Home garden design > Fruit growing > Planting fruit trees

Planting fruit trees

There are numerous systems for planting orchards. Many fruit growers have worked out their own systems. Those mostly used are the rectangular, quincunx, alternate and hexagonal, or modifications of them.

The rectangular or square system is most used. In this plan the trees are set at the corners of a rectangular area. Most often the rectangle is a square, but not infrequently the sides are unequal. This is the simplest system to lay out. Its chief disadvantage is that it does not make economical use of the land, there being an area in the center of each rectangle little used by the trees.

The Quincunx System was devised to offset the difficulty just mentioned. In this system an additional tree is set in the center of each rectangle. By this method the land is more fully occupied and the number of trees nearly doubled. In effect this system is doubling the number of rows and making the trees very much closer together. For example, where trees are set 30 feet between the rows, and 30 feet in the row, by the quincunx plan, the rows become fifteen feet apart, and the trees 21.25 feet from those nearest it. It will be seen that unless the rows are more than thirty feet apart, setting a tree in the center of the rectangle would so re uce the distance between the rows that difficulty would be encountered in orchard operations. This system is most often employed at present where fillers are used.

The alternate System is designed to correct the difficulties arising from the former. It differs from it essentially in widening the distance between the rows, maintaining the same distances between the trees in the row, and is therefore better adapted to plantings, under 40 feet. In the alternate plan with trees 30 feet apart in the rows the rows can be placed much closer together without reducing the space between the trees in adjoining rows so much as to interfere with orchard operations. By this method, the number of trees per acre may, be increased, the land better distributed among them, and inconvenience in orchard operations avoided. It will be seen that this method approaches the hexagonal system for when the diagonal distance between the trees of adjoining rows equals that between the trees in the same row, then we have the hexagonal system.

The alternate system is frequently used in close plantings. In an orchard with rows 20 feet apart, set by the alternate system, it will be found much easier to get between the trees than if the rectangular system is employed for the distance between the nearest trees of the adjoining row will be approximately 28 feet, 3 inches or over 8 feet more than when set by the rectangular. Set at this distance the space between the trees of adjoining rows would be the same as when planted 40 feet apart by the quincunx. This system, would seem therefore, to be preferable to the quincunx where trees are to be permanent and set less than 40 feet apart.

The Hexagonal System or equilateral triangle system,is rapidly gaining favor as the most economical system for planting orchards. 1n this system each tree is equidistant from the nearest neighbor in any direction. The land is equally distributed among the trees, and it is practically all used without crowding the trees. It also has the advantage of increasing the number of trees about 15 per cent over the rectangular system without reducing the distance between trees.