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Systems of Orchard Planting

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The arrangement of plants in the orchard is known as lay-out. The following points need to be considered before choosing a system of planting.
 It should accommodate maximum number of plants per unit area.
 It should allow sufficient space for the development of each tree.
 It enables equal distribution of area under each tree.
 The intercultural operations such as ploughing,spraying etc are easily carried out.
 It makes supervision more easy and effective.

Descriptions of the different systems:
(1) Square system:

 In this system a tree is planted at each corner of a square what ever may the Planting distance.
 The distance between row to row and plant to plant is same.

  • Most commonly followed and simplest of all and easy to lay out.
  • Irrigation channels and paths can be made straight.
  • The possibility of cultural operations in two directions is the greatest advantage of this system
  • Better supervision of the orchard is possible as one gets a view of the orchard from one end to the other.
  • Comparatively less number of trees are accommodated in given area.
  • Distance between plant to plant and row to row remains the same and , hence, certain amount of space in the middle of four trees is wasted.
(2) Rectangular system:
 Similar to square system, except that the distance between plants in the row and distance between rows is not the same but different.
 Row to row distance is more than that from plant to plant in the row.
  • Intercultural operations can be carried out easily in the early stages.
  • Irrigation channel can be made length and breadth wise
  • Light can penetrate into the orchard through the large inter spaces between rows.
  • Better supervision is possible.
  • Intercropping is possible.
  • Intercultivation is some what difficult when the trees have fully grown.
  • A large area of the orchard between rows is wasted if inter cropping is not practised.
  • Less number of trees are planted.
(3) Quincunx or filler system:
 This is also known as filler or diagonal system.
 This is the modification of a square system of layout distinguished to make use of the empty space in the center of each square by planting another plant is called filler tree. Generally the filler tree will be precocious and shorter duration and not be of same kind as those planted on the corner of the square. Guava, phalsa. plum, papaya, peaches, kinnow are important fillers.
They yield some crop before the permanent trees come into bearing.
 The filler tree is removed when the main fruit trees grow to full stature and start bearing.
This system is followed when the distance between permanent trees exceeds 8m or more or where permanent trees are very slow in their growth and also take longer time for coming to bearing. Eg. Sapota, Jackfruit.
  • Additonal income can be earned from the filler crop till the main crop comes into bearing.
  • The main advantage of this system is that the plant population is about double than the square system.
  • Maximum utilization of the land is possible.
  • Skill is required to layout the orchard.
  • Inter / filler crop can interfere with the growth of the main crop.
  • The greatest disadvantage of this system is that, it is difficult to carry out intercultural operations on account of the filler tree.
  • Spacing of the main crop is reduced if the filler crop is allowed to continue after the
  • growth of the main crop.
(4) Hexagonal system:
 This is also called as equilateral system. Some times a seventh tree is planted in the centre of the hexagon, and then it is calle septule system.
 In this system the trees are planted in each corner of the equilateral triangle.
 This system differs from the square system in which the distance between the rows is less than the distance between the trees in a row, but the distance from tree to tree in six directions remains the same.
 This system is usually employed, where land is expensive and is very fertile with good availability of water.
  • Compared to square system 15% more trees can be planted.
  • It is an ideal system for the fertile and well irrigated land.
  • Plant to plant distance can be maintained the same.
  • More income can be obtained.
  • This system permits cultivation in three directions.
  • The plants occupy the land fully without any waste as in square system.
  • Intercultural operations become difficult.
  • Skill is required to layout the orchard.
  • This system is not generally followed because it is difficult to adopt in practice in the field.
(5) Triangular system:
 The trees are planted as in square system but the difference being that those in the even numbered rows are midway between those in the odd rows instead of opposite to them.
 Triangular system is based on the principle of isolateral triangle. The distance between any two adjacent trees in a row is equal to the perpendicular distance between any two adjacent rows.
 However, the vertical distance, between immediate two trees in the adjacent rows, is equal to the product of (1.118 x distance between two trees in a row).
Merits and demerits:
1. This system is not much of practical importance.
2. Plants are not placed at equal distance from all sides.
3. When compared to square system, each tree occupies more area and hence itaccommodates few trees per hectare than the square system.
All the above systems are possible when the land is flat, plain or level, but not on uneven lands and sub-mountane areas (hilly areas).On undulating lands and hill slopes different types of planting systems are followed,Viz.,contour and terracing.

(6) Contoursystem:  

It is generally followed on the hills where the plants are planted along the contour across the slope.
It particularly suits to land with undulated topography, where there is greater danger of erosion and irrigation of the orchard is difficult.
The main purpose of this system is to minimize land erosion and to conserve soil moisture so as to make the slope fit for growing fruits and plantation crops.
The contour line is so designed and graded in such a way that the flow of water in the irrigation channel becomes slow and thus finds time to penetrate into the,soil without causing erosion.
Terrace system on the other hand refers to planting in flat strip of land formed across a sloping side of a hill, lying level along the contours.
Terraced fields rise in steps one above the other and help to bring more area into productive use and also to prevent soil erosion.
The width of the contour terrace varies according to the nature of the slope. If the slope becomes stiff, the width of terrace is narrower and vice-versa.
The planting distance under the contour system may not be uniform.
When the slope is less than 10% contour bunding is practiced and if the slope is greater than 10%contour terracing is practiced.
In this system the trees are planted along the contour line at right angles.
Cultivation and irrigation can be practiced along the tree rows only.

  • This system can be adopted in hilly regions and in leveled land. 
  • Contour system can control the soil erosion. 
  • It helps simultaneously in the conservation of water. 
  • Preservation of plant nutrients supplied by manures and fertilizers possible. 
  • Contours form an easy path for movements on the hill slpes for carrying out various orchard operations such as weeding, manuering, pruning, harvesting, disease and pest control. 
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