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Soils, Fertilizers and Irrigation

- If Your Land Needs It At All
Alfalfa Over Hardpan
Alkali Gypsum And Shade Trees
Almond Hulls And Sawdust
An Abuse Of Grape Pomace
Application Of Manure Ashes
Applying Thomas Phosphate
Artesian Water
Ashes And Poultry Manure
Barnyard Manure And Alkali
Blasting Or Tiling
Bones For Grape Vines
California That I Am Very Much Puzzled Which Kind To Select
Caustic Lime Not A Good Absorbent
Charcoal Is A Medicine Not A Food

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More Than Dynamite Needed

I have some peculiar land. People here call it cement. It does not take
irrigation water readily, and water will pass over it for a long time
and not wet down more than an inch or so. When really wet it can be
dipped up with a spoon. Hardpan is down about 24 to 36 inches. I have
tried blowing up between the vines with dynamite, and see little
difference. Can you suggest anything to loosen up the soil?

You could not reasonably expect dynamite to transform the character of
the surface soil except as its rebelliousness might in some cases be
wholly due to lack of drainage - in that case blasting the hardpan might
work wonders. But you have another problem, viz: to change the physical
condition of the surface soil to prevent the particles from running
together and cementing. This is to be accomplished by the introduction
of coarse particles, preferably of a fibrous character. To do this the
free use of rotten straw or stable manure, deeply worked into the soil,
and the growth of green crops for plowing under, is a practical
suggestion. Such treatment would render your soil mellow, and, in
connection with blasting of the hardpan to prevent accumulation of
surplus water over it, would accomplish the transformation which you
desire. The cost and profit of such a course you can figure out for

Is Dynamite Needed?

I have an old prune orchard on river bottom lands; soil about 15 or 16
feet deep. Quite a number of trees have died, I presume from old age. I
desire to remove them and to replace them with prune trees. I have been
advised to use dynamite in preparing the soil for the planting of the
new trees.

Whether you need dynamite or not depends upon the condition of the
sub-soil. If you are on river flats with an alluvial soil, rather loose
to a considerable depth, dynamiting is not necessary. If, by digging,
you encounter hardpan, or clay, dynamiting may be very profitable. This
matter must be looked into, because the failure of trees on river lands
is more often due to their planting over gravel streaks, which too
rapidly draw off water and cause the tree to fail for lack of moisture.
In such cases dynamite would only aggravate the trouble. Dynamiting
should be done in the fall and not in the spring. The land should have a
chance to settle and readjust itself by the action of the winter rains;
otherwise, your trees may dry out too much next summer.

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