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High-Density & Meadow Orchard: Principles, Component and Density

High-Density Planting: Planting of fruit trees closer rather than conventionally recommended spacing using special orchard management techniques with the objective to get maximum productivity without compromising quality is termed High-Density Planting. The High-Density Planting (HDP) is also called Closed Density Planting or High-Density Orchard.
Meadow orchard: When ultra closer planting of apple is done accommodating about 70,000 trees per hectare and harvesting is done by moving around the orchard, the planting is often referred as meadow orchard or meadow-grassland or ultra high-density orchard or meadow system. In meadow orchard, a bed of 10 to 15 rows is closely (30x45cm) planted an alley of 2.5m width is given between two beds.
 The High-Density Planting (HDP) was first developed in Europe during the sixties for an apple orchard. Now high-density planting is in practice for the cultivation of apple, peach, pear, almond etc in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to these temperate fruits the high-density planting techniques have also been developed for mango, citrus, pineapple, papaya, and banana. The high-density planting still has to popularize at commercial scale in India.
1-Obtaining maximum productivity through planting more number of fruit trees per unit area.
2- Optimizing the use of vertical and horizontal space.
3- Optimizing the exploitation of natural resources like land, air solar energy and water.
4- Getting higher yield of quality fruits.
Components: A scientific high density planting consists following components:
1.   Selection of high yielding dwarf varieties responsive to training & pruning.
2.   Propagation on dwarfing rootstocks and inter stocks.
3.   Proper training and pruning of fruit trees.
4.   Use of proper plant growth regulators.
5.   Proper control measures for diseases and pests.
6.   Suitable agro-techniques and other orchard management practices.
Planting distance or density:
In high density planting the spacing varies according to botanical species of the fruit and even in same fruit species planting is done at different spacing. Based on the spacing the high density planting is commonly classified into three groups: Normal high density planting in which up to 2000 trees are planted in one hectare, Optimum high density planting that accommodates up to 12,000 trees per hectare and in Maximum or ultra high density planting even up to 1 Lakh trees may be accommodated in a hectare.
Four types high-density planting are recognized for apples: Low high-density planting accommodates less than 250 trees per hectare, moderate high-density planting accommodates 250-500 trees per hectare, high high-density planting accommodates 500-1250 trees per hectare while in ultra high-density planting more than 1250 trees are accommodated in a hectare of land. Read more on High Density Training, pruning, merits and demerits.

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