fruit.
Its fruits are a rich source of vitamin ‘C’. Aonla, fruit is highly valued among indigenous medicines. It is acrid, cooling effect, diuretic, and laxative. Dried fruits have been reported to be useful in hemorrhages, diarrhea, dysentery, anemia, jaundice, dyspepsia and cough. Trifia and Chavanprash are well known indigenous medicines in the Ayurvedic system using amla. Besides fruits, leaves, bark, and even seeds are being used for various purposes. The total area under Aonla in Andhra Pradesh is about 4,991 hectares with estimated annual production of 9,982 tons.
Scientific name-Phyllanthus emblica.
Soil and Climate requirement for Amla cultivation-
Any type of soils with good drainage. It can be successfully grown in saline, acidic and alkaline soils. Tolerates sodium levels up to 30% and pH up to 9.5. Tolerant equally to severe cold and hot climates up to 46 °C. Leaf fall start in summer and trees enter into dormancy from March to May. Most suitable for dry arid climates.
Amla plant Varieties-
1. Balawant (NA-10)-
Fruits are medium to large size, round with little warty skins weighing about 40g. Fruits are attractive with light green having a pinkish tinge. Five to 6 six-year-old tree yields about 42 kg/tree. Vitamin ‘C’ content is about 528 mg/100g pulp.
2. Neelam (NA-7)
A seedling selection of Franchis, it is precocious, prolific and regular bearer (9.7 female flowers/branchlet). This is an ideal variety for the preparation of products and has a great promise.
3. Amrit (NA-6)
A seedling selection from Chakaiya, it is prolific and heavy bearer (10.8 female, flowers/branchlet). It is ideal for preserve and candy, owing to low fiber content.
4. Kanchan (NA-4)
Fruits are light yellowish green, medium sized fruits (30–32g). Vitamin ‘C’ content is about 711mg/100g pulp. Five to 6-year-old tree yields about 35–38kg/tree. Suitable variety for pickle purpose.
Fruits are greenish white color, medium size (33–35g). Fiber content is high, Vitamin ‘C’ is about 789mg/100g pulp. A five-year-old tree bears yields about 30kg/tree.
Variety is released from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Fruits are pinkish colored and small sized (12–14g). Vitamin ‘C’ content is about 650mg/100g pulp. A five-year-old tree yield about 40–45kg/tree. Suitable variety for pharmaceutical use.
Propagation and Planting of Amla-
Propagated mostly by budding, wedge and approach grafting also practiced. Young plants should be planted at 8×8 m or 6×6 m spacing. Pits of 1×1×1 m should be dug in the month of May-June and filled with 15 kg FYM, 1 kg SSP and 100 g Furadon granules along with loose sThe ideal time for planting is July to October while planting bud or graft union should be at least 10–20cm above the ground level. Plants should be staked and shoots arising from rootstock should be removed promptly. Since fruit set is mostly by cross-pollination, more than one variety should be planted for better yields.
Irrigation of Amla-
Aonla tolerates well to drought conditions, mostly grown as a rainfed fruit crop, however, initial first 2 to 3 years assured irrigation is essential for good growth. During summer irrigation interval should be every 4–5 days. In the case of bearing trees, irrigation should be stopped in the months of Nov–Dec for better flowering in the following season. Drip irrigation and fertigation also a common practice saving 30–40% water and 20–30% fertilizers. Rainfed Aonla orchards should use organic mulching in basins to 8 cm thick with either wood shavings or groundnut shells to conserve moisture.
Manures and Fertilizers for Amla
During the first year after planting, 100 g N, 50 g P, and 100 g K plus 10 kg FYM should be applied. Later on, every year fertilizers should be applied in increments of 100 g N, 50 g P, and 100 g K and 5 kg FYM up to the age of 10 years. For trees of more than 10-year-old, 1kg N, 0.5kg P and 1kg K plus 60 kg of FYM should be applied. Trees start bearing fruits from 3rd year onwards. Fertilizers should be applied in 2 split doses in bearing trees, first dose at new flush and second dose during monsoon (June-July). Micronutrients foliar spray should be applied at fruit set stage.
During first three years, intercrops such as groundnut, horse gram, pulses and other leguminous crops or medicinal and aromatic crops can be grown.
Flowering, fruit set and yield per acre
Flowering occurs on new shoots in the month of January–February. Indeterminate shoots are produced on main shoots, later on, flowers are borne on new definite branches. Male flowers are produced first at the bottom and later female flowers at the tips of these branches. Fruit set occurs by cross pollination and later fruits enter into a prolonged dormancy for up to four months (March–June), during this periods tree basins should not be disturbed. By the commencement of monsoon, dormancy is released and fruits start developing rapidly and will be ready for harvest in October. A fully grown tree of about 10-year-old yields up to 100 to 150 kg/tree.
Pests of Amla and their control
1. Bark eating caterpillars (Indarbela quadrinotata, I.tetraonis)
Feed on the bark under silken ribbon-shaped webs.
Inject with dichlorvos (1ml in 10ml of water) or Kerosene or Endosulfan (2ml/L) of water and seal holes with clay.
2. Sucking pests
Attack mainly fruits at peak stage resulting in poor fruit development.
Foliar spray with dimethoate @ 2ml/L or Phosalone 0.05%
3. Aphids (Schoutedenia Emblica)
Infestation is severe on young flush and flowering stage. Nymphs and adults suck sap from tender shoots, secrets honeydew all over the branches and leaves. Sooty mold develops on these secretions that hinder photosynthesis.
Foliar spray with dimethoate @ 2ml/L or Phosalone 0.05%
4. Mealy bugs (Nipaecocus vastator (Maskell)
Nymphs develop in soil near tree basins and crawl on trees. Both nymphs and adults infest near stalk end portion of fruits and suck sap resulting in poor fruit development and premature fruit drop.
Intercultivate during summer.
Foliar spray with neem oil @ 5ml/L. Apply 2% Follidol dust in the tree basins.
Foliar spray with Chloropyriphos @ 2.5ml/L
Diseases in Amla and their control-
1. Rust (Ravenelia Emblica)
Conspicuous black colored rust pustules on leaflets and fruits. Affected fruits drop off prematurely.
Foliar spray with Chlorothalonil @ 2g or Mancozeb @ 2.5 g/L or Sulphur 2g/lit or Bitertanol 1g/lit during December.
2. Black Spot
Initially, small black spots are formed on fruits and later enlarges.
Foliar spray with Copper oxychloride 3g/L or 1% Bordeaux mixture immediately after receival of rain during fruit development and repeat it after 15days interval.
3. Fruit necrosis
Necrosis a physiological disorder has been observed in amla fruits. Francis variety is highly susceptible followed by Banarasi. Incidence initiates with the browning of mesocarp which extends towards the epicarp resulting into the brownish black appearance of flesh.
Foliar spray with Borax @ 6g/L at 15 days interval for three times during fruit development stage.
- Dr.Y.S.R. Horticulture University, Andhra Pradesh.