This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Among the benefits now being realized by the introduction of the excellent American lawn mowers, is one I wish to call attention to as capable of perhaps a large extension. I mean the use of the mower among fruit trees and grape vines.
I have observed that fruit as well as ornamental trees, after they are well established, do remarkably well upon lawns frequently mown, so that the grass never becomes long, and the mowings are left to shade and enrich the soil. These are the trees which people usually refer to when they claim that fruit trees do best in grass. Trees so situated, or growing in pastured lands, are under entirely different conditions for producing fine growth and fine fruit from those growing where a hay or grain crop of full sized and mature plants is grown among the trees and over their feeding roots.
Acting upon this observation, I have the past season seeded down and mown the grass between two of my trellises of specimen grape vines; the alternate space is still cultivated. The space mown gives access upon clean turf to one side of each trellis, so that all the fruit can be visited without soiling a lady's shoe. There is as yet not the least sign of deterioration in vigor of vine or quality of fruit from this treatment, and, of course, this one-half lawn might be continued indefinitely by manuring the other or cultivated space.
I intend to experiment carefully in this matter and see if it is not practicable to secure the beauty of the lawn, along with the fertility of the garden, by using the lawn mower, and such fertilizers as may from time to time be indicated by the greater or less growth of the plants. It strikes me the cost of mowing frequently among fruit trees and grape vines would not greatly exceed the cost of plowing and hoeing, and the beauty and comfort of the thing, would be decidedly in favor of mowing.
This method would have the advantage of never tearing or bruising a root, and possibly would help a good deal in hard winters, frost not reaching the roots so severely.