Research Article

Crop Regulation in Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) through Induced Water Stress and Ethrel Application 

R. Kumar, P. L. Saroj and B. D. Sharma

  • Page No:  309 - 318
  • Published online: 27 Aug 2021
  • DOI : HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.23910/1.2021.2378

  • Abstract
  •  rameshflori@gmail.com

The present investigation was carried out at ICAR-CIAH, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India during 2017 to 2019 to regulate crop production in pomegranate at the desired period with higher number of bisexual flower for higher quality fruit yield and to minimize fruit splitting through water stress, pruning and ethrel application. Pooled data analysis revealed that horticultural interventions, chemical treatments and their interactions significantly improved plant volume, bisexual flower number, maturity index, fruit yield with significant reduction in fruit splitting, mite and fungal spot incidence. Among different treatment combinations, maximum canopy volume, number of bisexual flowers, maturity index, fruit yield and lower fruit splitting were recorded (8.56 m3, 85.11 plant-1, 47.81, 124.01 q ha-1 and 1.87 kg plant-1) in withholding irrigation during June+pruning+thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 as compared to absolute control (3.41 m3, 75.62 plant-1, 33.35, 85.66 q ha-1 and 2.41 kg plant-1), respectively. The mite and fungal spot incidence were recorded minimum (4.72 and 8.50%) in withholding irrigation during June+pruning+thinning+ethrel 3 ml l-1 application in comparison to maximum recorded in absolute control (29.73 and 33.68%), respectively. Therefore, it can be concluded that withholding irrigation during June+pruning+thinning with ethrel 2 ml l-1 treatment significantly improved quality fruit yield with higher number of bisexual flowers and reduced fruit splitting through induction of flowering and fruit growth during optimal climatic conditions.

Keywords :   Bisexual flower, ethrel, fruit splitting, pomegranate, water stress

  • Introduction

    Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is a promising fruit crop of hot arid and semi-arid regions of India. The fruit is mainly used for table, juice purposes and also processed in various value-added products like syrup, squash, jelly, mouth freshener and anardana. Pomegranate has enormous medicinal and nutritional value and it is one of the richest sources of antioxidants particularly anthocyanins. Owing to health promoting substances, it is considered as “Super food or food medicine”. In India, it is grown commercially in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan states. The area under pomegranate cultivation in India is increasing at faster rate owing to  its  high  demand,  hardy  nature,  better  storage  quality  and  nutritional values (Saroj and Kumar, 2019). Due to its hardy nature, high yield and low input requirements it has emerged as a potential fruit crop for the resource poor farmers under harsh conditions (Rajkumar et al., 2017). It covers 273 thousand ha area with an annual production of 3068 thousand t and a productivity of 11.24 t ha-1 in India (Anonymous, 2021). Pomegranate fruit production requires the coordination of numerous key reproductive processes including flower development, pollination, bisexual and male flower types, fruit set, fruit attributes related to size, flower vigour, flower receptivity and aril development (Wetzstein et al., 2015). In pomegranate male flowers drop prematurely without setting fruit and only bisexual flowers set fruits (Yahya et al., 2017). Pomegranate plant flowers in three main seasons or bahars during January-February(ambe bahar), June-July (mrig bahar) and September-October(hasta bahar). Only one season flowering and fruiting is regulated to get prolific harvest at a specific time. In areas where assured rainfall occurs during June-September, flowering in June-July is advantageous, where monsoon starts late in August, flowering during August is beneficial. Areas where irrigation water available during April-May, flowering during January-February is suggested and where monsoon withdraws by September, induction of flowering in October is possible (Sachin et al., 2015). In hot arid region, mrig bahar crop is preferred but fruits are severely damaged by fruit splitting during December-January owing to day night temperature fluctuations. Owing to inferior colour development and quality of fruits, both hasta and ambe bahar are not recommended in the arid climate (Singh and Kingsly, 2007). Water stresses causes a wide array of plant responses, ranging from plant growth, leaf defoliation, flower induction and finally productivity (Kumar et al., 2019a). In pomegranate fruit development, water stress causes an asymmetric increase in fruit turgor pressure, because aril turgor increased to a much greater extent than peel turgor, the pressure of the arils on the peel favouring fruit splitting (Galindo et al., 2014), which is a major problem in hot arid climate. In pomegranate crop regulation, water stress, plant growth regulators, defoliants, nutrient and plant architectural engineering are major horticultural innovations which influence flowering induction, alter sex ratio and improve fruit quality (Kumar et al., 2019b). Crop regulation in pomegranate is done keeping in mind the availability of irrigation, pest and disease infestation and market prices (Shivran et al., 2020). In pomegranate, 1-2 month stress is imposed by the withholding irrigation depending upon soil and climatic condition. Pruning and flower/bud thinning is performed to modify natural growth habits of pomegranate plant and to make balance between vegetative and reproductive growth which regulate flowering and fruiting for quality yield. Withholding of irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1+DAP 5 g l-1  treatment induced flowering during optimal climatic conditions and significantly improved sex ratio and fruit set of pomegranate (Kumar et al., 2020).

    Ethylene cause an array of effects in plants such as breaking of dormancy, leaf abscission, senescence and induce, promote and delay flowering, alter sex expression, defoliate plants, flower and fruits thinning and enhance colour development (Abeles et al., 1992). When the plants are subjected to ethylene, gene expression of cell wall-degrading enzymes particularly cellulase and polygalacturonase are activated. Ethylene is engaged in the arrest of stamen development by the initiation of DNA damage, which promotes female flowers in some plant species (Wang et al., 2010 and Xie et al., 2015). Application of ethylene 0.2 ml l-1 reduced bacterial blight incidence, enhanced fruit yield/quality; increased phenol and anthocyanin content in pomegranate (Lalithya et al., 2017). The translocation of sugars and water to the arils tends to be the cause of the rise in juice volume (Supe and Saitwal, 2016). The maturity index is an important criterion for fruit quality determination which is often better related to palatability of fruit than either sugar or acid level alone. It varies from 31.90 to 37.90 among different cultivars (Dhinesh et al., 2017). Therefore, the present investigation was carried out to regulate crop production in desired period in such a way that plant produces higher number of bisexual flower with improved quality fruit yield with reduction in fruit splitting, mite and fungal spot incidence by forcing plants to go into rest through withholding irrigation, pruning and ethrel application.


  • Materials and Methods

    The present investigation was conducted at Research Field of ICAR-Central Institute for Arid Horticulture, Bikaner during two consecutive years during 2017 to 2019. There were two factors i.e. horticultural interventions (P) with five levels and chemical applications (C) with four levels. The horticultural interventions involved P0 control natural flowering, P1 withholding irrigation during March, P2 withholding irrigation during March+pruning+thinning, P3 withholding irrigation during June and P4 withholding irrigation during June+pruning+thinning whereas chemical applications consisted of C0 control without chemicals, C1 ethrel 1 ml l-1, C2 ethrel 2 ml l-1 and C3 ethrel 3 ml l-1 comprising 20 treatment combinations. The experiment was conducted in Factorial Randomized Block Design with three replications. After withholding irrigation, pruning of 20 cm growth was carried out. In thinning, flowers were removed manually before and during water stress period as per the treatments and only flowers which induced after application of treatments were retained. Ethrel (40%) mixed with 5 g l-1 DAP solution (18:46 grade) was applied as foliar spray after withholding irrigation period and pruning as per the treatments, while in natural flowering treatments (control treatment of the first factor) ethrel mixed with 5 g l-1 DAP was applied in last week of May. The treatments were imposed on eight years old uniform plants of pomegranate cv. Jalore Seedless planted at 5×2.5 m2 spacing with drip irrigation system. Uniform intercultural operations were performed to grow the crop.  Recommended dose of manure and fertilizers i.e. 45 kg FYM, 625 g N, 250 g P and 250 g K plant-1 year-1 were applied. The orchard soil was loamy sand in nature with soil pH of 8.32 and electrical conductivity of 0.27 dSm-1. The soil had 0.15% organic carbon, 106.4 kg ha-1 available nitrogen, 11.51 kg ha-1 available phosphorus and 214.5 kg ha-1 available potassium content. The maximum temperature during April-May was recorded 42 to 44°C and minimum 4 to 5°C during December–January. The diurnal temperature variation was varied from minimum 10°C in July-August to maximum 20°C in November-December, which causes severe cracking in pomegranate under hot arid climatic conditions.

    Data were recorded on plant height and volume, annual growth extension (AGE), number of male, intermediate and bisexual flowers per plant, flowering and harvesting period, aril and rind colour, fruit volume and juice content, maturity index, fruit splitting, fruit yield, mite and fungal spot incidence. The plant volume was worked out with the help of formula given by Westwood (1978) while aril and rind colour of the fruit were observed by comparing it with the colour chart of the Royal Horticultural Society, London. The total soluble solids of the fruit juice were determined with digital refractometer Atago PAL II and titrable acidity of juice was determined by titration with 0.1 N sodium hydroxide (Ranganna, 1995). The maturity index was determined as the ratio of total soluble solids and titrable acidity. The experimental data recorded were subjected to statistical analysis using the analysis of variance technique suggested by Panse and Sukhatme (1985).


  • Results and Discussion

    The perusal of data presented in Table 1 revealed that plant height, volume and AGE were significantly affected by horticultural interventions, chemical applications and their interactions. The maximum plant height (2.34 m) was registered in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment which was statistically at par with withholding irrigation during June (P3) treatment (2.30 m). The minimum plant height (2.14 m) was registered in control (P0) treatment. The maximum plant volume (6.24 m3) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment which was followed by withholding irrigation during June (P3) treatment (5.79 m3). The minimum plant volume (4.62 m3) was registered in control (P0) treatment. Among chemical applications, significantly maximum plant height (2.42 m) and plant volume (6.67 m3) were recorded in ethrel 2 ml l-1  (C2) treatment as compared to minimum plant height (2.09 m) and plant volume (4.37 m3) recorded in control (C0). Among interaction treatments, maximum plant height (2.62 m) and plant volume (8.56 m3) were recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment which was followed by withholding irrigation during June+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P3C2) treatment with plant height (2.49 m) and plant volume (7.12 m3) while minimum plant height (1.94 m) and plant volume (3.41 m3) were recorded in absolute control i.e. natural flowering without chemicals (P0C0) treatment.


    The data divulged that AGE was significantly affected by horticultural interventions, chemical applications and their interactions. Among horticultural interventions, significantly maximum AGE (59.96 cm) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment followed by withholding irrigation during June (P3) treatment (55.64 cm) as against minimum AGE (48.64 cm) was recorded in control natural flowering (P0) treatment. Among chemical applications, maximum AGE (56.00 cm) was registered in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment followed by ethrel 1 ml l-1 (C1) treatment (54.62 cm) whereas minimum recorded in control without chemicals (C0) treatment (51.73 cm). Among interaction treatments, maximum AGE was recorded (62.53 cm) in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment in comparison to minimum recorded (46.74 cm) in absolute control (P0C0) treatment. The enhanced plant height, volume and AGE in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment could be attributed to the favourable climatic condition, low mite and fungal spot incidence which resulted in improved partitioning of assimilates. Pruning and thinning improved vegetative growth probably due to optimization of light penetration, ventilation and distribution of nutrients which improved photosynthetic rate. The ethrel at lower concentration might have acted as growth promoter by increasing cell division and enlargement and improved vegetative growth of plants. Amarnath et al. (2020) also recorded maximum plant height (271.30 cm) in 20 cm pruning as compared to minimum recorded in control without pruning (214.57 cm) in pomegranate.

    The data revealed that (Table 2) number of male, intermediate and bisexual flowers per plant were significantly influenced by horticultural interventions, chemical application and their interactions. The significantly minimum number of male flowers plant-1 (165.95) was registered in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment as compared to maximum male flowers plant-1 (213.49) recorded in control natural flowering (P0) treatment. The significantly minimum number of intermediate flowers plant-1 (39.58) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment while maximum number of intermediate flowers plant-1 (47.42) was recorded in control natural flowering (P0) treatment. The significantly maximum number of bisexual flowers plant-1 (82.75) was observed in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment while minimum number of bisexual flowers plant-1  (74.72) in withholding irrigation during March+pruning and thinning (P2) which was at par with control (P0) treatment (75.08). Among chemical treatments, minimum male flowers plant-1 (188.50) was registered in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment as compared to control without chemicals (C0) treatment (192.32). The significantly minimum intermediate flowers plant-1 (39.37) was registered in control without chemicals (C0) treatment as against maximum recorded in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment (48.64). The significantly maximum bisexual flowers plant-1 (81.07) was registered in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment as compared minimum recorded in control without chemicals (C0) treatment (73.52). Among interaction treatments, minimum number of male flowers plant-1 (159.35) was recorded inwithholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 3 ml l-1 (P4C3) treatment as compared to maximum male flowers plant-1 was recorded (227.51) inabsolute control (P0C0) treatment. The maximum number of intermediate flowers plant-1 (53.86) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P3C2) treatment as compared to absolute control (P0C0) treatment (39.96) treatment. The significantly maximum number of bisexual flowers plant-1 (88.33) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P3C2) treatment as compared to absolute control (P0C0) treatment (75.62). Similarly, Ahire et al. (1993), Chaudhari and Desai (1993), Goswami et al. (2013) and Supe et al. (2015) reported that ethrel application reduced male flowers and increased bisexual flowers in pomegranate. The minimum male flowers in ethrel treatment may be due to the arrest of stamen development by the initiation of DNA damage which promotes female flowers (Wang et al., 2010 and Xie et al., 2015). Pruning alter ratio of old and new growth, crop geometry, sap flow, distribution of photosynthic compounds and encourages more flow of nutrients and water to the remaining shoots which produced more bisexual flowers.


    The different interaction treatments affected flowering and harvesting period of pomegranate under hot arid climate (Table 3). In natural flowering without chemicals (absolute control) treatment, flowering were observed during 25th February to 5th April, 21st July to 30th August and 21st September to 12th October while fruits were harvested during 22nd July to 31st August, 3rd December to 13th February and 14th February to 12th March in ambe, mrig and hasta bahar, respectively. Owing to this, there is staggered harvesting and low yield which resulted in poor economics. In withholding irrigation during March (P1) treatments flowering period was observed 21st May to 8th August while fruits were harvested during 4th November to 10th January among different interactions treatments. In withholding irrigation during March+pruning and thinning (P2) treatments, flowering period was observed 22nd May to 10th August among different interactions treatments while fruits were harvested during 6th November to 15th January. In withholding irrigation during June (P3) treatments, flowering period was observed 3rd August to 7th October while fruits were harvested during 11th January to 15th March among different interactions treatments. In withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatments flowering period was observed 1st August to 12th October while fruits were harvested during 13th January to 28th March among different interactions treatments.


    The perusal of data (Table 3) showed that horticultural interventions, chemical treatments and theirinteraction affected aril and rind colour of pomegranate fruits. In absolute control i.e. natural flowering without chemicals (P0C0) treatment aril colour was varied from orange white 159A in ambe bahar, red purple 62C in mrig bahar and orange white 159B in hasta bahar whereas in all other treatment aril colour was varied from red purple 62A, red purple 62B, red purple 62C, red purple 63A to red purple 63B among different treatment combinations. Dark colour of arils i.e. red purple 63A was observed in withholding irrigation during March+ethrel 1 ml l-1 (P1C1) treatment, withholding irrigation during March+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P1C2) treatment and withholding irrigation during March+ethrel 3 ml l-1 (P1C3) treatment while medium dark colour i.e red purple 63B was observed in natural flowering+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P0C2) treatment and withholding irrigation during March+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P2C2) treatment. Similarly in natural flowering without chemicals (P0C0) treatment rind colour was varied from grayed orange 163A in ambe bahar, grayed orange 163C in both mrig bahar and hasta bahar whereas in all other treatment rind colour was varied from grayed orange 163A, grayed orange 163B, grayed orange 163C, grayed orange N-163B, grayed orange N-163C, grayed orange N-163D to green yellow 1B among different treatment combinations. Dark grayed orange colour of rind i.e. grayed orange N-163B was observed in withholding irrigation during June+ethrel 3 ml l-1 (P3C3) treatment and in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 3 ml l-1 (P4C3) treatment. The variation in aril and rind might be due to seasonal variation along with pruning which influenced light interception. The increased light interception stimulated exterior fruit colour and improved visual appearance of the fruits. Prasad et al. (1997) reported that due to hot weather during July-August and inferior colour development during January-February, both hasta and ambe bahar was not recommended in arid and semi-arid climate in pomegranate. Ghosh et al. (2012) found that colour of aril was changed with time of maturity. It was pink when the fruits were harvested during May and became light red in June and red in July. Ranpise et al. (2014) found that in pomegranate arils anthocyanin content was generally lower in fruit harvested during June-July and higher in the fruit harvested during November-December. The decrease in anthocyanin content was possibly due to degradation of anthocyanins by high sunlight intensity observed during May-June.

    The data showed that horticultural interventions,chemical treatmentsand their interaction significantly influenced fruit volume. The horticultural interventions and chemical treatments significantly influenced juice content while their interaction have non-significant effect (Table 4).


    Among different horticultural interventions, significantly maximum fruit volume (255.91 cc) and juice content (77.56%) were recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment as against minimum fruit volume (207.36 cc) and juice content (65.87%) were recorded in control natural flowering (P0) treatment. Among different chemical applications, maximum fruit volume (242.06 cc) and juice content (73.09%) were recorded in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment as compared to minimum fruit volume (227.48 cc) and juice content (70.45%) recorded in control without chemicals (C0) treatment. Among interaction treatments, significantly maximumfruit volume (264.80 cc)and juice content (78.96%) wererecorded inwithholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment whereas minimum fruit volume (201.46 cc)and juice content (65.25%) were recorded inabsolute control (P0C0) treatment. The higher fruit volume and juice content in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment is possibly due to favourable growth condition and diversion of more nutrients and water to growing fruits by pruning and higher photosynthetic efficiency. These results are in accordance with Sheikh and Rao (2002). Similarly, Goswami et al. (2013) and Supe et al. (2015) reported that ethrel application increased fruit volume in pomegranate. Sharma and Singh (2000) reported that juice percentage was more due to deblossoming in April month as compared to control in pomegranate. The translocation of sugars and water to the arils tends to be the cause of the rise in juice volume. The proportion of seeds may have decreased in proportion to the increase in the amount of juice as the water content of arils increased (Supe and Saitwal, 2016).

    The data revealed that horticultural interventions,chemical treatmentsand their interaction significantly improved maturity index of pomegranate. Among horticultural interventions,significantly maximum maturity index (45.18) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment as compared to control (P0) with maturity index(35.90). Among chemical treatments,significantly maximum maturity index (38.65) was registered in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment in comparison to minimum maturity index (33.99) recorded in control without chemicals (C0) treatment. Among interaction treatments, significantly maximum maturity index (47.81) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment as compared minimum maturity index (27.01) recorded in withholding irrigation during March without chemicals (P1C0) treatment. The maturity is mainly related to palatability of fruit than either sugar or acid level alone. It varies from 31.90 to 37.90 among different cultivars (Dhinesh et al., 2017). The higher maturity index in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment probably due to higher TSS and lower acidity because of optimal climatic condition, more flow of nutrients and assimilates to growing fruits by pruning and thinning effect. In ethrel application, lower acidity may be owing to increased respiration and carbon assimilation activities which resulted in conversion of complex carbohydrates (starch) to simple carbohydrates (sugar). Ethrel induced stress may also increased water soluble osmolytes which decreased acidity. Sheikh and Rao (2002) observed that fruit TSS significantly influenced with pruning intensity and maximum TSS was recorded in higher pruning intensity.

    The horticultural interventions,chemical treatmentsand their interaction significantly improved fruit yieldin pomegranate. Among horticultural interventions,significantly maximum fruit yield (106.65 q ha-1) was recorded in with holding irrigation during June (P3) treatment. The minimum fruit yield (93.52 q ha-1) was recorded in control natural flowering (P0) treatment. Among chemical applications,maximum fruit yield (111.47 q ha-1) was registered in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment as against minimum recorded in control without chemicals (C0) treatment (92.16 q ha-1). Among interaction treatments, maximumfruit yield was recorded (124.01 q ha-1) in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment which was followed by withholding irrigation during June+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P3C2) treatment (117.87 q ha-1). The minimum fruit yield (85.66 q ha-1) was recorded inabsolute control (P0C0) treatment. The higher yield in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatments might be due to favourable growth condition which resulted higher fruit set and size while application of ethrel increased number of bisexual flowers with high fruit set and retention. These findings are in agreement with Sheikh and Rao (2002) who observed that fruit yield was significantly influenced by pruning intensity. Similar results were also noted by Goswami et al. (2013) who reported that ethrel application improved fruit yield in pomegranate as compared to minimum recorded in control. Supe et al. (2015) reported that spraying of ethrel 2 ml l-1 mixed with DAP 5 g l-1 increased fruit yield in pomegranate.

    The data revealed that horticultural interventions,chemical treatmentsand their interaction significantly reduced fruit splitting, mite and fungal spot incidence in pomegranate (Table 5).


    Among horticultural interventions,significantly minimum fruit splitting (1.66 kg plant-1) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment as compared to control (P0) with fruit splitting (2.54 kg plant-1). Among chemical treatments,significantly minimum fruit splitting (2.04 kg plant-1) was registered in ethrel 2 ml l-1 (C2) treatment in comparison to maximum fruit splitting (2.37 kg plant-1) recorded in control without chemicals (C0) treatment. Among interaction treatments, significantly lower fruit splitting (1.87 kg plant-1) was recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment as compared maximum fruit splitting (2.87 kg plant-1) were recorded in withholding irrigation during March without chemicals (P1C0) treatment. The low fruit splitting in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 2 ml l-1 (P4C2) treatment might be attributed to induction of flowering and fruit development during favorable climatic condition, low variation in diurnal temperature, low incidence of mite and fungal spot under hot arid climate.

    Among different horticultural interventions, significantly minimum mite (9.63%) and fungal spot (12.72%) incidence were recorded in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning (P4) treatment as compared to maximum mite (20.33%) and fungal spot (21.35%) incidence recorded in control natural flowering (P0) treatment. Among chemical treatments, minimum mite (7.50%) and fungal spot (10.34%) incidence were recorded in ethrel 3 ml l-1 (C3) treatment as against maximum mite (23.70%) and fungal spot (23.87%) incidence were recorded in control without chemicals (C0) treatment. Among different combinations of horticultural interventions and chemical treatments, minimummite (4.72%) and fungal spot (8.50%) incidence were recorded inwithholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 3 ml l-1 (P4C3) treatment as compared to maximum mite (29.73%)and fungal spot (33.68%)incidence recorded inabsolute control (P0C0) treatment. The lower incidence of mite and fungal spot in withholding irrigation during June+pruning and thinning+ethrel 3 ml l-1 (P4C3) treatment was probably due to defoliation of leaves caused by water and chemical (ethrel) stress which minimized pest population and disease inoculums and induced new foliage free from pest and disease. Pruning and thinning caused proper ventilation and improved plant health owing to more flow of nutrients, water and photosynthetic assimilates. Application of ethylene 0.2 ml l-1 reduced bacterial blight incidence and enhanced fruit yield/quality in pomegranate (Lalithya et al., 2017). Sharma and Singh (2018) also observed that increasing pruning intensity with thinning significantly reduced disease severity on fruit and leaf surface of pomegranate.


  • Conclusion

    In pomegranate crop regulation, water stress, ethrel application and bahar pruning were influenced flowering induction, altered sex ratio and improved quality fruit yield. Water stress induced flowering during optimal climatic period which resulted in reduction of fruit splitting with improvement in fruit quality and yield. Bahar pruning balanced vegetative and reproductive growth which regulated flowering and fruiting for quality yield. Crop regulation also reduced mite and fungal spot incidence in pomegranate through defoliation and enhanced management.


  • Acknowledgement

    The authors are grateful to the ICAR–Central Institute for Arid Horticulture, Bikaner for providing required facilities and guidance to conduct the research.


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