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notch them as in the cut, boring a hole at the upper end to hitch to; the notches should be 8 inches apart and 2 inches deep; now nail cross planks on the two notched bed pieces, using the same sized pieces, 2x8 and 6 or 7 feet long; let the cross planks project 1 foot at each end over the bed pieces. If more weight is needed to fine the clay lumps, the driver can ride the float, or weights can be placed on it. I go over with this float when seeding to grass, and also in fitting strawberry ground. I prefer it to a roller, as it leaves the surface smooth and fine."*


Lands which enjoy perfect natural drainage are particularly desirable for orchards, because they are not only warm and give up their fertility easily, but because they also allow of very early cultivation, which is an important requisite in the management of orchards. If this perfect natural drainage does not exist, tile-drainage should be employed until the soil is brought into the best possible condition. It should be said that many hard and wet soils make excellent pear and plum lands when thoroughly tiledrained. It is a common opinion that only flat lands need draining, but one often finds rolling lands in which the subsoil is high and hard, and holds the water like a dish-pan. Judicious draining not only carries off the superfluous water, but it also

*H. L. Barton, in Fruit; quoted in Market Garden, Apr., 1897,



loosens the subsoil and allows it to retain its moisture better in times of drought. An attempt should be made to bring the land in the various parts of the orchard into conditions as uniform as possible, so that the same tillage and treatment may be applied to the entire area. All hard and "sour" spots should receive particular care in drainage and subjugation, or they should be left outside the plantation.

Lands which have hard and impervious subsoils should be plowed very deep before trees are put upon them; and in some cases, as for dwarf pears, it may pay well to use the subsoil plow. It should be borne in mind, however, that the subsoil plow is not always a fundamental corrective of hard subsoils, for it does not remove the cause. The subsoil may gradually settle back into its old condition, and land cannot be completely subsoiled after it is planted to trees. In the case of strawberries, raspberries, and other short-rotation fruits, the subsoil plow may be used at frequent intervals; but in lands which are to be planted to orchards, the tile drain is a more perfect ameliorator of the subsoil than the subsoil plow is. Yet even the one subsoiling may serve a useful purpose in sending the roots downwards at the start, and this advantage will be the greater when the superfluous water removes itself rapidly from the hard-pan.

The soil in which orchards are set should always be in a thorough state of cultivation at the time the trees are planted; that is, whether in sod or in hoed crops, the land should be in good tilth or physical

condition, fertile, and free from hard or "sour" places and pernicious weeds. There are exceptions to this rule in the case of certain rocky or steep lands upon which it is desired to set apples; but for all orchards which are planted directly for commercial results, this advice has few, if any, exceptions. It is generally best to put the land into hoed crops the season before the trees are set, as potatoes or corn; although sod land, if well fitted and naturally in good heart, often gives excellent results when turned over and set at once to orchards. But most soils need the previous cultivation to bring them into a mellow and uniform condition. Many of the "bad places" in orchards, where trees die out the first two three years, could have been discovered and corrected if the land had been devoted to one or several hoed crops, for the owner would have observed that they were too wet or too lumpy, or had other serious defects. Lands look more uniform when in sod than when cultivated, and the farmer may be led to overestimate their value for orchard purposes. It may also be said that the familiarity with a particular piece of land, which land, which comes of frequent cultivation, enables the careful grower to judge accurately of its adaptability to particular fruits or even to special varieties.

The best tillage is that which begins early in the season, and which keeps the surface stirred until late summer or early fall, and the best implements are those which secure this result with the least amount of time and labor. For the first few years, it is gen

Plowing Orchards.



erally advisable to turn the land rather deep with a plow at the first spring cultivation. For the subsequent cultivation of the season, there are many styles of clod crushers, spring-tooth harrows, cut-aways and smoothing harrows, which adapt themselves readily to the cultivation of the particular soil in question. There is no single style of tool which is best for all soils or for all years. As a general statement, it may be said that for all heavy lands the fruit-grower needs four types of harrows, the cut-away, spading-harrow type for hard land, and the first spring work; the spring-tooth type, the Acme or clod-crusher type, and the smoothing-harrow type. The last is to be used only to make and maintain the surface mulch after the land has been got in fine tilth. In all friable or loose soils, shallow cultivation is always preferable. When the land is once in good condition, but little effort and time are required to run through the orchard. Crust should never be allowed to form upon the surface, and weeds should be killed before they become firmly established. The entire surface of the orchard should be thoroughly stirred as often as once in ten days or two weeks whilst the tillage lasts.

In general, level culture is best. This is secured by plowing one year to the trees and the following year away from them; one year north and south, and the next year east and west. It is somewhat difficult to plow away from large trees, however, and with the cultivators or harrows now in use, it is easy to work the soil away by subsequent cultivation, allowing the

furrow to be thrown towards the tree each spring, particularly if the land is in good tilth; but it is always advisable, upon fairly level ground, to plow the orchard in opposite directions in alternate years. Land which is so wet that it needs to be thrown permanently into ridges for drainage is not often adapted to fruit.

The difficulty of working close to the trees has had the effect of encouraging too high pruning. There is a tendency to start tops too high rather than too low, thereby exposing great length of trunk to injuries of sun and wind, and elevating the top beyond the reach of pickers and of sprays. For most trees the ideal length of trunk is under five feet rather than above it, and implements now in the market allow of this lower training. Trees which have low tops, or which hang low with fruit, can be reached by separating the halves of any of the double harrows by means of a long doubeam vineyard plow. bletree, so that the halves, when ad


16. Set-over

justed, run from four to six feet from each other. A cut-away harrow rigged in this manner will work away the back-furrows from under the trees during the season. All cultivators or harrows with high handles, wheels or levers should be discarded if orchards are worked when the limbs

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