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)
WISCONSIN STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. 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 procedure. 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. 118
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