Introduction of Litchi Fruit: – Litchi is a one of the subtropical evergreen table fruit grown in India. This fruit is native to china and introduced in India at the end of 17th century. India is a no.2 producer of Litchi fruit next to China. In India, Bihar is no.1 producer of litchi fruit. This fruit is very famous for its pleasant flavor and pulp. This fruit is being consumed as table, dried and canned fruit, its juice is an excellent source of vitamin ‘C’, protein, calcium and phosphorous. This fruit belongs to the family of “Sapindaceae” and genus of “Litchi”.
Health benefits of Litchi fruit: – the following are the uses and health benefits of Litchi fruit.
• Litchi has anti cancer properties.
• Litchi normalizes the blood pressure and heart rate thereby protecting against strokes.
• Litchi keeps the digestion strong, maintains a clean stomach, improves appetite and cures heartburn and burning sensation in the stomach.
• Litchi is a wealthy source of phosphorus and magnesium which supports powerful bones.
• Litchi is an excellent source of Vitamin C and is also a good source of B complex vitamins suh as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and foliates.
• Ligonol is a low molecular weight polyphone found abundantly in litchi fruit. Oligopoly has serval anti- oxidant and anti-influenza virus actions. It also helps to improve blood circulation, reduces weight and protects the skin.
• Litchi is quite low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is rich in dietary fiber, hence aids in weight loss.
Major Production states of litchi fruit: – Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab and Haryana.
Varieties of Litchi fruit: – There are many varieties grown in different parts of the country. Here is the list of varieties commercially cultivated state wise in India.
Stare Name Varieties Grown
Bihar and Jharkhand China, Deshi, Purbi, Early & Late Bedana, Mclea, Muzzaffarpur, Rose Scented,
Kasba and hahi.
Orissa China, Muzaffarpur and Bombai.
Punjab and Haryana Saharanpur, Dehradun, Calcuttia, Muzzaffarpur, Seedless (Late) and Rose
Scented.
Uttaranchal Rose Scented, Clculttia, Early and Late Seedless.
Uttar Pradesh Seedless Early, Seedless Late, Early large red, Late Large red, Calcutta, Rose
Scented and Dehradun.
West Bengal Muzaffarpur, China, Deshi, Purbi, Elachi Early, Elachi Late, Bombai, Goothi,
Bedana, Potee and Kalyani Selection.
Climate Requirement for Litchi fruit farming: – This fruit thrives best in moist climatic conditions and required well distributed rainfall. This fruit tree does not tolerate frost and the optimum temperature for its best growth and yield is 30ᵒ C to 32ᵒ C. Dry hot summer winds damage the fruit crop where as wet spring, dry summer and light winter is most favorable for its fruits growth.
Soil Requirement for Litchi fruit farming: – This fruit tree can be grown on wide range of soils. However, well drained deep loam soils rich in organic matter are best suited for its cultivation. They even grow best bin light sandy loam soils and lime content in the soils also beneficial for its growth. The ideal soil ph range for best yield is 5.0 to 7.0.
Propagation in Litchi fruit farming: – Propagation is done through seeds as well as vegetative method.
• Seed Propagation: – This is NOT common method of propagation as seed propagation takes long time (about 7 to 10 year) to establish Litchi tree.
• Vegetative propagation: This is the most common method of propagation in Litchi fruit farming. In this method, Litchi is propagated successfully by cuttings and grafting. The best and most common practice adopted all over the world is air-layering method.
Land Preparation, Planting in Litchi fruit Farming: – The land should be leveled thoroughly and cleared from previously grown crops vegetation. Land should be ploughed 2 or 3 times with a desi plough and harrow. Make sure to have wind breakers as hot dry summer winds will affect the fruit crop. To break the winds, tall trees like eucalyptus, Jamun or mango should be planted at the borders of the field in proper direction.
Air-layering propagation is usually done at onset of monsoon and the air layers can be detached from the mother plant after 60 to 75 days.
The best planting time is August to September and in case of irrigation, planting can be done in spring and early summer.
Dig the pits size of 1 m X 1 m X 1 meter with a distance between plants and rows of 10 meters and these pits should be dug few weeks before the plantation. Usually a square system of plantation is followed in Litchi fruit farming. The pits should be filled with 25 kg of farm yard manure (FYM) and fertilizer of 2kg bone meal and 300 grams muriatic of potash per pit. Adding soil from old Litchi orchard will be beneficial. Once planting is done irrigation should be carried for soil settlement.
Weed Control in Litchi Fruit Farming: – It is essential to keep the weed free during the initial years of growth after plantation. Litchi orchards should be ploughed with soil turning plough & harrowed once after the harvesting of litchi fruits in June or July. Mulching will also control the weed growth at the plant base.
Mulching in Litchi fruit farming: – To conserve the soil moisture and control the weed growth straw may be used for mulching.
Irrigation in Litchi fruit farming: – Carry about 2 to 3 irrigations at the interval of 45 to 60 days during winter for fruit bearing Litchi trees. In case of hot summer months, irrigation should be given at 2 week interval. Drip irrigation system can be adopted for better use of water. However, basin or ring system of irrigation is recommended in case of abundant water.
Pruning in Litchi Fruit farming: – Usually pruning is necessary to bring the proper shape to the plant and frequent removal of dead or diseased branches and damaged shoots should be carried out as part of the pruning process. At the time of harvesting, the part of the school beating the fruit should be removed to promote new growth. In case of heavy vegetative growth, both root and shoot pruning needs to be done.
Intercropping in Litchi fruit farming: – Farmers should consider intercropping for extra income during first 4 years as Litchi is a long gestation crop taking about 5 to 6 years to the fruiting stage. The main advantage of inter cropping is enriching the soil. Any vegetable inter crops and legume crops can be considered. Inter crops like cucumber, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, moong dal, cow pea be cultivated.
Manures and Fertilizers in Litchi fruit farming: – The recommended dosage of manure and fertilizers in Litchi fruit farming as follows.
Plant Age (in years) Manure/Fertilizer (per plant/year in kg’s)
Farm yard CAN (Calcium ammonium- super Muriate
Manure nitrate) phosphate of Potash
1-3 10 to 20 0.3 to 1.00 0.2 to 0.6 0.05 to 0.15
4-6 25 to 40 1.0 to 2.0 0.75 to 1.25 0.20 to 0.30
7-10 40 to 50 2.0 to 3.0 1.50 to 2.0 0.35 to 0.45
Above 10 60 3.5 2.25 0.60
Harvesting in Litchi fruit farming: – The litchi tree has a long growing period with four different phases. Young non-bearing stage (1 to 3 years), young bearing stage (6 to 10 years), junior adult bearing stage (11 to 20 years) and senior adult bearing stage (21 years and above). During the junior adult bearing phase the tree enters into a condition when the vegetative growth and reproductive growth remain relatively balanced. Fruiting begins from 5 to 6 years of age in case of plants propagated through air layering. After flowering, it takes 70 to 100 days for the fruits to ripe in most of the commercial varieties of India. On an average, the litchi tree yields 40 100 kg fruits annually depending on the variety, season & age.