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An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive purpose. 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.

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

The forest garden is a food production system that is closely related to the orchard. A move towards more ecologically-friendly coffee production has led to forest-garden production of coffee. Brazil Nuts and rubber are being produced in such a method in some areas.

Often, mixed orchards are planted. In Europe quince is sometimes planted along with apples.

Meadow orchard (Streuobstwiese)

Streuobstwiese (pl. Streuobstwiesen) is a German word that means a meadow with scattered fruit trees or fruit trees planted in a field. Streuobstwiese, or a meadow orchard, 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 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.


Tropical areas

Subtropical areas

AvocadoMacadamia nutsCustard apple
Temperate areas

Orchards by region

The most extensive orchards in the United Statesmarker are apple and orange orchards, although citrus orchards are more commonly called groves. The most extensive apple orchard area is in eastern Washingtonmarker state, with a lesser but significant apple orchard area in most of Upstate New York. Extensive orange orchards are found in Floridamarker and southern Californiamarker. In eastern North America many orchards are along the shores of Lake Michiganmarker (such as the Fruit Ridge Region), Lake Eriemarker, and Lake Ontariomarker.

In Canadamarker, apple and other fruit orchards are widespread on the Niagara Peninsulamarker, south of Lake Ontariomarker. This region is known as Canada Fruitland and, in addition to large-scale commercial fruit marketing, it is a favorite playground for "pick-your-own" activities in the summer.

Murciamarker is a major orchard area in Europe, with citrus crops. New Zealand, China, Argentina, and Chile also have extensive apple orchards.

Towns associated with orchards

Tenbury Wellsmarker 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.

Airports associated with orchards

Historical orchards

Orchard Conservation and Promotion Organisations and Schemes within England

  • The 'Orchard Link' organisation provides advice on how to manage and restore the county of Devonsmarker orchards, as well as enabling the local community to utilise the local orchard produce., an organisation called 'Orchards Live' carries out similar work in North Devon..

  • The 'Peoples Trust for Endangered Species' aims to locate, assess and map every Traditional Orchard within England. ..

See also


  1. Dictionary definition of Streuobstwiese
  2. Streuobstwiese = Meadow orchard in German-English Collins Dictionary
  3. Berhens M. Why hoopoes won't trade. A Pro Natura Publication on the Global Economy and Nature. Pro Natura, Switzerland, pp. 8-9.
  4. Tenbury Applefest

External links

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