Apple Growing

Some Hints On Renovating Old Orchards

Nearly every general farm in the humid part of the United States has its small, old apple orchard. For the most part these orchards were planted in order to have a home source of supply of this popular fruit. In fact, but few

orchards have been planted on a commercial scale with a view of selling the fruit, until recently and outside of a few sections. Therefore, as a rule we find these old farm orchards to consist of a few acres containing from twenty-five to two hundred trees. These trees are usually good standard varieties which have been the source of much apple "sass," many an apple pie, and many a barrel of cider-vinegar. Not having been set for profit, these trees received little care. Orchards were cropped in the regular rotation, or with hay, or pastured. Farmers then knew little of modern methods of orchard management. The orchard was regarded as an incumbrance to the land, which had to be farmed to as good advantage as possible under the circumstances, and if the apple trees by any chance yielded a crop, the owner regarded himself as fortunate indeed. But conditions have now changed. Both local and foreign markets have been opened up and developed so that the demand for good fruit is great. It will be some time before the thousands of acres of orchards which have been and are being planted to meet this demand will be able to do so in any adequate way. It has been shown in Chapter I how heavy has been the falling off in the supply, even in the face of these heavy plantings. Meanwhile we must turn to the old neglected farm orchards for our supply of apples. Just at this particular time the renovation of these old orchards offers a splendid opportunity to increase the farm income. The question is a live one on nearly every general farm in the East. Will it pay to try to renovate my old apple trees? If so, what should I do to make them profitable? What will it cost and what returns may be expected? The latter question will be taken up in the following chapter, but here we must try to indicate under what conditions it may pay to renovate an old orchard, as well as those under which it may not pay, and also how to go about the problem.

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