Orchard System

An orchard design combines a sequence of orchard practices into a coherent system to optimize light interception and distribution. One of the most efficient methods to decrease the portion of the canopy receiving inadequate light is to decrease tree size and plant more individual trees per hectare, thus greatly increasing well-exposed and productive canopy. Training systems such as the various trellis forms and the slender spindle capitalize on this principle. Tree shapes in

Tree Height Reflectors Cultivar Rootstock

Training System

Training System

Pyramidal Tree Shape

Pruning

FIGURE L1.1. Orchard cultural practices to manage light

Pruning

Small Trees/ Higher Densities

Pyramidal Tree Shape

North-South Rows

FIGURE L1.1. Orchard cultural practices to manage light which the bottoms are wider than the tops increase the percentage of well-exposed canopy. Tree height becomes a concern if one row begins to shade the adjacent row. The most efficient method of reducing tree size is by size-controlling rootstocks. In addition to affecting tree size, some rootstocks impart an open, spreading character to the canopy that further improves light penetration. Some cultivars also influence canopy density.

There are many ways that light can be managed in fruit tree orchards. Relative importance of each is estimated in Figure L1.1. Light is the most important factor determining yield, fruit size, and quality, and its optimum management equates to improved orchard efficiency.

Related Topics: CARBOHYDRATE PARTITIONING AND PLANT GROWTH; DWARFING; FLOWER BUD FORMATION, POLLINATION, AND FRUIT SET; FRUIT COLOR DEVELOPMENT; FRUIT GROWTH PATTERNS; HIGH-DENSITY ORCHARDS; ORCHARD PLANNING AND SITE PREPARATION; TRAINING AND PRUNING PRINCIPLES; TRAINING SYSTEMS

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Ferree, D. C. and J. W. Palmer (1982). Effect of spur defoliation and ringing during bloom on fruiting, fruit mineral level, and net photosynthesis of 'Golden Delicious' apple. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 107:1182-1186.

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Jackson, J. E. (1980). Light interception and utilization by orchard systems. In Janick, J. (ed.), Horticultural reviews, Volume 2 (pp. 208-267). Westport, CT: AVI Publishing Co.

Lakso, A. N. (1994). Apple. In Schaffer, B. and P. C. Anderson (eds.), Handbook of environmental physiology offruit crops, Volume 1 (pp. 3-42). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.

Marini, R. P., D. Sowers, and M. M. Marini (1991). Peach fruit quality is affected by shade during final swell of fruit growth. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 116:383-389.

Retzlaff, W. A., L. E. Williams, andT. M. DeJong (1991). The effect of different atmospheric ozone partial pressures on photosynthesis and growth of nine fruit and nut tree species. Tree Physiology 8:93-103.

Wunsche, J. N. and A.N. Lakso (2000). The relationship between leaf area and light interception by spur and extension shoot leaves and apple orchard productivity. HortScience 35:1202-1206.

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