Apple trees in Lalbagh bear fruit after four decades

Apple trees in Lalbagh bear fruit after four decades

Apple trees in Lalbagh bear fruit after four decades

Apple trees, which once dotted the City’s contours before fading out, are back, with saplings planted in Lalbagh botanical garden six years ago finally bearing fruit. 

“Hannumaaruvavana Haadu,” an old Kannada poem by Kayyara Kinhanna Rai, testifies to Bangalore’s tryst with the fruit. But, apple cultivation gradually faded out after the last apple tree vanished from the garden city around four decades ago.

Two of the four trees planted by the horticulture department in Lalbagh in 2008 have not only borne fruit, but also inspired some farmers in Hesarghatta to take up apple cultivation.

“We experimented with the idea to have different varieties of trees in our garden. This being a botanical garden, we planted these trees. But we were surprised when they bore fruit,” said Gunavantha, deputy director of Lalbagh botanical garden.

“We had apple trees in the City earlier. The climate here was considered conducive to apple cultivation. In the 1940s, apples were grown along roadsides, but as the climate here became hot, fruits and trees developed a disease, lost resistance power and were wiped out,” explained M Jagadish, joint director, Department of Horticulture.

Jagadish, the person responsible for planting the new saplings, got four apple, two pear and two peach trees from Himachal Pradesh when he was in charge of Lalbagh. Two apple trees, which survived along with the peach and pear trees, have borne fruit.
Incidentally, no special care was taken, except for the regular watering and nurturing schedules.

“Return of the cold climate might have led to this,” Jagadish said. “Apples require a temperature ranging between sub-zero degrees and 10 degrees normally, but this particular variety of Roman apples can withstand a little bit of warmth.”

“This apple variety was cultivated widely in the City earlier,” Gunavantha said.