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(on being unpacked,) in such lots as to best suit the convenience of the planter. Each tree should be carefully set about the same depth it grew in the nursery, and with the hands or a smooth, round stick, the roots combed out in their natural position as the hole is filled, using the soil previously spoken of to cover and work in among them, and the clay to il'l up the balance, making a small bill six or eight inches high around each tree, and tramp it tightly to secure from wind and storm.
The ground between the rows may be cultivated in any low growing crop, the first eight or ten years, using any old, well decomposed manure that will best promote the growth under cultivation. Care should be taken to keep the trees straight, and occasionally “head back," to keep them in good shape, and not to high, the branches not more than four or five feet from the ground, limbs thinned out, as the tree advances, with a common pruning knife, so that by the time they begin to bear you have a good, round, even balanced head, and no superfluous limbs to mar the beauty or productiveness of the tree. Care should also be taken to remove all suckers (the great bane to fruitfulness,) at least once a year, and also to preserve all small branches and spurs that grow on and near the butt. These I concede have an important work to perform, in shading the trunk and limbs, and also have a tendency to increase their thickness, thereby making them stronger, and much less likely to break under the great weight they are sometimes required to carry. A judicious thinning of the outer branches will also assist in setting and maturing fruit along the body of limbs from the spurs above referred to.
The borer, the great pest of the orchardist, must be closely watched, at least twice a year for the few first years. I know of no better remedy, nor more reliable way of exterminating the little brown-headed grub, than to use a good stiff bladed knife, a piece of steel wire, a trowel to remove the earth from the butt of the trees, and a pair of sharp eyes to determine their whereabouts, a few vertical cuts, a probe or two with the wire, and the work is effectually done. Hill up the earth and proceed to the next, and on to the last tree in the orchard. By this means you will have performed the work in il much better manner, and more successfully, than all the patent eradicators extant.
An annual wash of fresh slacked lime, thickened with good dry woodashes to a proper consistency to apply with a brush, will materially assist the trees in growth, and preserve the bark in good healthy condition, also kill many insects and their larva, that secret themselves under the bark and other crevices about the body of the tree.
The codling moth will also claim a share of your attention, the larva being deposited soon after the fruit is formed, penetrates the skin, and is soon embedded in the apple, living upon is juices until fully developed, when the fruit, being knotty and imperfect, falls, and it pass into the ground, to soon reappear a perfect moth, to commit other depredations. The plans reconimended by most successful orchardists for catching them, are, I presume, all good in their way, but want a little more general and vigorous application.
The mode adopted by some, of plowing orchards that are full grown and seeded to grass for a number of years, is, in my judgment, a grave error. The small rootlets that live and penetrate the soil near the surface, and take their nourishment partly from the air, must of necessity be destroyed by the plow, hence it may take several years to reëstablish what a little forethought might have avoided. With the tops of the trees low, and an occasional harrowing with a sharp spike-harrow, the sod will never become too much bound to injure the vitality or productiveness of the trees. An occasional top dressing of well decomposed manure, and say one bushel of wood ashes per tree, together with the grass and other vegetable matter left to decay upon the surface, will preserve the trees in a good state of fruitfulness to a ripe old age.
Thanking you for your kind attention and courtesy, I trust any remarks of mine will not deter others from using their best judgment to make apple culture a success in eastern Pennsylvania.
Mr. MEENAN, referring to Mr. Engle's essay, thought this one of the most important questions we have before the Society, and one in which we should evince a deep interest. We have now a line of ocean steamers from Philadelphia to Europe, and although large shipments of apples are being made, they are chiefly New York fruit. When in England, found there a great demand for American apples. We must learn, however, how to pack well, and what varieties to ship. Pressure will not injure the fruit, unless the air comes in contact with the bruise. We must select those varieties which are solid, good shippers, and such as are not liable to roi. Found a good demand for Esopus Spitzenburg, Northern Spy, and Newtown Pippin, though the latter is not so good nor in such demand as formerly. Good apples, well packed, rather sweet and aromatic in flavor, will always find a ready market, at paying prices.
In regard to the planting and cultivation of orcharis, would say that if some attention be paid to after-culture and treatment, it is not necessary to be so particular at first. Gave the following as his own experience:
Planted a variety orchard of dwarf and standard apple and pear trees, also peaches and cherries, all receiving the same treatment, and doing equally well. So long as stagnant water will not remain almost any soil will answer. Prepared the ground by plowing down sod, and planting potatoes. After digging the potatoes, it was sown in rye, and trees planted in rye stubble.
Holes were made, not over eighteen to twenty inches wide, and trees of different ages and sizes planted, without any spreading of roots or special care otherwise. Two common laborers did the work, and not very carefully at that. The following spring a little manure was placed around each tree, three or four feet from the stem. The next season a crop of grass was cut, and more fertilizer applied a little further from the base of the trees. Think there are no finer, healthier trees in the State. Have grown three to five feet, and some even six feet the past year, dwarf as well as standard. Had some trouble two years ago with scale louse, but a washing with linseed oil destroyed it entirely. For the borer follows the trees in June, and destroys the eggs. Thinks this plan of preparing and cultivating orchards much cheaper than the usual methods, and equally satisfactory in its results.
Mr. SPROUT was happy to hear Mr. Meehan's views, and, in the main, agrees with him. Have tried different methods, but have lost many trees by blight. There is one principle we cannot gainsay; that is, that nature is a safe guide, and Mr. Meehan, as nearly as possible, follows it. By providing a mulch, he applies the best kind of fertilizer for the tree.
In our valley, the past year, fruit was a failure, though Sullivan county was favored with a crop.
Saw wagon loads of apples from there, on their way to Williamsport. They were generally in wagon loads or open barrels, and in bad condition for keeping. Three years ago, I visited western New York, and saw how they handle apples there. They always have new barrels for their fruit, and of uniform size, one hundred quarts being a legal barrel. Was there about the 6th to 8th of October, and they had just commenced picking Baldwin and Greening, and some complained that they were then too green. On coming home, a few days later, found the same varieties, in this vicinity, nearly all on the ground.
Mr. BALDERSTOn thought nature not always a correct guide. Crab apples are a natural fruit, and we want to improve on them. We must improve on nature if we want good apples.
Mr. Cooper inquired if nature did not also produce the Seckel pear.
Mr. Ellis gave his experience with some varieties of apples. Can't raise Bellflowers on his farm, worth a cent, but the clay soil in the vicinity of Muncy was the soil of all soils for that variety. Would like to know what two or three varieties of winter apples could be named, as suitable for this locality. Rambo is about one in six a No. 1 apple. Rest are good only for cider. Baldwin succeeds tolerably in this county, but should be planted on the ridges. Northern Spy will not keep. King of Tompkins County a failure. Planted liberally of this sort, but they rot on the trees. Wagoner is one of the best keepers, being good until February. Thus far we have but few varieties that can be relied upon.
Mr. SPROUT is not opposed to cultivating orchards when young. In the vicinity of Lockport, New York, and Lake Ontario, the custom is to cultivate with hoed crops (not grain) until eight or nine years old, then turn to grass, to bring trees into bearing.
Mr. MEEHAN wished to add a word of caution, in regard to the use of linseed oil on trees. It should be pure, and not adulterated with petroleum, which will kill trees.
Mr. MILLER—Much interested in this discussion. Thinks Mr. Ellis' experience of much value. He tells what varieties succeed here, or rather what do not succeed. Mr. Meehan's plan of non-cultivation is really the best kind of cultivation. In regard to following nature as our guide, we cannot carry out that principle, as nature does not plant trees twenty-five to thirty feet apart.
Mr. Lint has noticed some peculiarity in the growth of the Wagoner tree, Finds the top branches have a tendency to die, and new branches start out from below. We should report our failures as well as successes.
Mr. Ellis. It bears as profusely as the Damson plum. Fruit hangs, as it were, in ropes.
Mr. Lint. It is a good keeper, lasting until March, and in flavor, superior to any other.
Mr. BALDERSTON. Apples ripen-two weeks earlier in Cecil county, Maryland, than bere. Find fruit better colored as we go south. Here, in Pennsylvania, we find fruit medium, both in flavor and color. Saw Seckel pears at Richmond, exhibited by Mr. Leighton, that were equal to Duchess in size.
Mr. ENGLE. Mr. Downing gives Bellflower as a New Jersey apple, where it is a standard sort, and gives entire satisfaction. Planted some trees thirty years ago, that have borne but little fruit. Concluded that it wanted lighter soil, where it would make less wood growth.
Mr. Thomas. The Seckel pears exhibited at Baltimore, and referred to by Mr. Balderston, were of immense size; in fact, so large as to suggest doubts of their genuineness. Those who tasted them, reported them inferior in quality to smaller specimens.
Mr. ENGLE. It is a conceded fact that, in most fruits, we lose in quality what we gain in size. The same is true of the sugar beet, and it is, therefore, not advisable to grow for size alone.
Mr. P. J. Berckmans, of Augusta, Georgia, having contributed a very interesting and valuable paper on the “ New Peaches," it was next read by the Secretary :
Mr. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE PENNSYLVANIA FRUIT GROWERS' SOCIETY: The subject which you have requested me to present to you, whether considered in its commercial or simply pomological, aspect, is, in either csse, one of vast importance, and a gratifying evidence of the progress of American fruit growing. I am aware, that what I can say will not be preëminently new to any of you; but, residing in a section of this continent, which is considered as its best peach-growing belt, the results of our experiments with the newly-introduced varieties, may, perhaps, add additional information to that which you already possess.
ALEXANDER — The first production in our State was in 1876, and, al. though limited to two or three localities, gave promise of valuable results. In 1877, this variety was extensively fruited ; in many instances, in sufficient quantity to send it to market.
For middle Georgia, the first fully matured specimens were gathered on May 25, and the last on June 7. The bulk of the crop was in shipping order by the 28th of May. Thus the whole crop could be gathered in two or three pickings, or within a period of ten days.
As regards its merits, I would name the following points :
Productiveness — Remarkable. Trees one year old, planted in February, 1876, produced as high as one hundred and forty-five peaches in May, 1877.
Carrying capacity. So far as ascertained, from having sent several packages, hy mail, upwards of one thousand miles, it stands the test very well- not a single specimen being damaged in transit.
A MSDEN.—Two years fruiting bave not enabled me to discover any difference between this variety and Alexander. Rows of trees of each vatiety, both from the original sources, and planted side by side, produced abundantly. No difference is perceptible in growth, habit of tree, foliage, flowers, glands, or in the fruit, with the only exception that the size of Amsden average a little better than that of Alexander. The descriptive remarks given for the latter are applicable to this variety.
Brigg's MAY.–From a limited number of fruit produced in 1877, little difference in size, flavor, texture, and quality of the fruit could be discovered, when compared with Alexander and Ämsden. The flesh is of the same pecnliar greenish-white tint; texture also similar; sprightly vinous, and adhering much to the stone. Its maturity was also similar_last of May to June 2.
The only perceptible difference from t'e foregoing is in the foliage, the leaves being serrated.
It is evident that these three varieties have a common parentage, and are doubtless seedlings of Hale's early, as they possess many characteristics peculiar to that variety. These are as follows:
Lateness in blooming, size and color of the flower, peculiar texture and flavor of the fruit, and the flesh being partially adhered to the stone. These varieties are likely to prove only the beginning of an endless number of seedlings, which will nearly all be almos: identical in quality and maturity. The lateness of the blooming period of the Hale's early will tend to this identical re-production, as there are few chances for cross-fertilization from the average other varieties, whose period of blooming is nearly, if not quite, passed when the Hales begin to expand.
Already are some new seedlings of Hales, originated in Mississippi, proving this supposition to be not hazarded.
EARLY BEATRICE-Still a desirable variety to fill the gap between the maturity of Alexander and Hales, but its small size will doubtless eventually cause it to be discarded. It is remarkably prolific, and therefore requires thinning. The best results have been obtained by planting in rich soil and thinning the fruit freely. It has the merit of ripening evenly and within a period of six to eight days, a very desirable feature in early varieties, as the whole crop can be marketed in two or three gatherings.
EARLY LOUISE-Has been uncommonly fine for the past season, and of excellent quality and appearance. Skin very thin and easily damaged, which renders this variety unsuited for carrying to long distances. Ripens regularly three to five days after Beatrice.
RIVERS' EARLY-Has steadily increased in favor for the past five years, and in point of size and quality equals the best peach of any season. The flesh adheres less to the stone than either the Beatrice and Louise, is more vinous, and of better quality. The skin is even more delicate than that of Louise, and the peach utterly unfit for market. As a fruit for home consumption, it is of surpassing excellence.
These six varieties have advanced the peach season fully two weeks since the advent of Hale's early. Still for market purposes the first four on the list are alone to be depended upon.
FLEITAS ST. JOHN or LOUISIANA MAY BEAUTY.—This, although comparatively an old variety, is still but little knowi, and may thus take place in this list. It is the earliest yellow-fleshed peach known in cultivation, and ripens with the Early Tillotson, or immediately after Beatrice is out of season. It has steadily gained in the appreciation of orchardists. Size large to very large, eight to ten inches in circumference. Skin deep orange, covered with dark brown crimson, and a deeper colored cheek. Flesh yellow, juicy, melting, sub-acid, vinous. Quality very good, carries well, and is very productive.
GENERAL TAYLOR—An excellent showy cling.stone, ripening with Early Tillotson, and exceedingly profitable in the southern markets, where clingstones always command a good price. This being the best very early variety of that class yet introduced. Size large, skin red, with crimson cheek. Flesh white, tinged red, very juicy, vinous, and of high flavor.
TUSKENA.—Another very early cling-stone, ripening with above, or a few days later. Flesh yellow to the stone. Skin yellow, nearly covered with deep orange. Quality very good, vinous, and sub-acid.
THURBER—A seedling of Chinese cling, equal in size and fine appearance, but free-stone. Flesh melting, vinous, and high flavored, ripens in middle Georgia by middle of July. Tree an upright grower, differing in this from most of the offsprings of this strain, whose growth is straggling and irregular. In Mississippi this peach is becoming much esteemed, and is classed as superior in flavor to the Chinese cling. Its skin is delicate, still its carrying capacity is equal to many of the leading market varieties of its season.
In this connection I would mention that within a few years past, the original Chinese cling-stone has given many seedlings of great value for our climate, and we have now a regular succession of varieties of this excellent type to ripen from first week in July until after the middle of August. The sucession is as follows, and in order of maturity:
General Lee, Stonewall, St. Mary, St. Catharine, Thurber, Elodie, Spotswood, Sylphide, Seedling of Thurber, (this is a yellow fleshed cling, of ex