He hopes to produce more high-quality fruit with less labor, reducing his cost per pound.
"With lower density, you have to crop the tree more," Rowe says. "It's easier to get tonnage with higher-density plantings."
Two- and 3-year-old wood provides the best fruiting potential, Allan says. Fruiting walls eliminate more nonproductive structural limbs and cycle faster to that desirable fruiting wood.
One process requiring long-term study is the way in which trunks intercept and translate the force of shaker-harvesters as trees age and grow woodier nonrenewed structures, Lang says.
That may force growers to replant orchards more frequently—but economic gains from more efficient operations may make a shorter cycle feasible, he says.