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MULTAN: The Agriculture Department advised farmers to opt for light irrigation of their mango orchards at night in case of chances of frost to save mango plants from adverse impact.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, Assistant Director Abdus Samad said that mango was termed as king of fruits which was being produced in over 90 countries. About 18 countries including Pakistan produce over 87 percent mangoes. Pakistan is ranked as 6th biggest country in terms of mango production as the fruit was cultivated over 170,000 hectares in the country. The total production is 1,784,000 tonnes in Pakistan.

Abdus Samad observed that frost could damage the plants to a greater extent. He, however, added that farmers should avoid irrigation in case their plants did not bear fruit last year and may have carbohydrates in excess.

When farmers noticed their plants meeting flower stage prematurely and early due to higher temperature during day time and resorted to water application which further supported the flower stage instead of stopping it. For such plants or orchards, he added, it is recommended that plants should not get water.

However, light irrigation can be done in frosty nights to save plants from frost. He said, farmers should also beware of mango mealy bug commonly called ‘Aam Ki Gadhairy’. Female mealy bug lays eggs in soil and its population start in December every year and climb up the trees to suck juice.

He instructed farmers to incorporate some safety hurdles on the trunks of mango trees to prevent the pest crawl up to the upper part of trees. The branches of trees touching or approaching ground should also be trimmed for prevention of mealy bugs’ access. He said that farmers should also arrange animal waste fertilizers for need-based application in mango orchards.

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