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

yourself.







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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