See also: Orchard (homonymy)
A orchard is a space of ground reserved for the culture of Fruit trees or Arboriculture. There are various types: commercial orchards, the orchards academies and the meadow-orchards.
Organization of a commercial orchard
Localization and climateTo create an orchard, it is important to choose a ground located on a good site and to prepare this ground well before the plantation.
The species selected to be cultivated in the orchards must be selected by taking account of the local climate. One can however cultivate certain species apart from their natural zone of growth by choosing Cultivar S and Porte-greffe S adapted on the ground and the climate of the orchard.
In moderated zone, the orchards are frost-susceptible late. Indeed, if the flowers undergo one important period of freezing in spring, the harvest of the year is definitively lost. This is why the orchards are mainly located in moderate zone (as of the zones Littoral be for example). In the colder zones, it is possible, to limit the risks, to select more rustic species and cultivars with late flowering.
StructureDuring the creation of an orchard, it is necessary to comply with certain rules dependant on the species cultivated and the climatic zone. In the majority of the cases, one will take care to leave a passage for the vehicles during harvests. One will also try to plant the rows on a North-South axis because they are the two exposures least favorable to a good growth, North being too cold and the too hot South.
Example of an orchard of apple treeUntil the beginning of the Years 1980, one thought that it was necessary that the trees are laid out in order to optimize the exposure to the light by preventing that the ones make shade with the others. One thus laid out of the rows of trees all the 5 to 6 meters. In these rows, the trees were spaced from 3 to 5 meters according to their species, their form and the Porte-greffe used, a tree led in palmette occupying less space than a solid shaft wind. More the ground is poor and dry and more it is advisable to increase spacing.
However, a recent study indicates that in the modern orchards, by using recent Cultivar S with the compact format grafted on dwarf Porte-greffe (M9 type), one can drastiquement reduce spacing between the trees. The diagram recommended is a system of rows spaced of only 3 meters (or 4 meters on inclined ground) with a very low space between each tree (90 cm for the weak varieties like Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, Empire, Macoun, Gala and 1,2 m for the more vigorous varieties like McIntosh, Fuji, Cortland or Jonagold). In this configuration, each tree produces a little less but as one has some much more on same space, the production can be multiplied by 2 even 3. The principal disadvantages of this system are that it requires heavy a enough initial investment for the purchase of the very many trees necessary, a system of adapted irrigation and poses it essential structures of support for the good behavior of this type of orchard.
French statisticsIn 2002, in France (mainly in the south, the Rhone-Alps, Provence-Alp-Coast of Azure, Aquitanian, Languedoc-Roussillon), one counted a little more than 26.000 farms having an orchard of an intermediate size from 6 to 7 Hectare S.
Production costsLabor necessary to the exploitation of an orchard accounts for approximately 50% of the production costs. The remainder of the loads is distributed with equal shares between the expenses of installation (material, buildings), the provisioning (trees and multiple Intrant S), the overheads and of management.
LaborHarvest generally accounts for 50% of the costs of labor of an exploitation. The remainder is distributed between the operations of winter (pulling up, size of formation and plantations) and the operations of servicing (size in green, fertilization, polishing). Indeed, of the regular operations of size, lavished by qualified personnel, are essential to the good development of an orchard in order to balance the vegetative growths and the fruit-bearing growths. The Canopée of each tree must be formed in order to optimize the exposure in the light of all the parts of the tree.
In order to increase the quantity of fruits, one also often proceeds to a polishing of the floral buttons and a Arcure of the branches.
After harvest, it is recommended to collect the fruits fallen on the ground to avoid the development of parasite S. the old ones let pigs clean the ground of the orchard for that.
The costs of labor representing the principal load of an exploitation, the nurserymen try to mechanize these operations as much as possible by developing novel methods of the " type; wall fruitier".
A risky exploitationThe commercial exploitation of an orchard is a risky operation depending on many elements such as:
- a market of the very fluctuating offer and request (currently the offer is more important than the request for very many fruits)
- the choice of the varieties of fruits. A variety can be very " with the mode" at the time of the very obsolete plantation of the trees and being 10 years later. It is then necessary sometimes to double-graft the trees with a new more required variety.
- an important exposure to the climatic risks (even if there exist insurances to protect itself from this kind of problems):
- the late Gel can reduce an annual harvest to nothing,
- the Grêle can causes large damage (but it is possible, though expensive, to install nets anti-hail with the top of the trees),
- of cold exceptional can kill the trees and oblige to replant the entirety of the orchard the following year.
- the problems of Sécheresse can be partially regulated by a good system of Irrigation but too a strong heat in summer or at the time of harvest gives small and little coloured fruits,
- a good management of the plant health risks implying to have of the qualified personnel, often difficult to find,
- a financial capacity making it possible to invest in a production (ground, system of irrigation, purchase of the trees, staking) which does not bring back " with plein" that after several years of exploitation.
The low profitability (or often losses) related to the commercial exploitation of the orchards made that, in France, between 1995 and 2005, the surfaces of culture allocated with the orchard decreased by 20%
Tropical zonesBanana, Cacao-tree, Coffee-tree, Coconut, Guava tree, Mango tree, Papaw tree, Tea plant
Moderate zonesApricot tree, Almond tree, Cherry tree, Chestnut, Khaki, Hazel tree, To drown, Pecan tree, To fish, Pear tree, Apple tree, Plum tree
Orchards worth visiting in France
- Orangery of the castle of Versailles
- Orchard of the Garden of Luxembourg to Paris: a thousand of fruit trees including more than six hundred varieties of apples and pears.
- Garden Orchard of Malicorne
- more modestly, orchards of apple trees, pear trees and cormiers of the Garden of the priory of Orsan
- conservatory Orchard
- Fruit trees
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