125. Culture After Planting

As soon as orchard trees are planted the ground should be cultivated to conserve moisture. Even if no weeds start keep the surface earth mellow by frequent stirring. It is the best possible mulch for newly planted trees. In the arid States watering may be needed of the whole surface, but as soon as the top begins to dry the stirring should be continued, and in the rain-belt it should follow each rain to prevent soil-baking and hardening. It is specially desirable to get as much growth as possible in the growing season of the first year. If we secure growth of top we will also secure growth of feeding-roots and the extension of water-feeding roots downward. If the plough is used at first turn the furrows toward the trees and follow with small-toothed cultivator to pulverize the soil and level the surface. The well-pulverized soil the first season is more important than after the trees become well established and deeply rooted. In orchard culture the use of the rotary-disk harrow is to be recommended, but only to break up the surface for the after use of a Thomas harrow or even a good steel-tooth harrow. The disk without the after use of the harrow leaves ridges and increases rather than retards evaporation.