An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs maintained for food production. Most orchards comprise either fruit or nut-producing trees (see fruit trees), for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive purpose.
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 climactic 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.
Important orchard crops in tropical areas include:
Important orchard crops in subtropical areas include:
Important orchard crops in temperate areas include:
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, while there are extensive orange orchards in Florida and southern California. A particular advantage of growing apples on the high plateau areas of Washington state is that it is possible to grow high-quality organic apples. In eastern North America many orchards are along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario.