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From the pyramidal, and often fastigiate form of the pear, its summit requires much less space than the apple or the cherry. In the more fertile soils, the distance at which the trees may be planted apart, need not exceed twenty feet; and those of a poorer soil may be much less. The quenouilles, or dwarfs, trained in the form of a distaff, with their branches reaching nearly or quite to the ground, are found to succeed even at a distance of four or five feet apart, and produce abundant crops.
The pear-tree is liable to be much injured if pruned by those who do not understand the nature of its growth. The blossoms are commonly produced from buds at the extremity of the last year's shoots, and as these are often cut off by the unskilful pruner, it prevents them from producing fruit, and causes the boughs to send out new branches, which overfill the tree with wood. For reasons assigned on the subject of pruning in our articles on the cherry and plum, July and August is the best time to look over the pear-trees, and to remove all superfluous and foreright shoots, which would too much shade the fruit.
The rate of growth of the cultivated pear-tree, in Britain, is considered, on an average, as from two to three feet per annum, for the first six or seven years; in ten years it will acquire the height of twenty feet; and in thirty years, it will attain an elevation of fifty feet, with a trunk from one foot to eighteen inches in diameter. Its development or rate of growth, in America, under favourable circumstances, is equal to that of Europe, and in some instances, even surpasses it.
Accidents, Diseases, and Insects. “ The pear, as a standard tree," says Mr. Loudon," is not liable to have its branches broken off or disfigured by the wind; nor is it nearly so liable to canker as the apple-tree. It is liable to the aitacks of insects, but certainly not so much so in fields as in gardens, and perhaps nowhere to the same extent as in the other edible fruit-bearing Rosaceæ. On a large scale, there is, perhaps, no cure worth attempting, for insects, or mildew on the leaves; but shallow planting, surface manuring, and regrafting, are excellent preventives and correctives for these and all other evils to which the pear, and all other Rosaceæ, are liable." In Britain, the leaves of the pear-tree are affected by a species of fungus, (Æcidium cancellatum, Sowerby,) which, in moist seasons, and in close situations, sometimes appears to so great an extent, as to occasion them to fall prematurely. There seems to be no remedy, except that of increasing the airiness of the situation, which may always be done, to a certain extent, by thinning out the branches of the tree. The trunks of cankered trees, in Europe, are sometimes perforated in every direction by the larvæ of the lesser stag-beetle (Dorcus parallelopipedus, Stephens.) In Europe, also, the larvæ of the wood leopard-moth, (Zeuzera asculi, Latreille,) also perforate longitudinally the trunk of the peartree, as well as that of the apple, the service, the quince, and probably those of all the Rosaceæ, as it is known to do in the horse-chesnut, lime, walnut, beech, birch, and oak.
In America, the pear-tree is subject to a peculiar malady, called the blight, which shows itself during midsummer, by the sudden withering of its leaves and fruit, and the discolouration of the bark of one or more of the limbs, followed by the immediate death of the part affected. From a communication in the fifth volume of the “New England Farmer,” by the late Judge Lowell, of Roxbury, in Massachusetts, it appears that this malady is caused by the larvæ of an insect, named by Professor Peck, Scolytus pyri. They eat their way inward through the alburnum, into the hardest part of the wood, beginning at the root of a bud, (behind which, Dr. Harris thinks the eggs are deposited,) following the course of the eyes of the buds towards the pith, around which it passes, and part of which it also consumes; thus forming, after penetrating through the alburnum or sap-wood, circular burrows or passages, “not exceeding the size of a knittingnecdle," in the heart-wood, contiguous to the pith which they surround. By
this means, the central vessels, or those which convey the ascending sap, are divided, and the circulation cut off. This takes place when the increasing heat of the atmosphere, producing a greater transpiration from the leaves, renders a large and continued flow of sap necessary to supply the evaporation. For the want of this, or from some other unknown cause, the whole of the branch above the perforated part, suddenly withers and perishes, during the intense heat of the
The larvæ, which are changed to pupæ, and subsequently to little beetles, in the bottom of their burrows, make their escape from the tree in the latter part of June, or the beginning of July, and probably deposit their eggs before the end of August. These beetles are about one tenth of an inch in length, are of a deep-brown colour, with their antenna and legs rather pale, or of the colour of iron rust. The remedy suggested by Mr. Lowell and Professor Peck, to prevent other branches and trees from being subsequently attacked in the same way, consists in cutting off the blasted limb below the seat of injury, and burning it before the perfect insect has made its escape. It will therefore be necessary, carefully to examine the trees daily, during the month of June, and watch for the first indication of disease; otherwise the remedy will be applied too late to prevent the dispersion of the insects among other trees. *
The pear-tree is also perforated by a species of borer, (Ægeria pyri, Harris,) which lives under the bark of the trunk, where, towards the end of summer, it forms its cocoon. The perfect insect appears in autumn, and like all its congeners, leaves its chrysalis skin projecting from the orifice of the burrow which it has previously made. Its wings expand rather more than half an inch, are transparent, but veined, bordered and fringed with purplish-black, and across the tips of the fore-wings is a broad, dark band, glossed with coppery tints. The prevailing colour of the upper side of the body is purple-black; but most of the under side is golden-yellow, as are the edges of the collar of the shoulder-covers, and of the fan-shaped brush on the tail; and there is a broad yellow band across the middle of the abdomen, preceded by two narrow bands of the same colour.t
Among other insects that infest the pear-tree, may be mentioned the pigeon tremex, (Tremex columba, Harris,) described under the head of " Insects, &c.," in our article on the Ulmus americana; also a species of bark-louse, (Coccus * ****) occurring in considerable numbers, in two different forms and sizes, and adhere to the bark of the trees in autumn, and during the winter, in a dormant state. Those of the largest size are less than a tenth of an inch in length, and resemble in their form the common oyster-shell, being broad at the posterior end, and tapering towards the other, which is surmounted by a little oval, brownish scale. The small ones, which are about half of the length of the large ones, are of a very long oval shape, or almost four-sided, rounded at the ends, with one extremity covered by a minute, oval, dark-coloured scale. For a description of the general habits of the genus coccus, the reader is referred to the remarks under the head of "Insects,” in our article on the orange.
The leaves of the pear-tree are particularly subject to the attacks of the goldsmith beetle, (Areoda lanigera, Harris,) and the larvæ of the slug-fly, (Blennocampa cerasi,) the latter of which is described under the head of " Accidents, &c.," in our article on the common cherry-tree.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the common pear-tree is heavy, strong, compact, of a fine grain, and slightly tinged with red. In common with that of all the Rosaceæ, it is liable to have its natural colour changed by steeping in water, which, therefore, ought to be avoided, when intended for particular purposes in the arts. When green, it weighs nearly eighty pounds to a cubic fcot, and from forty-nine to fifty-three pounds, when dry. According to Du Hamel, it is next to the true service, (Pyrus sorbus,) the best wood that can be employed in wood-engraving, for which purpose, however, it is far inferior to that of the box. Yet, it is allowed to be very hard and homogeneous, easy to cut, and when perfectly dry, is not liable either to crack or warp. For the coarser kinds of engraving, such as large plans or diagrams, show-bills, &c., it serves a very good purpose. When it can be obtained, in Europe, it is much used by turners and pattern-makers; also for joiners' tools; and, as it can readily be stained, it is sometimes made into various articles, dyed black, in imitation of ebony. As fuel, the wood of this tree is excellent, producing a vivid and durable flame, accompanied by an intense heat. According to Withering, the leaves afford a yellow dye, and may be employed to impart a greenish shade to blue cloths. But the most important uses of the pear-tree, are those which arise from its fruit. When ripe, it is employed at the table as a dessert, either raw, stewed, or preserved in syrup, and occasionally it is used in tarts. In most of the countries where it grows, this fruit is very generally dried in ovens, or in the sun, in which state, when stewed, it is excellent, either as a substitute for puddings and pies, or as forming part of the dessert. In the “ Nouveau Cours d'Agriculture," published in 1809, it is stated that pears, in France, are dried two ways,-one, for family use, by putting them into an oven, without being pared, after the bread is withdrawn, either on bricks, or on raised frames of tin or boards. They are put in two, three, and even four times, according to their size, and to the degree of heat contained in the oven. The only things necessary to be observed, are, to see that the oven is not so hot as to burn the pears, and that they are not left in so long as to become hard. Melting sugary pears, of a medium size, are the best for this purpose; and when properly prepared, they may be kept in bags, in a dry place, for several years. The second mode, is that used for preparing the fruit sold in boxes, at the shops; and for this purpose, rather small pears are considered the best. They must be gathered before they are quite ripe, and care taken to preserve their stems. They are then parboiled in a very little water, peeled, and placed on dishes, with the stems upwards. In this state, a kind of syrup runs from them, which must be carefully poured off, and set aside. They are next placed on raised frames, and put into an oven, after the bread has been withdrawn, or heated to a similar degree, and left there twelve hours; after which they are taken out and steeped in syrup, sweetened with sugar, to which there have been added a little cinnamon, mace, and a small quantity of the best brandy. The pears, when taken out of the syrup, are again placed in the oven, which should not be made quite so hot as it was the first time. The operations of alternately steeping and drying are repeated three times, and are finished by putting the pears, for the fourth time, into the oven, and leaving them there till they are quite dry; when, if they have been properly treated, they will be of a clear, pale-brown, with fine translucent flesh. They are then arranged in boxes, garnished with white paper, and kept in dry places, or offered for sale. They will remain good, in this state, for three years, but are considered best the first year.* Another purpose to which the pear is applied, is for making perry. It is extensively cultivated for this object in various parts of Britain, France, and Germany, where the trees are sometimes planted in rows eighteen or twenty yards apart, in order to admit a free access of light and air. Perry is made in the same manner as cider. The pears should be gathered before they begin to fall, and should be ground as soon after as possible. Should the perry not be sufficiently clear, when racked off, it may be fined in the usual manner of clarifying cider, by isinglass, in the proportion of about half an ounce to a barrel. The kinds of pears used for making this liquor in Herefordshire, are such as have an austere juice, as the " Squash,” the "Oldfield,” the "Barland," the “Huff-cap,” the "Sack,” the “Red," and the “Longland” varieties. Pears were considered by the Romans, as an antidote to the effect of eating poisonous mushrooms; and up to the present time, perry is said to be the best remedy that can be employed for the same purpose. In Britain and France, an agreeable wine is made from a mixture of crab-apples and pears, which, in the latter country is called piquette. Pears, in general, produce flatulency, and consequently are unfit for weak stomachs; but when they are quite ripe, and contain a sweet juice, they seldom prove noxious, unless eaten to excess.
* See Harris' Report on the Insects of Massachusetts, pp. 75, 76.
| Ibid. p. 235.
Pears that are to be kept for winter use, should hang as long on the trees as the state of the weather will admit. They should then be kept in heaps, in an open, dry situation, for about ten days, then wiped with a dry woollen cloth, and lastly packed up close from the air and moisture. But to keep the fruit in its greatest perfection, small earthen jars may be selected, about the size of the pear, which should be packed separately, in clean oat chaff or wheaten bran, then tied down with oiled paper or skin, and cemented tight with wax or pitch. These jars should then be packed in a cask, chest, or some other secure place, with their bottoms upwards, where they should remain until required for use.
From their picturesque forms as well as the beauty of their blossoms and fruit, several varieties of the pear-tree are appropriate objects in landscape gardening: Those particularly worthy of culture for ornament, as well as for producing fruit of first-rate excellence, are the “Beurré Diel," the “Benvie," the “Golden Knap,” the “Elcho,” and the "Swan's Egg” varieties, for conical forms;, the “Busked Lady," and "Pow Meg," for orbicular forms; and the “Beurré de Rans,” the “Glout Morceau," the Bezi de la Motte," the "Napoleon,” the “Dunmore,” the “Monarch," the “Seckle,” the “Andrews,” and the “Bartlett,” for other considerations.
THE COMMON APPLE-TREE.
LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
Engravings. Lindley, Pomologia Britannica ; Hoffy, Orchardist's Companion ; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, vi., pi. 173 el 174; and the figures helow. Specific Characters. Leaves ovate, acute, crenated, woolly on the under surface. Flowers in corymbs.
Tube of calyx woolly. Styles glabrous.—De Candolle, Prodromus.
"The fragrant stores, the wide projected heaps
indigenous state, when young, is generally more or less furnished with spines, which gradually disappear, as it advances in age; when growing wild, however, in a very fertile soil, this tree, as well as the crab, and the common hawthorn, sometimes occurs without thorns. Under favourable circumstances, it usually attains a height of thirty or forty feet, with a trunk from one foot to eighteen inches in diameter. The trunk is naturally crooked, and the branches, when young, generally take a horizontal direction; but when old, they droop or become pendulous. The diameter of the head is often greater than the height of the tree, -its growth, in this respect, being quite different from that of the pear, which is lofty and upright, while that of the apple is low and spreading. The leaves of the apple are commonly wider in proportion to their length, less obviously serrated, and somewhat more hairy and whitish underneath than those of the pear. Their vascular system too, is very different, being loose in the apple, and very close in the pear. Hence the leaves of the latter are much stouter, and more permanent than those of the former. They usually fall, in England, by the 20th of November, five weeks later at Naples, and a month earlier at New York. The blossoms of the apple are tinged with red, and are fragrant; while those of the pear are of a pure white, and scentless. They usually appear at Naples by the 20th of March, a month later in England, two months later at Perth Amboy; but not in Sweden before the 1st of June. The fruit of the apple