Station: [6] Intensification of Fruit Growing Thanks to Science

The intensification of fruit-growing went hand in hand with an increasing role for science. Horticultural schools were established in Hohenheim, Weinsberg and Weihenstephan near Freising. The first "pomological" institute was opened in 1860 by Eduard Lucas in Reutlingen. The term "pomology" refers to the study of fruit species and varieties and their systematic classification. One possible translation is "fruit tree science".

In Frickingen, the local priest, Ludwig Herr, founded a fruit-growers' association in 1903, where members exchanged ideas about pruning and training the tree crown.

More and more land was devoted to fruit growing, especially when growing grapes became more and more difficult. As frost, phylloxera and fungal infestation increasingly took their toll on the vines, more and more vineyards were grubbed up and the land planted with fruit trees.

The figures provide a very clear picture. In 1763, there were 80 hectares of vines in Frickingen – almost 200 acres. By 1860, that had dropped to 8 hectares, a mere 20 acres. In around 1920, that trend towards orchards was taking place across Europe.

These days, the only reminders of wine-growing in Frickingen are old street names such as Rebweg, Zum Weingarten and TorkelwegVine Alley, At the Sign of the Vineyard and Wine Press Way – though these days, the dominant meaning of torkeln is "stagger" or "lurch", which would make for something like "Lurching Lane".

The apple orchards we’re familiar with today, where most of the trees are bush-style with short trunks, became established between 1950 and 1960.

These days, vast numbers of apples are harvested annually around Lake Constance – 1.6 billion in fact, or roughly 150,000 tonnes.

1,400 fruit growers in the area around Lake Constance contribute to this major achievement. They cultivate almost 7,500 hectares, equivalent to more than 18 and a half thousand acres.

That makes the Lake Constance area Germany’s second largest apple-growing region, surpassed only by the "Altes Land" near Hamburg, where they have 10,500 hectares under cultivation – equivalent to 26,000 acres.

All depictions: © Gemeinde Fricklingen