After being removed from the central insecticide board's approved list of insecticides, tree spray oil (TSO), commonly known as summer oil, is out from the official spray schedule of the state horticulture department.
However, TSO is available in the market, even with the state-owned-Himachal Pradesh horticulture produce market committee (HMPC), and people have been purchasing it as the spray time is nearing.
The Central Insecticide Board (CIB) last year had issued notice to all the insecticide firms to get their product registered with it. However, companies into production of horticultural mineral oil failed to register their product which was crucial for apple crop soon after the dormancy stage.
"CIB has not banned the product but did not recommend it for the growers," said a horticulture official, adding though it wasn't found toxic or harmful for the crop, it was essential to register the product.
"Once companies register their product with the CIB, it will recommend it and we will put it in the official spray schedule of the horticulture department," Joginder Dhiman, senior plant protection officer, horticulture department said.
Use of unregistered chemical is also violation of Central Insecticide Act 1968.
Dhiman said since the CIB did not recommend it, the horticulture department cannot promote the chemical howsoever important it would be for the crop. An agro economist told HT that horticulture mineral oil was by product of crude oil and companies involved in its production were not worried since selling TSO was not their primary business.
Young farmer Kunal Chauhan said TSO was available and removing it from the spray schedule would not make any impact as there has not been any alternative to this. "It is sued to curb the scale, wooly aphid and mite which are deadly for apple crop. We cannot stop spraying TSO," he added.
Use of TSO
Tree spray oil (TSO), also known as summer oil, is used to curb the mite, scale and wooly aphid and used after stage of dormancy. The best time to use TSO is before the pink bud stage during mid of March in middle height orchards.