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the ligature may be removed. Should the grafts have much lateral motion, caused by the wind, they should be secured to a stake or a frame.
In grafting, as well as in transplanting trees, particularly those which are liable to be affected by the change of situation, as the magnolias, walnuts, &c., they should always be planted or inserted, in the same position, with reference to the sun as that in which they grew previous to their removal.
When the grasts have grown about two feet in height, the plants should be removed, or planted out in land similarly prepared as in the nursery beds, in rows four feet apart, with an equal distance between each, where they are to remain until finally removed. Before the plants are drawn from their graftingsites, no side-shoots should be cut off, except those below the graft. On their removal to open rows, any overgrown branch may be shortened, and two or three of the lowermost cut off close to the stem. After this, the stronger side-shoots only should be moderately shortened, in order to encourage the upward growth until a good head is formed, about six or seven feet above the ground. The side-shoots may then be removed close to the stem, in two successive years, while the head is left to its unrestricted growth. It is a very common, and at the same time, a very bad practice, to cut off all the side-shoots early, leaving only two or three twigs at the top, by which means the plant is very much checked in its growth, and instead of producing a firm and tapering stem, it becomes almost cylindrical, and tortuous, instead of upright. Those who treat plants in this way, are undoubtedly ignorant of the true nature of their growth, and the important office of their leaves; and, therefore, in attempting to assist nature in promoting the growth of the head, most injuriously interfere with her operations. If such persons had equal facility of witnessing the growth of the roots, they would no doubt think it their duty to cut part of them away, with a view of promoting the growth of the stem; at least, such a proceeding would be no less absurd. Every leaf is a feeder of the plant, as well as every rootlet; and no interference with the progress of the tree should be allowed, except for the purpose of preventing any side-branch becoming a rival to the head. however, the tree has attained the required height of stem, and the head has pushed forward strong shoots above that height, the whole of those on the stem may be finally cut away, as before directed, the stem having by this time gained sufficient substance and strength, to preserve its erect position, and to support the head. *
The subject of grafting necessarily involves that of the selection of the best varieties, whether they are new, or in the vigour of their bearing, or are intended for the cider-mill, the table, or the kitchen; but it would be quite incompatible with the speciality of this treatise to notice, even in a tabular form, one half of the apples recommended in nurserymen's catalogues; and there are many other points connected with the management of orchards, which, for the same reason, must necessarily be omitted; but there is one particular connected with this subject, which we here beg leave to introduce.
A theory was advanced many years ago in Europe, and has lately been revived in that country, and is gaining ground in America, that the "chance of life in a scion is affected by the chance of life in the original seedling which began the species ;" that is, when the natural period for the decline of the parent tree has arrived, the scions taken from it will also be found in a declining state, though growing upon stocks in other respects vigorous. The advocates of this theory contend, that each particular variety of apple has its period of vigour and decline, and its duration cannot be protracted by grafting beyond a certain limit; and what they conceive to be very remarkable, is, that within that natural limit, the grafts
* See Journ. Roy. Agr. Soc. of England, vol. iv., p. 384.
partake both of the vigour and decrepitude of the parent tree or variety. Although the period of duration is not known with any precision, it is thought to be longer in some varieties than in others. It is generally supposed, however, that it never much exceeds two hundred years. It seems that this opinion has chiefly arisen from the fact, that many kinds of the most celebrated European varieties have long since disappeared from their catalogues, and can now no longer be found; while many others, which were much esteemed in their “palmy days” of bearing, are fast approaching to extinction, and will soon no longer exist. Although the above hypothesis may seem plausible enough in itself, we cannot but remark, that the want of durability of the varieties in question, does not apply to every set of scions; for many sorts of apple, as well as several other kinds of fruit, appear to have been readily propagated by means of successive scions, from the times of our forefathers. For instance, the Newtown pippin, the parent stock of which has been dead for forty years, has been successfully cultivated for at least one hundred years from before that period, and is still to be met with in the highest perfection in the markets, both at home and abroad. Furthermore, experience has shown, that many of the scions of deteriorated varieties, have flourished for a time after grafting, and afterwards, have appeared to die, not from old age, but from disease. Thus Sharrock, who wrote in 1672, inquired "whether the canker in pippins arose not from incongruous grafting;" and Miller and Knight, of more recent times, each complained that pippins became cankered from a similar cause. Nevertheless, we do not wish to be understood, that the age of a tree is of little moment in the selection of scions; for, when a tree is evidently on the decline, an experienced nurseryman would not cull scions from it by choice, lest they should prove sickly and diseased; neither would he take them from a young tree, before it had arrived at its proper period of bearing. For every cutting taken from the apple, and probably from many other trees, will be affected by the state of the parent stock. If too young to produce fruit
, it will grow with vigour, but will not blossom before it has passed through its successive periods of ripening wood; and if too old, it will immediately bring forth fruit, but will never make a healthy tree. It
may further be stated, that stocks often so much influence the scions engrafted upon them, by habit, if from no other cause, that their fruit is essentially different from that borne on the parent tree; and both stocks and scions, in being transferred to different soils or situations, often improve or deteriorate in the character of their fruit, sometimes becoming more healthful, and at others more sickly and diseased. That most ingenious and thoroughly practical people, the Chinese, have long since been familiar with the practice of grasting scion upon scion, one above another, several deep; but in order to secure the agreement between the stocks and scions, they engraft each stock and each scion from its own respective branches.
The propagation of the apple by budding or inoculation is also practised to a considerable extent, but it is thought by many to possess fewer advantages than by grafting. In this part of vegetable economy, it may be proper to remark, that every fruit-tree must have a certain age before it will produce fruit. For example, the peach will bear the third or fourth year from the stone; but an appletree from the seed, must be twelve or fifteen years old, to produce fruit in perfection. And it is remarkable, that scions or shoots from the top branches of a bearing tree are essentially of the same age as the tree itself, and those growing from the roots or trunk near the earth, are no older in point of maturity, than the tree was when of the height of the parts from which they spring. For a detailed description of the process of budding or inoculation, which will apply equally well to most fruit-bearing trees, the reader is referred to our articles on the orange and the peach, under the head of "Propagation," &c.
The apple, like the pear, may be grafted or inoculated on the common thorn;
but it does not form so desirable a tree. When intended to be grown as a dwarf, it may be inserted on stocks of the Siberian crab, the “Wise Apple,” (court pendu plat, of the French,) or on paradise stocks. It may also be propagated by inarching or grafting by approach; that is, by uniting a scion to a stock standing near by, without being separated from its parent tree.
Preparatory to the planting of an orchard, it is desirable to determine the quality of the fruit of seedlings at as early an age as possible, and to know whether they are to be cut off at the ground and grafted, or to be preserved entire. In order to do this, the following devices have long been practised, and have usually been attended with success. Any time within the month of May or June, select a horizontal branch of the tree designed to be rendered fruitful, and remove from the part near its junction with the trunk, a ring of bark from one fourth to one half of an inch in breadth, taking precaution, at the same time, to rub off
, within the space operated upon, every part of the bark, quite to the sap-wood, in order to obstruct the descending juices in the succeeding autumn. Another expedient employed for the same purpose, is, to make two turns of a copper wire closely round the bark, with a repetition of the operation at some distance below, and leave it to be incorporated by the growth of the tree. Should either of these devices prove insufficient, or should the healing of the wounded parts follow too quickly, the operations may be repeated in the same, or in the following season. The total removal of a ring of bark produces the desired effect, sooner, by a whole year, than a mere stricture upon it, although the pressure from the wire, of itself, finally kills the bark underneath. Alkaline, or ammoniacal preparations have also been applied to young trees, as well as to old ones, for the purpose of stimulating their growth, and accelerating their fruitfulness, such as white-washing their trunks and branches, rubbing them with soap-suds, and spreading round their roots lime, gypsum, charcoal, ashes, &c.; and," human urine,” says Columella, " which you have let grow old for six months, is well fitted for the shoots of young trees. If you apply it to vines, or to young apple-trees, there is nothing that contributes more to make them bear an abundance of fruit; nor does this only produce a greater increase, but it also improves both the taste and the flavour of the wine, and of the apples.
Apple-trees are generally fit for planting out in the orchard at about the age of seven years, at which time, if they have been properly treated in the nursery, they will be about an inch and a half in diameter at the middle of the stem. The particular age, however, at which they should be removed to their final destination, after they have formed a good head, is not very important, provided they do not much exceed the above-named size; and the objection to a larger size, is the difficulty of taking them up with a due proportion of roots, so as to prevent them from receiving too great a check. If trees are to be purchased from a nursery, either as seedlings, or ready grafted, and the sorts cannot be relied upon, they should be inspected in the previous summer while in leaf; and those selected which give the greatest promise of making good and healthy trees, and the most likely to be good bearers. They should have full and flourishing heads, and broad, roundish leaves, as such generally bear the largest fruit, and the most abundant crops. In winter, such trees will present a larger and fuller bud than those the leaves of which are small and pointed; but though these are favourable indications of the size of the fruit, and the productiveness of the tree, they are by no means so with regard to other qualities; as the trees may be early or late bearers, and the fruit red, yellow, or green; and whether they will produce either good cider-apples, or those better adapted to the table, can only be known when they produce their first fruit. If they then prove not such as are desired, or there be too great a proportion of one sort, grafting or budding in the head should be had
This will, it is true, protract the time of bearing a year or two;
but it is much better to submit to two or even three years' delay, than for a hundred years to have bad fruit. The most proper time for planting out, is soon after the trees have shed their leaves. They should be taken up with their lateral roots at least two feet in length, and planted as soon as possible. In planting orchards, the ground, for the space of at least six feet in diameter, should be trenched two spades deep, the lowermost of which should be cast away, and the other vell broken with a spade or otherwise, and the place of the former supplied with turf, or a compost of stable-dung, a small portion of leaf-mould or peat, well mixed with newly-slaked lime, ashes, soda, or almost any other alkaline substance. It is of some importance that the tree, when planted, should stand in the same position with regard to the sun, as that in which it grew in the nursery; and, in order to insure this, the south or north side of each tree should be marked before it is removed, and this might be done at the time of selection. Care should be taken to surround the roots with the finest part of the mould, and to plant the trees at precisely the same depth as that at which they before grew. The ragged or lacerated ends of the roots should be taken off with the knife; and the hole, after being duly prepared as above, opened wide enough to admit the longest of them. If the ground at the time of planting be dry, and water can be conveniently procured, two or three bucketsful, applied to each of the trees, will be of essential service in securing its growth. The tree, being temporarily fixed in its proper position by a single stake, the hole should be nearly filled with mould, and the water poured upon it. After a few hours, the remaining mould may be added, and well trodden down. If, in the ensuing spring, a thick dressing of a well-mixed compost of lime and earth be laid over the space that has been opened round each tree, and afterwards dug in, it will be highly beneficial to it; and digging or forking round the trees should be repeated for three or four years in succession. After this period, it is probable that the leaves falling from the trees, will be nearly or quite adequate to the supply of all the organic or gaseous substances required for the perfection of their fruit; therefore, it is in the mechanical state, and to the inorganic constitution of the soil that we are to look for those conditions which are either favourable or unfavourable to the growth and productiveness of such trees. It is not enough that the soil be neither 100 open nor too retentive for the supply of a due degree of moisture; it must also contain those inorganic or mineral substances which the tree and its fruit require. When the defects are known, the remedies are obvious. By draining and trenching only, a stiff soil may probably be rendered favourable to the production of fruit; and, if this operation fail to produce the desired effect, it is evident that mineral manures are wanting, which may be supplied by heavy dressings of lime, or peat ashes, or both. If the soil be too porous, a heavy dressing of marl is the best remedy; and when this cannot be procured, clay, with lime, and peat or other ashes, will supply its place.
When young trees have been carefully planted, and well fenced, they will require but little attention, except that of keeping up the fences, and to see that they are not shaken by the wind. The mode of fencing must be suited to the kind of stock kept in the orchard. If sheep only are depastured, each tree may be closely surrounded by strong thorns stuck in the ground, enclosed and sustained by thick stakes, firmly driven, and reaching nearly to the forks. These stakes should be strongly bound together by bands or withes; and, as a further precaution against damage from the gnawing of sheep, at any exposed place, the tree should be washed or smeared with a mixture of creamy lime and green cow-dung, which should be renewed, from time to time, as occasion may require. If it be indispensable to stock the orchard occasionally with large cattle, each tree must be fenced by two or three strong rough posts, firmly fixed in the ground, and united by strong battens or short rails, nailed to each. In some situations, where suitable stones abound, the trees are sometimes surrounded by circular walls. *
In answer to the question often asked, “Whether orchards ought to be ploughed ?" we would reply, that it is an old and prevalent opinion, that fruittrees of every kind are improved and rendered better, by having the ground stirred round them, in order to let in the dews and air to their roots. And with this view, orchards have often been tilled for potatoes, grain, and other crops, to which there are two striking objections; first
, they require the light of the sun, and will not well flourish under the shade of trees; and second, that being exhausting crops, they impoverish the soil, which is so far injurious to the apples, both in quantity and quality. But the Jerusalem artichoke, (Helianthus tuberosus,) which is extensively cultivated on the banks of the Rhine, rather prefers the shade, and would, therefore, thrive well under the trees; and, so far from exhausting the land, will, it is said, bear abundantly for ten or more years in succession, without manure, even upon poor soils. It has been further stated, that it does not require much tilling after it has once been planted; for, it is only necessary to draw the tops out of the ground, when ripe, the remaining roots being sufficient to produce the next year's crop, without fresh setting, and thus they continue from year to year until they die of old age. All these properties seem to render this plant suitable for orchards; the pulling it up will open the ground, while the avoidance of digging, after once set, will spare the roots of the trees many a wound. It also possesses the rare property of absorbing nitrogen largely from the atmosphere, which is probably the reason of its thriving so well without manure, and consequently improves the condition of the soil. It is planted in drills similar to potatoes, and like them, its roots are employed for food for man and animals. It has been observed that orchards, when ploughed, often rapidly advance to a certain point, and then cease to flourish; but this is believed to be caused by planting the trees too near each other, and by ploughing between them, hurries their roots towards each other until their interference checks their future growth. The chief objection to ploughing an orchard is, that, in a hilly country, having a soil easily carried off by water, such a soil, if kept bare and loose, will, in time, become sensibly diminished, where horizontal furrows are insufficient to remedy the evil. But this circumstance ought to forbid the use of the plough, not only in an orchard, but for any object whatever, in such a situation. In ploughing an orchard, care must also be observed not to go too deep amongst the roots, which would greatly damage the trees by the wounds they would receive.
The distance at which trees should be planted in an orchard must be from forty to sixty feet apart, according to the richness of the soil; for it should be always remembered that the roots extend far beyond the branches; or another mode may be adopted that will answer for the present generation and for posterity. This may be effected by planting what may be called principal trees, at the distances which their full growth will require, and placing between them, either as standards, or as dwarfs, supernumerary trees, to remain until the principal ones shall require them to be removed. The supernumeraries, in this case, will have a peculiar value; since, if they be dwarfs, they will immediately come into bearing, and will ripen their fruit early in the season, which can be gathered with great facility; and if it falls to the ground, will often escape from being bruised. Dwarfs, too, may easily be pruned, and very conveniently thinned of their superfluous fruit; or, they may be readily cleansed from every offending thing, or supplied with nutritious washes. On the other hand, if the supernumeraries be seedlings or grafts, they will be ready for the supply of such vacancies as will
* See Journ. Roy. Agr. Soc. of England, pp. 390, et seq.