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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Planning A Seabuckthorn Orchard


Hello again! You are visitor 56,051.  Wow! :-)
Left Panel: Three year old sea buckthorn trees near Wingham, ON (2005). Right Panel: Four year old trees from the same orchard(2006)


A wonderfully nice woman from India recently wrote me asking about planning a seabuckthorn orchard.  That email prompted this post.  Thank you Anjali! 

The distribution of male to female seabuckthorn plants is important and determining their sex is not an easy task.  If starting from seedlings, you should be prepared to cull out excess male plants and replace them with females.  This can be accomplished by having a nursery reserve for this purpose or propagating from cuttings of your best female plants.

1.How to distinguish full grown male bushes from the female bushes?

This is difficult or impossible until they bloom.  Even when they do, the blossoms are so small that the only certain way is to observe the berries to know you have a female plant.  Most propagation is done by cuttings from existing known female plants.  This ensures knowing the sex of an immature plant before it blooms.  I am testing now to see if fall buds are different enough to tell.  If so this would provide that answer a winter before the first fruiting (3-4 years from seedling stage)  There is a seed supplier in China who markets a seed variety which they represent as having a 7:3 female to male ratio.  The link is-  http://kangxi.en.alibaba.com/product/706124302-213248280/Hippophae_rhamnoides_seeds_for_growing.html
I do not have any experience purchasing from them.

If you are very scientifically curious, there is a link on my research page to an excellent paper on the fruit structure of Hippophae rhamnoides L. ( seabuckthorn, Indian Summer) 

Click here if you would like to review it.


2. What is the ratio of  male to female bushes in a plantation of Seabuckthorn?  

Field distribution should be as follows:  X=MALE   O=FEMALE
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
X
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O

So out of 144 plants there would be 12 males. Different research recommends anywhere from 6-12% male plants.  This grid works out to be @8% male plants.

3. What is the ideal planting distance between bushes?

Rows should be 4- 5 meters apart (13-16 feet) to facilitate mechanized harvesting.
The plants should be 1 to 1.5 meters (3-5 ft) apart in the rows
  
4. How many seabuckthorn bushes per acre or hectare?

 I’ll give you a few different computations
Row spacing
Between row spacing
Plants required
Per Hectare
Plants required per acre
1m (3 ft)
5m (16 ft)
2000
735
1.5m (5 ft)
5m (16 ft)
1333
555
1m (3 ft)
6m (19.5 ft)
1666
605
1.5m (5 ft)
6m (19.5 ft)
1111
465

Rows should be orientated North to South to maximize sun exposure.  The spacing choices, I think, really depend on whether mechanized or hand labor would be used to harvest the fruit and controlling sucker growth between the plants.  There are more details to harvesting and the technology is improving.  That is another very large topic to consider and I would think it depends on the size of the operation as well as the availability of labor.

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