Using sketchup to simulate tree row azimuth effects on alley shading

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Effect of row azimuth on alley crop illumination is difficult to determine empirically. Our objective was to determine if SketchUp (Trimble Inc., Sunnyvale, CA) could be used to simulate effect of azimuth orientation on illumination of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) alleys. Simulations were conducted for trees in East–West, North–South, Northeast–Southwest, and Northwest–Southeast azimuth orientations assuming tree size parameters and row spacing of a 14-yr-old plantation near Booneville, AR. SketchUp predicted that the East–West azimuth allowed significantly more illumination at the alley surface during April to August compared to other azimuths, and significantly less illumination than other azimuths during October to February. SketchUp could assist the design and placement of pine plantations in the landscape for agroforestry practices, reducing the time and costs associated with in-field testing at plantation scale.

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Agronomy Journal

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