Intercropping of Orange Groves in Greece

Description of system

In Crete, citrus cultivation covers about 4500 ha. For many years, farmers in the Chania area of Crete have cultivated crops between their citrus trees from pollarding until the trees achieve a full canopy. Farmers also use cypress trees as windbreaks to protect the citrus trees from wind.


Initial stakeholder meeting

On 2 and 4 August 2014, initial meetings were held with stakeholders with an interest in intercropping in orange groves and on the use of cypress trees as windbreaks. The most positive aspects of orange intercropping were perceived as runoff and flood control, soil conservation, the effect on orange quality, and the diversity of products and income. The intercropping of aromatic herbs between orange trees was considered as a potential area for research.

If you would like to know about the activity of this group, please contact Dr Anastasia Pantera (

Download the initial stakeholder report

Download the initial research and development protocol

A research and development protocol was produced in March 2015.

Download the system description

An update on research focused on intercropping between orange trees on Crete was produced in January 2016.

Lesson learnt

The field trial in Crete demonstrated the feasibility of a establishing a nitrogen-fixing chickpea intercrop between the orange trees.  This occurred when the orange tree canopy was incomplete following grafting of new scions.  The chickpeas can reduce the need for artificial nitrogen fertilisers.  Rather than harvesting the crop, the farmer integrated the crop into the soil to improve soil fertility and health.

Download the lessons learnt report

WP3_GR_Oranges_lessons_learnt.pdf (575.1 KiB)