HD Hass, alant, 15. Apr 2007 01:54
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We are replanting an avocado orchard and looking at imaximising the productivity of the orchard.

From reading all of the literature available on this website it seems that in order to maximise the productivity of a new orchard the following should undertaken.

1. high density planting or close planting of trees
2. manage the canopy by having a central leader, pyramidal shape to maximise light interception and penetration and continuous pruning of the trees to achieve this. Tree training and manipulation including removal of water shoots, strong branches and vigorous growing branches, induction of branch complexity to direct energy to fruit growth rather than vegetative growth. Maintain tree height at 80% of the distance between the rows.
3. Use of plant growth regulators for example palcobutrazol as a soil drench to reduce tree vigour and judicious applications of nitrogen.
4. increase pollination and fruit set using high bee colony density and the planting of multiple polleniser trees within the orchard

With these principles in mind our proposed orchard will be as follows:

Planting of hass on zutano rootstock at 3m by 3m in north/south orientated rows interspersed every 5th tree in every 3rd row with suitable B pollenisers. Some of the internal shelters will also include various pollenisers to further enhance cross fertilisation.
The plan is to train and manipulate the trees to the pyramid shape and continuous pruning to maximise light penetration. To facilitate harvesting the trees will be limited in height to a maximum of 3m. It is proposed that selective manual pruning will be undertaken through out the year rather than mechanical pruning. At this stage it is proposed that the orchard will be replanted again after 9 years. (obviously subject to production yields)
It is proposed that a PGR drench be used to reduce plant vigour
Subject to availability we propose to have 5 hives per acre to increase bee visitations and fertilisation.
The soil has already been prepared with ripping to 900mm and disked to 400mm. The soil is high potential and the contour of the land undulating rathe than flat or hilly. The property has a history of Phytophthora which we now believe will be rectified by the deep ripping and also the drainage trenches that have been dug around each block to channel away any excess water and keep the roots drier. While originally we had considered planting the trees on mounds of up to 500mm high it was considered that with the measures taken above and the fact that a level surface would facilitate better access to rows for spraying etc we have chosen not to mound.
Consideration is being given to applying the fertilisers through the irrigation system.
We will be planting during the next spring
We only have a small orchard, a bit less than 3 hectares, which we will plant over 2 seasons, but may expand the orchard if this is successful.

One of the questions I have of you, is how do existing high density orchards attend to fertilising, spraying and harvesting. Obviously with the narrower rows you could not use a regular tractor and associated machinery, especially as the trees grow and the canopy encroaches on the rows. Despite regular pruning we still believe that this will be an issue. We are considering the use of quad bikes appropriately kitted out for this purpose. Is that how other HD orchards are dealing with this issue??

Are there any other issues that you feel that we would need to address??

I do have some other questions. Do you have a private email address that I could forward these to??

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