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Newspaper Article "Danger of Over-Irrigating Fruit."[July 18, 1907] No Author Jul 18, 1907

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 Danger of Over-Irrigating Fruit.
Says the f .Agriculturist: A
gentleman wtio&*^OfJinions are worthy
of serious consideration, has written
to the editor of this paper a personal
letter in which he calls attention to
some things connected with the irrigation of fruit. As the letter was
not intended for publication we do
not use his name but quote as follows
from his letter :
"I note in your issue of Sept. 15,
some comments and also an article
upon irrigating orchards in Southern
Oregon. I am not writing anything
for publication but simply wish to
give you my opinion on the subject.
Although I differ quite radically from
your opinion and from those of Mr.
Helms, as expressed in the article
mentioned, I may be as radically
wrong. In fact I think we all have
a good deal to learn on the subject of
irrigation. My watchword is 'caution.' From what I know of conditions in the Rogue River Valley I
should decidedly warn all orchardists
to use water with caution ; give the
subject much thought ; study the effect of irrigation on the trees as relates to productiveness and vitality
and upon the flavor, color, keeping
qualities, etc., of the fruit. "The Rogue River Valley has
splendid unirrigrted orchards full of
fru«it of fine flJ* And of the best
texture for shaping. Most of the
soil in the orchard districts is of a
deep, rich character, and one that
naturally holds moisture. For such
soils the rainfall of the valley is ample. This can be observed in the
prime pear orchards which are not
irrigated (and provide the highest-
priced pears grown in America). Why
irrigate for apples on such soil ?
"The tendency, as I have observed
it, is for apple raisers who irrigate
to pour water freely on to their orchards in August and even in September. This forces growth at a time
when we want the wood and buds to
harden. There is very great risk also
in using water in this way of increasing the size of the fruit at the expense of quality.
"The Rogue River Valley has acquired a great reputation on the shipping quality of its fruit. It should
gu.ard that reputation. The fact that
the fruit in some orchards has been
improved by irrigation does not prove
that this will be the case generally in
that valley. I am told that in the
orchard of Mr. Helms the soil is comparatively thin and that the location
of the orchard naturally makes the
soil dry out quickly. Moreover his
orchard is said to be so located as to
be more free from frost than most
other orchards. Notwithstanding its
favorable location the buds suffered
as much from frost as those in more
exposed orchards last spring, indicating that the buds were more tender in his orchard than in those not
irrigated. Prof. Wickson's studies
of the irrigation problem as relates
to orchards, show that in the long
run irrigation later than the months
of June and July is not ■beneficial."


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