Due to haphazard use of chemical pesticides, the beneficial insects responsible for pollination are sharply decreasing. As a result, very poor pollination takes place in Cucurbitaceae crops. Cucurbit includes cucumber, sponge gourd, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, snake gourd, pumpkin, ridge gourd, ash gourd and many more. There is increasing problem of low fruit set and if there is fruit set; very small fruits are developed that are deteriorated in the mother plant. Most farmers of world including Nepal too are suffering from this problem.
What is 3G Cutting?
3G refers to simply 3rd (Third generation) in any crop i.e. promoting the growth of third (tertiary) branch excluding the 1st & 2nd generation branches. With the seed germination only one main branch continues to grow which is defined is 1st (First generation). If this first branch gives another branch then it is defined as 2nd (Second generation). Further when this 2nd generation branch gives another branch, it is said as 3rd (Third generation).
According to the research studies, the 1st & 2nd generation branches comprise majority of Male flowers rather than female leading to very small ratio of 14:1 (Male: Female) flowers in the branch that creates us false illusion of heavy flowering but with very low fruiting. Thus, 3rd generation branches flush with majority of female flowers. In accordance with proper pollination at this condition it results higher fruit set per branch & finally per plant which ultimately leads to higher production/yield per branch or per plant. The main aim should be focused in keeping 3rd generation branch rather than others.
Steps of 3G Cutting:
3G cutting is very necessary inter-culture in growing cucurbits & very slight influence in tomato which seems easy rather being sensitive at field work.
• Initially, the main branch growing from the sown seed must be allowed to grow properly with close carefulness.
• After the main branch reaches the height of about 7-8 ft (gourds) or 5-6 ft (cucumber & pumpkin), cut the tip growing part of plant about 4-5 inches.
• After the apical part is removed it promotes the growth of secondary branch. This is because of translocation of photosynthesized food to the secondary branch.
• Now, after the secondary generation branch has grown upto 2-3 ft height, then the upper apical part of this branch also should be removed as the previous one. This will now promote the growth of tertiary branch or third generation branch.
• Now, the third-generation branch should be allowed to grow with optimum fertilization of nutrients. This will lead to heavy flowering of female flowers in the plant.
- Make sure that lower 4-5 leaves of plant do not bear any branches i.e. secondary branches.
- Cut the apical part of second-generation branches at 12 leaves stage i.e. just above the 12th leaf.
- Main branch apical part must be cut off when plant height reaches at 7-8 ft tall.
Advantages of 3G Cutting:
3G cutting is very new and innovative technique of interculture or cutting in cucurbit crops and solely new in country like Nepal. In fact this technique is very advantageous and useful to farmers from profit making point of view. Some of the promising benefits of 3G cutting technique are briefly described below: –
- 3G cutting helps farmers in increasing the production / yield per plant in the small land area.
- The number of female flowers per plant will be high & number of fruit set will be greater.
- The quality of fruit set will be of higher grade & the size of fruit will increase.
- More income is generated from the same piece of land by any farmers who adopt this technique.
- It helps in proper training of gourds, melons, pumpkin, cucumber plants so that each vine can receive proportionate amount of sunlight needed for photosynthesis and growth & development of plants.
- Similarly, long term production is possible from the same crop plant in case of special care due to better training pruning in these crops.
Disadvantages of 3G cutting in cucurbit:
Advantages or benefits are always linked with negative aspects which can be defined as disadvantages. This technique however being promising to farmers some negative aspects are always linked with it. They are mentioned below briefly.
Requires technical knowledge for carrying this inter-culture.
• Farmers find this job tedious to perform at the specific stage of growth.
• Chance of disease attack and pest infestation increase through cut wounds especially bacterial disease in cucurbits.
• Also, the production of fruit is slightly delayed than the usual one.
Author: Madhusudhan Adhikari B.Sc. Ag. Agriculture and Forestry University Rampur Chitwan