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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the year 1910
Volume XL, Part II (1910)

Taylor, O. M.
A comparison of tillage and sod mulch in an apple orchard,   pp. 117-125 PDF (1.9 MB)


Page 120


WISCONSIN STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY.
The average gain in diameter of trunk for the trees in sod
was 1.1 inches; for the trees under tillage, 2.1 inches.
The average annual growth of twigs of the trees in sod was
3.4 inches; of the tilled trees 6.7 inches. The total weight of
240 twigs from sod trees was 7.2 lbs.; from trees under tillage,
21.3 lbs.
The leaves on the sod trees were yellowish-on the tilled trees
a dark, rich green.
FINANCIAL STATEMENT.
The average annual cost per acre, not including harvesting,
was $17.92 for sod, and $24.47 for tillage-a difference of $6.55
in favor of sod.
The average net income per acre from sod was $71.52, and
from tillage $110.43, thus giving an increase due to tillage of
54 percent.
CAUSES OF DIFFERENCE.
Moisture. The soil to the depth of one foot showed as the
average of 120 moisture determinations 156.24 tons water for
sod; 235.98 tons water for tillage-an increase of nearly 80 tons
in favor of tillage.
Temperature. At a depth of 12 inches the average tempera-
ture for sod was 65°; for tillage 67°-difference of two degrees
in favor of the soil under cultivation.
Humus. The amount of humus in the soil to a depth of six
inches was 19.98 tons per acre for the sod plat and 21.78 tons
for the tillage plat-an increase of 1.8 tons in the soil under
cultivation.
The facts presented include the essential features of what
happened in an apple orchard under a tillage system and under
a system of sod mulch. The soil, the trees and the fruit have
each in turn told their story, and the evidence is. before you. Yel
it must be kept in mind that the results do not prove that tillage
under all conditions is the only proper method of procedure.
Every orchard has its special problems and every apple grower
has a problem of his own. Any method to succeed must be
adapted to its environment.  The relations to the plant of
humus, of heat, of food, and of moisture are fundamental. It
would therefore appear that the problem of the apple orchard
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