Orchard Care – 1909

Spraying the Bordeaux chemical mixture on the Cultivars BHA 1980.1.35

Spraying the Bordeaux chemical mixture on the Cultivars
BHA: 1980.1.35

Orchard Care, Fertilization, Stump Pulling & Cultivars of the Day

To spray home orchards and get the best results, the following suggestions are offered by the horticultural department of the agricultural experiment station of the University of Wisconsin.

Fungus diseases and insects usually work upon trees at the same time; therefore use a spray of Bordeaux mixture to which some arsenical poison has been added. Ten ounces of Paris Green, or three pounds of arsenate of lead, added to 50 gallons of Bordeaux mixture will control the coddling moth or apple worm and apple scab.

Most fruit growers find it more advisable to purchase arsenicals in the prepared form than to mix them at home, which involves much labor and care.  Bordeaux is a mixture, which is used for spraying to prevent fungus diseases, should be prepared at home.  To get the best results a strong pressure pump with good nozzles that will throw a fine mist spray should be used.

Growers should watch the development of trees closely at blossoming time and make a thorough application before the calyx of the apple closes.  The leaves and stems of branches not fruiting should be covered with spray up to the top of the tree.  The spray should be thrown from many directions so as to cover both sides of the leaves thoroughly.

As a general rule the first spraying should be made just before the buds open, with 200 gallons of Bordeaux mixture including poison for each 200 trees. The second application should be made just after the blossoms fall; the third application 16 days later; the fourth two weeks after the third; the fifth three weeks after the fourth.  The last three sprayings should be made with 400 gallons Bordeaux mixture and poison.  From Hints to Fruit Growers on Season’s Spraying, Bayfield Progress, April 07, 1910

A press release regarding fertilization, pruning and spraying appeared on Thursday, December 16, 1909 and stated that Harvey Nourse read an Interesting Paper at the Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. Here is an excerpt.

“Little if any fertilizer is needed to obtain growth as the soil is apparently rich enough and only needs aeration. Most of the orchards are planted in virgin soil where the timber and brush must first be removed, and stumps pulled before the work of planting can be done. This to some appears to be quite a problem, but with dynamite, a good stump puller and breaking plow; a heavy cutaway harrow or even a good spring tooth harrow will transform this rough looking land and make it look like a garden.  If attention to proper elevation, drainage, etc. have been given, trees planted on this well prepared soil begin growing at once and come into bearing very quickly. Think of a one year English Morello cherry tree, yielding 76 cherries and a Patten Greening apple tree planted the spring of 1906 yielding this season 106 apples that averaged a half pound each. Two small Wealthy apple trees in my garden gave me four barrels of beautiful apples without worm or not one affected with scab to be found in the lot, although the trees have never been sprayed.

Sand Islands Bert Noreng tending the reins while pulling a Stump BHA 2012.301.57

Sand Islands Bert Noreng tending the reins while pulling a stump.
BHA: 2012.301.57

It will be found that severe pruning must be resorted to in our section for an apple like the Wealthy will invariably overload and as we have not had a spring frost in thirty years’ time sufficient to injure the fruit buds or blossoms for us to either prune severely or thin the fruit.  If this is not attended to the trees will break under too heavy a load and thus injure the orchard unilaterally.

Very little spraying has been done although it is the belief of our fruit growers that we should spray as a preventative, although there seems to little need of doing this presently.

The following variety of apples bore fruit with us this season: Yellow Transparent, Tetosfsky, Duchess, Dudley, Red Astrakhan, Wealthy, Peter, Okabena, Patten Greening, Hibernal, Alexander, Wolf River, Longfield, 20 ounce, Hass, Rambo, Scott’s Winter, Bismarck, Northwestern Greening, Gideon, Ben Davis, Old New York Russets, Fameuse, Andrea’s Seedling and Knight’s Seedling.

Crab Apples: Transcendent, Whitney #20, Martha, Virginian, Hyslop, Yellow.  Recommended planting in our sections include Yellow Transparent, Duchess, Patten Greening, Wolf River and Dudley, with Transcendent and Hyslop for Crabs”.

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.