Fruit Science

Ber Cultivation

Poor man’s fruit/King of Arid fruits/ Chinese fig / Chinese Date

B.N. – Zizyphus mauritiana

Family – Rhamnaceae

Origin – India to South Western Asia up to Malaysia (China)

Ch. No – 2n = 48 (4x)

Fruit type – Drupe (stone)

Edible part – Pericarp

Inflorescence type – Fasicle (cymose)

Important Point

  • Ber is a non-climacteric fruit
  • Highly salt tolerant
  • Ber is extremely drought resistant.
  • Ber is entomophilous (insect-pollinated).
  • Gametophytic self-incompatibility is present in Ber.
  • Maximum area and production Madhya Pradesh.
  • One spray of 3% thiourea or KNO3 2 days before pruning results in bud germination from a maximum number of nodes.
  • Irrigation in October leads to flower drop and during March-April the fruits are spoilage and ripening is delayed.
  • Ber ripens 150-175 days after flowering.
  • The most common method of Ber propagation is I or T budding.
  • The ideal time for training is March.
  • Harvesting
    • South India – October-November
    • North India – February-April.
  • Spraying of 750 ppm ethephon at an early stage of color change for early ripening.
  • Flowering occurs in the axils of the leaves on young shoots of the current season.


Extremely dry area- early maturing

  • Gola – Auto Octa-ploid.
  • Seb

Dry Area- late maturing

  • Umran – Auto tetraploid, originating from Rajasthan Processed and used as ‘Chhuhara’

Humid area

  • Mehrun

Mid maturing

  • Rashmi
  • Mundia
  • Banarasi


  • Sanaur -2- resistant to powdery mildew
  • Dodhia – resistant to fruit fly
  • Illaichi – 90% pollen sterility
  • Goma Kirti (Gonesh Kirti)- early variety, Selection from Unran.
  • Sanaur-2,
  • Sanaur-5,
  • Kaithali
  • Surti Katha,
  • Katha phal,
  • Jogia,
  • Seo


  • Cultivated up to an altitude of 1500 meters
  • An arid and semi-arid climate is required for better-quality fruits.
  • Tolerant to drought and waterlogging.


  • Successfully grown in marginal lands.
  • Being salt-tolerant, can be grown easily in saline and alkaline soils
  • Sandy loamy soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.


  • In India, ber is commercially propagated by budding.
  • Budding time – June or monsoon.
  • Rootstock – Ziziphus rotundifolia


  • For monsoon planting, pits of 60 cm3 size are dug from April to May.
  • In December or January for spring planting.
  • The best time for planting is the onset of the monsoon (June-July).
  • 4X4 or 6X3, or 6X6 or 6X5 planting distance is maintained.

Manure and fertilizers

  • FYM -20-30 kg/plant
  • N-400-50gm/tree, P2O5– 200gm/tree K2O- 200gm/tree.
  • Half of the amount of Nitrogen and the full amount of Phosphorous and Potash should be applied in the month of June-July.
  • The remaining amount of nitrogen should be used during September-October.


  • Light irrigation should be given to newly planted ber plants.
  • Drip irrigation is also an economical method.
  • Irrigation at the time of fruiting increases the fruit size.
  • Adopt a limited irrigation pitcher system of irrigation.


  • Mulching 75% tree canopy around the trunk with dry leaves, grasses, saw dust, etc. conserves soil moisture to a great extent.

Training and pruning in Ber

  • For a strong frame of the ber tree, training becomes necessary from the first year of planting.
  • The total number of main branches can be 4-6.
  • Pruning in ber is highly desirable to maintain the strength and productivity of the tree as well as to improve the size and quality of fruits.
  • All branches which are weak, thin, diseased, broken branches, criss-cross should be removed with sharp secateurs.
  • The best time to prune is hot, dry weather when the plants shed their leaves and go to rest or go dormant.


Treatment of GA3, 2,4,5 – T, 2,4-D, and NAA with 10-15 ppm increases the fruit set.

Interculture and intercropping

  • Keep the ber plant free from weeds, regular weeding is recommended.
  • Seasonal crops like moong, guar, cowpea, spinach, etc. can be grown in Ber.
  • Take intercrop in Ber orchard for 2 to 3 years.


  • In North India, harvesting is done from February to April.
  • Western Port – December – January.
  • South India – Nov.
  • When the color changes from green to yellow and golden yellow to brown.
  • Due to increasing in sugar, fruits become sweet and acidity decreases.


80 to 150 Kg / Tree

Pest control

  1. Fruitfiy (Carpomyia vesuviona)
  • The flies puncture young developing fruits and lay single eggs. After hatching the larvae (maggots) feed inside the pulp of the fruit and pierce the rind.


  • Collect and destroy affected fruits
  • Spray Monocrotophos (0.04%) or Rogor 30 EC (0.06%)
  • Grow tolerant varieties like Sanaur-1, Safeda, Elaichi etc.


  1. Bark-eating caterpillar (Inderbela quadinotota)

The caterpillar makes holes in the stem while eating the bark.


  • Remove galleries and point bark with 0.05% Monocrotophos 40EC.
  • Grow insect-tolerant varieties like Rohtaki Gola, Laddu Glory, etc.


  1. Hairy caterpillar (Euproctis fraterna)

During the rainy season, the caterpillars cause damage by eating the leaves.


  • Spray Seven (Carbaryl) @ 0.15%.


Disease Control

  1. Powdery Mildew (Oidium erysiphoides)
  • This disease was first observed in 1946 in Kanpur (UP).
  • White powdery spots appear in affected fruits which later cover the entire fruit area.
  • A white powdery mass is also spread on flowers and leaves.


  • Spray Karathane (Dinocap) 0.1% or Sulfox 0.2%
  • Grow tolerant varieties like Sanour-5, Chuhara etc.


  1. Sooty mould or Black Leaf Spot (Isariopsis sp.)
  • In the month of September-October, black spots develop on the affected leaves on their inner surface.
  • Leaves turn yellow to brown and eventually fall down.


  • Adopt phytosanitary measures.
  • Spray Dithane Z- 78@ 0.2%.


  1. Fruit Root (Phoma sp., Colletotrichum sp., Alternaria sp.)

Brown to black spots are formed on the fruits, later these spots surround the whole fruit.