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orchard,generally an area on which fruit or nut trees are planted and cultivated. The words grove and plantation are often used when the fruits are tropical, e.g., a "citrus grove" or a "banana plantation." The distinction among the three terms arises from common usage rather than definition. The orchard of ancient times was a pleasure garden of formal design, often adorned with fountains and statuary. Today orchards are more commonly commercial ventures, sometimes covering many acres. Machinery is now often used for cultivating, spraying, picking, and packing. The ground beneath the trees may be kept clear, or cover crops may be grown, or the two practices may alternate. In young orchards it is usually possible to grow vegetables and berry fruits as cover crops in the rows between the trees, thus helping maintenance costs until the trees begin to bear.
a plot of land occupied by perennial fruit plants. Mixed plantings of fruit and berry crops are often called orchards. In the USSR the following types of orchards are distinguished: kolkhoz, sovkhoz, collective, household, and school. The minimum size for commercial kolkhoz and sovkhoz orchards is 50 to 75 hectares (ha). A smaller area would not make possible the use of the necessary machines and would not make for efficient fruit growing. The productivity of a commercial orchard largely depends on its site. For example, elevated plains, lowlands, and cold slopes are unsuitable for orchards. In the central and northeastern European USSR, in parts of the Urals, and in Siberia, the most suitable areas for orchards are southern, southwestern, and western slopes that have grades of 5°–8° and are protected from prevailing winds. In southern regions, northern and northwestern slopes are used for orchards. Thermophile species, such as peaches and figs, are raised on southern slopes.
The best soils are those that are fertile, loose, and water permeable. Harmful salts, especially chlorides and sulfates, should be absent. The roots should penetrate the soil strata and seams easily. Nonsaline ground waters must be no closer than 2 m from the surface, and saline ground waters no closer than 3 m. In the central region of the European USSR the feeding area is 4 × 8 m or 6 × 8 m for apple and pear trees, 3 × 4 m or 4 × 4 m for cherry and plum trees, and 1.25–1.5 × 2.0–2.5 m for berry crops. In southern regions, trees are planted somewhat sparsely, and in northern locales, more densely. Orchards in a particular region are made up of species and varieties that have been regionalized for that locality. The land is divided into rectangles of 8–12 ha, between which roadways are made. Each rectangle should contain varieties that mature at the same time. In a commercial apple orchard, two or three summer and autumn varieties and three or four winter varieties are grown. When the orchard is planted, the pollinator varieties are selected. Usually four to six rows of the principal variety and one or two rows of the pollinator variety are planted. For each hectare of orchard there must be one to two beehives. In school, collective, and household orchards different species are grown in the same area. Two to three years before planting an orchard, shelterbelts and windbreak strips are planted.
Dead trees are replaced by seedlings. In young orchards, various crops are grown in the interrow spaces. A circular area around the base of the trees (with a diameter approximately 1.5 times greater than the diameter of the crown) is kept under autumn fallow. The soil is mulched with humus, peat, or peat-manure compost to a depth of 5–8 cm. Around the trunk of the trees the soil is cultivated to a radius of 0.4–0.8 m by hand or machine, and the remaining interrow areas are worked with an orchard cultivator, disk harrow, or shallow plow. The depth of cultivation around the trunk is 6–8 cm; further from the trunk the depth is 10–15 cm for drupes and 15–20 cm for pips. In young orchards, fertilizers are applied during autumn plowing. The doses are determined by the age of the tree and by soil and climatic conditions. Organic fertilizers are used once every two or three years. Feeding, mainly with nitrogenous fertilizers, is done in parts—in early spring and during shoot growth. In areas with insufficient moisture, young orchards are irrigated. Young tree trunks are protected during the winter from damage by rodents. Fruit trees are shaped, pruned, and, as they age, rejuvenated.
As the trees begin to bear fruit, the ground is kept autumn fallow in the first half of the vegetative period and under green manure in the second half. During autumn plowing, organic fertilizers (30–40 tons/ha of manure or compost) or a complete mineral fertilizer (with 120–240 kg of active substances) is applied. Early-spring harrowing and three to five cultivations are done during a fruiting. Nitrogenous fertilizers are applied several times—before and after flowering and after the ovary is shedded in June. Watering promotes fruit bearing and increases the winterhardiness of the trees. A complex of measures is taken to control pests and diseases of fruit crops.
REFERENCESPlodovodstvo, 2nd ed. Edited by V. A. Kolesnikov. Moscow, 1966.
Burmistrov, A. D. Molodoi plodovyi sad. Leningrad, 1967.
Kolesnikov, E. V. Sovety sadovodam. Moscow, 1973.
E. V. KOLESNIKOV