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The trees may be trimmed before they are planted, although it is generally better to do it just after they are set, especially if the tree is trimmed after the method of Fig. 26, for one can then better estimate the proper height, the operation is easier done, and there is no further danger of breaking off the limbs by the handling of the tree. One foot is planted firmly at the base of the tree, and then with one hand the branch to be removed is bent upwards and with the other the knife is applied to the under side and the cut is made neatly and easily (Fig. 31, page 253). Never cut downwards on a limb, for a ragged wound nearly always follows.
In fall-set trees it is generally inadvisable to prune them before spring (unless the tops are SO heavy and the bodies so weak that they are likely to be injured by wind), because the cut surfaces are likely to dry out. The roots of the tree are not yet sufficiently established in the soil to supply the added evaporation which takes place from the wounds. If it seems to be desirable to trim the trees when they are set, they should be cut back only part way. They may be cut again, to fresh wood, in the spring.
THE LAYING-OUT OF THE FRUIT PLANTATION.
It is difficult to make the rows straight in large areas, especially on rolling ground. Persons who have had areas regularly surveyed with chain and compass, and a stake set for every tree, may have
Making the Rows Straight.
found the orchards to be as crooked as others set
with much less care. The surveyor sets his stakes by sighting across the field from certain fixed points; but it is difficult for the planter, when the stake is removed and the hole dug, to stand the tree in the exact place of the stake. It is better to regard the trees as stakes and to set them by sighting. The area can be "run out" on two or three of the sides, a conspicuous stake being set at the location of each tree on these outside rows. If the field is large or rolling, it may be necessary to set one or two lines of stakes across the center of the field also. For areas of a few acres, a gardenline stretched across the field will be found to be a great help and to save much time. This line is moved at either end to the adjoining row, as soon as one row is set alongside it. Persons sometimes tie conspicuous strings on the line at the given intervals between the trees, expecting to set a tree at every knot, but with the stretching of the line, and other sources of error, it is nearly impossible to get the cross rows straight in this manner, and the trees must be kept in line by sighting.
Upon comparatively level fields, especially if the land is in good tilth, the plantation may be laid out with a corn-marker. If the planter keeps his back to the row of trees and sights ahead to the marked line or furrow, he will get his rows straighter than he will if he sights by the trees. Two men are better than one when setting plants, for one usually attends to the sighting whilst the other
puts in the plants. There are various devices for locating the position of the original stake, after the hole has been dug. One of the best consists simply of a thin board three or four inches wide and six or seven feet long, with a notch at its center, and a stationary leg or pin at one end (a). The other end (b) is provided with a hole to receive the top of another stake or pin. The notch is set against the stake, the legs at each end of the board being thrust into the ground at the same time. The end (b) is now raised off the pin or leg, and the board is swung around out of the range of the hole. When the hole is dug, the end (b) is swung back and dropped upon the pin, and the tree is set in the notch.*
The methods of laying out orchards have been discussed in detail recently by H. E. Van Deman, formerly pomologist of the United States Department of Agriculture, and copious quotations are made from these writings.†
"To lay out with the plow.-Before doing anything, one must decide which style or arrangement of the trees is to be followed and the distance apart to plant them. This having been decided, the first thing to be done is to establish a base line, which should be along a fence, road or some other permanent border of the tract to be planted.
*The reader who is curious in this matter will find another device illustrated on page 15 of the author's "Field Notes on Apple-Culture."
H. E. Van Deman, "Laying Out Orchards," Green's Fruit Grower, April,
Making the Rows Straight.
enough small split stakes, that may be easily seen, to put at each end of every tree row; that is, enough to go entirely around the tract. Then, set a stake firmly at a spot which shall be the first established corner of the outside limits of the orchard. It must, however, be set at a spot which shall also be the end of another line running exactly at right angles to the base line. In the west, where the farms are nearly all laid out in perfect squares or rectangles, the fields are apt to be rectangular. In the absence of a surveyor's transit, a carpenter's square may be used to establish the lines, by sighting along its edges when laid on the tops of three stakes at the corner. Set a stake at the farther end of each of these lines. From this first corner stake measure along the base line fifteen feet, or as far as it is thought best to have the width of the margin between the trees and the fence, and there set a stake. Next, measure along the base line from this second stake the distance that the trees will be apart, and set a stake. Measure along the entire length of the base line, setting a stake at every 16, 20, 25, 33 feet, or whatever distance may have been decided upon. This line of stakes being only the ends of the transverse rows and not the places for trees, they need not be set absolutely in a straight line, but should be nearly so. Then, go back to the original corner stake and measure fifteen feet at right angles to the base line and set a stake, which determines the width of the border next the base line. Now,
measure and set stakes along this other side of the orchard site, up to the stake at the farther end. The two remaining sides should be measured and staked in the same way.
"Provide several tall stakes with a white rag tied at the top of each, to use as sight poles at each end. If one can run a straight line with a plow without intermediate sight poles, that is, with only one at each end, these will be enough; but I have found that it pays to have an extra line of stakes set a few rods from each end, and a guide pole to be set at each in turn, as the laying-out pro
"We are now ready for the plow. Some like one horse, but two make the plow run steadier, and it is easier for the plowman to sight between two horses than over the head of one. My plan is, to first mark out crosswise to the way I intend to plant, and to make but a single shallow furrow. This being done, we are ready to make the furrows in which to plant. If these run up and down the slope they will act as a drain to the trees, in some measure. By plowing two rounds and finishing with a dead-furrow or trench on the line, and then subsoiling in the bottom of it, there will be very little work for the spade in preparing to set the trees. It is by no means difficult to set them in the checks, with a little sighting, so straight that no one would know but that they were set by a line. After setting the trees, hitch one horse to a plow with a very short singletree covered