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W. M. MUNSON, The fact that the apple grows in many parts of the State as though it were indigenous and that orchards will exist and bear a partial crop of fruit though seriously neglected, is responsible for much of the ill-treatment so common to the orchards of Maine. There is little doubt, however, that a well managed orchard is a most valuable farm property, and one of the surest sources of income. For many years the Experiment Station
. has devoted a large amount of attention to the orchard industry, as evidenced by its publications on this important subject. It is the purpose of the present bulletin to report recent observations and experiments upon successful orchard management.
NOTES ON SPRAYING. “Watch and spray,” as well as cultivate and feed,” must be the motto of the successful orchardist. The importance of watchfulness, and the direct value of spraying, as a means of holding in check insect and fungous enemies of the orchard, have been repeatedly urged by this Experiment Station * and in so far as suggestions made have been followed, the results obtained by the fruit-growers of the State have been satisfactory.
By the work of this Station it has been shown beyond doubt that, by spraying at the proper time, and in the proper manner, the canker worm, tent caterpillar and forest caterpillar may be held in check; that the "apple worm" or codling moth may be controlled; that scale insects may be destroyed; that the green aphis or plant louse may be killed; that apple scab, cracking of pears, and rotting of plums may be very greatly reduced ;-and still spraying is not a common practice among the fruit-growers of Maine!
* Repts. Maine Expt. Sta. 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894; Bulg. 8, 52, 56.
With the great orchardists of New York, Michigan and the Pacific slope, spraying is just as much a part of the regular work of fruit growing as is pruning, or even harvesting. No live orchardist of California or Oregon would think of omitting the five or six treatments with Bordeaux mixture and Paris green, or with kerosene emulsion or resin wash, as the case might demand, any more than he would omit frequent cultivation or irrigation. It is because of this thoroughness in the production of fruit, as well as in grading and packing, that the fruit growers of the northwest are able to send their fruit across the continent and so nearly control the local eastern markets.
REASON FOR SPRAYING. The leaves of plants have two functions essential to life and health. They act, in a measure, as both lungs and stomach for the plant. Consequently if they are destroyed or diseased, the whole plant suffers; the crop of fruit is lessened; and the vitality of the plant is weakened. It is for this reason that spraying is of importance, even in those seasons when there is no fruit. Spraying is an insurance and not a remedy, and there should be a definite purpose in view for every application. Specific directions for controlling the leading insect and fungous enemies of the orchard are given in “How to Fight Apple Enemies," published by this Experiment Station and sent free to any one requesting it.
RESULTS OF SPRAYING. In a recent canvas of the orchards of Wayne and Orleans counties, New York, by Dr. George F. Warren,* it was found that in Wayne county, of 66 sprayed orchards, representing 626 acres, the yield in 1903 was at the rate of 280 bushels per acre; while 107 unsprayed orchards, covering 673 acres, yielded at the rate of
For the sprayed fruit the average price per barrel was $2.02; while for the unsprayed fruit the price was but $1.80.
* Bul. 226, 227, Cornell Univ. Expt. Sta.
Of 179 orchards canvassed in Orleans county the following report was made:
Yields and incomes from orchards sprayed different numbers of
The significance of the figures given is so obvious that comment is unnecessary, except that they corroborate in full the experience of those who have practiced similar treatment in this State.
THE MENACE OF THE CATERPILLAR. The approach of the gypsy moth and the brown-tail, has stirred the people of Maine to such an extent as to insure active steps for the control of these pests. Every year, however, trees are defoliated by canker worm, forest caterpillar, tent caterpillar, and similar enemies, with little attempt on the part of growers to protect themselves from damage.
It is well understood that the forest caterpillar appears in destructive numbers at more or less irregular intervals; only to disappear again, after ruining many orchards and defoliating hundreds of thousands of forest trees. This disappearance is caused by the rapid increase of natural parasites. With the destruction of the caterpillars, the parasites die, and so there is an alternation in the period when there are many and when there are few of these pests.
The last serious invasion of the forest caterpillar was in 1897 and 1898, when whole orchards were swept as if by fire for two successive seasons. The results were naturally disastrous. It is now nearly time for a return of this caterpillar and the enterprising orchardist will be ready to meet it.
That the pest may be held in check was plainly demonstrated by the work of the Station during the last invasion. A large orchard of Baldwins which was sprayed with Paris green when the caterpillars first appeared and twice afterwards, was almost free from injury, while adjoining trees, not sprayed, were completely defoliated, and never recovered from the injury. The accompanying cuts represent the condition of the two orchards late in June.
Similar results have repeatedly been obtained in fighting the canker worm. It is highly important, however, that, for either of these pests, spraying be done just as soon as the leaves begin to unfold, and again in about a week or ten days. After the larvæ become half grown, spraying is not always effective.
Another precautionary measure to be borne in mind, in dealing with the forest caterpillar, is to prevent migration from tree to tree, and from forest trees to the orchard trees. This may be effected by placing a band of tarred paper about the trunk of the tree and smearing this with a thick coating of equal parts of lard and sulphur. It is very important that this mixture be not placed directly on the bark of the tree, as injury almost invariably results.
The method here noted was used with remarkable success in the orchards above mentioned. The caterpillars gathered by the hundred beneath the band, but would not cross the line, and were readily disposed of by means of a swab dipped in a very strong solution of washing powder. The masses of caterpillars upon the limbs were destroyed in the same way; those that escaped by dropping to the ground being stopped by the bands, and then killed as above.
OYSTER-SHELL BARK LOUSE. An insect which is nearly as destructive as the dreaded San Jose scale, is annually doing thousands of dollars worth of damage in the State without the slightest notice on the part of farmer or fruit grower. This insect-the oyster-shell bark louse—is so familiar, and yet so inconspicuous, that it is usually overlooked. The insect is fully described in Bulletin 56 of this Station, to which the reader is referred. It frequently is the unsuspected cause of the stunted, sickly appearance of certain trees to be found in almost every orchard. The mature form, shown in