University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Rahmlow, H. J. (ed.) / Wisconsin horticulture
Vol. XXX (September 1939/July-August 1940)

Wisconsin horticulture, vol. 30, no. 9: May, 1940,   pp. [241]-272

Page 247

Importance of Soil Pore Space To 
                 Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs 
     Recent Experiments Bear Out Old Orchard and Garden 
     Practices That Provided Ample Oxygen Supply for Root 
           System-Peat Moss Gives Excellent Results 
                  by H. B. Tukey, New York 
T is well known that roots re- 
  quire oxygen for development. 
Dr. Damon Boynton of Cornell 
University has proposed   that 
there may be several levels of 
oxygen required by roots, de- 
pending upon their activity. That 
is, whereas 2 or 3 per cent oxy- 
gen may suffice for survival of 
roots of well-established plants, 
perhaps a higher oxygen content 
is required for initiation of roots 
and rapid root development. 
        Use Wet Peat 
  At all events tests at this Sta- 
tion in which material such as 
a good grade of granulated peat 
moss has been mixed wet with 
the soil in the planting hole to 
lighten the soil and improve its 
physical condition, have shown 
a greatly improved stand and 
growth of plants-especially on 
heavy soils in wet seasons when 
the soil is likely to be saturated 
with moisture or "waterlogged." 
Trees of apple, peach, pear, plum, 
cherry, oak, walnut, and elm 
have all responded to use of a 
12-quart pail of wet granulated 
peat moss for each tree, or at the 
rate of about 1 part to 4 of soil 
by volume. More recently, Mr. 
K. D. Brase of this Station has 
shown a similar benefit in shoot 
growth, in root development, and 
in flower production of roses 
from improving the physical tex- 
ture of the soil with a good grade 
of peat moss, thoroughly wet 
when used. 
   Applying the Peat Moss 
   The more thorough the mix- 
ture of soil and peat, the better 
the results. In planting a tree, it 
is possible to shake the wet peat 
moss into the tree hole as the soil 
is being put back; or the two ma- 
terials may be mixed and then 
filled into the tree hole. The im- 
portant point is to construct a 
"chimney" of open, porous ma- 
terial extending from the surface 
of the soil down to the bottom of 
the tree hole-not merely dunmp- 
ing the peat moss into the bot- 
tom of the hole. 
  Interestingly enough, this prac- 
tice has not resulted in the roots 
developing exclusively in  the 
peat-soil area. Instead, the roots 
have spread laterally into the ad- 
joining soil mass to give a plant 
with extensive root spread and 
one better able to withstand sum- 
mer drouth. 
  Besides the improvement in 
aeration, this treatment has made 
planting easier, since the tree or 
plant is set tightly in a springy, 
spongy mass of moist material; 
and in midsummer the "chimney" 
of peat-soil mixture has seemed 
to catch the moisture from a light 
summer shower and otherwise 
permit better penetration of wa- 
ter into the soil near the develop- 
ing roots. 
  To summarize the case, it is 
thought that the wet peat moss 
is beneficial because (a) it per- 
mits better contact of roots with 
soil moisture immediately after 
planting; (b) improves aeration 
early in the season, favoring rap- 
id root development; (c) pro- 
vides easier penetration of rain- 
fall to the area occupied by the 
roots and less run-off of surface 
moisture; and (d) makes it easier 
for the roots to develop because 
of decreased density of the mass. 
    Endeavoring to Be 
       The one place in Wisconsin for the com- 
       mercial or amateur gardener or orchardist 
       to go with his planting, growing, and har- 
       vesting implement and supply problems 
            Office and Warehouse-Ashippun, Wis. 
                PHONE MAPLETON 61F2 
 Residence and Trial Grounds-Happiness Farms, Oconomowoc, Wis. 
              PHONE OCONOMOWOC 3679 J2 
          Special Machinery for Crop Handling 
May, 1940 

Go up to Top of Page