The increasing competition between the various peach-growing countries in different parts of the world makes it necessary to engage in continuous innovation and refinement of orchard management techniques, in order to reduce production costs and ensure the profit margins that are indispensable for the survival of fruit peach industry. The decisions taken at the moment of orchard establishment, aiming at quanti-qualitative maximization of fruit production at the lowest production costs, thus become of crucial strategic importance. In this perspective, the paper examines two factors considered to be of fundamental importance in orchard design: choice of the rootstock regarded as most suitable in terms of soil, degree of vigor induced in the scion varieties and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress; choice of the appropriate planting system, which implies knowledge of the tree's response to the planting density training systems and pruning techniques. Choice of rootstock is becoming increasingly difficult as a result of the availability of numerous new rootstocks. Therefore, careful attention is paid to the various factors involved: in particular, for each of the problems considered we provide an internationally recognized list of stocks representing the best option for overcoming such problems. Among the most important nursery characteristics, emphasis is placed on aspects linked to propagation techniques and graft compatibility of the various stocks. As regards characteristics induced in the grafted cultivar, special attention is devoted to the degree of vigor, productivity and fruit quality. Finally, resistance of the main available rootstocks to the most serious abiotic (active limestone, soil sickness, waterlogging, drought, winter cold) and biotic (nematodes, fungi, bacteria, soil sickness and PTSL) sources of stress is described. Subsequently, we report on the results of a worldwide survey showing that open vase and just a few other traditional training systems still represent the standard in peach orchards. This suggests that choice of orchard design and planting density is influenced above all by factors other than the maximization of photosynthetic efficiency, rapid entry into production, or orchard management techniques. In order to seek to clarify the conditions underlying this situation, we offer an overview of the main factors to be taken into consideration in designing an orchard system and which can favor the technical-economic success of the orchard. We briefly describe the advantages and disadvantages of the various training systems currently used for low (400-600 trees/ha; open vase and its variants, Californian vase, etc.), medium (600-1,000 trees/ha; palmette and its variants, delayed vase) and high (1,000-2,000 trees/ha; spindle, transverse Y and its variants, KACV) planting systems.
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