Salmo Trail Orchard

Duchess of Oldenburg apple trees May 25 2015 Established 1906-1910 Section 21 33695 Milligan Road Salmo WI

Duchess of Oldenburg apple trees May 25 2015
Established 1906-1910
Section 21 33695 Milligan Road, Salmo, WI

The Salmo Trail Orchard 

The following selection was extracted from the Iron River Pioneer and re-published in the Bayfield Progress.  Headed by Brother P.J. Savage, the able editor and municipal judge, the Iron River Pioneer pressman came over to Bayfield this day with a representative party to view the orchards, Bayfield’s big berries and fields and the Bayfield Fish Hatchery.

“As our train left early afternoon we did not have much more time to look around after dinner (sic), however the party split up, some motoring out to see Assemblyman Knight’s orchard west of town, while the rest visited Mr. Knight’s orchard on the summit of the hill overlooking the Harbor City.  These orchards are young and have not reached the bearing stage as yet.  Mr. Knight has about 130 Acres set out to fruit trees and shrubbery and has the distinction of having the largest orchard in the state.  While it is true that the large orchards are young and still unproductive, fruit growing in Bayfield is by no means an experiment for many “back yard” orchards in the village of Bayfield contains trees nearly forty years old and still bearing.

“The state experimental farm adjoins Mr. Syke’s place and here we found a crew of berry pickers here at work.  The experimental farm was designed principally for the purpose of experimenting with orcharding, but the land between the rows of young tees is being utilized for strawberry culture and the scheme apparently works fine.  The trees are set twenty feet apart each way, which gives ample room for three rows of berries between each row of trees.  The soil here is quite stiff clay, but on the cultivated plots it worked up mellow and had a good tilth.  This was due largely to the fact that a great deal of humus was added to the soil previous to the planting of strawberries by turning under a heavy crop of green pea vines. 

About twenty acres are planted to fruit trees and they include cherries of several varieties, plums, and apples both crab and large. Each row is plainly marked with the name of the variety, giving the visitors an opportunity to readily compare the various varieties insofar as they are able to determine by the appearance of the growing tree. All the trees were, of course, pruned in good shape, and thoroughly cultivated about.  Not a sign of weeds or grass were to be found around them.  We noticed that they were being kept sprayed with a germicide composed of lime, sulphur and water.  The bark of the trees and their general appearance were faultless and their growth was all that could be desired for their age. They are not yet in bearing [1], that is, with a few exceptions, and about next year they will commence to make a return on the investment.  From the experimental farm we took a spin over to the state fish hatchery”.  W. H. Holmes- Editor-Journalist Bayfield Progress, July 06, 1911

June 29, 1911: Bayfield Progress: The State Trial Orchard, “in Charge of and on the Farm of John Walters“was the sub-title. “We had previously mentioned the State Experimental Trial Orchard. Last year was a bad year to set fruit on account of the drought, however the tree came through nicely and next year will be a banner year for apples, plums, and cherries. Record berry crops at Nourse’s and Sykes of Salmo, Holston’s & Ryder’s.”

[1] Many varieties of apple trees bear some fruit at the ages of four or five years.  A property to which the Experimental Farm was commissioned upon was at the time owned by a Reverend J. C. McConnell and is currently the property of the author. Upon these grounds still grow on a row eleven of the old the Duchess of Oldenburg, spaced at twenty-five feet on center.

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