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.
IF a man desires fruit for himself and family only, and is indifferent as to the time he gets it, and indifferent about the quality and quantity, then he may plant his trees in grass ground and keep them in that condition, but if he intends to make the business of fruit-growing a dependence for a livelihood, he would hardly be satisfied to wait from twelve to fifteen years for results that might be obtained by good culture in seven or eight years; nor would he be likely to be pleased with the moderate returns from common or inferior fruit, while his neighbor was receiving high prices for a superior article grown on ground where fruit was the only crop.
It is true that there are soils so rich, that culture would give trees an excessive growth, and not only postpone fruitfulness, but make them liable to be injured by severe winters.
One great advantage of having the ground under culture is, that it enables the orchardist to give his trees a more uniform growth without regard to condition or unfavorable seasons. If his trees are loaded with fruit or the season unusually dry, a more frequent stirring of the surface will generally keep up the desired vigor, but if the trees are in grass and the season very dry, he is powerless to help the case and can only watch and worry to see his trees almost cease to grow, the leaves turn brown and the fruit drop for want of sustenance, and perhaps gets very little con-eolation as he listens to his neighbor's merry whistle while following his cultivator or harrow through his orchard, unconcerned about the weather and wicked enough perhaps to wish that everybody else believed in the "grass theory " so that he will be able to get an extra price for his extra fruit.
St. Joseph, Mich.