Trees are best planted at the beginning of the wet season. Planting holes of 60 x 60 x 60 cm are dug and allowed to weather for about two weeks prior to planting. If the planting materials are planted in polybags, make sure that the bags are removed at the time of planting. Organic manure and phosphate fertilizer can be incorporated into the soil to be used to fill the planting hole. Compact the soil after planting to ensure that there is firm contact between the root system and the soil mass. The plant should be firmly staked and tied to avoid been blown over by strong wind. Tree spacings range from 6 x 6 m to 12 x 12 m; giving tree densities ranging from 70 to 300 trees/ha. Mature orchards in Thailand have a tree density of 50 trees/ha. In Taiwan Province of China, tree spacings of 4 m to 6 m with a density of 300 to 600 trees/ha are common in mature orchards. Tree densities in Fujian province in China range from 195 to 300 trees/ha with an average of around 270 trees/ha. Under normal spacings, well-grown trees are able to fill their spacing in 6 to 7 years. At the Yehai Litchi Science and Technology Garden in Dongguang, Guangdong province, dwarf 'Shixia' longan (through heavy pruning) has been planted under a high density of about 1,500 to 1,800 trees/ha (Figure 6).
In order to spread the workload in a commercial orchard it is essential to plant a range of cultivars having different maturity times in any one orchard.
Figure 5. Marcots which have been removed from a parent tree.
Figure 6. High density planting of 'Shixia' longan in China (from: Anon., 1992).