During Diwali holidays we visited Pansare nursery which is around 90km from Pune City. The nursery is spread over 30 acre of land and has all kinds of garden plants to fruit trees. They export saplings to more than 40 countries.
There are a few important lessons learnt from this visit.
- Fruit tree can be planted in 3 models depending on the spacing between the trees. They are Traditional, High density and Ultra density plantation.
- In traditional plantation, trees are planted at the distance of minimum 10-12 metres between trees and rows. The trees are allowed to grow to their maximum height which may take many years depending on the species. The fruit size consequently is moderate. May need skilled men to harvest especially in case of coconut trees, etc.
- In high and ultra density plantation, the trees are planted at 4×3 metres and 2×3 metres respectively. Preferably dwarf varieties are chosen and yearly pruning is done to spread and restrict the canopy to the required circumference and height.
- While the traditional plantation may start fruiting at 6-7 years and attain peak production at 20 years the high and ultra density may start fruiting at 3-4 years and peak production after 6 years.
- While in traditional, output per tree may be high in number, in high and ultra density production per acre may be many times higher.
- In traditional, after a few years, it may not require much maintenance where as high and ultra are heavy on periodic maintenance.
- Quality and size of traditional plantation may be normal and ultra and high can produce high quality produce due to manual thinning of fruits and usage of foam cover and fruit bag that can protect the fruits from fruit flies and wind.
So these are a few pointers that guided us in to further research before we start with our orchard plantation.