Layout or systems of Planting in Orchards

Layout or systems of Planting in Orchards

The plan showing the arrangement of plants in an orchard is known as the “orchard layout”. Any methods of layout should aim at providing maximum number of plants and proper maintenance of space for easy cultural operations in the orchard. The system of layout can be grouped in to two broad categories i.e. vertical system of planting and alternate row planting system.

            In vertical system of planting the tree in the first row is exactly perpendicular to those in the subsequent rows in the orchard. Square system and rectangular systems are included under vertical system of planting. When the trees in the adjacent row are not exactly vertical instead the tree in the even rows are midway between those in the odd rows ,then the system of layout will be alternate row planting pattern. Hexagonal, triangular and quincunx system of planting are included in this system of planting.
          There are several systems of planting; among them following are the important ones:
  1. Square System
  2. Rectangular System
  3. Triangular System
  4. Quincunx System
  5. Hexagonal System
  6. Contour System

  • It is most easy and popular method of planting fruit plant. In this system, trees are planted on each corner of a square (the row to row and plant to plant distance is same) whatever may be the planting distance. Thus, every four plants make one square. Intercultural operations can be done in both directions as the distances between trees and rows are similar (5 X 5 m, 6 X 6 m etc.). Examples of this system of planting are Mango, Banana, citrus etc.
  •        Advantages:

    1.       Irrigation channels and paths can be made straight.
    2.   Intercultural operations like ploughing, harrowing, cultivation, spraying and harvesting becomes easy.
    3.       Better supervision of the orchard is possible as one gets a view of the orchard from one end to the other.
    4.      The center place of the four plants can be utilized to grow short lived plant to gain additional profits. 
    5.       Equal distribution of space per tree is there.
         1. Comparatively less number of trees is accommodated in given area.
         2. Lots of space in the center of each square is wasted i.e, certain amount of space in the middle of four trees is wasted. 


    This system is similar to that of the square in its layout except for the difference that the spacing between the rows and between the plants in row is not equal. Trees are planted on each corner of a rectangle. As the distance between any two rows is more than the distance between any two trees in the row, there is no equal distribution of the space for tree.

    1.        Intercultural operations can be carried out easily. 
    2.        Irrigation channel can be made length and breadth wise. 
    3.     Light can penetrate into the orchard through the large inter spaces between rows. 
    4.        Better supervision is possible. 
    5.        Intercropping is possible.


    1         1.      A large area of the orchard between rows is wasted if intercropping is not practiced.
    2         2.     Less number of tree are planted.


                    The trees are planted in such a way that those in the even rows are midway between those in the odd rows. This system is based on the principles of isolateral triangle. The distance between any two adjacent trees in a row is equal to the perpendicular distance between any two adjacent rows.


        1.     In this system each tree occupies more area.


        1.     There will be less plant per hectare as compared to square system.


    This is a modification over Square system of layout. It is similar to the square system but there is on plant in the middle of the square, which is known as the filler plant (examples- Banana, Papaya, Pineapple etc). It is also known as diagonal system. It accommodates twice numbers of plants as compared to that in square system but doesn’t provide equal spacing. The central filler tree must be of short duration one. The filler tree should be removed after bearing of main tree to overcome the competition between them. This system can be followed when; the distance between the main plants is more than 10m.


               1. Additional income can be earned from the filler crop till the main crop comes into bearing.
              2. Compared to square to square systems, almost double the number of trees can be planted initially.
    3        3.  Maximum utilization of the land is possible.


            1. Skill is required to layout the orchard.
              2.  Inter/filler crop can interfere with the growth of the main crop.
              3. Intercultural operations become difficult.
              4.  Spacing of the main crop is reduced if the filler crop is allowed to continue after the growth of the main crop.


    This system accommodates 15% more plants than square system. The plants are planted at the corner of equilateral triangle. Thus, six trees are planted making a hexagon and another plant in the centre. Therefore this system is also called as ‘septule’ as a seventh tree is accommodated at the centre of the hexagon. This is a very intense method of planting and hence requires fertile land. In the suburb of cities where land is costly, this system is worth adoption. However, the laying out of system is hard and cumbersome.


             1. Fifteen percent more trees can be planted as compared to the square system.
             2. It is an ideal system for the fertile and well-irrigated land.
             3. Plant to plant distance can be maintained i.e. proper space availability per plant.
             4. More income can be obtained.


             1. Intercultural operations become difficult.
             2. Skill is required to layout the orchard.


    It is followed in hilly areas for planting fruit plants where land is undulated, irrigation of the orchard is difficult and soil erosion is the major problem. The layout is started from the lowest level and the tree rows are planted along a uniform slope at the right angle to the slope with a view to reducing the loss of top-soil due to erosion. The width of contour terrace varies according to the slope of the hill. The main purpose of this system is to minimize the soil loss due to erosion and conserve sufficient soil moisture for orchard crops.


            1.  This system can be adopted in hilly regions, can control soil erosion and helps in the conservation of moisture.
            2. Preservation of plant nutrients more efficiently.


            1. Laying out of contour lines is difficult and time-consuming.
            2. Special instruments are required for making contour lines.
            3. Planting distance may not be uniform.
            4. Rows are broken into bits and pieces.

              For other subjects related to Orchard kindly visit;
       planning of orchard by subhrajyoti's horticulture

    Hello friends, I'am Dr. Subhrajyoti , from Odisha, India. I have completed my UG & PG from OUAT and Ph.D. from JAU. During my early year of teaching, I loved to provide important information to the young agriculturists and farmers. With the suggestions from my best friend Mr. S. R. Biswal, (Ph.D. Research Scholar; website designer & content editor of (blog &YouTube), I got interested to create such an amazing platform, where I can share my knowledge to a greater range of audience and also get enriched with new ideas and knowledge. I feel privileged to be in contact with you all. I would like to thank you all for your valuable support and encouragement through viewing my articles. I will always try my best to provide the quality and latest information on this website. Thank you….

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