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THE subjects which one naturally considers when starting out to begin the planting of a fruit area fall into four categories, the choice of the varieties, the selection of the trees or plants, the actual setting of the stock, and the laying out of the fruit plantation. These matters may now be considered.


The most personal matter connected with the making of a fruit farm is the subject of choice of varieties. This is the one subject upon which most questions are asked, and it is also the one upon which the least specific and dogmatic advice can be given. The choice of varieties depends primarily upon the personal preferences of the grower, upon the purpose for which the fruit is to be grown,

and upon the locality. Without knowing these

three elements, it is impossible for any person to give satisfactory advice as to varieties. The grower who has no personal preferences for varieties is one who has not yet mastered the first essential to

Choosing the Varieties.


successful fruit-growing,-the obtainment of a specific ideal. In the greater number of cases it is easy to answer questions as to what varieties to plant by asking the questioner what he wants to plant. He will commonly answer his own question fully. The intelligent question about varieties is that which asks for specific information; as, for example : What is the best red fall apple for southern Ohio? What is the earliest raspberry? What is the hardiest apricot? What is the largest plum? What is the best strawberry for canning? Such questions as these indicate that the questioner has classified his own ideas, and that he is driving straight to the point for information; and they are usually capable of pretty definite answer. When a man asks, "What variety of fruit shall I plant?" no one should attempt to answer. The writer has long since come to the practice of refusing to recommend specific varieties to individual persons. He prefers to name those varieties which he thinks might please himself for the purpose or place named, or to give lists of the kinds most likely to meet the requirements; but the grower must choose for himself.

There are a few general rules or precepts which may be stated to aid the intending fruit-planter in the choice of varieties: *

1. So far as possible, follow your own personal preferences, the type of fruits which you love best

*The whole question of the running out of varieties is discussed in "The Survival of the Unlike."


or take most interest in. These are the ones with which you will most likely succeed.

2. Obtain a clear and specific ideal of the purpose for which the fruit is to be grown,— whether for dessert, for canning, for a local market, for export, for evaporating, and the like. Then choose the varieties which are best suited to meet these ideals.

3. Do not covet a variety simply because it is eminently successful in another region. Varieties have distinct adaptations to geographical areas. If a given variety is a universal success in the plains regions, the probabilities are that it will not thrive equally well in New England. The farmers of the east have learned that they cannot compete with those of the west in the growing of wheat, but they have not yet learned that one region may not be able to compete with another in some particular variety of fruit, even though the variety thrive well in both. It is a question if the northeastern states can compete with the mid-western states in the growing of the Ben Davis apple. The south and mid-south are being planted extensively to the Kieffer pear, largely because it thrives better over a large area than most other varieties. It is doubt

ful, then, if it is wise to plant it extensively in the north, where other pears will thrive which do not succeed in the Kieffer region. Diversification must come to be more and more important in fruit-growing; and any region should grow that type of fruit most freely which other regions cannot grow so well.

Choosing the Varieties.


4. Choose with reference to the local environment. One must consider the adaptation of the variety to his particular climate, to the probable length of his season, to his distance from market, and to his system of husbandry. The adaptation of varieties to soils is an important consideration, and one which demands closer attention as cultivation becomes more intense and perfect. As a rule, the finer the variety in quality, the less able it is to thrive equally well under diverse methods of treatment. It is partly for this reason that dessert fruits are commonly regarded as unreliable and difficult to grow. One can scarcely hope for success in the best horticulture unless he gives particular study to the adaptations of species and varieties to soils.

Fig. 22. Strawberry flowers modified by weather.


5. Choose with reference to inter-pollination. It is known that some varieties of fruits are self-sterile,that is, they are not fertile with themselves. This sterility may be due, as in the case of the strawberry, to imperfect (or unisexual) flowers, or, more commonly, to pollen which is impotent upon the pistils of the same flower.* This infertility or selfsterility is largely a varietal characteristic, yet it is no doubt greatly modified by seasonal and environ

*For a discussion of the philosophy of this self-sterility, see the essay on "Sex in Fruits," in "Survival of the Unlike," p. 347.

mental conditions. It is probable that varieties may sometimes be self-fertile and at other times selfsterile. The strawberry flowers in Fig. 22 show the marked influence upon pollen-bearing which is exerted by different conditions. The flowers are of the same variety, and were grown under glass. The lower one shows the small development of stamens in a long cloudy spell, and the upper one shows the profusion of stamens which appeared in other flowers after two or three days of sunshine. It is probable that pollen is more profuse and more potent in some years than in others.


There is very little positive knowledge concerning the inter-pollination of fruits, and no subject connected with pomology is in greater need of study. We chiefly know that the most productive orchards are usually those of many varieties, and that some varieties sometimes refuse to fertilize themselves. The most positive knowledge respecting the impotency of pollen amongst our common fruits is in connection with the plums of the Wild Goose type. The safest practice, therefore, is to plant no more than two rows of any one variety together in fruits in which (like many apples and pears) self-sterility is often apparent.

The following lists of self-sterile and self-fertile fruits are summaries of our present knowledge upon the subject:

*The best presentations of the subject are M. B. Waite's "Pollination of Pear Flowers," Bull. 6, Div. Veg. Pathology, U. S. Dept. Agric., 1894; and S. A. Beach, in 13th Annual Rept. N. Y. State Exp. Sta., 633-648, 1894.

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