Apple Growing

Heavy Plantings

Moreover, it should be further noted that this falling off in the apple crop has been in the face of the heaviest plantings ever known in this country. During the last ten years old fruit growing regions like western New York have practically

doubled their orchard plantings. Careful figures gathered by the New York State Agricultural College in an orchard survey of Monroe County show that 4,972 more trees (21,289 in all) were planted in one representative township during the five year period from 1904 to 1908 inclusive than were ever planted in any other equal period in its history. New fruit regions like the Northwestern States and a large part of the Shenandoah valley of Virginia have been developed by heavy plantings. These three are all great commercial sections. To them we might add thousands of orchards which are scattered all over the Northern and Eastern States, from Michigan to Maine and from Maine to north Georgia. It is doubtful, however, if these scattered plantings have made good the older trees which have died out. Scarcely a season passes that hundreds of these old veteran trees are not blown down or badly broken. Every wind takes its toll. After one of these windstorms in Southern New York the writer estimated that at least twenty per cent of all the standing old apple trees had been destroyed or badly broken. In the commercial regions only a small part of the new plantings have yet come to bearing and even here these probably do not much more than make good the losses of old trees. So that on the whole, heavy as our plantings have been, it is extremely doubtful if they have very much more than made good the losses of the older trees throughout the country. It is a fact worthy of note that this talk of over-planting the apple has been going on for over thirty years, and while the timid ones talked those who had faith in the business and the courage of their convictions planted apples and reaped golden harvests while their neighbors still talked of over-planting. Whether or not it is true that we have over-planted the apple, it must be admitted that at the present time the demand is so much greater than the supply that the poorer of our people cannot afford to use apples commonly, and that no class of farmer in the Northeastern States is more prosperous than the fruit growers. The new plantings must of necessity begin to bear and become factors in the market very slowly. Meanwhile the great opportunity of the present lies in making the most possible out of the older orchards which are already in bearing. Practically all of these old farm orchards which can present a fairly clean bill of health, and in which the varieties are desirable, can with a small amount of well directed effort be put to work at once and during the next ten years or more of their life time, they may be made to add a substantial income to that of the general farm. Now is a time of opportunity for the owner of the small farm apple orchard.

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