United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

. (page 32 of 82)
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ble, and, moreover, such consisting of 10 per cent each of lime, potash,
and clay and 70 per cent of sand, with a depth of not less than a meter,
should be unsurpassingly adapted to the culture.

For a successful growth of the tree, and to produce good-sized, fine-
appearing, and luscious fruit, a tract must be selected having a moderate
amount of moisture. More than 50 inches of water during the year spoils
the shape of the tree, giving it too many thin branches, and renders the fruit
too sour, light, of a thick rind, uneatable, and, worse, unsalable. Between
40 and 50 inches of water evenly distributed in the wet season will give
good results.

Situations south of latitude 20° 30' north, of altitudes between 100 and
3,000 feet above sea level, require no irrigation. On the Pacific side, below
these elevations and same altitude and all situations higher than 4,000 feet,
oranges require a copious amount of water during the dry season. The



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2l6 ORANGE CULTIVATION IN MEXICO.

orange tree, unlike other deciduous plants, requires plenty of moisture during
the dry season, especially on lands lying north of latitude 20° north. On
account of its numerous rootlets, which spread in the ground, forming a
spongy mass of fibers that exhaust moisture rapidly, it may be called a surface
feeder. The curling and wilting of the leaves and shrinkage of the fruit
before maturity denote a deficiency of water. The tree should be irrigated
twice a month during the dry season, and not any during the rainy season,
unless two weeks elapse between rains.

Suitable climatic conditions must be obtained for extended commercial
planting. Locations north of latitude 26° north on the Pacific Slope, 20° 30'
on the central plateaus and Gulf Slope, and those in Chiapas situated 3,500
feet above sea level must be protected from the north winds and frost, espe-
cially in the former, as in Chiapas it never freezes. On these situations, a
southern exposure is preferable, and wherever there is a possibility of freezing
a plat should be selected having a slight decline and a few feet above the
lower surface of the valley, sheltered by a grove of trees, or backed on
the north by high hills. All locations where heavy freezing or killing frosts
are apt to prevail even once a year should be avoided. The tree thrives well
in a temperature between 66° and 86° F., and the flower requires a mean
temperature between 6S° and 74° F. to develop successfully. The orange
tree grows at an elevation from almost sea level to 5,500 feet, but the most
proper altitude to produce good shipping fruit is that between 3,500 and
4,800 feet, south of latitude 22° 30', and from 150 to 1,800 feet north
of same latitude. In dry sections, a nearly level plat is preferable, yet in
localities where rain is abundant a slope is most suitable. The Mexican
orange tree requires no shade, but delights in sunshine, and where the
writer has seen shaded and too much watered groves, the stems run up like
whips.

Good orange lands can be procured in Lower California, Chihuahua,
Coahuila, Sinaloa, and Durango for from $5 to $2^ (Mexican currency) an
acre ; in Sonora, Nuevo Leon, Puebla, and San Luis Potosi, from J25 to J50
an acre; in Michoacan, from §5 to $50 an acre; in Morelos, Jalisco, and
Veracruz, from J 100 to J 250 an acre; in Guerrero, Mexico, Tepic, Tamauli-
pas, Oaxaca, the Isthmus, and Chiapas, from $4 to $20 an acre. These prices
are for small tracts, running from 100 to 500 acres; larger tracts can be ob-
tained much cheaper.

PROPAGATION OF THE ORANGE.

Mexican growers propagate the orange from seed, but it can be repro-
duced more advantageously by budding, grafting, layering, inarching, and
from cuttings. The fruit appears in the latter case in from four to five years,
and in the former from seven to eight years. Budding, grafting, and in-
arching have to be practiced on grown-up trees, or on young trees 2 years
old; sour stock is generally selected to be budded with fine species when the
sap is abundant. The object of the process is both to improve the stock and
accelerate the coming of the fruit. Propagation by cuttings can be effected



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ORANGE CULTIVATION IN MEXICO. 21/

from both immature and mature growths. To produce good-sized, vigorous
trees, sour stock must be utilized, but for a medium-sized tree of abundant
fruit, selection is to be made of cuttings from a sweet stock. The immature
cuttings from shoots or tree points with leaves should be set in pots con-
taining some warm soil and left there for a year or two. For mature cut-
tings, branches 2 or more years old may be selected, placed in a trench
between a row of trees until they take root, which will be within a year from
setting. The best time to set the former is in the month of June, and the
latter, in the fall of the year.

In propagating by seed, a well-ventilated place, yet free from cold winds,
should be selected; the soil must be deep and susceptible of being irrigated.
For this process, good, vigorous, large seeds must be chosen from healthy
fruit and best plants. In May, the seed beds must be made, which shall be
4 feet wide by 20 feet long, with intervening walks between them 2 feet
wide. The ground having been grubbed, is dug up fine with a coa, or spade,
all roots taken up, and horse manure spread on the surface and then turned
over with the rake. The seed beds must have a surface 4 to 6 inches higher
than that of the walks. In June, the seeds, which have previously been kept
ia earth, are sown 4 inches apart by 8 inches between the rows. The rows
can be run with the length of each seed bed, thereby producing 427 seed-
lings to the seed bed. Of seed, twice the number of plants required must
be sown. Having soaked the seeds for twelve to twenty hours in lukewarm
water previous to sowing them, the plants should come up in fifteen to
twenty days. If the rainy season has not set in and on dry days during that
season, the seed beds should be sprinkled every two days; but when the plant
has made its appearance a generous application of water will be necessary
every day, and decrease the amount as it grows. The weeds must be kept
off the seed beds and the earth loosened around the seedlings or young
plants. A good many planters start a closer nursery (almaciga) first, and
then in six or eight months transfer half, if not all, of the seedlings to a
permanent nursery (plantel) having a distance of 0.5 meter (19^ inches)
apart. This system increases the cost of the trees and, practically speaking,
does not materially help the seedlings. During the time (about two years)
that the seedlings are growing the plat to be planted may be sown in corn,
beans, yuca, peanuts, irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, pease, and jicama)a.
Some of these plants enrich the soil, and the cultivation of the plat before-
hand prepares the ground for the reception of the young trees, especially
if the earth is well plowed at each harvest.

In May, the plat is plowed, cleared of all weeds, and fertilized with cheap
manure having plenty of nitrogenous matter. This can always be procured
from the adjoining farms or from decayed wood or vegetation. After the
land has been well worked with the sulky plow, ditches are run with a deeper
plow from one end of the plat to the other at a distance of 4 meters (13.08
feet) apart, and then cross ditches of the same distance. At the intersection
of these ditches, holes 2 feet deep are made for the reception of the young



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2l8 ORANGE CULTIVATION IN MEXICO.

trees; this will give 254 trees to the acre, which can be decreased on a very
rich soil, making the distance 5 meters apart. But as most growers have
planted, and are still planting, at a shorter distance, it may not justify the
new planters to reduce the number. In places where there is sufficient mois-
ture from rain, the plat need not be plowed, but it requires lining and stak-
ing. Those seedlings which are about i meter high are selected, and in
the months of July and August, one day after rain, late in the afternoon,
are planted in the prepared holes. Care should be taken in transferring the
young plants, that they are not in anywise injured either in leaf or root.
Some prune the taproot with a sharp knife at the time of transplanting, and
others, after that operation, top the seedling. The object of the first proc-
ess is to bring forth smaller trees with fewer branches, but quicker produc-
tion, and in the latter case the branches are stimulated, becoming vigorous,
and the growth of the stem is forced from below. A ring (cajete) should
be hoed around each tree, wide enough to admit manure and of connection
with the ditches mentioned heretofore for irrigation purposes. If it does
not rain the following day after transplanting, the plants should be irrigated,
and afterwards as often as the plant requires it. A good many soak the
young tree in water before transplanting, which must undoubtedly help it
in its transition. Two or three days after, if the earth around the plant
has settled, loose soil mixed with leaf mold or manure should supplant the
loss. Small crops can be cultivated between the trees until they begin to
yield, and, as stated before, they should be irrigated and also plowed (pre-
serving the watering ditches) once or twice during the year. The trees
must be made to grow straight and all branches and shoots below 5 feet must
be carefully pruned off.

When the trees are mature, dead and ill-shaped branches should be re-
moved with the pruning saw, the wound being trimmed with a knife and
then tarred over; wax can be substituted for the tar if the former is not
obtainable. This is done to prevent decay entering into the heart of the
tree. These precautions have not been taken by the planters until the last
few years. Since the ubiquitous American has shown himself in the field to
look for pastures new in the orange supply and since the injury to Florida
oranges, Mexican growers have paid greater attention to production by
cleaning and pruning old trees and setting new orchards with more care.

HARVESTING THE CROP.

Maturity of crop varies very much in this country. In Campeachy, Chia-
pas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Atlixco (Puebla), and Yautepec (Morelos) the fruit
ripens as early as July and the season lasts until the ist of December, while
in Cordoba and Coatepec (Veracruz), in Michoacan and Jalisco until Sep-
tember, Rio Verde aqd Montemorelos following, and the Sonora crop comes
in last, about November 10. Every attempt should be made by old and new
planters to induce their orange trees to bear early crops. A good deal can
be done in this direction by irrigation, careful pruning, by keeping back the



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ORANGE CULTIVATION IN MEXICO. 2I9

fruiting period or by picking the fruit early, so as to stimulate the inflores-
cence of the tree, and when a very early bearing orange tree is obtained, it
should be propagated by budding and grafting. The earlier the orange fruit
gets to the market the greater the prices obtained. A shipment of Yautepec
oranges commanded, in the month of September, as high as $3.50 (gold) a
box in St. Louis and Cincinnati, notwithstanding that 10 per cent of them
were wormy. The flower in the warmer climates appears in the latter part
of October, and the season lasts throughout the whole orange territory until
May. During these months the blossoms (azahar) can be collected by
placing mats on the ground and by gently shaking the trees. From a full-
grown tree not less than 10 to 15 pounds of fresh flowers should be obtained ;
some trees produce as high as 25 to 30 pounds. These should bring from
25 to 37^ cents a pound ; by properly drying, which reduces their weight
to half, 75 cents to Ji a pound is paid by druggists and dealers.

The yield in Mexico varies very much — soil, climate, proper irrigation,
pruning, and cultivation being important factors in determining the extent
of the crops. In Atlixco, Yautepec, and Tacambaro, the trees average 860
oranges each ; but in Atotonilco, Montemorelos, and Hermosillo the aver-
age yield is from 1,700 to 2,200 oranges per year, producing one crop a year.
With the advantages of climate and soil, the tree in Mexico should yield
from 5,000 to 8,000 oranges.

DEFECTIVE PACKING.

Principally through the careless collection, classification, and packing by
the producers, the Mexican orange, up to a few years, has not sold in the
United States on a large scale. In disposing of fruit beyond the home mar-
kets, close attention to three operations must be exercised, viz : For picking
the fruit, ladders must be used for tall trees, and the oranges must be cut with
scissors, leaving on a quarter of an inch of stem. The fruit must not be in-
jured in any way, consequently the gatherers should not be allowed to drop
it on the ground ; the freighters should be admonished to handle it gently,
and not allow it to get wet by rain, and the packing house should be located at
a short distance from the orchards. The fruit is generally hauled in huacales
(crates) costing 87^ cents apiece; these should be covered inside with
banana leaves or some other kind of green material.

At the packing house, where the fruit is piled, a layer of thick straw
should be placed on the floor. The packing house should be so arranged
as to have the assorting machine in the middle and the operators all around
it close to a huacal, which receives the fruit from the shoot as it is assorted.
The main operators are the separators of the fruit, who stand on high stools
next to the machine, separating all damaged fruit, including that which is in
the least suspicious of being injured. The good fruit is sent along the re-
volving cylinders to be assorted and the rejected fruit (desecho) is thrown
in a huacal placed opposite the separators, which is afterward sold for from
^2.50 to |5 a thousand.



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220 ORANGE CULTIVATION IN MEXICO.

The assorting machines used for the last two seasons are manufactured
by Messrs. Woodward & Jones and the different sizes which they assort con-
sist of 96, 112, 150, 176, 200, and 250 oranges to the box. The 96 size is
rather too large and the 250 size too small. The best selling sizes are 112,
150, 176, and 200. The greater proportion of the Mexican oranges takes
in those sizes ; not more than 5 or 8 per cent are found of the other sizes.
Women will do better packing than men ; after they are trained, experts
prefer their work altogether. The box should be 2 cubic feet, inside meas-
urement, and growers as well as shippers must not allow themselves to be
imposed upon by agents or box manufacturers, as other dimensions will
interfere with the packing, by reason of the orange being packed too tightly or
too loosely. The ends of the boxes are solid, but the tops, bottoms, and sides
are boarded up with laths 6 inches wide, a space of about i inch being left
between the laths. The box is divided into two equal compartments by a
solid piece of wood similar to the pieces used for the ends. The boxes are
usually put together by the grower or shipper, the various pieces being im-
ported from the United States already cut, as the box material furnished by
manufacturers here is not yet of the best. One car of imported material will
be sufficient to pack 4,000 boxes. Boxes come in free, but paper pays duties
of 10 cents per kilogram.

Besides the above precautions to be taken, it will be well to add the fol-
lowing suggestions: The oranges intended for export must be gathered be-
fore they are ripe, about beginning to turn yellow, but they ought to be fully
formed. They will ripen after they are gathered, and in the ripening proc-
ess the green skin turns yellow. A dry day should be selected on which to
gather the fruit, as it is very necessary that all the moisture about the skin
must be evaporated before packing. Rain does not hurt the fruit while it is
on the tree, but if it gets wet after being cut, it is liable to spoil. However,
in Mexico it generally rains in the afternoons and the pickers have ample
time to gather the fruit, by starting on the work at daybreak, before the rains
can do any harm. Moreover, the oranges can be set in trays for a day or
two, in the packing house or room near by, before packing; when they are
dry, any defect or bruise is easily seen. Each orange must be wrapped in
tissue paper, imported from Europe or the United States, and it should be
cut into sixes (9 by 10 inches) sufficiently large to wrap up the oranges
smoothly and evenly. The packing should be so close that the oranges will
not shake about ; indeed, in nailing the laths on top it is as well that they
should slightly compress the fruit. Later on, it will dry and decrease in
bulk. The oranges in each box should be of the same degree of ripeness,
and, after the boxes are packed, they should be handled carefully for fear of
bruising the fruit. The expense of packing the fruit consists of; Gathering
the oranges, cut with scissors, 25 cents per carga of 4 gross ; hauling same
to the packing house, 12^/^ cents; packing, 4 cents per box; separating and
assorting, 8 cents per box; nailing, 3 cents; and transportation to railroad
station, 4 cents per box.



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ORANGE CULTIVATION IN MEXICO.



221



COST OF LAND AND CULTIVATION.

Thus, it has been shown what the fruit costs — $4.50 (Mexican currency)
per box to the shipper, placed in Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, and Cin-
cinnati. It will not be amiss to add the cost of land and cultivation. For
the benefit of those who do not possess large resources, an effort is herewith
made to show how the best results are obtained on a small tract of land, say
II acres, 10 acres in oranges:



Description.



Cost in Mex-
ican cur-
rency.



land (from $35 to |ioo an acre)

Houses, one of $350, another of ^50

Farming implements

Clearing of land

Plowing land, xo^ acres, first year

Garden and seeds, half acre

Fencing and outhouses

Nursery (3,5x6 seedlings)

300 Riverside navel trees, at 80 cents each.
Planting Riverside navel orange trees....

700 cniiings and planting in trench

Transplanting cuttings, second year

Transplanting 640 seedlings

Replacing, 10 percent

Plowing xo acres, 6 years

Irrigation, 7 ye^rs

Weeding and cultivating, 7 years ($40)...

Planting of com, 6 yeais, 5 acres

Planting of beans, 6 years, 5 acres„„



$1 , 100. 00

400.00

35-00

77.00

21.50

10.00

60.00

12.30

160.00

4.00

14.00

14.00

X2.8o

X.30

ISO. 00

98.00

280.00

15.00

15.00



Description.



Seed beans $^ and corn ^1, 6 years, 5
acres each

Harvesting and shelling beans and com ,
6 years

640 buds

Manuring, 6 years



Total..



Production.
6 years' crops of com, 300 cargas,at $3.
6 years' crops of beans,5oocargas,at $>$.
a years' crops of Riverside navels, 120,-

000 at JI4 per 1,000

I year's crop from cuttings, 21 ,000 at $^..

Total

Less expense and cost of land

Net profit at end of seventh year.



Cost in Mex-
ican cur-
rency.



I24.00

60.00
16.00
30.00

2,579-90



900.00
3,500.00

480.00
84.00

3,964.00
7,579.90



1,384. 10



From the eighth year forward, the plantation will average from 576 to
600 oranges per tree, and on the tenth year, 1,000 oranges per tree at a
yearly expense of $200 for the 10 acres. Two peons (day laborers) can do
the general work of the plantation. These can be hired for from J 1.50 to
$2 per week each. From the tenth year on, a grower can have with all
assurance a net income of $6,000 per year out of such size plantation, if no
plague or pest attacks the trees.

NO SERIOUS DISEASES TO COMBAT.

The tree in Mexico is not generally subject to any disease, nor is it affected
by any pests. Chlorosis in the tree is evidence of too much water. By
moderating the supply of water, it will stop. By spraying with a light solu-
tion of lime, the leaves and branches can be cleared of coccus and other
insects. The scale bug, which did great injury to so many orchards in Cal-
ifornia, is not yet known among the orchards here. However, in Yautepec,
a mosquito, which generally appears in great numbers after a very warm
spring and late rains, bores into the fruit just at the time of turning yellow
and deposits larvae inside. These, in lime, form several worms inside of the
orange, and only experts can tell when the fruit is affected. Generally, a



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2 22 AMERICAN BICYCLES IN GERMANY.

deep yeliow ring is found around where the hole is being made by the mos-
quito. Sometimes the puncture can be easily seen by the naked eye, but with
the microscope it will be found always. These insects have been brought
there by the introduction of mango, black zapote trees, and planting sugar
cane among the orange trees. By careful cultivation, spraying at the proper
time and whitewashing the trunks of the trees once every other year and not
planting any other crop between the trees, all diseases and pests can be avoided
and prevented. In some sections in California in years past, planters had
some trouble with the worm, but by proper legislation, compelling them to
spray their orchards, this defect in the fruit was obliterated. The same
thing must and can be accomplished in Yautepec, the only affected district.
The attention of the authorities has already been called to it.

The "creased " orange is very little known here. This defect is found
in colder countries. Creased oranges will not stand transportation.

WILLIAM J. CRITTENDEN,
Vice and Deputy Consul- General,

City of Mexico, October 20, iSgd.



AMERICAN BICYCLES IN GERMANY.

Do American bicycle manufacturers desire a market for their machines in
Germany? There can be but one answer to the question. The market is
one that will next year grow to very large proportions, and, by proper methods,
American manufacturers can secure a very good share of it. They must,
however, begin now to perfect their plans, for the campaign will open up
very early next spring. It is predicted that next season will see in Germany
as great enthusiasm for the sport as now exists in the United States. This
is an opinion the writer shares and he believes also that given enterprise and
right methods on the part of the American manufacturers, they can make it
redound largely to their advantage.

That they may proceed more intelligently in the premises, it will be
advantageous to describe the conditions existing in Germany. Many high-
grade American machines are already represented in the Empire, but they
have only met with a moderate degree of success. There are several reasons
for this, but the principal one is that the machines are too expensive to
compete with the best grades of German machines. For example, there
aie three particular machines which meet with the greatest success in Ger-
many. The first is an Austrian machine, made of excellent material, of
good, honest workmanship throughout, but weighing, on an average, 30
pounds. The best grade sells for 325 marks (about $80); a second grade
is also offered for about $70. The second machine is of German make, is
solidly, but clumsily, constructed and sells for 330 marks (about $82). It
also weighs about 30 pounds. The third machine is light-running, in the
writer's opinion lightly constructed of material not first class, and sells for



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AMERICAN BICYCLES IN GERMANY. 223

$70, with a second grade at somewhat less. It weighs about 28 pounds.
Besides these, there are numerous other machines, some of them well but
too heavily built, but mostly of an inferior quality of workmanship and
material.

Any one of the so-called high-grade machines placed alongside any high-
grade American machine loses vastly by the comparison, the superior light-
ness, elegance, and running qualities of the latter being at once apparent.
With the exception of those Germans who absolutely refuse to have anything
to do with a foreign-built article, this superiority is universally recognized.
The price of 420 marks (^100) is, however, the sticking point. Apart from
the comparatively few with whom money is no object, but quality supreme,
the intending bicycle buyer in Germany will turn aside, many times regret-
fully, from the American machine and buy the German article at 325 marks.
There are many, however, who honestly believe that American machines
are inferior to the heavy German makes. This arises through the persistent
misrepresentations of some German manufacturers and dealers who are
alarmed at the invasion of their home field.



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 32 of 82)