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SIR: I have the honor to submit the following, which is my fifth annual report as Pomologist of this Department. Very respectfuily,


Pomologist. Hon. J. M. RUSK,



The year 1890 was in many respects quite unusual as regards the fruit crop of this country. The winter of 1889-'90 was very mild and the early fruit buds were unusually forward. Along the Atlantic coast as far north as Maryland, New Jersey, and especially the Peninsula east of Chesapeake Bay, and westward to Kentucky (except the mountain regions of the Appalachian range), thence to southern Missouri and Indian Territory, the peach trees wore beginning to bloom when the temperature suddenly fell lower than at any other time during the winter. In Georgia and the Gulf States the peach, plum, and early pear trees had set their fruit, and a tender growth of leaves and wood was quite well advanced. In Florida the orange and other citrus fruit trees were either in full bloom or just past that stage. Strawberries were ripening in the extreme south and everything promised a very early spring. On the nights of March 3 and again on the 16th and i7th of the same month there were severe frosts in the South, and farther north snow and ice and frozen ground, which made sad havoc with all the above named fruits; and even the apple and other late blooming species were so damaged in the bud that they failed to hold their fruit after setting it. The peach crop was an almost entire failure except in California, where a good crop was gathered. It was from this source that the eastern markets were almost entirely supplied with fruit the past year. A few peaches were grown in southern Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Connecticut, and northern Michigan, and these brought a big price. This was owing to the freedom from severe cold in the South and to the fact that the buds in the northern regions were not sufficiently advanced to be injured by the cold weather of the early spring.

The pear crop was light all over the Eastern and Central States, but in California there was an abundance. Oregon and Washington also produced a good crop of pears.

The supply of small fruits and grapes was reasonably good. It is thought that the orange crop of Florida alone will reach 2,500,000 boxes. California orange-growers report a good crop for the coming spring, roughly estimated at 1,400,000 boxes, and Louisiana will market about the usual amovat.


During the year, as Pomologist, I have had occasion to visit in connection with official business the States of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and North Carolina, and a record of observations then made on fruit culture in these sections should properly find a place in this report.

In the early part of June a trip was made to Connecticut for the purpose of examining into the peach-growing business. Near Meriden a large orchard was observed, but the larger number of the orchards were found on the highlands along the Connecticut River between Hartford and Middletown. One very large, flourishing orchard was located in the level land not far from the river. The climate is rather cool and the summers short for the perfect development of the peach, and the trees were consequently small, but they were healthy and had on a light crop of fruit. Last year there was a heavy crop on these orchards, and Hale Brothers, who are the largest growers in the State, sold $25,000 worth of peaches. High culture is the secret of success, provided suitable soil and location have been selected, and this fact can be determined best by careful investigation on the ground and consultation with those who have succeeded. One of the chief points to be considered in connection with this industry is nearness to markets that afford a high price for peaches. A good crop of highly colored and delicious fruit marketed late in the season and free from bruises and decay will always bring good returns. All these things are possible in Connecticut.

In the latter part of July I attended a meeting of the State Horticultural Society of North Carolina, and a grape show at Mount Holly, which is in the southern central portion of the State. Owing to the damage by spring frosts there was little produced in the way of fruits in the central and eastern part of North Carolina, except grapes. Therefore the fruit exhibit was necessarily limited, and it was thought best to show only grapes. This exhibit was indeed very creditable, there being over fifty varieties of the very finest kinds commonly grown in the eastern United States. A large number of them were from the vicinity of Raleigh, and careful inquiry as well as close inspection of the samples proved that North Carolina is well adapted to the growth of this fruit. Since the vineyards of the central and eastern parts of the State ripen their fruit as early in the season as July, the growers are enabled to send them to market before the more northern States can possibly market theirs, and therefore the prices are high. The grape crop is generally considered remunerative by the practical vineyardists in North Carolina, where the growth of this fruit is being rapidly extended.

The principal purpose of my visit was to examine the condition of fruit culture in the mountain regions which comprise a large portion of the western part of the State, I saw but little of eastern Tennessee, which is practically the same in climate, soil, etc., as western North Carolina. Passing from Johnson City, Tennessee, which is in the great valley lying between the Blue Ridge on the east and the Cumberland Mountains on the west, to Cranberry, which is at the eastern terminus of the narrow-gauge railroad that runs into the mountains and just across the State line to North Carolina, I traveled thence by private conveyance, stopping wherever anything of interest could be found, to Lenoir, which is about

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