Nauni/Solan: Over the past few years, the apple growers of the state are facing a situation where the Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) fertilizer, commonly used in apple is not available due to less production at most places.

To tackle this issue, the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has suggested apple growers to use Urea as a substitute for Calcium Ammonium Nitrate.

Dr JN Sharma, Professor and Head, UHF’s Soil Science and Water Management Department, stated that in the research conducted by University, it has been found that Urea can be used as a substitute for Calcium Ammonium Nitrate and when used within recommended quantity and with correct application method, no adverse effects were recorded and the health of the soil also remained good, Dr. Sharma further added.

Dr. Sharma recommend 1.5 kilograms of urea for a full-grown apple tree of 10 years and above. This quantity needs to be applied in two equal splits. The first application i.e. 750 gram should be done three weeks before flowering and the second after one month of flowering.

Based on the soil requirements, lime (1,200 gram) can be mixed in the soil at the tree basin in the months of October-November.

Dr JC Sharma said that apple growers using Calcium Nitrate, but nitrogen content in it is a mere 15.5 percent which is far less than that in urea and Calcium Ammonium Nitrate. To fulfill the nitrogen requirement of apple, every full size tree requires around 4.5 kilograms of Calcium Nitrate fertilizer, which is a costly alternative to ensure nitrogen deficiency, Dr. Sharma stated.

Dr Sharma further added that “Calcium Nitrate is a soluble fertilizer that is largely used in polyhouses and in fertigation. Most apple growers mostly use it in low volume i.e. 500-1,000 gram per plant, which is insufficient to meet the nitrogen requirement of the tree.”