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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 118

we find specialists in apple-growing who are giving most care-
ful study to each one of these subjects and no one to-day is so
unwise as to set an orchard without looking into the subject most
carefully in order to avail himself of the rich experiences of the
past years.
It is not my purpose to note the progress made along all the
subjects connected with successful orchard management. They
are too many and the time too short, only one phase of the sub-
ject has been selected, namely:  The relations of "Sod" and
"Tillage" to the apple orchard.
In earlier years the trees were set in sod, or, as was more
commonly done, were set in cultivated land which produced tilled
crops for six or eight years, after which the ground was seeded
down to remain in sod for a series of years, being used either as
pasture or for the production of hay. As time passed many of
these orchards became or continued to be unproductive until in
despair the cutting down of the trees was seriously considered.
The Tillage movement which was the reaction following such a
condition gradually secured a prominent place until the cry
of "tillage and cover crops" appeared to be the only method of
During the last ten years, however, opposition developed
against this system. It was not confined to New York but seemed
centered at two points; in Ohio under the leadership of Mr. F. P.
Vergon, a prominent and successful orchardist under the sod
or grass mulch system of apple culture, and at South Onondaga,
near Syracuse, N. Y., from which place Mr. Grant Hitchings
year after year exhibited at the State Fair many varieties of the
finest fruit, both in size and color, carrying away numerous
prizes for best plates of varieties and of collections. The prize-
winning fruit came from trees grown in sod; the marked resultb
secured here, and also from scattered orchards throughout West-
ern and Eastern New York, created considerable discussion as
to the relative merits of "Sod" and "Tillage".
These two men not only made vigorous claims but also put
up the goods to back their assertions. They exhibited fruit of
the highest degree of perfection. Owing to the results of Mr.
Vergon, the Ohio Experiment Station at Wooster began a series
of experiments in 1900, a preliminary report of which may be
found in Bulletin 171 published in 1906. which is designed to be
suggestive rather than conclusive.

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