Starting The Orchard
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The first few years are the most critical of an orchard's existence, because neglect is more likely to occur and the injuries done at this time can, in many cases, never be overcome by subsequent good care. In discussing this question Prof. V. H. Davis of Ohio State University gives his experience as follows: " In my orchard of some 8,000 apple trees and a few hundred each of pear, plum, cherry, and peach, a plan somewhat as follows was pursued in selecting apple, pear, cherry, and plum stock.
" I took trees not more than two years old from bud or graft: In my judgment trees of this age will stand transplanting better than older ones, and in the end will make better trees. Peach trees are large enough at one year and should never be older. Trees were ordered in the fall for spring shipment, at which season, in my case, they were set out. I bought from the large nurseries that grow their own stock and deliver direct from their own grounds. The small nursery in the locality of the orchard is usually preferable for small quantities of plants, but is not available for large orders. I never buy from agents, because I object to paying their commission. The nurseryman who is largely a dealer is also avoided, for every time trees are handled the chance of mixing varieties increases and it be-comes more difficult to fix responsibility in case of misrepresentation.
" Nurserymen are responding to the popular demand for lowheaded trees, but trees are not low enough yet. The first branches should be not more than 3o inches from the ground and less would usually be preferable. Shipments should be made as early in the spring as weather conditions will permit, and upon arrival the trees should be unpacked and 'heeled' at once. Transplanting should be done as early as the soil will work readily.