High density planting technique is a modern method of fruit cultivation involving planting of fruit trees densely, allowing small or dwarf trees with modified canopy for better light interception and distribution and ease of mechanized field operation.
HDP and meadow orcharding gives higher yield as well as returns/unit area due to increasing the no. of trees/unit area. It is possible by regular pruning and use of bio regulators for maintaining the size and shape of the tree.
It is well known that the diversity in soil and climatic conditions in India permits growing of a large variety of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fruits in different regions, due to which India is regarded as a horticultural paradise. In recent year, the concept of fruit production is undergoing a change where emphasis is being given to higher production per unit area.
High density planting or meadow orchard system is the fastest way of reducing the gestation period and increasing the productivity of the orchards. The choice of the system of planting in the orchard depends on topography, crop, variety, plant density, production technology to be followed.
Concept of HDP in fruit crops
Accommodation of the maximum possible number of the plants per unit area to get the maximum possible profit per unit of the tree volume without impairing the soil fertility status is called the high density planting.
High density orchards were first planted in Europe at the end of the 19th century and since then these are a decline in traditional orchards with low densities. The underlying principle of a HDP is to make the best use of vertical and horizontal space per unit time and to harness maximum possible return per unit of inputs. In other words, it is the planting of more number of plants than optimum through manipulation of tree size.
Meadow Orchard System is a new concept of planting which has been developed in guava for the first time in India at CISH, Lucknow. The Meadow Orchard is a modern method of fruit cultivation using small or dwarf tree with modified canopy.
Better light distribution within tree canopy increases the number of well illuminated leaves. Fertilizer dose, spacing, growth regulation by the training and pruning, use of the mechanical devices etc. may also be tried either singly or coupled with other crop management practices for a successful adaptation of these concept.
It also promotes rate of photosynthesis that leads to high yield per unit area. Basically, the availability of a dwarf plant is the first and foremost prerequisite for establishing any high density or meadow orchard.
Different Types of Planting
Low density planting:
Non intensive system, age old planting system, trees planted at wide spacing, accommodating about 100-250 plants/ha. Dwarfing root stock not used. Trees acquire commercial production potential after 10-15 years of planting. Output from orchard during early 10-15 years is less. Less input and care intensive, holds popularity among growers.
Medium density planting
Highly minimized distance covering 250-500 plants/ha. Proper pruning undertaken to manage tree in desirable shape. More care intensive, labour requirement is more, obtained yield is also more. Lead in output reliable growers to produce amenable fruit crops like pomegranate, citrus, guava, papaya, banana, etc.
High density planting
Very condensing planting with 500-10,000 plants/ha depending on fruit crop. Medium high density:– 500-1500 plants/ha. Optimum high density:– 1,500-10,000 plants/ha. Ultra-high density:– 10,000-1,00,000 plants/ha.
Relies heavily on rigorous training and pruning. Maintenance of pruning is very heavy. Dwarfing rootstock and chemicals also used in this system. Yield as well as expenses per unit area is high.
Meadow-grassland, also known as Ultra-high density planting. 10,000-1, 00,000 plants/ha in order to maintain tree form, sever top pruning is practiced similar to mowing of grassland. Plants intended to produce yield after 2 years age. Heavy use of growth regulators as well as pruning.
Table: 1- Spacing at different planting system in fruit crops
|Sr. No.||Crop||Normal spacing (m)||HDP spacing (m)||Meadow spacing(m)|
|1.||Mango||7.5 X 7.5 - 12.5 X 12.5||3 X 2.5 – 5 X 5||2.5 X 2.5 - 3 X 1|
|2.||Banana||2 X 2 - 2 X 3||1.5 X 1.5 - 1.8 X 1.8||1.2 X1.2 - 3 X 0.5|
|3.||Citrus||6 X 6 – 8 X 8||3 -6 X 3 -4.5||-|
|4.||Papaya||2 X 2 – 3 X 3||1.8 X 1.8||1.2X1.2 - 1X1|
|5.||Gauva||6 X 6 – 8 X 8||3 X 3 – 3 X 1.5||2X2 - 2X1|
|6.||Sapota||10 X 10||5 X 5||-|
|7.||Aonla||10 X 10||5 X 5||-|
|8.||Apple||10 X 10||3 X 0.75||3 X 0.37 - 0.60|
Components of HDP and Meadow
1. Dwarf scion varieties 2. Dwarf rootstock varieties 3. Training and pruning 4. Suitable crop management practices 5. Use of bio-regulators 6. Planting Density 7.Planting Geometry 8. Mechanization
Table: 2- Dwarf Scion Varieties
|3.||Apple||Red spur, Star Crimson Spur, Gold Spur, Well Spur, Oregon Spur, Silver Spur, Red Chief, Hardi Spur|
|4.||Peach||Red heaven, Candor|
Table: 3- Dwarf Rootstock Varieties
|1.||Mango||Vellaikolumban (Alphanso), Olour (Himsagar and Langra)|
|2.||Gauva||Pusa srijan, Psidium friedrichsthalianum, Aneuploid-82|
|3.||Citrus||Trifoliate orange, Sour orange, Citranges|
|4.||Apple||M4, M7, M9, M26, MM106, M27 (Ultra-dwarfing)|
Training and Pruning
Training and pruning are effective tools in HDP and meadow orcharding by virtue of their impact on shape and size control of the tree. The training begins when the tree is first planted and continues throughout its productive life.
Proper tree forms, branch angle and limb spacing in itself aids in growth control. First training is done after one growing season. Each plant is allowed to maintain single stem (main stem) with upward growth upto 60- 80 cm and then four scaffold branches are allowed in four directions to make the tree frame.
Thereafter, 2 shoots arising from each primary branch at a distance of 60-75cm from main stem is allowed to form secondary and likewise the tertiary branches. After start of bearing in plants, shoots arising from secondary and tertiary branches are given 15-20 cm deep pruning soon after fruit harvest.
Spray of 1% urea combined with 0.2% Blitox-50 or any other copper fungicide should be done soon after pruning.
Use of bio-regulators
1. Prolonging dormancy 2. Reducing vegetative growth 3.Flowering 4.Reducing fruit drop
Adoption of suitable crop management practices
Mulching , Fertigation , Organic farming , INM , IPM
Even though a small canopy with a high number of well-illuminated leaves is efficient in photosynthesis but it is very poor in light interception, which leads to low potential yield per hectare. Light interception could be improved by increasing tree density.
An optimum tree density is the level of density which is required to facilitate optimum light distribution and interception leading to high photosynthesis. As a result, yield per hectare is maximized. An optimum light interception is a factor of plant form, planting density, tree arrangement and leaf response to light for photosynthesis.
Optimum light interception can be defined as a level of light intercepted by an orchard system above or below which, the economic yield will be reduced.
Planting system is a combination of tree arrangement and plant form. Tree arrangement in HDP system must have sufficient alleyways for movement of farm machinery. The way trees are arranged also determines the light distribution pattern and light interception level.
Single hedge row and double hedge row system and square system having enough alley space is being practiced in developed countries for HDP.
Another component in high density fruit planting is the system automation which contributes to high production. One of the important farm operations that can be automated is irrigation and fertigation. In fact, irrigation and fertigation have been identified as one of the key factors for the success of high density orchards.
Plant should not be kept under stress after pruning therefore, assured irrigation coupled with fertigation is essential after pruning and during fruit development in high density orchards.
Table:4- Comparison between Traditional system and HDP/Meadow system of fruit growing
|Sr.No.||Attributes||Traditional system||HDP/Meadow system|
|1.||Tree numbers||Few large trees/ha (150-200 trees/ha)||Many small trees/ha (500-1,00,000 trees/ha )|
|2.||Bearing||After two years||From first year|
|3.||Production||Lower yield||Higher yield|
|4.||Management||Difficult to manage due tolarge tree size||Easy to manage due to smalltree size|
|5.||Labour requirement||Requires more labour||Requires less labour|
|6.||Production cost||Higher cost of production||Lower cost of production|
|8.||Quality||Large canopy, poorsunlight penetration andPoor quality fruits.||Small canopy, better air andSunlight penetration, mini.disease incidence and highquality fruits with good colourdevelopment|
Merits of HDP/Meadow
- Best utilization of land and resources.
- Higher yield per unit area with quality fruits.
- Facilitate better utilization of solar radiation and increase the photosynthetic efficiency of the plant.
- It is amenable to modern inputs application techniques such as drip irrigation, fertigation, mechanization etc.
- Early economic returns.
Demerits of HDP/Meadow
- Initially become little costly than conventional system.
- Economic life span of the orchard becomes lower.
- Chance of reduction in fruit size and weight.
- Intercultural operation becomes difficult.
- Maintenance of plant architecture becomes a tedious job.
HDP and meadow orcharding gives higher yield as well as returns/unit area due to increasing the no. of trees/unit area. It is possible by regular pruning and use of bioregulators for maintaining the size and shape of the tree. Mango planted at spacing of 5m x 5m (Kesar and Alphanso) and 3m x 1m (Keitt) gives higher yield under HDP and meadow, respectively.
Guava planted at spacing 2.5m x 2.5m and 3m x 6m under HDP and 2m x 1m under meadow gives higher production as well as more income in Allahabad Safeda and L-49. Citrus gives higher production when planted at 6m x 3m spacing under HDP.
For HDP in banana is planted at 1.0 x 1.2m spacing gives better yield in cv. Rajapuri.
There is need to more research on time and intensity of pruning on each fruit crop. Screen the varieties having less canopy area and erect growth. Research on PGR for increasing yield and improving quality under HDP as well as meadow orchard system. Needs more research on development of meadow orchard in each fruit crop.
- Anonymous (2006). Study on development of plant canopy and fruit yield of Kagzilime as influenced by planting density. Horticulture Research Report of J.A.U., Junagadh. pp: 41-43
- Athani, S.I.; Revanappa; Dharmatti P.R. (2009). Effect of plant density on bunch weight and yield of banana cv. Rajapuri. Karnataka J. Agric. Sci., 2 (1): 143-146.
- Dalvi N.V.; Salvi B.R.; Chavan S.A. and Kandalkar M. P. (2010). High density planting in mango cv. Alphanso. Hort. Sci. 5(2): 117.119.
- Kundu S. (2007). Effect of high density planting on growth, flowering and fruiting of guava (Psidium guajava ). Acta Hort. 735: 267-270.
- Singh Gorakh (2008). High density and meadow orcharding of guava. Extension Bulletin- 35: pp- 6 and 10.
*H.D. Choudhary, S.K. Khandelwal, M. K. Choudhary, O.P. Gadawal and M.R. Choudhary
SKN College of Agriculture, Jobner