Developing a fruit tree orchard
The branch of systematically growing fruiting trees is called ‘Pomology.’ Mango, Guava, Fig, Papaya, Chikoo, Coconut, Banana, Custard Apple, Orange, sweet lime, etc. are some of the commonly cultivated fruits in India. Most of the famous fruiting plants are of tree habit. Once planted, the fruiting trees keep producing the fruits seasonally for many years. Therefore it is important to gain knowledge about certain key points before doing the plantation.
Selection of site: Fruiting tree orchard requires open sunny landscape with more or less plain, even topography. Quality, profile, constituents, aeration, water holding capacity, drainage & fertility of soil, all these factors should be checked before selecting the site.
Climate: Most of the common fruiting trees of India are tropical & subtropical species. The areas with similar climatic conditions are suitable for a particular group of trees. Conditions like average rainfall, relative humidity, temperature, intensity of sunlight should be considered. Fruits cultivated in high altitude hills are different from fruits cultivated in Plains & coastal areas.
Selection of right varieties: With some exception, most of the fruiting trees are never grown by seeds in conventional orchards. It is the variety of fruits that matter rather than species. The right variety is grown by grafting method only. It is recommended to buy good quality grafts of the desired type from authorized fruit tree nursery.
Here are some common varieties of fruiting trees:
1. Coconut: T x T, Lakshadweep, Ceylon dwarf, Golden dwarf.
2. Mango: Alphonso, Ratna, Sindhu, Amrapali, Dashehri, Totapuri.
3. Guava: Sardar, Lakhnau 49, Allahabadi, Black.
4. Chikoo: Kala patti, Cricket ball, Gholwad.
5. Pomegranate: Ganesh 137, Bhagwa, Arakta, Mridula.
6. Papaya: Washington seedless, Disco, Taiwan, Hybrid papaya.
7. Banana: G-9, Barsai, Rajeri, Red ilaichi.
8. Lemon: Indian lemon, seedless.
The layout of orchard: Draw a proper, in scale plan of the entire orchard on paper according to the available area for a better perspective.
Making tree pits: Dig the pits for your tree saplings before plantation. Fill them with good quality soil & organic manure mixture. 1 x 1 x 1 m is average pit size for all types of fruiting with little variations.
Plantation of Saplings: Best time to plant the fruit tree is at the beginning of monsoon. It is possible to plant new saplings throughout the rainy season & at the end of the rainy season as well.
Provision for irrigation: Fruiting trees require no irrigation during the rainy season. If the plantation is done at the end of monsoon, the provision of irrigation is important for upcoming dry seasons. Watering can be done manually or by ring method of open channels or the best way is to install a drip irrigation system.
We will learn about maintenance of different fruit tree orchards in upcoming blogs.