High planting density trial with olive cultivar 'Arbequina'
New olive orchards have been characterized by increases in density, ranging from 200 to 300 trees ha-1 in the 1970s and 1980s to more than 1500 trees ha-1 in recent decades, the latter being designed for integral mechanization of the crop (straddle machines). 'Arbequina' is a global Spanish olive oil cultivar that is well known for its ability to adapt to different planting models (intensive, high density and super high density). The planting density trial described here was planted in 1995 in order to understand the productive potential of 'Arbequina' trained to a central leader, with irrigation support, for five densities ranging from 230 (trained as open-vase) to 888 trees ha-1, designed potentially to be harvested with trunk and side-by-side shakers or new lateral olive harvesters or large over-the-row machines. The influence of planting density on yield, growth and fruit characteristics in 'Arbequina' olive trees in Reus (Tarragona, northern Spain) at different plantation densities was evaluated after the first 11 harvests, 1997-2007. The highest densities (740 and 888 trees ha‑1) gave the highest average yield, about 11,000 kg ha‑1, when full production was reached (more than 6 years old), followed by 666 and 555 trees ha‑1 (more than 8500 kg ha‑1) and, finally, by the lowest density, 238 trees ha‑1 (about 7000 kg ha‑1). Plantation density had little influence on oil content or fruit characteristics in the studied period.
Tous, J. (2018). High planting density trial with olive cultivar 'Arbequina'. Acta Hortic. 1199, 285-290
Olea europaea, 'Arbequina', planting densities, vigour, yield, fruit weight, oil content, mechanical harvesting