Excerpt from Transactions of the Illinois State Horticulture Society for the Year 1897, Vol. 31: Being the Proceedings of the Forty-Second Annual Meeting Held at Springfield, December 28, 29 and 30, 1897; Also Proceedings of the Northern, Central and Southern District Societies and a Number of County Societies for the Year 1897
The trees bore heavily, as full as the wood could hold up in many cases. The apples hung on and matured well, and the foliage to the very end was a delight to behold, full, clean, dark green - the type of healthfulness and luxuriance. The twig rowth was good and the trees go into winter in cap ital s ape. It may be easily true that the cultivation paid ten times over, expensive as it seemed.
In 1891, another season of deficient rainfall after the 6th Of July, a single tree, Winesap, was made the subject of an experiment, as follows: During the last days of June a mulch of short straw was placed around it 80 feet wide and about a foot thick when tramped down. Over this, the full width, was placed a canvas roof, painted, so as to be impervious to water. No water reached the ground thus covered after the end of June. NO doubt the roots Of the tree extended further than fifteen feet, but it was supposed few of them did so. Some water was of course absorbed at the edges from the uncovered area. This, however, must have been slight after the heavy rain of July 6th had soaked away, for the sur rounding soil was not thoroughly wetted subsequently. The ground outside was in clover, not very thickly set. Would the amount of water, thus protected from evaporation, stored in the soil before the last days of June, serve the purposes Of the tree during the remaining part of the season? This was the point Of the experiment. When understood that several barrels of water a day would be given Off through the leaves and could only be supplied from the earth by the absorption of the roots, a favorable prediction would have been hazard ous. Yet no tree in the clover-covered area did so well as this one; and no other apples of 'the variety in the orchard were so large, so smooth, and SO well developed in every way. The difference was marked, too much so to be mistaken. The tree evidently was abundantly supplied with water through the season.
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