The United States Geological Survey defines an orchard as any non-natural wooded area where trees are planted for the production of fruits, nuts or seeds. Orchard owners often concentrate on a particular species or product, resulting in hundreds of different types of orchards. If you dream of starting or buying an orchard, it's helpful to understand the different types available and then match these options to local climate, your budget and your interests.
Fruit orchards include any facility focused on growing tree-bearing fruits. Some popular options include apples, olives, dates and figs. Citrus trees, such as those bearing lemons, limes or oranges, may be grown all together in large citrus orchards, or individually in smaller facilities. Plantations that grow fruit-bearing bushes generally don't fall under this category. These include berries and other fruits not grown on trees.
Nut orchards include a large variety of facilities that produce nut-bearing trees. These include orchards that grow popular nuts like pecans, cashews, walnuts and almonds. This category also includes cocoa and chocolate-producing nuts, as well as coconuts. Some orchard owners produce pine trees for their edible pine nuts. Orchards that focus on this type of pine production also fall under this category.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, seed orchards focus primarily on growing trees that produce seeds rather than nuts or fruit. These seeds are then sold to commercial distributors for resale to the public in small seed packets. They may also be sold to large agricultural facilities or used for food production. Seed orchards can further be divided into two categories based on how they are established. In a seedling orchard, trees are selected through controlled pollination. In a clonal seed orchard, seeds are distributed through methods such as cutting and tissue culture, resulting in an easier harvest overall.
Some orchard owners focus on products other than fruit, nuts or seeds. This includes Christmas tree farms, which produce pine trees and holly for the holidays. It may also include tree farms that grow trees for maple sugar or maple syrup production. According to the MadSci website, coffee-producing facilities are often considered orchards by many in the industry.