The first year after planting not more than two shoots should be allowed to grow, and for field culture without stakes these should be pinched back when one foot in height to start lateral branches and to give a stocky habit. The second season the sprouting varieties will throw up suckers. From four to six of the strongest ones should be left and the others cut away. The black caps will also throw up sprouts from the crown, which may also need thinning. In both cases the plants should again be pinched back when one foot in height. The after pruning may be summed up as follows: (1. Seedling Variations) Regulating in spring the number of new shoots that should grow in each stool. (2. Seed Variation of Cultivated Plants) Pinching back the shoots to one foot in height and later shortening the laterals. (3. Commercial Seeds) In the fall, or early the next spring, cut out all the wood that has borne fruit the previous season. (4. Seed-saving) Cutting back the laterals of the black cap and long-caned purple-cane varieties to from ten to fifteen inches. In the prairie States it is usual to defer cutting out the old bearing wood until spring when the plants are not laid down for winter protection. The old canes help to hold the young ones from breaking down and also help to hold the snow in winter.

248. Mulching and Manuring

In the prairie States the successful growers for market cultivate well as closely to the plants as possible until the fruit is about half grown. The rows are then mulched with straw or coarse manure, a distance of two feet each side of the rows. Some of the large growers grow green clover for this use. It is cut when in blossom and used as a mulch. The growers at Sparta, Wisconsin, and at other points report the largest yields of the most perfect fruit where the clover was used for ten years in succession and worked into the soil. In all parts where dry weather is apt to shrivel the fruit this mulching is imperatively needed. After mulching, the narrow space between the covering is cultivated to conserve moisture and keep the soil mellow. If this system of mulching is kept up and worked into the soil no other fertilizing will be needed. But if not mulched, and clean culture is given, barnyard manure must be applied as with the grape.