This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
ED. Western Horticulturist: - There are very few old orchards in this part of Jasper county, and of these only one was injured by the severity of last winter, and that one is past all redemption. Other orchards planted on or about the same kind of soil, with nearly the same aspect and exposure, are uninjured. All of the old orchards are planted on cleared land (formerly timber and bush); soil thin, and clay within eighteen inches of the surface, with no protection nearer than from twenty rods to a half mile. The damaged orchard has been murderously pruned within the past two years, and a crop of small grain was raised among the trees in 1872. The other orchards are in sod, or left to grow up in weeds.
One orchard in particular, which is in a blue grass sod, is entirely exempt from injury in every particular, and it never produced a larger crop of fruit than this season. I leave you and others to draw your own conclusion.
Of the young orchards - those unprotected seem to have fared better than those which were otherwise situated. A near neighbor of mine has an orchard of four hundred trees, which is protected by a White Willow hedge on all sides. That orchard suffered considerably last winter, and this season has blighted to death. Even a few yearlings, grown from root grafts among the trees are also blighted; soil deep prairie and sloping to the south and east. Several other orchards standing on open prairie do not show bad effects of the winter to any extent, and one in particular on a hill-side, pitching steep to north, has passed through the winter sound.
Early Harvest, Red Astrachan, Red and Sweet Junes, Oldenburg, Chenango, Benoni, Fameuse, Ben Davis and Rauls Janet have fruited well this season, while Northern Spy and Yellow Bellflower, thirteen years planted on clay soil, hung fuller than I ever saw before.