Patrick Joseph O'Gara
P. J. O'Gara, one of Uncle Sam's specialists on diseases of fruit, is busy in our orchards this week giving practical lessons to an interested group of orchardmen. School boys grown up, taking their postgraduate course. Mr. O'Gara is doing a good work, and it looks good to see thirty or forty interested fruit growers grouped around him out in a big pear orchard. There are no college yells or football teams to this school.
"Eden Valley Items," Medford Mail, January 10, 1908, page 4
P. J. O'Gara, agent of the U.S. agricultural department, is in the valley again, and in company with G. W. Taylor, county inspector, is investigating fruit conditions in this district.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, February 7, 1908, page 5
Fruit Growers Should Arrange Meeting.Did you know that Professor P. J. O'Gara is the descendant of an Irish king?
Prof. P. J. O'Gara, from the Agricultural Department at Washington, a noted authority on the pollenization of fruit bloom, is in the valley for the purpose of talking to the fruit growers on the importance of pollenization in assuring the best results from our orchards, and the Herald is informed that the professor will be glad to address the people of Central Point and vicinity, if they so desire, on any date in January which may be arranged for. The Herald would suggest that either the local Grange or some of the other fruit growers who are interested should take hold of this matter and arrange for a meeting. Professor O'Gara will speak at Medford Saturday, Nov. 28th, at the regular meeting of the Jackson County Horticultural Society and after that he goes to California for a month. He will return to Oregon early in January, when a meeting should be arranged for this place if possible.Prof. P. J. O'Gara--If There Is Anything You Don't Know, Ask Him
Central Point Herald, November 26, 1908, page 4
FRUIT GROWERS' MEETING
Another Interesting Address Made by Prof. O'Gara.
The Angle Opera House was crowded yesterday afternoon when Professor P. J. O'Gara gave his illustrated lecture talk on fruit pests and other kindred subjects. The attendance was so large and the interest so great that Professor O'Gara took occasion to remark that it was much greater than was the meeting held in Portland.
The slides for the illustrations were attended to by A. H. Miller, the secretary of the Medford Commercial Club. Professor O'Gara, with a pointer, made clear to all present the different things which tended to injure the fruit crops. In this way it was possible for the audience to understand many things which it would be impossible to explain in the usual way of simply telling about them.
The talk was given under the auspices of the Horticultural Society, and it is understood that during the winter there will be two meetings a month which will be addressed by Professor O'Gara in the interest of the fruit-growing industry of the Rogue River Valley. In this way it is expected that the fruit men of this district will get such information as will place them in the position that from this season on for a great while at least they will be able, with the assistance of the county fruit inspector, to keep this part of the country free from all the pests which infest the orchards.
Medford Mail, December 18, 1908, page 1
P. J. O'Gara, assistant pathologist of the bureau of plant disease of the Department of Agriculture, has wired from Newcastle, Cal., that he will arrive here in time to appear before the meeting of the Horticultural Society today, if floods and deranged train service will permit.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, February 12, 1909, page 6
Professor P. J. O'Gara, assistant pathologist of the bureau of plant industry for the Department of Agriculture, arrived in Medford Wednesday. Saturday he will speak before the county Horticultural Society on the subject of cross-pollination.
Professor O'Gara has selected Medford as his headquarters for the coming summer and from this place will direct the fight on the Pacific coast against the pear blight.
Medford was selected as the headquarters for this work by the Department of Agriculture because it is the recognized center of pear-growing on the coast. Professor O'Gara has charge of the fight being made by the government against the blight on the Pacific coast. From here he will make side trips in California and other points.
Also during the coming summer he will make pollination studies to determine what are the best varieties of pears to mate for this valley. These experiments will be very extensive in scope, and a number of the growers will be enlisted in the experimentation. It is planned to examine more than a quarter million of blossoms this summer.
"Society Will Hold Meeting," Medford Mail, March 5, 1909, page 1
TO KEEP PROF. O'GARA HERE
Meeting Saturday to Petition Government to Retain Expert in Valley.
(By Charles Meserve, editor of the Rogue River Fruit Grower.)
The necessity of securing the services for another year of Professor O'Gara, assistant pathologist, Department of Agriculture, to aid the fruit growers of Rogue River Valley in meeting the pest and other problems that confront them will be the question to be considered at a mass meeting to be held at the Medford opera house on Saturday, June 26, at 2 p.m. This meeting is called at the request of a large number of fruit growers and business men of Jackson County, and while not under the auspices of any one of the four fruit growers' organizations in the county, yet it has the hearty support of the officers and members of each of them.
Professor O'Gara was notified from Washington some time ago that after June 1 the government would no longer be able to pay his expenses. A similar notice was also served on all the other men of the department who are in the field doing special work. And all were semi-officially informed that the would likely be recalled within the near future.
Cause for Economy.The cause for this radical economy on the part of the Department of Agriculture is an order issued by President Taft that every department must curtail its expenses to the minimum. Thus it is that the Department of Agriculture is forced to call in its field experts. Secretary Wilson has expressed his disapproval of this backward step, for he realizes, as do all progressive men, that the work of these men cannot be stopped except that the agricultural interest of the country suffer. It is a conservative estimate, and one that every prominent orchardist of Jackson County will corroborate, that the work of Professor O'Gara in the year that he has been in Rogue River Valley has been worth $100,000 to the horticultural and business interests of this valley.
The blight is making such havoc in the pear orchards in all sections of the United States that pear raising will soon be a thing of the past in all the strictly farming states, and it will be only in mountain-locked valleys like Rogue River Valley that this dreaded pest can be successfully combated and the pear industry saved. Had the blight not been checked there would not be a pear or Spitzenburg apple tree left in this valley by another year. That this pest has been subdued is due solely to the campaign of education that Professor O'Gara has carried on in Rogue River Valley, and to his energetic and thorough work of supervision of the fight against the blight. In this work he has been untiring and uncomplaining, inspecting orchards regardless of mud, rain or summer heat, traveling days, nights and Sundays. And his tact and unselfishness has enabled him to overcome the opposition and apathy of the few fruit growers who doubted the ability of a government expert to teach them anything about agriculture.
Professor O'Gara's Work.This past spring was one of the few times that Rogue River orchardists have had to fear frost damage. Professor O'Gara is an expert weather observer, and he remained up late many nights during the cold spells to take readings of his psychrometer, and if frost danger was indicated he would telephone all over the valley warning the orchardists to start smudge fires in their orchards. In this work Professor O'Gara has done a service of the greatest value to the fruit industry of Rogue River Valley, for while he was aiding the fruit growers in saving their orchards from loss he has taught them how to successfully combat the frost, a danger that is the most destructive orchard risk encountered to all the deciduous fruit districts of the world. With this knowledge and aided by the weather condition that a wind was never known in Rogue River Valley on a frosty night, the fruit growers will hereafter have less fear from frosts than from pests.
Excerpt, Medford Mail, June 25, 1909, page 1
PROF. O'GARA IS TO REMAIN HERE
Charles Meserve, Editor of Rogue River Fruit Grower, Medford Or.The above telegram was received by Mr. Meserve last night, and it looks as if the work done by Mr. Meserve and the different fruit growers' associations has, as it were, "borne good fruit."
Have taken up matter of sending O'Gara to Medford, and Secretary Wilson assures me he will be sent this fall, unless unforeseen outbreaks of disease demand his presence elsewhere.
(signed) W. C. HAWLEY.
"After I return to Medford I intend that we will begin work at one end of the valley and from there to the other end we will make a clean sweep of everything in the fruit line."The above statement was made by Professor P. J. O'Gara to a representative of The Morning Mail yesterday afternoon, and to those who know the professor and what he is capable of doing will not for a moment doubt but what he means just what he has said.
Professor O'Gara Interviewed.
When interviewed by a Morning Mail reporter regarding his future plans last night, Professor O'Gara said:
"I will leave about the middle of July for the East, but I will be back about September 1 or perhaps a little sooner than that. My trip will take me to New York, and from there I will go to Washington. Very soon after my return I will begin active work, which will be continued until the season closes. During the winter we intend to have monthly lectures for the fruit growers.
"No," said Professor O'Gara in answer to a question, "the time will never come when fruit trees can be left without receiving great attention. You know that science has greatly reduced diseases and epidemics. The doctors can control them and reduce the effects to a minimum. This, however, requires that particular attention be devoted to the work. It is just the same with our work.
"Then again the work will be easier when the orchardists have become better educated in those lines. Most of the growers I come in contact with around here are very intelligent people and show a readiness to learn all they can.
"I am in hopes the department will furnish me with an assistant for a while this fall. There is nothing positive about this, but I have reasons to believe that this will be done."
Excerpt, Medford Mail, July 9, 1909, page 3
May Keep O'Gara Here.
At a meeting of the Horticultural Society last Saturday a plan to secure the permanent services of Prof. O'Gara, the eminent fruit disease expert, for this valley was discussed and met with hearty approval from many of the members present. For the sum of $2500 a year Prof. O'Gara can be induced to give his entire time to the fruit interests of the valley, and there is no doubt but that the plan, if carried out, would prove a profitable investment.
The fruit industry is becoming too important here to afford any halfhearted measures in protecting the orchards from pests.
Central Point Herald, October 7, 1909, page 1
CLEAN UP YOUR BACK LOTSProf. O'Gara, chief of the county fruit inspectors now abroad in the land trying to rid the valley of infected fruit trees, has issued a public letter reciting the cleansing work now under way, and also the fact that the commercial orchards of the valley are in fine condition, but that the small garden orchards in the towns are the chief offenders and furnish breeding grounds for pests undisturbed in too many instances. The close of his letter embraces the following appeal to owners of back yard orchards to eradicate the pests forthwith or the inspectors will be compelled to cut the trees down:
ULTIMATUM OF O'GARA HAS GONE FORTH
Force of Fruit Inspectors Now Abroad Will Cut Down Your Infected Trees
Unless You Clean Up--Town Orchards Offenders
"There is but one conclusion," he says, "the man who owns fruit trees within the city limits must be willing to care for them as does the practical orchardist or he will have to submit to their removal by the county inspectors. Unless he can keep out pear blight, scale and other diseases which are a menace to the commercial orchard, his trees must be cut down. The county fruit inspectors have done everything possible to make the back lot orchardist understand the necessity of eradicating all diseases, but much of his valuable time has been lost through the unwillingness or inability of the town orchardist to cooperate and do his duty. With so many trees in the towns given absolutely no attention, instead of being a valuable asset they are in reality a menace to the fruit growing industry of the entire Rogue River Valley.
"A thorough inspection and eradication of diseased town lot orchards has been begun, and the entire force of county inspectors are at work in the city of Ashland. As soon as their work is completed there, they will in turn clean up Phoenix, Talent, Jacksonville, Medford, Central Point, Gold Hill, Woodville, Eagle Point and other places. The same program will be carried out in Josephine County. The inspectors will enforce the horticultural statutes to the letter, and in this work they have back of them the state horticultural commission and the county courts. I hope that no one will plead ignorance of the law. Furthermore, there has been plenty of opportunity for everyone to get information on fruit diseases and how to eradicate them. The federal government as well as the state and county has made it very easy to get such information through literature, which may be had for the asking. A federal officer has been stationed in the valley during the past two years in order to help those desirous of getting the very best information on every phase of fruit growing, and especially in the matter of eradicating pear blight.
"This letter has been prepared in order to give everyone a chance to clean up before the inspectors come. I wish to assure every delinquent that it will be much cheaper to have this work done themselves than to wait for a county officer to do it for him. A much neater job of eradication may be done by the owner himself than by an officer of the law who has little time for nice work. It is not the work of an inspector to cut out blight, but rather to instruct. You would hardly expect the county to pay a man to cultivate your trees or to prune them; why, then, should you expect the county to pay men to do the actual work of cleaning up your orchards? It is the inspector's place to order this work done at your expense if you do not see fit to do it yourself. The fruit interests of the valley are dependent upon you for cooperation, and they are asking no more of you than is just. Clean up your back lot orchards and help to boost the Rogue River Valley."
Ashland Tidings, October 25, 1909, page 4
MANY PEOPLE VISIT WITH PROFESSOR O'GARA
The new headquarters of Professor O'Gara in the Haskins Block is becoming the general rendezvous of all those interested in the progress of the valley. Everyone calling there is requested to register, so that the roll will be complete. Many people come in, transact their business and go away without registering, but at that 300 were registered at the rooms during the past week.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 10, 1909, page 5
FROST TIPS TO BE PHONED
Weather Observatory Is Established in Medford.
MEDFORD, Or., March 23.--(Special.)--Instruments for the local weather bureau here arrived today. Professor O'Gara, who has charge of the station, will take observations every half hour from 6 p.m. until midnight.
He has arranged with the telephone company to send warnings to all orchardists who call the central office. This, it is believed, will be a great help to fruit growers. The season so far has been normal. Almond trees are in bloom and pear trees are budded. As there are often heavy frosts in March and April, warning from the station may be the means of preventing damage to the crop.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 24, 1910, page 7
O'Gara Remains in Oregon.
MEDFORD, Or., June 4.--(Special.)--The Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association has induced Professor P. J. O'Gara, government pathologist, to remain here instead of returning to Washington as he was ordered to do. Professor O'Gara will now devote his entire energies to the Rogue River Valley. He will receive a salary of $7500 a year.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, June 5, 1910, page 7
The County Commissioners have agreed to provide the money necessary to retain Prof. O'Gara in this county. Prof. O'Gara has made a great fight against blight and other orchard diseases in the valley, but as he had been ordered to report in Washington to become Chief Pathologist of the Department of Agriculture, it would have necessitated his leaving at a most critical time--just when victory was in sight. His value to the fruit growers cannot be estimated in dollars and cents, and while he will no doubt secure leave of absence for one year only, it is to be hoped that he may see fit to remain permanently.
Medford Saturday Review, June 11, 1910, page 4
PROFESSOR O'GARA PURCHASES A HOME
Professor P. J. O'Gara intends to become "one of us."
"We have bought a lot, Mrs. O'Gara and I," said Mr. O'Gara, "at the corner of Thirteenth and King streets, and we intend building a home there. I am not prepared to give out any details as to plans--that lies principally in Mrs. O'Gara's hands. But we both like Medford and the Rogue River Valley and want to stay."
Medford Mail Tribune, August 24, 1910, page 2
FROST PREVENTION IN THE ROGUE RIVER VALLEYIn the past, various districts throughout the United States have attempted the work of frost prevention. both in deciduous and other fruits, with varying success and failure. For the most part, however, the methods employed have been such as to consider the work in the light of an experiment, rather than being practical. No doubt the citrus districts of California have carried out the most extensive experiments known, but at this time there is much difference of opinion as to their value from a practical standpoint. Firing and smudging as a protection against frost injury is by no means a new thing. California orchardists were not the first to attempt this work. Several systems, which need not be mentioned here, were employed in France more or less successfully.
BY P. J. O'GARA, PATHOLOGIST IN CHARGE OF ORCHARD FRUIT DISEASE INVESTIGATIONS FOR ROGUE RIVER VALLEY, OREGON
It is only within the last three years that much interest has been manifested throughout the country in frost prevention through the use of fires and smudges, and this is particularly true of parts of the Middle West and the Pacific Northwest. Even at this time, very few districts are wholly prepared to fight frost in a scientific way. This is due to the fact that the best fuels and the best apparatus for carrying on the work successfully are wanting. A large number of inventions, as well as new fuels, have been put upon the market and the growers, for the most part, do not understand them well enough to get the best results. Besides, the disadvantage of not having an official of the United States Weather Bureau on the ground, or at least the inability to get accurate forecasts far enough in advance, makes the situation a difficult one.
The data which may be found in this article has been obtained in the Rogue River Valley, in Southern Oregon, and the experimental and practical work covers a period of three years, during which time the writer has had charge, not only in directing the actual work of firing and smudging, but also that of making the local weather forecasts in cooperation with the United States Weather Bureau. It must be understood at the outset that frost fighting can never be considered so local a problem that the work of the Weather Bureau is not to be considered. The United States Weather Bureau must always be an invaluable aid, and the very first thing a district should do is to arrange for direct communication with the nearest district forecasting station.
It is believed by the writer as well as the growers in the Rogue River Valley that frost fighting has been reduced to a system which may be relied upon. Through the assistance of Mr. E. A. Beals, of the Portland Weather Bureau station, and Mr. N. R. Taylor, of the Sacramento station, a system of forecasting has been worked out. This system may be improved upon, but by its use not a single error has been made during the past two years. Farmers' Bulletin 401, United States Department of Agriculture, describes the method of forecasting, and gives other valuable information. This bulletin may be obtained by writing to the division of publications, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. Another bulletin giving the results of more recent work is now being submitted for publication and will be ready for distribution before the frost season next spring.
During the past season much valuable data has been secured, especially in the matter of orchard fuels and appliances to be used in frost prevention. In the past two years' work wood and coal have proven entirely satisfactory, but somewhat difficult and cumbersome to handle. However, these materials have proven so satisfactory to those who have used them during the past three seasons that they seem willing to accept the difficulties occasioned by their use, and will continue using them in the future, unless some good reason may be shown for discontinuing them. Besides wood and coal, crude oil direct from the California wells and 28-degrees test distillate have been successfully used. In the past, crude oil was very little used on account of the fact that it was difficult to obtain it sufficiently free from water. However, during this season a very good grade of crude oil, practically free from water, and at a cost of about four and a half cents per gallon laid down, was very largely used in some of the large orchards with entire success. This oil was burned mostly in the Fresno pot, or heater, with about sixty to seventy pots per acre; the actual cost for one night's firing per acre, including the labor necessary to fill the pots, was about $3. The crude oil was very easy to handle and was distributed in the orchard by means of a large wagon tank, carrying lines of hose. The hose was attached at the rear end of the tank, and the nozzles carried by the laborers. With two men for each tank, two rows of pots could be filled almost as fast as the team could walk with the loaded tank. A record of some of the work of filling the pots was carefully kept, and the average showed that six men could easily fill 2,000 pots in eight hours. At sixty pots to the acre, this crew would easily handle thirty-three acres. In handling the crude oil as little pumping as possible should be done; gravity should be depended upon, not only in filling the pots, but also in filling the wagon tanks.
The 28-degree test distillate is a much better fuel than the crude oil, but its cost laid down is about double that of the crude oil. However, it is a fuel that can be relied upon since it can never contain water. As a matter of fact, if water were poured into it, its specific gravity would cause it to be always on top. Careful tests have shown that, gallon for gallon, it will last longer than crude oil and is not so easily extinguished. It is also easier to light since it volatilizes more readily than crude oil. However, in lighting both these fuels, gasoline should be used.
In lighting crude oil or distillate, the following very simple method has been employed by many of our orchardists. A medium-sized machinist's oil can is filled with gasoline and a few drops are squirted into each pot. A small plumber's torch is fixed to the end of a stick about two feet long, and. as the gasoline is squirted into the oil-filled pot, the lighted torch is applied immediately. By this method, fuel pots may be lighted as fast as a man can walk through the orchard.
Mention has been made of the use of wood and coal. Previous to the past season, fine materials, such as shavings and sawdust saturated with crude oil, were used to light the coarse material. However, it has been found that the easiest way to light the wood (preferably heavy sticks, since light wood burns too rapidly), is to first place the half dozen sticks for each pile in such a way that the ends dovetail. This method of placing the wood is shown in the accompanying illustrations, Figures 1, 2 and 3. Then a can of kerosene and a plumber's torch are used to light the wood in much the same way as the gasoline. Sometimes, instead of using a plumber's torch, a large swab, saturated with kerosene and used as a torch, served the purpose very well.
In order to light the coal, which is mined near Medford, it was found.necessary to employ the coal heaters as shown in Figures 4 and 5. In using heaters, a piece of waste saturated with crude oil is first put into the bottom, and. on top of this fine material, such as small sticks of pine or other readily ignitable stuff, is placed. Then about twenty-five to thirty pounds of broken coal is poured in. In lighting, a torch is applied at the bottom of the heater, the flame passing through the vents and igniting the waste. These heaters are lighted as rapidly as any other fire, but much more time is necessary in preparing them for use.
A large number of practical tests have been made in order to determine the length of time the different materials will burn and give the maximum amount of heat to the surrounding atmosphere. Measured gallons of crude oil and distillate, burned both in the Fresno pot and a common ten-pound lard pail holding a gallon each, were used in the tests. While there was some slight difference in different lots, or samples, the average time taken to burn a gallon of each with the covers or dampers entirely removed was about four hours. There seemed to be no difference in the style of pot so far as the time required to burn one gallon, nor in the amount of heat given off. The row of holes at the top of the Fresno pot seemed to be of no advantage whatever. The tests under actual service in the orchards showed that a plain sheet iron pot without any holes, or vents, would serve every purpose. The charge usually made for the various patent pots runs all the way from twenty to thirty-five cents or more; a pot just as good could easily be made for six to ten cents, depending upon the quality of the sheet iron.
Coal fires in sheet iron heaters filled with from twenty-five to thirty pounds of coal easily burned four to six hours, with the damper removed. Wood fires with about six good fir sticks of cord wood lasted easily four to five hours. In the burning of cord wood, or longer sticks, more attention is necessary in order to get the best results. It is quite necessary to frequently move the sticks forward into the crater of the flame, so as to keep them burning. However, knowing the direction from which the slight breeze usually comes, the wood may be so placed as to secure good results with a minimum amount of labor. By cordwood. the four-foot length is to be understood. The number of fires per acre must necessarily vary between wide limits. In an old orchard where the trees are large and mostly cover the ground, fewer fires are needed in order to maintain safe temperatures than in an orchard of young trees which only partly shade the ground. Under ordinary conditions, an old orchard with wide-spreading branches may be protected from injury, even where the temperature goes as low as twenty degrees Fahrenheit, with sixty crude oil, distillate or coal fires per acre. The same orchard can be protected with thirty to thirty-five wood fires per acre. Younger orchards under similar conditions of temperature will require at least seventy pots or heaters per acre, and, perhaps, fifty wood fires. In case temperatures do not range below twenty-six degrees Fahrenheit. the number of fires which should be lighted must be proportionately less. The conditions, of course, are so variable that no set rule can be given, and the only thing that can be said is that the one in charge must look after the temperatures in the orchard and start the tires as needed. Usually, only one-half the number of fires should be lighted, and the remaining pots or wood piles should be left as a reserve, to be lighted only when the temperature begins to fall below the danger point. It is not well to wait until the temperature has gone much below the danger point, since injury may be done by warming up the frozen blossoms or fruits too suddenly, and thus have the same effect as the sudden warming by the morning sun. Another important factor is the placing of a double number of fires around the outside rows, especially on the side from which the slight breezes come. The cost of firing per night per acre depends not only upon the cost of the fuel, but also upon the degree of frost. Under average conditions, say with temperatures of twenty-six to twenty-seven degrees Fahrenheit, the cost per night per acre, with the fires burning four hours, has been estimated for the past season as follows: Crude oil, including the labor of distributing the oil and interest on the cost of pots, with sixty pots per acre, $3; distillate, including the same items of expense, $6; coal, including the same items. This is on the basis of 250 pounds of coal per acre hour, the coal being worth $4 per ton at the mine. The cost of hauling the coal, as well as the kindling for starting it, is included within the estimate. The cost of firing with wood is very difficult to give, since the price of wood varied greatly. However, it would be safe to say that with thirty to forty fires per acre, under the above conditions, the cost would be from $2 to $4 per acre. From this it will be seen that crude oil is the cheapest of the fuels, taking everything into consideration, with wood a close second. Distillate is the most expensive, but for liquid fuel, it is by far the most reliable. However, when the value of the crop is considered, the above actual costs represent a very cheap insurance. The value of any fuel for frost prevention depends upon the amount of heat it is capable of giving off. All of the fuels which have been mentioned have proven entirely satisfactory. A careful test of crude oil in the Burrell Orchard, at Medford, Oregon, on the night of April 12 to 14, gave the following results in a thirty-acre pear orchard, which is about twenty-two years old, the trees being large and spreading. At 12:00 midnight, the temperature in the orchard was thirty-six degrees Fahrenheit; at 1:00 a.m. the temperature dropped to thirty-one degrees Fahrenheit, when the fires were immediately lighted, and in a short time the temperature in the orchard rose to thirty-three degrees Fahrenheit. From 2:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. the temperature outside the orchard remained approximately twenty-six degrees Fahrenheit, while the temperature within was held at thirty-six degrees Fahrenheit; with the exception of the south side, which was not so well protected by fires. and where the temperature along the outside row registered thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature inside the orchard was recorded by a man who had some thirty thermometers which had been previously tested at my laboratory. These thermometers were hung about three and a half to four feet from the surface of the ground, being suspended from the branches of the trees. Thermometers were also placed outside the limits of the orchard and well away from any influence of the fires within the orchard. In the above tests, sixty pots were used per acre.
Similar tests were carried out with distillate, wood and coal, and results equally satisfactory have been gotten. It is not at all difficult to raise the temperature six to ten degrees.
From what has been said it will be seen that the protection of the orchard from frost injury is dependent rather upon heating than the use of the so-called smudge. In our work we have ceased to use the term "smudge," and have substituted the word "heating" or "firing," both terms seeming more appropriate. There is only one value in a dense smudge, and that is in cases where it is impossible to keep the temperature above the danger point it will serve to prevent the too sudden warming of the frozen blossoms or fruits when the morning sun strikes them. The smudge may also be more or less effective in trapping any heat generated by fires, or prevent heat from radiating away from the surface of the ground or the trees. However, when the temperature runs very low, the smudge is no protection. Some smudging has been done in the valley, using damp manure, straw and rubbish, but only in a few instances, and where the temperature did not go below twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit in the pear and apple orchards.
One of the most important things which the orchardist must know is when to fire. A number of manufacturers have put on the market frost alarm thermometers which may be set to ring an electric bell at any desired temperature. Most of the instruments tested by the writer have been found to be very inaccurate, and in actual use often fail to work. Several instances of failure have been reported, and in one case, a considerable amount of fruit was lost through depending upon one of these instruments. At best, all that a frost alarm thermometer can do is to give an alarm when a certain temperature is reached, and it is, therefore, much wiser to use a good alarm clock, and depend upon forecasts from the nearest United States Weather Bureau station. In each case, a good local observer is a most important factor.
In order to do accurate work and get results, all instruments used in the orchard should be tested. In my work in the Rogue River Valley I have found thermometers which varied both ways as widely as three and four degrees. All this had to be corrected, and the growers were forced to get standard instruments, or, at least, have them tested before putting them to use in the orchard. It is a wise plan to use a large number of thermometers, and one per acre is not too many. There are always some spots colder than others in every orchard, and it is only by using a sufficient number of instruments that these spots can be found.
Before any firing is done, some knowledge should be had of injurious temperatures. These temperatures vary very widely for the different fruits, as well as for the different stages of growth. A large series of tests have been made in the Rogue River Valley, and upon these tests the following table, giving injurious temperatures in bud, in blossom, in setting fruit, and at other times, is appended. Injurious temperatures may not be the same from season to season, as weather conditions previous to frosts determine very largely the ability of plants to resist freezing temperatures. In every case there should be a physiologist on the ground to determine approximately this factor. A few days of very warm weather, together with an ample supply of soil moisture, will cause the newly formed cells of the blossoms and fruit to be filled with a watery protoplasm, or cell sap, which freezes more readily than concentrated cell sap. If a freeze follows a period of weather in which temperatures have been such as to produce slow growth, lower temperatures than those given in the table may not cause injury.
TEMPERATURES INJURIOUS TO FRUITThe matter of forecasting frosts will not be gone into in this paper, as this has been previously published in United States Farmers' Bulletin No. 401. Suffice it to say that a fairly accurate knowledge of the weather should be known far enough in advance so that the grower may be prepared. Not only that, but he should know approximately the minimum temperature to be expected in case of a frost. It has been stated by agents and manufacturers of orchard heating apparatus that firing should always be begun when the thermometer registered thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit; this is a serious mistake since the thermometer may reach thirty-two degrees many a time during the season of frosts, and go no lower. A glance at the table of injurious temperatures will show that no fruits are injured at such temperature. It is not only a waste of fuel to light fires prematurely, or when not needed, but also a very great waste of time, and time in frost fighting is the most important factor.
WHEN IN BUD, IN BLOSSOM, ETC.
These temperatures are approximately those of the air in contact with the fruits and' blossoms. It is quite possible, however, that very delicate measurements would indicate somewhat lower temperatures, due to evaporation from the immediate surface of the plants.
A most important factor in frost fighting is an efficient rural telephone system. In our work in the Rogue River Valley it is estimated that between 1,000 and 1,200 people received the forecasts daily. The forecasts were given to the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company at Medford, a separate sheet being given each operator. Tentative forecasts were given each morning about 9 o'clock, but the final forecast was made up at 6:30 p.m. These forecasts were then telephoned to the other towns and stations in the valley, where they were distributed locally. Not later than 7 p.m. every grower knew the probable weather conditions to be expected before morning. The forecasts also indicated the minimum temperature, as well as the time it would be necessary to begin firing. During the past two years every frost was accurately forecast and the growers warned in ample time. The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, through its manager, Mr. D. H. Drewery, as well as the operators, deserves much praise for the efficiency shown in getting the forecasts distributed. During the entire time not a single error was made.
It is believed by the writer, as well as the growers, that the Rogue River Valley has made much progress in the problem of orchard heating. The important matter of accurately forecasting frosts seems to be fairly well worked out. The writer does not attempt to say that the same methods will apply in other localities having entirely different conditions, but it is believed that they are at least worth a trial.
* * *It is essential that all work connected with orchard heating be systematized so far as possible. Buy a bale of waste and always have plenty on hand. Buy a barrel of crude oil, or smudge oil; knock out the head, and after tearing waste apart put it in the barrel of oil. When thoroughly saturated run waste through an old wringer, and it is ready for use. Don't leave oil in barrel during summer; it will leak out. Have your kindling first sawed in six-inch lengths; it is then an easy task to split it rapidly with hatchet. Split it to size of fingers. One man can prepare enough in one day for 1,000 fires. Use egg or small lump coal; handle with coal fork having close-set tines. This will separate slack, which is expensive to burn. Place waste kindling, coal and heaters on a low truck wagon, and have men stay in wagon to fill heaters. Have brackets on side of wagon to hold heaters. To load, place small piece of waste on side of heater near bottom, throw in loosely a handful of kindling, put in the coal, using care to keep center of coal open, which will cause a quick draft when starting. Fill every other heater with full charge of coal, which will bring coal above edge of heater. The large cover protects kindling, and by placing a lump of coal on cover the wind will not blow it off. Leave every other heater lightly loaded for short firings, which is usually all that is required. Place heaters between the trees in the rows; this permits driving through to refill and do other work. Have edges of orchard reinforced with heaters, leaving fewer in proportion in center of orchard, as the pressure of the cold air on the outside forces the warm air toward the center of orchard. If work is systematized and material properly prepared, two men can handle a ten-acre orchard. Place heaters in orchard when buds begin to open, and leave until several days after date of last killing frost. Have tested thermometers at different places in the orchard and one or two outside to aid you in regulating fires. All thermometers should be closely watched, as a few degrees below the frost line makes a mighty lot of difference. Don't get excited or curious to light up before the danger point is reached. Thirty degrees above zero is usual signal for starting fires. If it is midnight or before that it gets cold enough to fire, light the heaters with full charge first. If it is after midnight, light heaters partially filled. Use an asbestos torch. A boy can light an acre in five minutes.
Better Fruit, October 1910, pages 21-26
Oregon Apples and Their Future
By Professor P. J. O'Gara
How the Rogue River Valley came to be developed into a great fruit district is not generally known. The first fruit trees planted in the Rogue River Valley, a few of which are still living and bearing prolificly, are now fully 58 years of age. These apple and pear trees were planted by the early pioneers, and, although they did not receive the intelligent care and attention given the Rogue River Valley orchards of today, they fruited well and pointed the way to the greatest industry in the valley at the present time. Not until 34 years after the first fruit trees were brought into the valley were the older commercial orchards planted. These numbered but four or five plantings of pears and apples, followed two or three years later by about as many more. At this time, for several reasons, there was a sudden lull in the orchard business, and no further plantings of any considerable size were made until nearly a decade afterward. Then suddenly, as if by magic, alfalfa and green fields were changed into orchards; wooded areas were cleared and, in turn, planted to profit-producing fruits. Here the question may be asked, Why this sudden change from apathy of a few years before to the marvelous and wide-awake interest in the fruit industry? The answer is easily given. A few of the eastern and foreign markets had tasted of the products from the first commercial orchards and naturally inquired whence they came. Answer to these inquiries resulted in the coming westward of the best citizens in the country, people who believed in the future of a valley capable of producing fruit of unequaled quality.
Among the pioneers of commercial orcharding in the Rogue River Valley were men who knew of eastern varieties and eastern conditions, and naturally followed the beaten trail. They knew little of the valley's soil conditions, and the adaptability of the various varieties of pears and apples to suit these conditions. However, they made fewer mistakes than have been charged to them. They were working in the dark, mostly with unknown quantities, but out of it all came the happy discoveries which rewarded them for their efforts and left to the future generations a heritage whose worth has become millions, and whose ultimate value lies beyond the limits of the most vivid imagination.
If there ever were any doubts as to the possibilities of the fruit growing industry, they have disappeared. Seeing is believing. While it can never be said that further improvement along any line of horticulture is impossible, it must be admitted that the Rogue River Valley has much less to learn than many horticulture districts that boast of years of practical experience. It is true that the horticulturists of the Rogue River Valley, as a body, are made up of men who have made a success in various occupations or professional men, manufacturers, salesmen, bankers and even mere pleasure seekers, but they have put into their new life's work the same intelligence and vim which characterized them in their former occupations. Science and scientific methods have stepped in and taken the place of haphazard guessing, so that anyone making a mistake as to proper soils for certain varieties, methods of cultivation and fertilization, irrigation and treatment of diseases, which, by the way, are very few, would have only himself to blame. Located in Medford is a branch office of the United States Department of Agriculture, fitted with a library laboratory, which is in charge of a pathologist whose duty it is to look after the horticultural interests of the Rogue River Valley. All questions referred to this office are given the same prompt attention which is characteristic of the main office of the Department of Agriculture at Washington, D.C. At no other place in the United States is there an office of this kind. To the man who has but one acre an equal opportunity is given in the matter of getting scientific and practical advice as to the man who owns hundreds of acres.
The Newtown and the Spitzenburg are the principal varieties of apples grown in the Rogue River Valley, yet all the other standard apples, such as the Jonathan, Winesap, Grimes Golden, Ortley, Arkansas Black and Rome Beauty, grow to perfection here. Rogue River Newtowns have led in price against all competitors in the London and other European markets for the past six years, and Rogue River Newtowns took first place in the National Apple Show held in Denver in January 1910, and [a] carload of Rogue River Spitzenburgs carried off the grand prize at the National Apple Growers' Show held at Spokane in November 1909. A car of Newtowns won first prize at the International Apple Show at Vancouver in 1910, and a car of Newtowns from Ashland won second prize at Spokane in 1910.
The fruit industry tributary to Medford is developing this section rapidly, and it is safe to say that no other city of the same size in America has a more glowing future.
There is probably no fruit district in the United States where so great attention is paid to the matter of caring for the orchards as in the Rogue River Valley; not only are the orchards well cultivated, but every attention is given to the scientific treatment of orchard fruit diseases, which, in so many localities, through careless effort, have brought about complete annihilation of the fruit industry. If there ever were any fears that infectious or other diseases would ruin the orchards of the Rogue River Valley, these fears no longer exist, since it has been shown that up-to-date methods for the treatment of diseases, properly applied, have proven effective beyond a doubt.
In order to fight orchard fruit diseases successfully there must be at hand a perfect knowledge of the situation so that there will be no misguided efforts, and where certain infectious diseases are to be combated there must be a united effort on the part of every grower.
In order to carry on a successful campaign against disease, there must be organization and instruction. Both of these important factors have been carefully planned. A corps of inspectors, each with his own district, takes charge of the inspection of every orchard and every fruit tree, no matter where it may be. The inspection is very rigid, and in the case of all pomaceous fruits that are subject to pear blight, every tree is examined critically. This is done, not once a year, but several times, if necessary. Furthermore, the owners are instructed as to the nature of the disease in question and are given definite instructions as to how to proceed in the eradication and treatment of the same. In order to prevent the introduction of new diseases, all nursery stock is given a most thorough and searching examination, and trees condemned by the inspectors are ordered to be destroyed at once.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1911, page B4
WEATHER MAN IS IN NEW OFFICEThe new office of the county pathologist and entomologist, and also of the United States Weather bureau, in the Garnett-Corey building was opened today. Professor P. J. O'Gara, in charge of the office, moved his instruments and paraphernalia from the old quarters in the Rogue River Fruit and Product Association building and will in future issue his weather predictions and warnings on how to guard against the infantum geranium vulgaris and other things from Room 418 in the big four-story block on Main and Grape streets.
Professor O'Gara Has Brand-New Quarters from Which to Supply Valley with Weather--
On Top Garnett-Corey Building.
Just as soon as the weather forecasting apparatus arrives from Washington, D.C., it will be installed on the roof of the Garnett-Corey building, and the weather signals will from now on be flown from the mast on the top of that structure.
A complete set of new weather flags has been secured.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 1, 1911, page 3
O'GARA STAVES OFF FROSTMEDFORD, Or., April 15.--(Special.)--Professor P. J. O'Gara, of Medford, government pathologist in charge in Jackson County, has been on duty continuously for the past 72 hours, leaving his office only long enough for meals, doing his regular day work and remaining on duty nights for the benefit of the orchardists who have been threatened with frost damage to fruit buds.
Constant Vigilance Saves Jackson County Orchards.
Since Monday morning the temperature has been anxiously watched, it dropping to 31.5 degrees Tuesday night and to 27 degrees in the lowest parts of the valley on Wednesday night, but so systematic and well regulated is Professor O'Gara's system of alarming the growers and protecting the orchards from the frost that absolutely no damage has thus far occurred.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, April 16, 1911, page 42
ORCHARD INSPECTION.--In the Rogue River section of southern Oregon there is a fruit belt of some sixty miles in length, lying between the towns of Grants Pass on the north [sic] and Ashland on the south. Most of the fruit growers of this entire valley are members of the Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association, with headquarters at Medford, Oregon. This association has recently secured a man to act as its official fruit inspector, a man who was for several years connected with the Bureau of Entomology at Washington, D.C., says a correspondent in the Ohio Farmer.
This inspector mans a permanent suite of offices in Medford. He is known throughout the valley and is consulted on all knotty questions pertaining to the culture of trees. He has a corps of some fifty deputy inspectors working under him; men who get out into the orchards and closely inspect the trees for scale, fire blight and all dangerous pests or diseases. When owners of orchards refuse to obey his directions as to spraying, etc., he has the authority to spray at their expense or cut down their orchards if he deems it advisable. He inspects all nursery stock coming into the valley and he is in charge of the local U.S. Weather Bureau, from which institution the growers receive daily help of inestimable value in the way of frost and storm warnings, etc. His duties are numerous, his authority great and his work arduous.
But it pays, and pays big. The growers of the valley have reliable scientific information right at their doors. When they need such advice they get it first hand. But this sort of thing costs money. The expert receives a salary of $5,000 a year, besides the expenses of his deputies, etc. The money for meeting these expenses comes out of the pockets of the fruit growers themselves.
Market Growers Journal, May 20, 1911, page 442
MEDFORD MADE KEY STATION
Will Be Placed on United States Weather Map--
Mrs. O'Gara Will Take Charge of Local Weather Hereafter.
Medford has literally been "placed upon the map" by being made the key station for the United States Weather bureau in Southern Oregon, and as such will hereafter appear on all of the weather maps published by the bureau in Southern Oregon, and all forecasting for Southern Oregon will be done from Medford. These forecasts will be made twice daily.
The weather will no doubt be considerably better in the future, as Mrs. P. J. O'Gara has been appointed local forecaster in place of her husband. Some say that the professor lost his job on account of the beastly weather he has been giving us, which only cleared away when he left for a norther trip, leaving Mrs. O'Gara in charge. However that may be, Mrs. O'Gara is now the duly authorized weather forecaster and expert in charge of this district.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 26, 1911, page 2
HANDS BOUQUET TO PROF. O'GARADiscussing the fighting of fruit pests in Oregon recently, Dean Cordley, of this O.A.C. School of Agriculture, had this to say of fruit growers of the Rogue Valley:
Dean Cordley Praises Work of Rogue Valley Fruit Growers.
"Oregon has demonstrated, through the eradication of fire blight at Hood River and the excellent work in control of pear blight at Rogue River, the fact that she has at least two of the most progressive fruit-growing sections in the entire country.
"Some four years ago, when I first detected the presence of pear blight in the Rogue River Valley, the fruit growers of that section immediately inaugurated an energetic campaign for its eradication. Upon being informed that, owing to a lack of funds, this institution could not place a man in the field, they at once applied to the Department of Agriculture at Washington for assistance. The result was that Professor O'Gara was sent to their assistance.
"Professor O'Gara organized the work so successfully, and gave such satisfaction, that when the government decided to withdraw him from the field, the fruit growers themselves raised the necessary funds to retain his services.
"He has been in complete charge of the work ever since, with such success that, notwithstanding the fact that hundreds and thousands of acres of orchards have been completely destroyed in other fruit-growing sections, the losses in Southern Oregon have been insignificant."
Central Point Herald, August 10, 1911, page 1
Did you know that he is a poet? Did you know that he is a linguist, being the master of German, French and Italian, with a command of Latin and a proficiency in Spanish?
Did you know that he is not only a botanist, a pathologist, an entomologist, but a mechanical and electrical engineer?
Did you know--but of course you didn't--for the professor is too busy talking about bugs to talk about himself. Too busy blowing up careless orchardists to blow his own horn.
But did you know that he is not only a weather forecaster, but a baseball player?
There--that's something to start out on, isn't it? And we're not half through yet.
Nec scire fas est omina!Sorry, but we had to do it. According to Webster's dictionary that means that it is not permitted to know everything. But the old Roman who wrote it never knew P. J. O'G. But that's the way with him and the scholar breed. Perhaps he doesn't know everything. But if he doesn't he knows everything about something, and something about everything, which for all practical purposes amounts to the same thing.
----And the something that he knows all about is pear blight. And the everything that he knows about is--what's the use--pick up the encyclopedia, the natural library at Washington and--well, ask him questions.
But let us dispel the impression at the outset that the professor is a sort of humanized card index.
Nay, nay! He is as practical as a horse doctor and as free from illusions as a galvanic battery.
His main purpose in life is to keep Rogue River pears in good health. He is paid by Jackson County to do this, his official titles being Deputy Horticultural Commissioner-in-Chief, Cooperating Pathologist of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pathologist and Entomologist for Rogue River Valley, Jackson County. AS a side issue he is local forecaster for the U.S. Weather Bureau, and when the frosts come he acts as a Paul Revere, only instead of riding a horse, he uses the telegraph, the press and the telephone.
Not knowing much about electricity, we can't say for a certainty that Professor O'Gara is magnetized. But we have a strong idea that if he got near a ship's compass the needle would prefer him to the magnetic pole.
----For P. J. is essentially dynamic. If an ordinary live wire carries about 2,000 volts, he must have about 5,000. He never stands still. He says he sleeps about six hours a night, but the truth is he closes his eyes over a problem and awakes with it solved.
He never walks, he skids. He never reads, he studies. He is a living refutation of the statement that there is no such thing as perpetual motion. When he isn't moving, his mind is. And it moves with the rapidity of a lightning flash and the accuracy of a cash register.
So Professor O'Gara's hobby is properly enough electricity. His diversion playing baseball with the fats and leans or rooting in the grandstand.
Yes, the professor is human. His office is always open to anxious orchardists, he answers on the average a hundred phone calls a day, and his advice is sought on all subjects from building fences to spraying for the woolly aphis. Coming to Medford in 1907, he has been fighting fruit diseases ever since, and if you want to know what he has done just lean over the next grasshopper you see and say "O'Gara." He'll jump anywhere from sixty to 100 feet, depending upon his athletic ability.
There is a lake in Ireland called Gara. Near it are the ruins of a castle. There the great-great-great-grandfathers of P. J. lived, and the title O'Gara was founded. No one will be surprised to learn that St. Patrick, who drove the snakes out of Ireland, was a distant connection of P. J.'s who is now driving the fruit diseases out of the Rogue River Valley.
Someday Mr. and Mrs. O'Gara are going back there to look over the auld sold. And the professor will probably write a poem, as he did when he went abroad in 1905, and read it at the captain's dinner. And if any of his relatives are lacking some modern electrical appliances he will no doubt make them an electric curling iron or two and show them how to boil spuds on an electric disc.
P. J. is not yet 40. Here is a summary of what he has done:
Born July 1st, 1872, at Coleridge, Nebraska. Educated in University of South Dakota and University of Nebraska, taking the degree of Bachelor of Science from the latter. Studied for degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Nebraska University, also at several European universities. Was a cum laude graduate of the University of Nebraska and held a fellowship in botany, also a member of the Botanical Seminary.
Became assistant vegetable pathologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture and took charge of pathological work in the field, later becoming chief in charge of the Pacific Coast. Traveled extensively in United States, Canada and Europe.
Membership in the following agricultural societies:
1. Honorary Sigma Xi, received upon graduation in class of 200 on account of original scientific work done. Only man of entire class to receive this signal honor.
2. American Association for the Advancement of Science.
3. American Phytopathological Society.
4. Botanical Society of Washington.
5. Washington Academy of Science.
6. National Geographical Society.
7. Biological Society of Washington.
Local Organizations1. Director Medford Commercial Club.
2. Director Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association.
3. Member of Medford Library board.
Official Positions Held at This Time1. Pathologist and entomologist for Rogue River Valley, Jackson County.
2. Cooperating pathologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
3. Local forecaster, U.S. Weather Bureau.
4. Deputy horticultural commissioner in chief.
WritingsBulletins on orchard heating to protect from frost injury; Pear Blight, Raspberry Cane Blight; Lime Sulphur; Pollination of Fruits, etc.
Written for horticultural press of the country, especially the local press and Better Fruit, on many subjects.
In the purely scientific work has discovered independently a bacterial disease of the peach, a bacterial disease of the mulberry, the presence of arsenic in fruit sprayed with arsenate of lead, and various other scientific facts in science and phytopathology.
Besides scientific writings he has had time to contribute to the following magazines:
1. Technical World.
2. Popular Electricity.
3. Popular Mechanics.
6. Electrical World, and others.
Besides being a botanist he is also a mechanical and electrical engineer, and has designed three hydroelectric power plants. Has also designed electrical machinery, constructing the first dynamo used for class instruction in the University of South Dakota.
And yet--go up to his office in the Garnett-Corey Building tomorrow and ask him why you don't get $3.00 a box for your pears or why your pump doesn't work and he will give you an answer if there is one, and with a smile.
"Medford's Hall of Fame," Medford Sun, August 27, 1911, page 12
Professor P. J. O'Gara was in Ashland Thursday looking over a site for the Oregon Agricultural College experiment station that will be established in the valley soon. The people of Ashland are waking up to the advantage that such a station would give them, the experiment station being the clearinghouse for information on subjects of an agricultural and horticultural nature.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, September 8, 1911, page 6
A. C. Allen and family and Prof. and Mrs. P. J. O'Gara left this morning for Klamath County. They will go first to Mr. Allen's houseboat, at Rock Point, and after enjoying a several days' cruise about the lake they will tie up at Wildwood, Mr. Allen's summer home, where they will remain several weeks.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, October 2, 1911, page 2
WEATHER MAN IS MAROONED
Jupiter Pluvius and His Associated Storm Kings
Catch Local Man Off His Guard and Keep Him Prisoner on Lake.
Catching Professor P. J. O'Gara out of his district, and evidently neglecting his weather business, Jupiter Pluvius and his associate storm kings held the professor a prisoner for three days on Klamath Lake. The professor was finally allowed to go by the wet monarch upon his promise to return to Medford and 'tend to the weather properly.
Professor and Mrs. O'Gara were the guests last week of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Allen on their houseboat on Klamath Lake. They had wandered down the lake in the boat and were anchored in a little cove when a storm broke. For three days they were marooned. But, according to the professor, they had a splendid time just the same.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 11, 1911, page 8
The Guardian of Oregon's Orchards
When the pear blight had burned up a half million pear trees in the San Joaquin Valley and was beginning a similar work of extermination in the Sacramento Valley the federal government sent out a young man named O'Gara to aid in checking the devastating conflagration. This was done so successfully that the pear industry of the Sacramento and adjoining valleys was saved and continues to this day a very profitable pursuit.
By this time, however (1907), the incendiary blight germs had made their way up into Southern Oregon and were playing sad havoc with the pear and apple orchards of the Rogue River Valley. Proceeding thither, Prof. O'Gara put in two strenuous years battling with blight, gaining complete control over this archenemy of fruit trees in the world's premier pear district.
The Oregon orchardists who had thus had their trees saved did not take kindly to the government's orders for O'Gara to move on to other localities, desiring that he remain in their midst and keep the upper hand of the pestiferous pear blight. In order to accomplish this object, Jackson County created the office of pathologist and entomologist, fixing the salary at $5000. This looked good to Prof. O'Gara, who was tired of the continual traveling which his government work necessitated, and also because he had fallen in love with the climate and people of sunny Southern Oregon. For three years he has held the above-named office, greatly to the profit and satisfaction of the Rogue River horticulturists.
While the waging of a continuous campaign against blight in one hundred square miles of orchards is a man's size job, it didn't begin to absorb all of O'Gara's superabundant energy. Looking around for a new field of conquest, it was found in the domain of Jack Frost. The easy-going Oregonians were accustomed to having this merry mountain monarch take heavy toll from their orchards every twice in a while. O'Gara got busy and perfected a system of orchard heating which is the most effective and economical in the United States. The first 60,000 heaters which the growers proposed buying were priced by agents at an average cost of about thirty-five cents each. O'Gara investigated the matter thoroughly and found that pots meeting all requirements could be made to order and delivered for nine and one-half cents--a saving of $15,000. Fuel oil containing a large percentage of non-inflammable asphaltum had been priced at nine and one-half cents in car lots. After conducting extensive tests and taking the matter up with the oil companies, O'Gara found that the best and cheapest fuel for orchard heating was a distillate of about 20 degrees test, from which the useless asphaltum had been removed. This could be delivered in tank cars for four cents a gallon--a saving of another $15,000.
The first attacks of Jack Frost caught many of the orchardists napping. Since the damage is usually done in the latter part of the night, it is not always possible for the fruit-grower to tell the day before what to expect along the line of low temperatures. Although Prof. O'Gara began his meteorological observations in the Rogue River Valley in 1908, it was not until March, 1911, that he succeeded in having established at Medford a United States Weather Bureau Station. Through his efforts, six local cooperative weather stations were also established in order to perfect a system of frost forecasting which is said to be the most accurate in this or any other country. During the past five years not a single error has been made, either as to the low temperature which would occur or the time when it would be necessary for the orchardists to begin firing. The forecasts are sent by telephone in such a way that every farmer may receive them promptly. During the past spring a temperature of 22 degrees was successfully combated, the temperature being raised 10 degrees.
Every disease, pest and program which confronts the Rogue River fruit-grower is given attention by the versatile and indefatigable O'Gara. He is a bundle of boundless energy and enthusiasm, and there is no harder worker in the state. Like Edison, he finds six hours out of twenty-four all he can spare for sleep. With four salaried assistants and sixty volunteers he wages unceasing and effective warfare against every fungus and insect pest that preys upon the pomological products of his district.
A direct descendant of a feudal Irish monarch whose kingdom lay along the shores of Lake Gara, Sligo County, Ireland, born forty-one years ago on a Nebraska homestead near Coleridge, Cedar County, P. J. O'Gara began his college career with a total capital of $5, studying two years in the University of South Dakota, then four years in the University of Nebraska, specializing in botany, pathology and bacteriology. During these four years, although earning his board and other expenses, an average grade of 98 percent was made, and in a class of over two hundred O'Gara was the only one upon whom was conferred an honorary membership in the Sigma Xi for original scientific research. He is a member of the Phytopathological Society of America, the Botanical and Biological Societies of Washington, the National Geographic Society and the Washington Academy of Science. He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prof. O'Gara has contributed articles to Sunset, The Strand, Technical World, Electrical World, Science and other scientific journals and is the author of a number of horticultural bulletins, as well as technical papers on plant physiology and pathology. He was chosen by Dr. L. H. Bailey of Cornell University to assist in the preparation of the New American Cyclopedia of Horticulture. He is also on the editorial staff of the Cyclopedia of Horticulture of the Pacific Northwest. In his offices there is a completely indexed reference library of 40,000 books and bulletins.
Prof. O'Gara is quite a linguist, being familiar with German, French, Spanish, Italian and Latin. He is an expert telegrapher, a wireless enthusiast and an electrical engineer, having built three electrical power plants. He thoroughly enjoys a good ball game, either in the field or on the bleachers. He has traveled in Europe, Africa, Canada, Mexico and every state in the Union, sometimes covering 25,000 to 40,000 miles in a single year. No wonder he grew tired of timetables and Pullmans.
In 1906 Prof. O'Gara married Miss Belle Sloan, daughter of Prof. T. J. Sloan of the University of South Dakota, and she has since been his chief lieutenant, having charge of the office and secretarial work. Over the pathologist's desk hangs a picture of one who has been to him a veritable patron saint: Prof. Chas. E. Bessey, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, teacher of botany for forty-five years--thirty in the University of Nebraska--who refused to accept a chair in Harvard University or to be laid on the shelf by a Carnegie person.
Since taking charge of his present office, Prof. O'Gara has turned down offers from land companies who wished to engage his services at salaries as high as $20,000. When asked why he chose to remain in his present place at a much smaller salary, he replied, "Because I like the climate and people here and enjoy my work. I do not work for money--that would be slavery."
Questioned as to his opinion of the fruit industry, he remarked: "I consider a Rogue River pear orchard a splendid investment. Pears can be profitably produced for $1 a box, and prices have always averaged considerably higher than that."
O. H. BARNHILL.Sunset magazine, October 1913, pages 749-751
SHOULD PROVIDE AGAINST FROSTS
Prof. O'Gara Urges Orchardists of Valley Not to Delay
During the past season of spring frosts it was estimated that fully 60,000 boxes of fruit were lost. Without question this loss could have been averted by orchard heating, which has been fully demonstrated as effective in this district. If there was any doubt as to the value of orchard heating in this valley, it must have been dispelled last May when the condition of the pear crop in heated and unheated orchards of the frost zone was compared.
Preparations for orchard heating should be made as soon as possible. This cannot be done on short notice in the spring. If orchard heaters or pots are to be used, they must be ordered in time to insure delivery not later than March 15. The pots used in this district are largely the five-quart lard pail type, and are made by the Corrugated Iron Company of Wheeling, W. Va. These pots can be delivered f.o.b. Medford in car lots of not less than 18,000 for 10 to 11 cents. The minimum car is the smallest number that can be purchased economically, since less than car lots would demand a much higher freight rate. During the past two years the Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association combined the orders of individual growers and shipped in several cars, thus securing the minimum in cost of manufacture and freight charges.
The best way to handle the situation will be for the growers to take up the matter with the local fruit associations, or if there are those who do not belong to any association, they may combine their orders so as to make at least a minimum car.
As soon as possible growers should consult with this office as to the equipment they will need. While I shall be very glad to give such data as will aid the growers in making their estimates, I must leave the business matter of purchasing to the associations or to the individual himself.
Besides the pots, storage for oil should be provided for. Do not depend on wood, as it may happen that a frost following a rainy period will find the wood too wet to ignite readily. Oil known as Richmond Smudge Oil, furnished by the Standard Oil Company and costing from 4 cents to 4½ cents f.o.b. Medford, has been most satisfactory. It may be possible that the Union Oil Company or some independent concern may be able to furnish oil of the same quality and at the same or a lower figure. The question of oil may be taken up later, but the matter of pots should not be delayed.
P. J. O'GARA.
Pathologist in Charge.
Central Point Herald, November 20, 1913, page 1
SALARY TO BE TREBLEDMEDFORD, Or., March 6.--(Special.)--Annoyed by criticism of ranchers and the recent adverse report of the grand jury which recommended his removal, P. J. O'Gara, who six years ago left the Department of Agriculture to become pathologist for Jackson County at a salary of $5000 a year, has resigned to become chief in charge of agricultural investigation for the American Smelting & Refining Company at a salary of $15,000 a year. His headquarters will be at Salt Lake City, but he will have charge of all experimental, laboratory and field work connected with the plant and animal diseases ascribed to smelter and smoke injury and will conduct exhaustive investigations at various smelters operated by the company.
CRITICISM AND $5000 WILL BE EXCHANGED FOR $15,000 POST.
P. J. O'Gara, Pathologist tor Jackson County, Goes to American Smelting & Refining Company.
Professor O'Gara is recognized as the leading authority in the Northwest on orchard and plant diseases and is the author of numerous books on blight, frost prevention, horticultural and agricultural subjects, and was endorsed for the position by the scientists of the Department of Agriculture as the best qualified man in America for the work in view.
The County Court will start at once to obtain a successor, as the approaching fruit season makes the office peculiarly important.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 7, page 3
Prof. P. J. O'Gara was guest of honor at a farewell banquet Tuesday evening given by A. C. Allen at the University Club.
"Society," Medford Mail Tribune, March 21, 1914, page 3
COUNTY GETS NEW PATHOLOGIST
The county court last Friday signed a contract for the services of M. P. Henderson, of the University of Wisconsin, as pathologist to succeed Prof. P. J. O'Gara, and he will have charge of the pathologist work of spraying and blight conditions, and Prof. Reimer of the O.A.C. experiment station working in conjunction with him will have charge of soil work, pruning and other orchard work. Prof. Henderson will arrive about July 1. He was recommended by the committee appointed by the orchardists. Judge TouVelle and Commissioner Leever signed the contract.
Central Point Herald, June 25, 1914, page 2
PROFESSOR O'GARA WRITES OFProfessor P.J. O'Gara, former county pathologist and for the last year chief pathologist for the American Smelting and Refining Company at Salt Lake City, Utah, writes as follows concerning his work:
SOLVING THE SMELTER PROBLEM
Pathologist Tells of Experiments Conducted to Ascertain True Effects of Smelter Gases--
Many Supposed Results Due to Plant and Animal Diseases.
"My work here is progressing satisfactorily, and during the year just passed, a great deal has been accomplished. With the beginning of another year's work, we have increased the equipment and the personnel of the department of agricultural investigations considerably. We have during the year twenty-five men doing research work on the various lines of agricultural research. In chemistry alone we have eight men. The divisions of plant physiology and pathology, soils, agronomy, irrigation, entomology, dairy and animal husbandry, veterinary science, animal pathology, etc., are all well represented. I have chosen my men from among the best universities, such as Berlin, Munich, Boston School of Technology, Harvard, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, California, Leland Stanford and others.
Much Work in Research"It must be remembered that most of the work is research, and for this reason men of exceptional ability had to be chosen, especially those in direct charge of certain fundamental problems. We are doing an immense amount of good on the effects of certain gases on vegetable and animal life, and the very interesting thing that struck us when we began looking up the literature and trying to coordinate it with our results was that other investigators were in error all the way from 100 to 1000 per cent. As a matter of fact, no reliable qualitative or quantitative data were at hand. We sought the best European authorities and found them woefully out of accord with the facts. It must be understood that our facilities for doing careful work are not limited, and this is one reason we can do work which the other investigator cannot do, because he has to beg for a dollar.
Designs Apparatus"Much of our apparatus for research work on the effect of certain gases on plants is of our own design. In making certain gas analyses we are able to measure accurately one part of gas in 10,000,000 parts of air. The rapidity with which we can do this is wonderful, less than two minutes being required to make such a delicate test. Furthermore, we have constructed apparatus which will continually measure a flow of gas where the concentration is only one part in ten millions.
"When I began the work of investigating conditions here there was no one who could tell us how much sulfur dioxide in parts per million of air would injure certain crops. No one could tell us what the time element would be to produce such an injury. We were all in the dark, and the farming community knew about as much as did the smelters.
Demonstration Crops"On our demonstration and experiment farm we grew about seventy crops, some for demonstration purposes, so as to show maximum yields, others for experiment purposes. Just to mention our crop, we grew twenty-one tons of sugar beets per acre without irrigation where only ten tons were made to grow before with irrigation. We did this without adding any fertilizer, showing what was in the soil and what could be gotten out of it by proper agricultural methods. We grew flax, buckwheat, various millets, sorghums, all sorts of truck crops and last, but not least, a fine fruit crop from trees that had been abandoned since the time of Brigham Young. Our fruit exhibits from this farm at the state fair was a surprise. We even had Newtowns that would have been the envy of Hon. John Westerlund. We raised corn that looked as though it had been imported from Nebraska, and our yield of rape figured forty-five tons per acre. But the matter of growing fine crops was a mere incident as compared with the experimental work in determining the effects of sulfur dioxide on plants.
Tested Staple Crops"We tested practically all the staple crops, such as potatoes, corn, beans, sugar beets, etc., and our results were most astonishing. Strange as it may seem, the crop on which the heaviest claims had been made for alleged damages by smelter smoke was potatoes. All the Salt Lake Valley farmers were of the honest opinion that the sulfur dioxide gas from the smelters had really killed their potato vines and completely ruined the crops. After careful experimental work we found the potato so resistant to sulfur dioxide gas that if the potato crop during the past years had been injured [by the gas], as the farmers reported, there would not have been living today a single human being in the Salt Lake Valley. To visibly injure a potato plant would require such a high concentration of sulfur dioxide that all animal life under the same conditions of sulfur dioxide concentration would have been suffocated. This is also true of other crops for which damages were claimed.
Matter with Potatoes"What, then, was the matter with the potatoes? A pathological, entomological and physiological survey showed that the poor potato had more than twenty troubles, all of which tended to injure the plant, and, therefore, reduce the yield. The potato crop in the Salt Lake Valley was such a failure for 1914 that growers did not get their seed back. All farmers were of the opinion that it was the worst year in the history of potato growing in the Salt Lake Valley, and yet scarcely a claim was made against the American Smelting & Refining Company for alleged losses due to smelter smoke.
"The reason for this remarkable change of heart was due to the educational effort put forth by the company. We gave the farmers the facts as to the causes which led to the loss of the potato crop, as well as giving them specific information as to the result of our experimental work.
Overcoming Troubles"We also gave them instructions as to how to overcome the potato troubles by careful seed and soil selection, seed treatment, cultivation and irrigation, all of which has been much appreciated. Not for a moment have we charged the farmers with dishonesty in making their alleged claims. They had no information, and naturally the one factor which they thought responsible for crop losses must be the smelter. I have only mentioned the potato crop as an instance, but the same is true of practically all the field crops growing in the Salt Lake Valley.
"Strange as it may seem, there has been practically no plant pathological work done in the Salt Lake Valley, and the same may be said of the entire state of Utah. Until very recently plant pathology was not a part of the curriculum of any of the state educational institutions. Even today there is not a chair of botany, as such, at the state university.
Seventy Species Fungi"During the season of 1914 I found no less than seventy species of economic fungi causing great losses to crops, and which had not been reported from the state of Utah, in so far as I am able to find. I also found and described four new species of economic fungi. Much better work has been done along entomological lines than plant pathological lines, but there still remained an enormous amount of work to be done in economical entomology. In the dry farm wheat section of the Salt Lake Valley, where crop rotation has not been practiced, wheat growing has become practically profitless, due to certain insect agencies, principally the wheat straw worm and the sheath worm. Our economic entomologist sprang some surprises on these dry farm wheat growers when he showed them very plainly why the wheat plant grew only six to ten inches high. The farmers supposed that the grain had been stunted by smelter smoke, but after being shown that insects were responsible for the dwarfed growth and reduced yield, they were satisfied that they had been in the wrong.
Relations Most Pleasant"It has been a real pleasure to work with the farmers in the Salt Lake Valley. Although they know that we are employed by the corporation with which they have differed, they have, nevertheless, treated us with the greatest courtesy. It has been a pleasure to have them come to our farm and laboratory for instruction and advice.
"We have done a lot of work on the animal situation and have found many interesting things. In the past, practically every animal that died was said to have been killed by the smelters. We have found in a number of cases which, upon post mortem, showed that nothing less than pieces of baling wire ingested by the animals had finally lodged in the heart or lungs after penetrating the stomach walls and diaphragm. Likewise, tuberculosis and contagious abortion have been demonstrated in dairy herds, as well as outbreaks of cholera in hogs. We willingly make various tests for diseases well as provide treatment without charge, it being our purpose to help the farmer and make him prosperous, believing that both the great mining and smelting industry as well as agriculture may find plenty of room in the Salt Lake Valley without one industry encroaching upon the other's rights.
Corporations as Employers"It has been a pleasure to work with the big corporation and to have my efforts appreciated. When I prepared my budget for 1915, outlining the needs of my department, I was happily surprised to learn that the board of directors in New York not only approved of the budget, but asked that it be increased so as to provide for more work. Of course, I am dealing with men who can appreciate the value of a suggestion, and therein lies the difference between working for a great corporation as compared with the public. I have worked for both, and certainly appreciate the difference. Of course, I appreciate the value of public service in that it has taught me many a good lesson. I probably would not have learned to know people and to judge them so well as I am now able to do if I had not been a public servant for a number of years.
"I want you to pardon this long letter, but feeling that you might be interested in what I am doing I thought I would explain to you what I have done during the twelve months since leaving the Rogue River Valley.
"With my very kind personal regards, I am sincerely yours,
"P. J. O'GARA,"Salt Lake City, April 11."
"Chief in charge.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 16, 1915, page 3
C. C. Cate has been appointed pathologist for Jackson County to succeed M. P. Henderson, who resigned in August. Mr. Cate assumed the duties of the position Tuesday morning. For the past two years he has served as fruit inspector for Linn County and comes well recommended.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, December 11, 1915, page 3
PEAR INDUSTRY OF VALLEY TO BE SHOWN IN MOVIES
A. C. Allen has spent a couple of afternoons on the river, where he took some motion pictures of steelhead fishing to be used in the series of "out-of-doors" pictures which he is making. Some excellent pictures were secured and will prove interesting additions to the series.
Professor P. J. O'Gara is associated with Mr. Allen in the venture, and the latter has secured about 3000 feet of unusual hunting, fishing and scenic pictures in eastern Oregon and Idaho. These pictures will either be sold to some large motion picture organization or will be released by themselves.
Mr. Allen has sold a number of films to the Gaumont company and Pathe-Freres, three of which are at present released and being shown on the screen.
On Wednesday and Thursday at the Page Theater will be shown over half a reel of Mr. Allen's pictures, released by Pathe, on the pear industry of our valley. These pictures have received very favorable comment in the trade journals and were shown at the Columbia Theater in Portland for a full week's run. All the scenes were taken around Medford and show in detail the growing of pears from the nursery to the bearing tree, grafting, cutting out blight, picking, packing, etc., and a fine scene of smudging just at sunrise.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 19, 1916, page 6
P. J. O'Gara, former county pathologist, was here Tuesday for five hours en route from Klamath Falls to Tacoma. A. C. Allen took him around in an auto to see his property. Mr. O'Gara, who resides in Salt Lake City and is connected with the American Smelting and Refining Company, has traveled 22,000 miles in connection with his duties so far this year.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 9, 1919, page 2
P. J. O'GARA, EX-CO. PATHOLOGIST, DIES, SALT LAKE
The many friends in Medford and throughout Jackson County will learn with much regret of the death of a former county pathologist of this county, Dr. Patrick J. O'Gara, who died in Salt Lake City September 17 last after an illness of over four years' duration.
Dr. O'Gara first came to the Rogue River Valley about 20 years ago in response to a call from the orchardists for aid in fighting pear blight. He was sent here by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and spent about four years in Medford, when he was recalled. Upon suggestion of A. C. Allen, backed by the orchardists, Mr. O'Gara was persuaded to resign his government position and accept the position of county pathologist for Jackson County. This was the first office of its kind in the United States, and O'Gara filled the position till 1913.
So successful was he in his work that his fame became national, and when the American Smelting and Refining Company were almost out of business on account of injunctions because of smelter smoke injuries, they turned to O'Gara to help them. His work with them in Salt Lake City has become nationally known, for he developed methods by which the smelters could proceed without doing any injury to vegetation.
As a result of this terrific strain and the tendency of Dr. O'Gara to overdo, he broke down four years ago, the breakdown being brought on by a severe attack of the flu. Since his illness he made an unsuccessful fight for over four years, which terminated in his death.
Mrs. O'Gara has taken the body back to Vermillion, South Dakota, to rest, Vermillion being their old home.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 28, 1927, page 3
Last revised December 12, 2018