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Meadow orchard (Streuobstwiese) with view to the Lochenhornle Streuobstwiesen, Blick auf Traufgang und Lochenhornle.jpg
Meadow orchard (Streuobstwiese) with view to the Lochenhörnle

An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit- or nut-producing trees which are generally grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive purpose. [1] A fruit garden is generally synonymous with an orchard, although it is set on a smaller non-commercial scale and may emphasize berry shrubs in preference to fruit trees. Most temperate-zone orchards are laid out in a regular grid, with a grazed or mown grass or bare soil base that makes maintenance and fruit gathering easy.


Most orchards are planted for a single variety of fruit. While the importance of introducing biodiversity is recognized in forest plantations, it would seem to be beneficial to introduce some genetic diversity in orchard plantations as well by interspersing other trees through the orchard. Genetic diversity in an orchard would provide resilience to pests and diseases just as in forests [2] .

Orchards are sometimes concentrated near bodies of water where climatic extremes are moderated and blossom time is retarded until frost danger is past.


An orchard's layout is the technique of planting the crops in a proper system. There are different methods of planting and thus different layouts. Some of these layout types include:

  1. Square method
  2. Rectangular method
  3. Quincunx method
  4. Triangular method
  5. Hexagonal method
  6. Contour or terrace method

For different varieties, these systems may vary to some extent.

Orchards by region

The most extensive orchards in the United States are apple and orange orchards, although citrus orchards are more commonly called groves. The most extensive apple orchard area is in eastern Washington state, with a lesser but significant apple orchard area in most of Upstate New York. Extensive orange orchards are found in Florida and southern California, where they are more widely known as 'groves'. In eastern North America, many orchards are along the shores of Lake Michigan (such as the Fruit Ridge Region), Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario.

In Canada, apple and other fruit orchards are widespread on the Niagara Peninsula, south of Lake Ontario. This region is known as Canada Fruitbelt and, in addition to large-scale commercial fruit marketing, it encourages "pick-your-own" activities in the harvest season.

Murcia is a major orchard area (or la huerta) in Europe, with citrus crops. New Zealand, China, Argentina and Chile also have extensive apple orchards.

Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire has been called The Town in the Orchard, since the 19th century, because it was surrounded by extensive orchards. Today, this heritage is celebrated through an annual Applefest. [3]

Central Europe

Streuobstwiese (pl. Streuobstwiesen) is a German word that means a meadow with scattered fruit trees or fruit trees that are planted in a field. [4] Streuobstwiese, or a meadow orchard, [5] is a traditional landscape in the temperate, maritime climate of continental Western Europe. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Streuobstwiesen were a kind of a rural community orchard that were intended for productive cultivation of stone fruit. In recent years, ecologists have successfully lobbied for state subsidies to valuable habitats, biodiversity and natural landscapes, which are also used to preserve old meadow orchards. Both conventional and meadow orchards provide a suitable habitat for many animal species that live in a cultured landscape. A notable example is the hoopoe that nests in tree hollows of old fruit trees and, in the absence of alternative nesting sites, is threatened in many parts of Europe because of the destruction of old orchards. [6]

Historical orchards

Modern orchards

Historical orchards have large, mature trees spaced for heavy equipment. Modern commercial apple orchards, by contrast and as one example, are often "high-density" (tree density above 370/ha or 150/acre), and in extreme cases have up to 22,000/ha (9,000/acre). These plants are no longer trees in the traditional sense, but instead resemble vines on dwarf stock and require trellises to support them. [7]

Orchard conservation in the UK

See also

Related Research Articles

Perry is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears, similar to the way cider is made from apples. It has been common for centuries in England, particularly in the Three Counties ; it is also made in parts of South Wales and France, especially Normandy and Anjou. It is also made in Commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Forest gardening

Forest gardening is a low-maintenance, sustainable, plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers to build a woodland habitat.

Alvar Biological environment based on a limestone plain with thin or no soil and, as a result, sparse grassland vegetation

An alvar is a biological environment based on a limestone plain with thin or no soil and, as a result, sparse grassland vegetation. Often flooded in the spring, and affected by drought in midsummer, alvar support a distinctive group of prairie-like plants. Most alvars occur either in northern Europe or around the Great Lakes in North America. This stressed habitat supports a community of rare plants and animals, including species more commonly found on prairie grasslands. Lichen and mosses are common species. Trees and bushes are absent or severely stunted.

Meadow field vegetated primarily by grass and other non-woody plants (grassland)

A meadow is an open habitat, or field, vegetated by grass, herbs and other non-woody plants. They may be sparsely covered with trees or shrubs, as long as they maintain an open character. They are 'semi-natural grasslands', meaning that they are largely composed of species native to the region, with only limited human intervention. Meadows can occur naturally under favourable conditions, but they are often maintained by humans for the production of hay, fodder and livestock. They attract a multitude of wildlife and support flora and fauna that could not thrive in other habitats. They provide areas for courtship displays, nesting, food gathering, pollinating insects, and sometimes sheltering, if the vegetation is high enough, making them ecologically important. There are multiple types of meadows, such as agricultural, transitional, and perpetual, each important to the ecosystem. Meadows may be naturally occurring or artificially created from cleared shrub or woodland.

Tenbury Wells Human settlement in England

Tenbury Wells is a market town and civil parish in the north-western extremity of the Malvern Hills District of Worcestershire, England, which at the 2011 census had a population of 3,777.

Cider apples are a group of apple cultivars grown for their use in the production of cider. Cider apples are distinguished from "cookers" and "eaters", or dessert apples, by their bitterness or dryness of flavour, qualities which make the fruit unpalatable but can be useful in cidermaking. Some apples are considered to occupy more than one category.

Agroforestry Land use management system

Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. This intentional combination of agriculture and forestry has varied benefits, including increased biodiversity and reduced erosion. Agroforestry practices have been successful in sub-Saharan Africa and in parts of the United States.

A rootstock is part of a plant, often an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced. It could also be described as a stem with a well developed root system, to which a bud from another plant is grafted. It can refer to a rhizome or underground stem. In grafting, it refers to a plant, sometimes just a stump, which already has an established, healthy root system, onto which a cutting or a bud from another plant is grafted. In some cases, such as vines of grapes and other berries, cuttings may be used for rootstocks, the roots being established in nursery conditions before planting them out. The plant part grafted onto the rootstock is usually called the scion. The scion is the plant that has the properties that propagator desires above ground, including the photosynthetic activity and the fruit or decorative properties. The rootstock is selected for its interaction with the soil, providing the roots and the stem to support the new plant, obtaining the necessary soil water and minerals, and resisting the relevant pests and diseases. After a few weeks the tissues of the two parts will have grown together, eventually forming a single plant. After some years it may be difficult to detect the site of the graft although the product always contains the components of two genetically different plants.


Silvopasture is the practice of integrating trees, forage, and the grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way. It utilizes the principles of managed grazing, and it is one of several distinct forms of agroforestry.

Biodiversity action plan

A biodiversity action plan (BAP) is an internationally recognized program addressing threatened species and habitats and is designed to protect and restore biological systems. The original impetus for these plans derives from the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). As of 2009, 191 countries have ratified the CBD, but only a fraction of these have developed substantive BAP documents.

Applefest is a yearly village-wide food, entertainment and crafts fair, taking place in several towns in Canada, the United States and England.

English Lowlands beech forests

The English Lowlands beech forests are a terrestrial ecoregion in the United Kingdom]], as defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the European Environment Agency (EEA). It covers 45,600 km2 (17,600 sq mi) of Southern England, approximately as far as the border with Devon and South Wales in the west, into the Severn valley in the north-west, into the East Midlands in the north, and up to the border of Norfolk in the north-east of its range. The WWF code for this ecoregion is PA0421.

Apple edible fruit of domesticated deciduous tree

An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree. Apple trees are cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus Malus. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek and European Christian tradition.

Heartwood Forest

Heartwood Forest is a planned forest in Hertfordshire, England. The site covers 347 hectares, the largest continuous new native forest in England.

Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve

The Three Brooks Nature Reserve is a Local Nature Reserve of approximately 44 hectares in Bradley Stoke, South Gloucestershire, England. It is named after the Hortham, Patchway, and Stoke Brooks which run through it, meeting at Three Brooks Lake before flowing eastwards back under the M4 motorway as Bradley Brook.

Redstreak apple cultivar

The Redstreak, also spelt Redstrake, Red Streak or Red-streak, is or was a very old variety of cider apple formerly commonly planted in England.


Jeskyns is near Cobham, in Kent, England. A former farm, now large open-space recreational area with areas being developed as new wildlife habitats.

A community orchard is a collection of fruit trees shared by communities and growing in publicly accessible areas such as public greenspaces, parks, schools, churchyards, allotments or, in the US, abandoned lots. Such orchards are a shared resource and not managed for personal or business profit. Income may be generated to sustain the orchard as a charity, community interest company, or other non-profit structure. What they have in common is that they are cared for by a community of people.

Zhongar-Alatau National Park

Zhongar-Alatau National Park, also Jungar Alatau, or Dzungurian Alatau, was created in 2010 to protect the unique ecology of the Dzungarian Alatau, an isolated, glaciated mountain range in Kazakhstan, on the southeastern border with China. One stated reason for creating the park is to protect forests of wild fruit trees, including apricots, barberry, cherries, and currants. Approximately 1% of the land area of the park is forested with Sievers Apple trees, which are the progenitors of all cultured apple varieties in the world. The park is 300 km long (west-to-east), and spreads across Aksu District, Sarkand District and Alakol District of Almaty Region, 300 km northeast of the regional city of Almaty.

Lallinger Winkel

The Lallinger Winkel is a high valley, 162 km² in area, named after the village of Lalling, in the county of Deggendorf in the Bavarian Forest.


  1. Luther Burbank. Practical Orchard Plans and Methods: How to Begin and Carry on the Work. The Minerva Group. ISBN   1-4147-0141-1.
  2. Konnert, M., Fady, B., Gömöry, D., A’Hara, S., Wolter, F., Ducci, F., Koskela, J., Bozzano, M., Maaten, T. and Kowalczyk, J. (2015). "Use and transfer of forest reproductive material in Europe in the context of climate change" (PDF). European Forest Genetic Resources Programme, Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.: xvi and 75 p. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-08-04.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. "The Teme Valley Times supports the Tenbury Applefest". applefest.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2017-06-26. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  4. "dict.cc dictionary :: Streuobstwiese :: German-English translation". dict.cc.
  5. Streuobstwiese: meadow orchard in German-English Collins Dictionary
  6. Berhens M. Why hoopoes won't trade . A Pro Natura Publication on the Global Economy and Nature. Pro Natura, Switzerland, pp. 8-9. Archived March 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. Parker, Michael; et al. "High Density Apple Orchard Management". North Carolina State University . Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  8. Entry Level Stewardship Handbook. Natural England. 2008. p. 29. ISBN   978-1-84754-080-5.
  9. "Orchards Live - About Us". orchardslive.org.uk.
  10. PTES Traditional Orchard Survey
  11. UK BAP