Cherry trees of Shimla drying, farmers approach university

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20 September 2022, New Delhi: Cherry farmers of Baghi region of Upper Shimla had approached the University of Horticulture & Forestry to find the cause of drying of cherry trees in the area.

The University had sent out a team of experts to assess the situation and concluded the presence of Phytoplasma as the cause of drying of cherry trees. The presence of phytoplasma was confirmed through fluorescence microscopy and the spread of this pathogen is through the insect leaf hopper.

The university has planned to organise camps to spread awareness in the area and to take corrective actions to save the crop. The infestation has the capability to wipe out major cherry trees of the region if the vector (insect leaf hopper) in this case is not controlled.

About two decades ago, Phytoplasma was reported to be infesting peach trees in Rajgarh of Sirmaur district which was also known as the Peach bowl of Asia. The infestation had finished majority of the peach orchards in the region.

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