In the southern portion of the state, or “fruit belt,” an immense acreage is devoted to fruit-growing. A dense center for the production of apples is in Marion, Clay, Richland, Wayne, and Jefferson Counties, which contain over 2,000,000 apple trees. Another center is along the west boundary in Adams, Calhoun, and Pike counties. The value of the land per acre is much less in the southern part of the state than in the north-central part. White clover and alsike clover are said to thrive better and to yield more nectar in the northern part of the state than in the southern, as northward there is more snow, which protects the clover during the winter months, while in the south it often winter-kills. Clover is also injured by dry weather.
Total area, 56,066 square miles. The surface of Wisconsin is a broad rolling plain rising between the basins of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and the Mississippi Valley. Its length from north to south is 300 miles and its breadth 250 miles. There is a range in elevation of over 1350 feet from the valleys along the Mississippi River and near Lake Michigan, which are about 585 feet above sea level, to the summit of Rib Hill (1940 feet) in the north-central part of the state. The divide between Lake Superior and the Mississippi River extends largely as a broad flat plain across the northern counties, about 1600 feet above sea level, from which there is a rapid descent of 1000 feet to the Lake on the north.
The Great Wisconsin glacier extended over the northern and eastern portions, but about one-fifth of the state in the southwestern section, or 10,000 square miles, remained free from the invasion of ice. The fertile soils of this area have been chiefly formed by the weathering of the underlying limestones. This section is rough, with steep hills and deep valleys, and contrasts noticeably with the rolling lake-dotted prairies and woods of the remainder of the state.
The glaciated area is covered by a coarse drift which varies in thickness from a few feet to 200 feet in depth. In northern and eastern Wisconsin there are more than 2000 small lakes formed by erosion and the heaping up of morainic material. There are also large areas of swamp land, where asters and other marsh flowers are abundant. As in Michigan, the southern half of the state was formerly covered with a hardwood forest of oak, maple, elm, basswood, birch, poplar, and hickory, while northward coniferous trees were most abundant.
As there are no pronounced physical features dividing Wisconsin into well-defined sections, the honey-plant regions, as in Illinois, are to a large extent artificial. The underlying rocks in their relation to the origin and composition of the soils and the distribution of the vegetation, especially of the clovers, probably offer as good a basis for such a division as any. Accepting the geological structure of the state as our guide, four fairly distinct honey-plant regions may be recognized: 1. A southern and eastern region, where the underlying rocks are Silurian limestone. 2. A western or St. Croix Valley region, where the underlying rock is magnesian limestone. 3. A central crescent-shaped region where the rock is Potsdam sandstone; 4. A great northern region where the very ancient rocks are granites, schists, gneisses, and igneous mineral-bearing beds which were once molten matter.
The southern and eastern region might well be called the alsike and white clover region, as these plants are here the chief sources of surplus honey. It is bounded on the north by a line running easterly from La Crosse on the Mississippi River, through the southern part of La Crosse and Monroe counties to the east boundary line of the last-named county, thence southeasterly to Merrimack on the west boundary line of Columbia County; thence northeasterly to Michigan, at a