Department of Horticulture
The past winter has wrought widespread destruction in the northwestern nurseries and young orchards, and the afflicted area extends far to the south. Hundreds of thousands of app1e root-grafts have been root-killed, and the tales of woe come from very many localities, even from Missouri. The winter of 1872-73 will long be remembered by fruit men for devastation wrought; the winter of 1884-85 was as bad and now that of 1898-99 is added to the list. At Brookings we find apple root-grafts root-kill every winter unless deeply covered. Nearly six thousand were root-killed in the winter of 1896-97. Root-grafts that had made a good growth in 1897 were taken up in the fall of 1897 and wintered in cellar. Root-grafts made in the winter of 1897- 98 were planted at the same time in the spring of 1898. Both lots root-killed. In. all hardy varieties we find the scion alive and sound, but the American seedling root dead. Both Vermont apple and French crab seedlings root-killed. The Hibernal and other hardy varieties had not rooted sufficiently from the scion to carry the .tree through; indeed, the past winter the scion-roots of all (even Hibernal and Duchess) of the cultivated varieties winter-killed. So that '' piece root-grafting with a long scion and a short root to get trees to root from the scion" will not a�ail in winters like that of 1898-99. Over 900 seedlings were grown in 1896 from seed of wild crabs gathered near Des Moines, Iowa, but all save one plant were killed the first winter. A similar number of French crab seedlings were planted in the spring of 1898, but not a solitary plant survived the past winter. Will the experience of the past winter change nursery methods? Probably very little, except in the northern nurseries. Commercial methods change slowly, and the test winters do not come often enough to compel a quick changing. Certain it is that the western American method of winter root-grafting makes possible the production of apple trees at prices lower than those of Europe with cheap labor.
apple tree root death, apple root rot, N. E. Hansen, apple trees
U. S. Experiment Station of South Dakota, South Dakota Agricultural College
Hansen, N.E., "Root-Killing of Apple Trees" (1899). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 65.