Control of Insects in Sod Culture Peach Orchards

Edw. G. Marshall
1950 Journal of Economic Entomology  
Lookingat a map of Indiana, which shows the areas set aside for reforestation, one will observe a great number of such projects in the south-central counties. Here a large part of the land area has been eroded until it is unfit for general farming. Still more thousands of acres are being farmed in such a manner that within a few years they will be almost worthless. The growing of peaches has contributed its part toward the loss of our land. For years growers have been taught that clean
more » ... that clean cultivation is necessary in growing peaches regardless of whether or not the land is rolling or relatively level. Accordingly, where the orchards have been planted on rough land the productive period of the land is often limited to the life of one peach orchard. However, during the last few years through studies in progress we have learned that very remunerative peach crops may be grown on land kept in sod. This work is being carried on at the Fruit Insect Research Orchard of the Purdue University Agricultural Experiment Station at Orleans, Indiana, and was undertaken in order to study its effect upon insect populations and their control. First to be considered in growing peaches in sod is the availability of moisture and soil fertility maintenance. During the past three years Gage Elberta peaches planted in 1941 and maintained under sod culture have shown no signs of drought. Through the application of a pound of nitrate a year for each year of age of the trees in 1949 this orchard began to show evidence of too much nitrogen. Two diseases which thrive under sod conditions in peach orchards are brown rot and scab. Brown rot especially has been a problem in sod or even weedy orchards. This is caused to a great extent by the fallen peaches which cannot be easily picked up and destroyed. Our present work is showing that if sod and weeds are kept cleaned out from beneath the trees, over the area just large enough that all dropped peaches fall on clean ground where they may be easily seen and removed, this peach disease remains a very minor one. Cutting the sod from beneath the trees only permits the growth of grass over the remaining areas of the orchard. To keep the area beneath the trees clean the ground will need to be hoed at least twice during the summer season and the drops picked up periodically. The cost of the operation in this study has been found to be 65 cents per tree for trees returning a crop which sold for almost $14.00. Under such treatment and for the past several years not more than two sprays have been 181
doi:10.1093/jee/43.2.164 fatcat:xotuun4nanbidfrhnluwk2tiou