Minnesota State Horticultural Society.

Annual report of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society for the year .. online

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place and the coldest place to be found; the cold air settles in
there, and the warm air can not get out. If there is a slight cur-
rent the warm air always rises, leaving the cold air so that the
mercury will run several degrees lower in a sheltered spot than
where the wind has full sweep, on higher land.

Mr. Allen. Mr. President, that is entirely different from the
idea I had. Where I have succeeded with fruit was in a coulie
protected from the north and east winds. My other trees in the
valley that were exposed have principally died out. I have
Wealthy, Duchess, Strawberry and some seedlings that have
been bearing well in this little coulie. The ravine runs south.


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Mr. Smith. Bat the trees are on the west side of the coulie
and i)art way up the side hill ?

Mr. Allen. Yes, and they are protected.

Mr. Dartt. The prevailing wind is from the soath or the
i^est and not being sheltered from those is not in the most shel-
tered spot.

Mr. Allen. No wind can touch them without coming over
the bluff and coming down.

Mr. Dartt. The cold air would settle in the lowest ground.

Mr. Latham. The location described by Mr. Allen is undoubt-
•edly one of the best for raising fruit of any kind in this climate.
The very lowest ground is unsuitable, no matter whether it is
for the growth of the strawberry which lies under the snow or
for the grape vine, under a slight covering of earth, or for the
life of the apple tree. The summit of a hill is equally bad; but
the side hill, part way up, protected from severe winds and
where there is the least liability to change in temperature, that
is the best place, and the safest and surest for raising fruit,
^uch a place as the one described by Mr. Allen would undoubt-
edly be a good one to plant any kind of fruit upon.

Mr. Harris. I visited the grounds of Mr. Wilcox, near
La Crosse, on the east side of the river, which are protected by a
narrow ravine; the hillsides are quite steep. In the lowest part
of the valley he cannot raise apples, but he is raising some of
the finest trees of the old varieties I have seen in my travels the
past year, and they are pretty well sheltered by the bluff. I
found Fameuse trees without any outward blemish upon them,
while elsewhere they have been mostly killed. The bluff rises
some 150 feet and the sun and \\ind cannot touch them and they
stand better than any place I ever saw.

Mr. Smith. Wouldn't there be naturally a draft of air from
the lower Mississippi valley along the sides of that bluff 1f

Mr. Harris. No doubt of that, but the trees are sheltered,
and have the best kind of shelter.

Mr. Pearce. I have studied the apple tree business as well as
I could. I have seen trees raised under different circumstances
and on different elevations. Out in Pipestone county, one of
the highest elevations in the State, on that ridge, the highest in
Southern Minnesota, they were raising the finest apples.

Mr. Harris. Murray county is the highest land in the State.

Prof. Maginnis. The blufis rise some six hundred feet above
.the Mississippi; Barn bluff at Winona I think is just that.


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Mr. Pearce. I found the Duchess, Whitney and many other
varieties that appeared to be in perfect condition.

Mr. Brand. I suppose they were six or seven years old.

Mr. Smith. Some were eight years old.

Mr. Pearce. I have observed the same thing at MontevideOv^
in the Western part of the State, and have been astonished to
find the Haas standing well. My experience is that the higher
the elevation the better the trees stand. I claim it is not the
cold weather that kills our trees and could prove it if I had time.
It is the peculiar condition of the sap in the fall. I have known
trees to blossom in the fall and that was the condition year be-
fore last. I said then the trees were dead and there would ^be a
sharp and woeful howl in the spring; the trees were killed in
December. It is not the cold weather that caused the loss but
the peculiar condition of the sap. The same thing occurred in
Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and throughout the Northwest. If I
was going to set an orchard I would select the highest elevation.

Prof. Maginnis. In confirmation of what Mr. Pearce has said
in favor of high elevations I would say that there is an orchard
near Sparta, in the Trempeleau valley, on limestone soil where
there are trees that have been in bearing for years, of varieties
that have not been grown in any other part of Wisconsin, ex-
cept along the lake shore. I received this information while at-
tending the farmers' institutes, and the reasons assigned were
substantially those given by Mr. Pearce.

Mr. Harris. I have seen the trees on the place spoken of and
know they are raising trees that I cannot touch.

Mr. Dartt. Mr. President, the fact that those trees are
growing on that high ground indicates that it was a favorable
locality; still they may get to bearing, size and then die. There
may be low lands in the vicinity, which might be a decided
advantage. An elevated plateau, or high level land, is rather
against the success of trees, depending on the elevation. If
the highest land was the bast location for trees you might keep
on till you reach the line of snow on the mountains; elevation is
good if you don't elevate too much.

Now, the gentleman says that it is not cold that kills; perhaps
I would be the proper one to dispute it. [Laughter.] If it was
not the cold it seems to me they would not be found dead after
we have had an extremely hard winter. You notice that two or
three years ago trees down as far as St. Louis were killed out
seriously and they reported a cold wave down there when the


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mercury was down nearly to forty degrees. It is said by our
friend that it was the peculiar condition of the sap in the trees in
the fiall. I have no doubt but the extreme cold, day after day,
freezes onr trees dry and when spring opens there isn't life
enough left in them to get up a good circulation on the outside.
The hardiest varieties start and struggle along and if the next
winter is favorable they recover, leaving a black ring in the
middle of the tree, making them bliwjk-hearted.

Mr. Pearce. How was it some ten or twelve years ago when
we had so many trees killed, was it the cold weather that killed

Mr. Smith. No. I want to say I have been through three of
these winter-killing periods; 1866-7, 1872-3 and 1884-5. To a
certain extent brother Dartt is right. But when he says the cold
does all the mischief, I would call attention to the fact that each
one of these disastrous winters has been preceded by a late
fall and continued growth late in the season, so that trees were
killed before the very cold weather set in. Again, we have had
extreme and continued cold without results. Forty degrees be-
low don't kill an apple tree if in proper condition.

Mr. Latham. Mr. Chairman, I think there is a fact about
this that we ought to recognize as individuals and as a society.
I have been a member a good many years. We have been
through these cold spells, and I have noticed after every one a
disposition on the part of members of the society to ascribe the
loss of our fruit trees to something besides cold weather; there is
always good cause for it. The winter of 1873 was one of these
hard spells and at our next annual meeting there was a long dis-
cussion, and I remember that some of the members from the
southern part of the State thought it was because the ground was
so very dry down there; but in this section of the State it was
because the ground was so wet. [Laughter.] I was a young
member at the time, but I was amused to hear the discussion and
all so persistently ignoring the fact that it had been so very
cold. If we had no cold weather here we could raise peaches
and bananas. The trouble with raising apples and pears in this
conntry is our winters are too cold, and we might as well face
that fact. Our trees are not hardy enough for the climate. I can
stand the climate with proper clothing, but to wear mosquito net-
ting might cause me to freeze to death; it doesn't follow that I
couldn't live elsewhere. We must look for something that will
stand the winter, and we might as well face the real situation.


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Mr. Dartt. They say it is not the fiftll that hurts. It is the
sadden stop. [Laughter.] That is about the position taken
here. They reason that it is not the hanging that killed a man,
but the brewing of the neck, or the stopping of the breath.
I think if our trees could escape this extreme cold they would
probably be all right.

Mr. Pearce. One word: I dug trees the fall before that
winter of 1873 and buried them, in the spring they were all
dead. The ground scarcely froze at all during that winter, for
potatoes came up in the spring that had been in the ground
over winter. This is a matter of history.

Mr. Smith. I put 3,000 trees in the cellar the sixth of Decem-
ber and they were all dead in the spring.

Mr. Harris. It was root-killing that caused the injury to
trees that winter. Northern Spy showed no injury from the
winter, but the trees were killed at the root. I know in our
ocality we attributed the diflBculty to the long-continued and
severe drouth.

On motion the meeting adjourned till 7 o'clock.


Tuesday, Jan. 18. 1887.

The meeting wa« called to order by President Elliot.

The following committee was named on Revision of Fruit
Lists: A. W. Sias, M. Pearce, E. H. S. Dartt.

Mr. Smith. There is one thing I would like to speak of, to
throw out a suggestion to members of the Society at this time.
I noticed an article in the Iowa Homestead^ in the editorial col-
umns, on the subject of protecting farm buildings with
windbreaks, recommending evergreens, and, as a temporary
expedient, the growing of the Russian Mulberry, to be followed
with Scotch Pine, the walnut and other valuable timber. I
want to protest against this, for I must say I am not pleased
with the Russian Mulberry. I have been well over the State
the past year, investigated the timber-culture question,
o^pecially as regards the question of shelter belts, and I believe
the most valuable for that purpose is the common White Willow.
It can be grown on the prairie the best of any thing I have found.
It is unjust that farmers should be advised to plant out Catalpas


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and Bussiaii MulberrieB, and trees of that class, which they must
pay ont their money for without getting any particular benefit,
when they can secure the desired shelter belts with little expense
by growing the White Willow.

Mr. Sias. I would 8up]>ose that a man who would recommend
the Bussian Mulberry would naturally recommend Scotch Pine
next; it is about the i)Oore8t thing we have in the line of ever-
greens for a windbreak. I didn't know that till the twenty-first of
August, 1883, when a tornado went through our city, leaving moa>
of the trees of that kind at an angle of forty-five degrees, while
Norway Spruce and most of the native trees stood upright. It
has not proi)er leaf surface like White Pine, which has a five-
leaf cluster. The leaves of a tree have an effect on the root.
What is wanted for a windbreak is a tree that will stand firm
like the White Pine. We have a native evergreen that I think
much of, known as the Gray Pine. Some may be familiar with
it, known as Pinus Banksiana,

Prof. Maginnis. Since you have given its botanical name I
remember it, and h%ve observed on the map where it grows, and
I think there was only one variety that grew further north. I
is fonnd on Great Slave Lake, many degrees north of here; it is a
cold climate tree.

Mr. Smith. The Jack Pine has a -short leaf and is very tough,
hvrd wood.

Mr. Sias. The foliage of the Gray Pine resembles that of
Scotch Pine somewhat, but it is a hardier, tougher tree, with
better root. It resembles the pine mentioned, but is not the same.

Mr. Pearce was requested to present his paper at this time on
grape culture.


By M, Pearce, Minneapolii<.

Tli3r3 is nD fruit that possesses so many goad qualities as the
grape, fresh from the vine. It is found in every inhabited part
of the earth, where trees or plants will grow, either in a wild or
cultivated state. To oar native varieties we are indebted for
the best varieties we have, such as the Concord, Delaware, Wor-
den, Moore's Early, and others. The handling of the grape vine,
necessary tx> the highest success, is practiced by but few in pro-
portion to the many thousands who are attempting to grow this
grand fruit. It is safe to say that in the Northwest not over ten


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per .C3nt of those who attempt the culture meet with success.
This hivgd percentage of failure does not arise from unfavorable
condition of soil or climate, but from ignorance of proper meth-
ods of planting, handling, etc.

In trimming the vines in the fall, for fruiting the next year,
not 111 n;; should be left on them but fruit buds, and these in
such quiintities only as the age and vigor of the root will bear.
Heat and sunlight are the great essentials to ripen grapes; hence
the warmest and sunniest place should be selected for them.
They will do well on any dry soil, though a sandy loam is best
in this region. Side hills sloping to the south, or east, are the
most sought after. In cold countries the vines should be pro-
tected from the cold winds of the west or north; soil should be
moderately rich and cultivated deeply. Make the rows seven
feet apart and the plants eight feet apart in the
rows, setting the roots eight inches deep,
spread the roots in all directions, and press the
soil firmly about them; allow but one cane to grow,
and tie it to a stake about four feet high; keep off
all sprouts from the roots. When the new wood
has made a growth of three feet pinch the top;
pinch back the laterals to two leaves; hold the
plant at three feet and the lateral at two leaves,
the first year, by occasionally pinching back; this
will dev elope the buds, make the plant stocky and
increase the size and vigor of the roots. Such a
plant is shown at Fig. 1. About the middle of
October cut it back to three buds, and just before
Fig. 1. winter sets in press it flat on the ground and cover
about five inches deep with earth, with a few inches of straw for
mulching. In the spring uncover, tie to the stake, and when
the buds push, select the strongest and rub the others off. Man-
age the growing vine precisely as during the first year, with this
exception; let it attain four or five feet, according to the vigor
of the vine, before the top is pinched; that is for one vine, all
the laterals must be confined to two leaves, and all sprouts that
may come from the roots must be promptly removed. Such a
vine, if vigorous and healthy, will be well supplied with fruit
buds for fruiting the next year. In the fall remove all of the
vine except that part which contains fruit buds.

The grapevine has three distinct kinds of buds: fruit buds,
forcing buds, and wood buds. The fruit bud is large, round, or


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nearly so, at the base; top, oval or roaad. The forcing bad is
flat, or medium size, with a slightly peaked or pointed top.
The wood bud is small, flat at the base and pointed. Fruit buds,

^ - ^•a^^E^uit mtmmr ^JQ^


when they start in the spring, will blossom at each joint from
the first to the fourth or fifth. A forcing bud will never blos-
som unless it is forced to do so by pinching the top of the vine
when fifteen or twenty inches long. A wood bud can never be
forced into fruiting, to any advantage. There is from two to
three weeks difference in the tirai^ of ripening the grapes from
the two buds firat mentioned. Fully nine-tenths of the grape
growers of this country are using forcing buds for fruiting, and
that is the reason so many grapes never ripen. It is of the ut-
most importance that grape growers should be familiar with
grape buds, for on this everything dep3nda. Whatever system
of trimming you may practice, remove all buds except the fruit-
ing ones, and in no case should these exceed twelve to any root.
The number of fruit buds must be regulated by the age ancf
vigor of the vine; young^vines are often ruined by overbearing.
Fig. 2 represents Fig. 1 when two years old, laid down ready to
be covered for winter protection. Fig. 3 represents the same
vine, the next fall, loaded with fruit.

Fig. 3. — Training Vine to Trellib.

The trellis is of three No. 12 white wires, on posts three and a
half feet high, the bottom wire twelve inches from the ground,
the second midway between the foot and the top. The horizon
tal vine in Fig. 3 is Fig. 2 in its subsequent position on the


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trellis, fastened to the lower wire, in the spring. Thej^buds?
should all swell at the same time; this result is accomplished hy
eleyating or lowering the ^ne at the top end; if the buds are-
making too much growth at the end of the vine, drop it down
a little; if it is too slow elevate it; by so doing all the buds-
can be made to start together; this must be careftdly attended to*
at the commencement of growth. When growth commences it^
will be very rapid, blossoms and clusters will appear at each
joi^t as shown in the cut ; tie the growing canes to the wires ;
when they reach the top wire turn them down between the fruit-
ing canes as shown in Fig. 3. Allow nothing to grow but the-
fruiting canes and two leaves to each lateral. The long vine on
the left is for the next year's fruiting ; allow it to make a growth
of six or seven feet, then pinch ofif and hold all the laterals to-
two leaves. In the fall remove the bearing arm at the point in-
dicated by the lower dart. The new vine will be the next year's,
fruiting arm ; this is known as the ** renewal system,'' each year
growing a fruiting arm or vine.

If you are growing from forcing buds, which is too often the
case, pinch the top of each cane above the third joint; also the
laterals beyond two leaves ; keep off all sprouts that may ap-
pear ; renew the pinching as new growth appears, and in no case
allowthe vines to go beyond the top wire. The grapes will be^
later in ripening, at least two weeks or more, than those from
fruit buds.

The following are the most popular varieties for this region ::
Concord, Delaware, Worden, Moore's Early and Cottage. The
last tij/^o named are large and good, fifteen or twenty days earlier
than the Concord.

Grapes should be well cultivated till the first of August ; after
that pull out the weeds and ^hey will do much better then if
cultivated late. Trim in the fall as soon as growth ceases ; this^
will hasten the ripening of the grai>es the next year. Cover
the vines as late in the fall as possible, as before directed. Un-
cover as soon as danger of freezing is over.

I am aware that my mode of handling grapevines differs from
most growers in this region, but it is not new, has been fully
tested by myself and other parties, and has been found to be far
ahead of any other system. The principal advantages^of this,
system are : early ripening, larger quantity and less labor.


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Mr. Harris. I would like to ask how many years you have
been practicing your system of pruning t

Mr. Pearce. All my life; it is the old system and it has al-
ways been followed.

Mr. Brand. Would you advise propagating vines from cut-
ting treated in the manner you describe!

Mr. Pearce. • I would say that you can take cuttings if you
wish and grow them so that they will produce a crop of grapes
in three years. You can grew fruit the next year even if desired.

President Elliot. That is not generally considered good policy.

Mr. Pearce. I would cut the vine so as to leave three eyes
and no more. You can take some fifty of these and tie them
together after taking them off in the fall. Make an excavation,
putting the top ends down, covering with three inches of earth,
then covering with two or three loads of manure; this will create
an artificial heat. In the spring the buds will be calloused.
Set in strong ground and if they are fruit buds they will grow.
It is not policy if you are growing vines.

Mr. Harris. Care must be used not to put on too much ma-
nure or the vines will rot, and I think six inches of earth better
than three for a covering. The object of the manure is to keep
the frost out.

Mr. Pearce. We tried the process described, a year ago and
were very successful.

President Elliot then read his annual address.


Members of the Minnesota Slate Horticultural Society^ Ladie-s and
Gentlemen :
When I undertake to bend my mind from business cares and
try to express in a clear and definite form an address worthy of
the cause we represent, I can but wish that this task had fallen to
the lot of some other member, better qualified to consider the
many questions of interest that are to come before us. And when
I read the many excellent annual addresses that have been given
by my predecessors, I feel that your selection has been unwise.
With this introductory, we come directly to our subject for this
evening, with reference to a few points, as Shakspeare would say^
"to leave no rules as blotches in the work" of horticulture.

Digitized by




What does it mean? Webster says, gardening; '*The art of
cultivating the garden." Those who follow its pursuits can be
truly counted benefactors of mankind. It is an art worthy of
the most intelligent research, capable of affording great pleasure
to its devotees, and success can only be attained in it by constant
care and vigilance. In this, as in other pursuits, only the cau-
tious, calculating, painstaking investigator will become eminently
successful in a climate like ours. To quote from an essay by G.
W. Lawton, of Michigan: *^No weariness in fruit growing is
tolerated in mind or body if one would succeed; activity in both
are prerequisites."

Passable crops may be raised .by those not noted for great in-
dustry, buttomakea good profitable business it must be con-
ducted on business and scientific principles. The success we
have attained has been by those who have chosen their location
for operation with care, given thought to the preparation of
their grounds, made judicious selections of varieties, planted
intelligently and given proper protection against drouths, by
cultivation, or mulching. The ambition and enthusiasm of one
loving his profession will overcome all obstacles and make suc-
cess of what would otherwise prove a failure. In some of its
departments experiments can be finished in a few weeks or
months; in others it is a life work, and in a few it requires the
energy and patient toil of successive generations. If it is truly
said that "time will accomplish all things;" we can hope and
work on, believing that we may yet be able to produce hardy
fruits for this vast area of country that has hitherto proved so
uninviting to horticulturists.

To those not personally acquainted with experimenting in hor-
ticulture it seems an easy thing to grow fine fruits, flowers and
vegetables; but the experience of those who have devoted the
best part of their lives to this health-giving employment proves
it otherwise.

When I look around upon these horticulturists with heads
whitening with age, and think what results they might have at-
tained had they devoted themselvei? as assiduously to other pur-
suits; what opportunities they have lost, what deprivations their
families have undergone; when with only discouragements,
losses, blighted hopes, failures in the past and utter ruin staring
them in the face, ofbtimes without a cent in their pockets, home


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devoid of eveiy comfort, wife shoeless and children crying for
bread, they have worked on with devotion worthy better results.
Think you politicians, lawyers, doctors, mechanics, artisans,
minist'Crs of the gospel, that you have been more devoted to your
professions than these workers that place upon your tables lus-
cious fruits, in your parlors and drawing rooms, beautiful flow-
ers, and surround your homes with taste and adornment! Have

Online LibraryMinnesota State Horticultural SocietyAnnual report of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society for the year .. → online text (page 9 of 89)