An aerial view of a walnut plantation near Longaví, in the Maule Region, shows us that the distribution of each tree does not respond to an arbitrary grid, but rather to a series of conditions and technical coordinations for the care of each individual and with it, for adequate and optimal production.
“I do not know if it’s true the story they tell in books, that in ancient times a monkey could have left Rome and skipped from one tree to another to reach Spain without ever touching the ground. […] Anyway, in those days wherever we went, there were always leaves and branches between us and the sky […] and if they weren’t fig trees, there were the brown boughs of the cherry trees, the tender quince, peach, almond, or young pear trees, lavish plums [… ] with an occasional mulberry or walnut tree ”(1).
(1) Ítalo Calvino, The Baron in the Trees, William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1959 [Harvest HBJ: Giulio Einaudi Editore S.P.A, 1957],
The fleeting prospects of walnut plantations that we present to you correspond to a field east of Longaví in the Maule Region. There are 82 hectares planted, however, the entire project includes 156 hectares.
The distribution of each tree is not arbitrary, but rather it responds to a series of technical conditions for its care and with it for adequate and optimal production. Thus, the tree-lined rows have a width of eight meters to allow the passage of the machine that shakes the trees and to facilitate the passage of wind, which also defines the orientation of the path. Ventilation is important, as it helps control black plague, very common in the south-central area, especially in this species. The density of the row for its part is four meters, to compensate for the num ber of trees planted in the area. In turn, and because the soil is sandy, the water drains easily, and for this reason more irrigation points of contact are used. In fact, at a depth of two meters there is water, which allows the development of deep roots, increasing the stability of the tree, which is necessary to withstand the shocks of the harvesting machinery.
Water management through the reuse of tailwater provides the basis for the project’s sustainability. Then, by means of a drainage system, the tailwater from irrigation is captured and carried to a small pond to be reused later. Interestingly, this productive infrastructure also fulfills a simple ecological function: it is also used by the ducks that feed there before migrating.