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pollen, inducing imperfect fertilization, and a thin set of weak and easily detached fruit.
Mr. Hillar, of Lancaster county, speaks of this, and says: "cherry trees were in full bloom for three weeks, when, under favorable circumstances, a cherry blossom will open and perform its functions in one week.”
The ravages of insects--curculio—and codlin moth, are not only more apparent and disasterous, but more vigorous from the increased numbers, growing out of the previous season's abundant feeding.
Of course, failures from unfavorable seasons are beyond our control; but certainly something can be done to secure greater uniformity of bearing, by good manuring and care, and extra fertilization during the bearing year, that the trees may be ready, with vigorous growth, and well developed buds, for another good crop. This, with the careful selection of grafts, from off year bearing trees, and watchfulness during early fruiting to prevent over bearing, might do something towards securing more uniform crops.
More care given to the destruction of insects would also aid in this di. rection, as it is well known we suffer more from them during years of scarcity of fruit.
Alkaline and potaslı washes for the trunks and larger limbs will destroy many eggs, and infesting lichens, and fungi, and be washed down to fertil. ize the roots.
Mr. Sprout, of Lycoming county, recommends a mixture of ashes, salt, and copperas, in solution, as a suitable dressing for the trunks and roots of apple trees. Various devices for catching moths and insects, though very partial, are, no doubt, aids, as is the protection of insectiverous birds. Too much stress can hardly be laid upon this point. As fruit growers, we soon learn to love beautiful trees and flowers, and with them the ever cheerful and sweet songster that flutters through their boughs.
I was somewhat surprised, though, to hear from one correspondent a complaint, that the pheasants had, during the past winter, eaten the apple buds from orchards contiguous to timber lands. It sounded strangely, because the pheasant is so rare a bird with us, so rare, indeed, that we would like to see more of them.
Perhaps the winter plowing of orchards might aid in the destruction of worms and larva by unexpected exposure to the winter freezings. It is considered effective with some of our farm crops, and migbt be so in our orchards. I have plowed a portion of ours the present winter, and in due time will report upon it.
I hope this society will urge fruit growers, and farmers generally to adopt every reasonable and available expedient likely to make their trees more healthful and fruitful, believing that the more an intelligent grower does for his trees, the better he will understand their needs, and the greater will be his rewards. I have advocated the cultivation of orchards partially with this purpose in view, if induced to take this much trouble with his trees, he will soon learn to take more, and thus on till he is a skilled orchardist; but if encouraged, directly or indirectly, to neglect his trees, he retrogrades.
But I suppose you have been preaching this necessity for the whole eighteen years of your existence; yet, as a general thing, no portion of the farmers domain or no crop raised receives such indifferent and vacillatory treatment. But a judiciously managed orcbard will pay.
Mr. Darlington, of Bucks county, states that the owner of a small farm in his county sold his apple crop this year, at home, for $1,200, and it was said the dealer who bought them, doubled his money on them. Other neighboring farmers had done nearly as well.
Experience is confirming fruit growers for market, in the judgment that a very few varieties, with well established reputations, is what they should plant for profit; particularly is this the case if their location is so distant from market that their crop has to be wholesaled to marketmen or dealers. And, perhaps, the standard market apple of eastern Pennsylvania, is the Smith's cider. For a further variety, the Red Astracan, Smoke house, Hayes, Red Romanite, Wine sap, and Newton pippin. For more northern or Western counties, the Maiden's Blush, Gravenstein, York Imperial, Northern Spy, and Baldwin.
Pear culture is making slow progress. Amateurs planted too many varities, and the failure of the gr-at majority, from various causes, brought discouragement. When we had scarcely learned what to plant, that terrible scourge, the blight, added still more serious discouragement.
At best, the culture of the pear, is more difficult. They are less adaptable to all kinds of soil and situation than the apple. Are more subject to disease, and require more careful treatment, a better manuring. Orchardists will have to better understand the manurial wants of a soil, as applicable to trees as well as farm crops, before they can grow trees and fruit entirely successfully.
Experience has entirely proven, that it does not do to affirm, that, because a wheat crop requires so many pounds of potash and so many of phosphoric acid and nitrogen that, therefore, we must apply these things in that proportion to secure a good crop. Some of these may already be in the lanıl in sufficient quantities, and this can only be ascertained by actual experiment, and so it is with our fruit trees Different soils and different trees will require different fertilizing applications. It is our duty to ascertain these—every individual for himself. I think it is an axiom, that we cannot well get away from, that the more vigorous and healthy we can have our trees, the better they can withstand the attacks of disease of insects and of unfavorable climatic influences.
It is true a healthy tree may be attacked and injured by some contagious or prevalent disease, &c., just as a hearty man may be so attacked; but the peril will be the better withstood in the one case as in the other. It may not do to say that a rampant growing tree is necessarily healthy, or in its best condition ; just as a fat man may not be healthy; but give a growing tree convenient access to an abundance of suitable food, and nature. will see to it that it is healthy.
Our experiments on the State farm indicate that mineral fertilizers are valuable, both for cereals and fruit trees. The latter showing from such dressings an improvingly healthy and good bearing condition, though not entirely blight proof. This blight, in its various forms, is quite likely the immediate result of fungus growth of some kind, but the predisposing cau se comes before that, probably from a weakened constitution from various or unknown causes.
I had hoped the microscopist of the State Board of Agriculture, Doctor Leffmann, would have thrown some light on this blight subject, and to this end sent him several specimens of blighted portions of trees, showing the different forms in which it appears; but he failed to make any
We have tried the various washes suggested by members of this Society, such as white-wash and sulphur, linseed oil and sulphur, alkaline washes, &c. They were all, more or less beneficial, but none of them specially so.
No new varieties of pears have been reported as specially commen lable.
The older sorts, such as Doyenne d'Ete, d'Anjou, Buffum, Bartlett, Seckel, Lawrence, &c., are still most popular and suitable for general planting.
Cherries, Especially Early Richmond, or other sour or pie cherry, were spoken of as doing well and being a profitable crop. The finer sweet cherries rotted, as is their custom, except when the weather is particularly favorable, an occasional fine crop of Bigarreau are secured, but are too difficult to market to be profitable. Even the Early Richmond, this season, ripened too hastily with us.
Are growing in favor in different sections. In portions of Chester county quite large orchards are being planted, and those fruiting have paid an encouraging profit. The yellows are not so prevalent, and the borer better understood. Fruit from the better varieties of late kinds, when the trees have been well handled, sells at wonderful prices.
Crawford's Late, Old Mixon, Stump the World, and Mountain Rose, were specially mentioned.
Are still spoken of discouragingly, on account of the curculio. The Wild Goose is a great grower, and the fruit might withstand the curculio, if the tree would only bear.
Grapes. The reports are quite conflicting about grapes. From some sections we hear reports of good crops, but, as a general thing, has not been profitable. They too frequently ripen imperfectly, and are predisposed to rot and crack. This was noted as particularly the case with the Christine.
Old vineyards and old vines were frequently subject to leaf blight, or premature leaf dropping. It is suggested that, as a well cared for vineyard soon comes into bearing, it might be well to renew the vines more frequently, or plant on other ground. The Concord, Christine, Clinton, Hartford, and Ives, and among the newer ones, the Martha and Lady, were spoken of.
Berries. The reports on berries were also unfavorable, the yields having been scriously affected by unfavorable weather. Several correspondents spoke of the difficulty of marketing many berries from many sections of the S:ate.
I will close this too lengthy report by giving a synopsis of the report of the secretary of the State Board of Agriculture, who gives the average per centage of the yields of fruit in this State, as reported by his correspondents :
Apples, twenty-nine; peaches, thirty-eight; pears, sixty-two; cherries, sixty-six; grapes, eighty ; berries, seventy-two. Respectfully submitted for the committee.
John I. CARTER,
Chairman. The report was accepted without discussion, and ordered to be printed. Next in order was the