Apple Growing


In general, the apple prefers a rather strong soil, neither very heavy nor very light. Subsoil is rather more important than surface soil, although the latter should be friable and easily worked. The apple follows good timber successfully. Heavy clay soils are apt to

be too cold, compact, and wet; light sandy soils too loose and dry. A medium clay loam or a gravelly clay loam, underlaid by a somewhat heavier but fairly open clay subsoil is thought to be the best soil for apples. Broadly considered, medium loams are best. The lighter the soil the better will be the color of the fruit as a rule, and so, also, the heavier the soil and the more nitrogen and moisture it holds the greater the tendency to poorly colored fruit. In the same way light soils give poorer wood and foliage growth as compared with the large rank leaves and wood of trees on heavy, rich soils. VARIETAL SOIL PREFERENCES are beginning to be recognized. We cannot go into these in detail in this brief discussion. A few suggestions regarding standard varieties must suffice. Medium to light loams or heavy sandy loams, underlaid by slightly heavier loams or clay loams, are preferred by the Baldwin, which has a wider soil adaptation than practically any other variety. Baldwin soils should dry quickly after a rain. Rhode Island Greening requires a rather rich, moist, but well drained soil, containing an abundance of organic matter. A light to heavy silty loam, underlaid by a silty clay loam, is considered best. Northern Spy is very exacting in its soil requirements. A medium loam, underlaid by a heavy loam or a light clay loam, is excellent. Heavy soils give the Spy a greasy skin. Light soils cause the tree to grow upright and to bear fruit of poor flavor. The King likes a soil slightly lighter than the best Greening soils, but retentive of moisture. Hubbardson will utilize the sandiest soil of any northern variety, preferring rich, fine, sandy loams. The particular location of the apple orchard is largely a matter of convenience. It should be remembered, however, that the apple requires much and constant attention, therefore the orchard should be convenient of access. The product is rather bulky, so that the haul to the highway should be as short as possible. Other conditions being equally good there, the common location near the buildings and highway is best. THE SITE OF THE ORCHARD is a more important matter. Two essentials should be kept in mind, good air drainage and a considerable elevation. Although it is not so apparent and therefore less thought about, cold air runs down hill the same as water. Being heavier, it falls to the surface of the land, flowing out through the water channels and settling in pockets and depressions. Warm air, being lighter, rises. It is desirable to avoid conditions of stagnant air or cold air pockets where frost and fogs are liable to occur. A free movement of air, especially a draining away of cold air, is best secured by an elevation. Fifty to one hundred feet, or sometimes less, is usually sufficient, especially where there is good outlet below. Frosts occur in still, clear air and these conditions occur most frequently in the lower areas. Aspect or slope requires less attention. Southern exposures are warm and hasten bud development and opening in spring. Northern exposures are cold and retard the blossoming period. It is usually advisable to plant the apple on the colder slopes which hold it back in spring until all danger of late frosts is past. Northeast exposures are best as a general rule. Choose a slope away from the prevailing wind if possible. If this is impracticable it is often advisable to plant a wind break of pine, spruce, or a quick, thick growing native tree to protect the orchard from heavy winds. A large body of water is an important modifier of climate. Warming up more slowly in the spring, it retards vegetation by slowly giving up its cold. Vice versa, cooling more slowly in the fall giving up its heat wards off the early frosts. It is therefore desirable to locate near such bodies of water if possible. Their influence varies according to their size and depth, and the distance of the orchard from them. Good examples of this influence are the Chautauqua Grape Belt on the eastern shore of Lake Erie and the Western New York Apple Belt on the south shore of Lake Ontario. Professor Brackett has well summed up the whole question: "The selection of the soil and site for the apple orchard is not governed by any arbitrary rule," he says. "All farms do not afford the best soils or exposures for orchards. The owners of such as do not are unfortunate, yet they should not feel discouraged to the extent of not planting trees and caring for them afterward." There are a number of factors which influence not only a person who wishes to locate, but one already located, either favorably or unfavorably. About these even the most intelligent orchardists often differ. We have only laid down general principles and given opinions. Here as elsewhere application is a matter of judgment.

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