The layout of an orchard is a very important operation. Laying out the orchard begins with the making of a base line which is usually taken parallel to half the spacing to be given between the trees. At both ends of the base line right angles are created by following the simple carpenters meter system. After the formation of these three lines. It is easy to fix the boundary of the orchard. 6 different methods of planting an orchard:
1. Square system
In this case a tree is planted on each corner of a square whatever may be the planting distance. This plan is commonly followed as it is easy to layout, inter cropping and cultivation is possible in two directions e.g. Mango (10X10 mt), Banana (1.25X1.25 mt). Each tree gets equal area for growth.
2. Rectangular System:
This system is similar to that of the square system in its layout except in this layout row to row and plant to plant spacing is not same. E.g. Grape (3m x 2m mt.) Increased spacing in rows is useful for mechanical cultivation between rows.
3. Hexagonal system:
In this method the trees are planted at each corner of equilateral triangle. In this way six trees form hexagon with the seventh tree in the centre. This plan can be usually employed where land is expensive and very fertile with good available water supply. The trees are equally spaced from each other. It is difficult to layout. In this layout 15% moreplants are accommodated than the square system. In this system intercultivation is difficult.
4. Triangular System
In this system the trees are planted as in the square system but the plants in the 2nd, 4th, 6th and such other alternate rows are planted mid way between the 1st, 3rd, 5th and other alternate rows. This system has no special advantages over the square system except providing more open space for the trees and for intercrops. It is difficult for labour and cultivation. This system is useful for plantation on hill slopes.
5. Quincunx system:
It is differing from square system by planting and additional tree in the centre of each square of permanent trees. The central tree is usually the filler tree which is kept only for a shorter period.
6. Contour system:
It is only followed on hills with high slopes. In this case the tree rows are planted along a uniform slope and usually at right angle to the slope with the idea of reducing loss of soil due to soil erosion. It is followed just as in case of square system. The marking should be done from the lowest level to the top.
Contour system Calculation of plant population: Total area in Sq. M. No. of Plants = Plant to plant distance (in M.) x Row to row distance (in M.)