Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



Published in Good Fruit Grower 60:15 (October 2009). Copyright 2011 Washington State Fruit Commission.


Orchard systems have gone through dynamic changes over the past 50 years. High-density plantings and dwarfing rootstocks have allowed growers to make changes in production practices more quickly as markets have expanded and become more volatile. Will these changes in woody perennial crops in the past five decades be equaled or surpassed in the next?

From this research, it is clear that with breeding and genetics, intensive orchard systems can come into full production at a faster rate than those of the pre-twentieth century era. Future research will provide clues as to how even faster production capacity can be achieved by woody perennial crops, including pears, cherries and grapes, which would be ideal for rotating with herbaceous annuals and short-lived perennials.

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