Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station.

Bulletin - Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station (Volume no.379-398) online

. (page 40 of 77)
Online LibraryMassachusetts Agricultural Experiment StationBulletin - Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station (Volume no.379-398) → online text (page 40 of 77)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

for self-pollination in the field. Some of the strains are approaching sufficient
uniformity to permit the hybridization program, to be undertaken. Some ex-
perimental hybrids tried during the year have been outstanding in yield. The
past year's crops have shown that there is a large difference in the vigor of the
various lots under trial. Only about 40 percent of the self-pollinated blossoms
set fruit, and further study will be made of the methods of pollination and also
the effect of homozygous conditions of fruit setting.

Green Sprouting Broccoli. Both the spring and fall crop have afforded an op-
portunity to make selections of the crosses made during the winter in the green-
house. Crosses were made between several quite widely different types. The


Fi generation has shown that there is a large difference in uniformity between
hybrids made between homozygous parents and crosses in which one or both
parents were from commercial strains. It will require considerabI>- more testing
before the real value of any of the lines can be determined.

Hutchinson Carrot. The F4 generation of a cross of Hutchinson X a Turkish
red carrot was grown during the fall. While many of the other vegetable crops
this season were poor, the carrot crop was the best in years. The hybrid material
was so promising that several lines will be increased for further testing on a larger
scale. These new lines have a ver)- uniformly colored root and have a pleasing
externa! color much darker than the Hutchinson.

The stock seed crop of Hutchinson carrot was very small. The plants blos-
somed profusely but only a small percentage of the flowers set seed. It is probable
that the dry weather was not conducive to proper fertilization. To meet the
demand for this seed from the seedsmen, a large crop of roots was grown and
placed in storage for next year's crop.

Lettuce, New York Type. Three crops of lettuce grown during the season have
shown that the strain of lettuce which, because of past performance, was thought
to be the most satisfactory' will not stand during hot weather without bolting to
seed. The early crop, in which plants are set, was small but satisfactorj'. Com-
parisons were made, and the better selections showed up well. The first crop in
which the seed was planted directly in the field, and which matured in early
July, indicated that the best selections definitely had resistance to tip burn.

In this planting was some of a newer selection about ready for release by the
U. S. Department of Agriculture which showed excellent heading characteristic,
but was small and so crisp as to make it questionable whether it would stand
handling in the market. The characters this lettuce has will be combined with
our bigger strain resistant to tip burn, which should combine all the desirable
characters needed to make a good lettuce for Massachusetts. The fall crop of
lettuce confirmed the results obtained in the summer crop.

Samples of the best selections now on hand will be given to a few growers for
trial next vear.

R. A. Van Meter in Charge

The past season was in strong contrast to that of 1940 in many respects. It
opened early and fruit trees bloomed earlier than in any other of the past twenty
years. Rainfall was very deficient in the spring of 1941, normal or above in June
and July, and low for the last of the summer. Rainfall was heavy in the spring of
1940 and light in the fall, while fruit bloom was late. The rainfall for the summer
of 1941 was less than three fourths of the normal amount in Amherst and still
less in some parts of the State. Yet tree growth was good at Amherst and apples
grew to normal size. The explanation may be largely in the good rainfall for June
and July. Trees came through the spring drouth on reserve water from the
winter. Soil water drained awa^' early, admitting air to the soil and favoring
early root activity and later leaf development. Summer rainfall was enough to
maintain growth. Dry weather in the spring is fa\orable to fruit trees provided
it does not continue too long.

Peach fruit buds survived the winter and a good crop was produced. Rasp-
berry canes winterkilled badly, with a consequent reduction of the crop.


The Influence of Various Clonal Rootstocks on Apple Varieties. (J. K. Shaw
and L. Southwick.) The new stock bed set last year made a good growth and
should yield several thousand rooted layers in 1942. Several new stocks from the
United States Department of Agriculture were added. No layers were taken
from this bed this year but the old bed yielded a crop of layers that were lined
out for budding. Layers from the more vigorous stocks can always be budded
the first season but the dwarfing stocks require good growing conditions if they are
to be suitable for budding in their first year.

The cooperative clonal stock orchards are as reported last year. Some are
doing well and should contribute to our knowledge of the interrelations of these
stocks with our American varieties; others are failures. One orchard that did
very poorly for the first three years has improved greatly in the last two years.
It is on a shallow soil with a high water table in the spring. During the past
two years it has been cultivated with a crop of string beans. The reason for
marked improvement may be that aeration of the soil has improved conditions
for root activity. An additional cooperative orchard of over 1000 trees on these
clonal stocks will be planted next spring.

AH the trees in our own five-year-old orchard continue to grow about alike.
They have been in cultivation and have borne few apples, yet they are now large
enough to bear a bushel or more each. The orchard will soon be seeded to grass
which should bring the trees into bearing promptly and show whether the trees
on the various stocks react differently. Two trees of Red Spy on the very
dwarfing Mailing IX, one with several apples, broke off, emphasizing the fact
that trees on this stock should have support.

The Mcintosh orchard planted in 1928 grew better than last year. Comments
on the mulched areas are made in the report on the Mulching Project. As meas-
ured by trunk diameter, Mcintosh trees on Mailing Xll, XV, and XVI and on
their own roots are now larger than the trees on seedling roots; trees on Mailing
X and XIII are somewhat smaller; and trees on Mailing I, V, and VI considerably
smaller. Trees on Mailing IV are almost as large in trunk diameter and spread
of top as those on seedling roots but are not as tall, indicating that this is a promis-
ing stock for fruit growers who wish to avoid tall trees.

The trees on various stocks in the 1939 orchard continue to grow about the
same; little indication of dwarfing effect of the stocks has yet appeared. A few
scattered trees bore apples. In midsummer leaf scorch and partial defoliation
appeared. The symptoms suggested magnesium deficiency and an analysis
of leaf samples supported this. The trees were given a liberal application of
potash (with nitrogen) in the spring of 1941 and it has been shewn that potash
applications bring out symptoms of magnesium shortage. The situation will be
studied further and steps taken to remedy it.

The diameter of the bulge or swell at the point of union and that above and
below the union were measured in June. The diameter above the union always
averaged smallest. The swell was larger with the stocks known to be dwarfing,
and was influenced also by the scion variety. It is doubtful whether the size of
the swell is of much significance in the performance of the trees. This work will
be more full)- reported elsewhere.

Lethal Incompatibilities between Clonal Stocks and Varieties of Apples.

(J. K. Shaw and L. Southwick.) The above project is concerned with stock-
scion combinations that may be useful in orcharding. There have appeared some
combinations that fail sooner or later. We have been unable to make some
of the flowering crabs grow on some of these clonal stocks. Cases are known in
which comestible varieties fail. Deeming this situation worthy of study, a new
project has been started in an effort to learn the reason for such failures.


Tree Characters of Fruit Varieties. (J. K. Shaw, A. P. French, O. C. Roberts,
and L. Southwick.) This project has been carried on for many years. As new
varieties are constantly appearing there seems to be no end in sight of a need for
such work. Varieties of apple, pear, plum, cherry, and peach desired for observa-
tion are maintained in the nursery. The usual inspection of nurseries for trueness
to name was made, but certification under the auspices of the Massachusetts
Fruit Growers' Association was discontinued this year. If trees are kept true to
name in the nursery row, the chances of a grower getting trees not true to name is
sma!l; and it was felt that the relatively' expensive certification was not worth

The Genetic Composition of Peaches. (J. S. Bailey and A. P. French.) Special
attention was gi\x*n to the inheritance of blossom characters. Results indicate
that blossom t^'pe (showy or nonshowy blossoms) is controlled by one pair of
genes (Shsh), with the nonshowy type dominant, and that blossom size is con-
trolled by one or more other pairs of genes. This work will be reported in the
Proceedings of the American Society for Horticultiiral Science.

Comparison of Cultivation and Sod in a Bearing Orchard. (J. K. Shaw.) This
project was continued as in the past but a new project referred to elsewhere was
started on one of the complete-fertilizer plots. Another plot is used for the
mulching experiment and is referred to under that project. The remaining five
plots continue to indicate that on this soil a balanced fertilizer is now necessary.
It suggests that the fruit grower who is using nitrogen alone as a fertilizer should
watch for indications of a shortage of other elements. As long as nitrogen alone
results in satisfactory performance of the trees it should be continued, but any
symptoms of shortage should be promptly diagnosed and the deficiency supplied.

Comparison of Cultivation and Heavy Mulching for Apples. (J. K. Shaw.)
The two small plots where heavy mulching was begun in 1922 continue as reported
last year. The mulch material decays rather slowly and bids fair to last several
years without additional applications. The trees continue to grow and bear
well although grass grows vigorously up through the mulch.

Additional mulch was applied to plot 3 in the cultivation-sod orchard. The
material was weighed this year. It amounted to 4225 pounds applied to 10
trees or about 5j^ tons per acre. Probably this amount applied annually is more
than is economical. Rootlets are much more abundant just beneath the mulch
than in surface areas under cultivation or sod. Doubtless there are three condi-
tions that would favor such root development: (a) better and more uniform
moisture supply, (b) more readily available nutrients, and (c) better aeration.
The growth on these trees this summer was remarkably good and the crop was
the largest of any of the seven plots in the orchard. When the mulching was
begun four years ago nitrogen must have been very low and the cover crop was
negligible. The mulch was applied to almost bare soil. Yet there never have
been any signs of nitrogen depression following these liberal applications of waste
hay. The trees immediately improved in vigor and production and continued
to do so in successive years. No fertilizer, other than the mulch, has been ap-
plied for twenty years.

The two plots in the Mcintosh clonal stock orchard received additional mulch
this second year. . The material weighed 13,300 pounds or about 6H tons per
acre. This again is an excessive amount and will be reduced in the future to see
if equally satisfactory results can be obtained. The rest of the orchard was seeded
in August 1940, to a mixture of red, alsike, and Ladino clovers. A good stand was
obtained and now consists mostly of Ladino clover. The clover areas (about two
acres) were fertilized with 150 pounds nitrate of soda and 200 pounds nitrate of


potash with an additional 2 pounds nitrate of soda per tree applied under each
tree, no clover growing there. The mulched trees received no other fertilizer.
The two lots of trees look about the same. Root development beneath the mulch
is similar to other mulched plots.

The Effect of Orchard Mulches on the Plant Nutrients in the Soil. (J. K.

Shaw in cooperation with the Chemistry Department.) This is a new project.
Previous work has shown that nitrates and replaceable potash abound in orchard
soils beneath a hay mulch. We wish to know whether this is also true of other
mineral nutrients and whether it is due solely to nutrients in the mulch or to soil
conditions brought about by mulching. Two 30-year-old Mcintosh trees grow-
ing in cultivation were mulched with hay, two with glass wool, which may be
expected to produce similar soil conditions, and two are continued in cultivation.
Two trenches were dug under each tree and soil samples at several depths were
taken. These are now being analyzed to determine total and available nutrients.
Similar samples will be taken one or more times each year and analyzed.

Studies of Varieties of Fruits. (J. K. Shaw and Staff.)

Apples. Milton trees bore a good crop this year. As trees get older the ir-
regular shape of the fruit is less pronounced than is that of young trees. Milton
is larger, of more attractive color, and later than Early Mcintosh; the tree is of
far better growing habit and begins to bear earlier.

Sweet Cherries. There are no commercial sweet cherry orchards in Massa-
chusetts; yet it would seem that growers in this State might compete with those
who ship in considerable quantities of fruit. Leaf spot and brown rot can be
controlled easily. The two most serious difficulties are winter injury to the trees
and depredations by birds. Proper choice of site and soil and suitable soil man-
agement will go far towards preventing winter injury and it is doubtful whether
birds would be very troublesome in orchards of an acre or more. Birds harvested
most of the blueberries in two small unprotected plots, but when two acres were
planted the mischief of birds became insignificant. It has been suggested that
captive hawks or even stuffed hawks might scare away birds. In a limited trial
in one of our small blueberry plots a liv^e hawk seemed to keep birds away. It
should be remembered that only certain species may legally be kept in captivity.

We have grown in the nursery about twenty-five varieties of sweet cherries
and most of them are also in our orchard though not all are in bearing. A few
notes on some varieties are here given:

Bing is a dark, red cherry often in our markets. It is meat>', of attractive
appearance and good quality, with a small pit. It is not very productive.

Black Republican is another dark cherry of good quality but not very large.
It is commonly used only as a pollinator.

Dikeman is small, rather sour and of not very good quality. It is not to be

Giant is a large, dark cherry, inferior in quality to others of its class.

Napoleon is the yellowish Royal Ann of the Pacific Coast and our markets.
It is perhaps the best light colored sweet cherry but not as hardy to cold as other

Schmidt is one of the best dark cherries, of very good quality and fairly hardy.
It is recommended to plant with Windsor as a pollinating variety. Nelson is
very similar to if not identical with Schmidt. Paul Rose is a yellow bud sport of
Schmidt with a red line down the suture. Neither is superior to Schmidt.

Windsor is the best sweet cherry for Massachusetts. It is dark red, hardy,
productive, and of very good quality.

Gold or Starks Gold was very productive and hardy at first. Later the trees
were killed apparently by winter cold. It is poor in quality.


Sweet September is a late yellow cherry which 's now being advertised by some
nurserymen. It appears to be too tender to cold for Massachusetts.

Peaches. Duke of York. An old English peach recently brought to the atten-
tion of American peach growers. It is an early white-fleshed peach but is un-
attractive, poor in flavor, has soft-melting flesh, and is semi-cling. Its value
in Massachusetts is very doubtful.

Goldeneast. This is a fine, large, freestone, attractive, yellow-fleshed, mid-
season peach of very good flavor. It looks very promising.

Redrose is an attractive white-fleshed, late, freestone peach. Flavor was not
very good.

New Jersey 102. A medium-season, yellow-fleshed, freestone peach of good
quality but not outstanding.

New Jersey 105. A yellow, late, freestone peach; quality only fair.

New Jersey 108. A late, yellow-fleshed, freestone peach; quality poor. Prob-
ably ripens too late for Massachusetts.

New Jersey 109. A late, white-fleshed, freestone peach of fair flavor. Not
attractive. It may be a little late for Massachusetts in some years.

New Jersey 111. A late, yellow-fleshed, freestone peach, attractive but of
only fair flavor. Heavy crop for small tree.

Sungold. A medium-late, yellow-fleshed, freestone peach of very fine flavor
and attractive. It has a thick, tough skin and should ship well. The tree is
dwarfish and spreading like J. H. Hale.

Grapes. In recent years the New York Experiment Station has bred and the
New York Fruit Testing Association introduced many new varieties of grapes.
The following varieties are all of this origin:

Erie is a good, early blue grape. The bunch is poor and it is self-sterile. There
are better grapes of its season. It seems to be no longer offered b\' the Fruit Test-
ing Association.

Hanover, Sheridan, Urbana and Wayne all matured fairly well this year but
usually our season is too short for them. It is doubtful if any of them should be
planted here except under conditions most favorable for maturity.

Several varieties not yet named were fruited. Number 12236 (red) and 12238
(reddish blue) have received the most favorable comment and are regarded as
promising. Concord Seedless (blue) and numbers 9975 (blue), 11361 (reddish
blue), 11412 and 11679 (both green) appear less promising.

Raspberries. Marcy is still free from mosaic disease, of good quality but
rather soft for shipment. It is more desirable than Ta>Ior but it is doubtful if
it can replace Latham as a commercial variety.

Marion is a purple raspberry with the undesirable color of that type. It is
thought to be superior to Sodus and worth trying if one wants a purple raspberry.

Tahoma appears to be undesirable. The berries are small, soft and sour.

Taylor sufTers severely from Mosaic, and its quality is inferior to Marcy.

Among five numbered seedlings from Geneva, No. 13618 seemed most prom-
ising. Numbers 5371, 5548, 13108 and 14685 were, for various reasons, consid-
ered to be of doubtful value.

Blueberries. Concord. This variety produced very attractive, firm, fine-
flavored berries in 1941. There was no tendency to crack after rainy periods.
Most berries were large but size was somewhat variable. The scar is large and
watery with a tendency for the skin to tear.

Dixi is 3'et too young to give a good idea of the variety. Bush appears vig-
orous but yields have been light. Fruit late, large, of good flavor, picks easily,
but has a large watery scar.


Jersey. Large, attractive berries make this look like a good variety. The
bush is vigorous and yields well. Flavor is excellent if the berries are allowed to
ripen well on the bush but very sour if picked a day or two too soon.

June. This variety has improved in growth since the soil was drained, but
growth is still weak in comparison with other varieties. Since it is earlier than
Cabot, it might have a place for home garden use or roadside stand trade.

Pemberton. This variety continues to look promising because of large size
and attractiveness of berries and good yield. Fruit has excellent flavor but the
scar is large. There was very little cracking after rainy periods.

Scammell. This variety is probably not adapted to this climate. Leaves are
small and growth is not vigorous. Berries are large during first of season but late
berries are small. Flavor is good. Berries are firm but they cracked after rainy

Stanley. The performance of this variety was disappointing this year. Growth
was poor and yield very light.

Wareham. Berry size was unusually large this year — 90 per cup at the start
of the season — and held up well. It has a distinctive wild blueberry flavor that
some people like. The bush is open and the fruit clusters are small and open,
making picking easy. The scar is small. It yields well, but the dark-colored
fruit lacks attractiveness. This year it became soft and cracked very badly after
rains, and kept poorly in storage.

Fruit Bud Formation in tlie Strawberry. (R. A. Van Meter.) DifTerential
mulching experiments brought this study to an end with the harvesting of the
1941 crop. Results are now being summarized.

Nature of Winter Hardiness in tlie Raspberry. (R. A. Van Meter and A. P.
French.) One of the serious difficulties of the raspberry grower in Massachusetts
is winter injury to the canes and buds. The occurrence is erratic and unpre-
dictable. Little seems to be known about the causal conditions. A study will
be made of the rest period, vegetative condition, and chemical composition of
the plants in their relations to winter injury. Several seasons' work are likely
to be necessary before definite results can be reported.

Storage of Apples in Modified Atmospheres. (L. Southwick and O. C. Roberts
in cooperation with Department of Engineering.) Experiments with 40-quart
milk cans as gas-tight containers were continued. Attempts were made to main-
tain definite atmospheres in the cans by daily flushing with nitrogen, by taking
out excess carbon dioxide, and by controlling ventilation. The cans were filled
on December 2, 1940, with about 35 pounds of rather mature, wrapped Mcintosh
apples and sealed immediately. These apples at 40° F. generated carbon dioxide
at the approximate rate of 2.5 milligrams per hour per kilogram of fruit. Where a
sodium hydroxide scrubber was used to wash out the accumulations of carbon
dioxide, the oxygen in the cans was reduced to below 3 percent in 8 to 10 days.
Complete oxygen depletion was greatly hastened when cans were flushed with
nitrogen every day or two.

It was difficult to maintain the desired constant atmospheres in these cans
by the methods employed. Since the apples occupied as much as 50 percent of
the total space in the cans, respiratory activity itself caused rather abrupt changes
in the composition of the atmosphere. Furthermore, a very brief washing period
reduced the carbon dioxide content to practically zero. The carbon dioxide in-
creased to an average of 10 percent in the cans between scrubbings. Oxygen
percentages varied much less widely around the desired 2 percent level. It was
somewhat difficult to keep the oxygen level sufficiently high to prevent anaerobic


respiration unless ventilation was provided. One tight can was left undisturbed
with a subsequent CO2 accumulation of over 60 percent of the total atmosphere.

Through controlled ventilation, one can was operated approximately on the
English system of 10 percent oxygen and 11 percent carbon dioxide. With an
open 3/8-inch vent near the base of the can, respiration at 40° reduced the oxygen
below the 10 percent level. By controlling the amount of leakage through a
similar hole at the top of the can, the desired atmosphere Was maintained fairly
well. Only a very small top opening was needed to allow sufficient air leakage to
counterbalance oxygen utilization.

On March 1, one can was opened. The atmosphere in this can had been
maintained at less than 1 percent of oxygen with the CO2 averaging around 12
percent. The apples were in poor condition with scald, skin ruptures, and some
internal breakdown. The more highly colored apples were in the best condition
both in appearance and eating quality. The flesh was rather soft. A slight
alcoholic taste was evidence of anaerobic respiration.

On May 1, another can was opened. The ox^'gen content of this can had
averaged about 2 percent with the CO2 ranging between 3 and 10 percent. Most
of the apples were in good condition with excellent color and no evidence of scald
or internal breakdown. There was some soft rot and mold where apples had

Online LibraryMassachusetts Agricultural Experiment StationBulletin - Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station (Volume no.379-398) → online text (page 40 of 77)