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ing with the almond in the more elevated regions of the northern line of Southern States, also in Maryland, Delaware and southern New Jersey, near the seacoast, or other large bodies of water, which, as is well known, have considerable influence in retarding the early blooming of fruit trees, as well as warding off late spring and early autumn frosts.
It is scarcely reasonable to suppose that a region of country as extensive as that of one-half of the Middle and all of the Southern States, with a range of climate admitting of the successful cultivation of such hardy fruits as the apple and pear, and from these down to the pineapple and cocoanut, should not yield a locality or localities admirably adapted to the cultivation of the half-hardy almond tree. It is no doubt true that there are extensive regions in the South where late spring frosts are exceedingly troublesome, and sometimes disastrously so, to fruit growers; but even these have their limits, as shown in the vast quantity and variety of fruits annually produced in the Southern States. But great local variations in climate are natural to all countries in the temperate zone, and we frequently find the most favorable and the unfavorable for fruit culture within a few miles of each other.
If there are not thousands and tens of thousands of acres of land located in favorable positions between Virginia and Florida, adapted to produce the commercial almond in some of its varieties, then we must confess that the study of climatology is of little use to the pomologist. Furthermore, all the varieties of the socalled hard-shelled almonds which thrive in our northern States are not worthless, neither are the kernels of all of them “bitter,” and even if they were, they would still be worth cultivating, else we would not import such vast quantities from Morocco to supply the demand.
If none of the thin-shelled varieties heretofore tried in the South are successful, it is time that either our experiment stations or individual horticulturists made some attempt to produce those that aie adapted to that region of country. But until we have some more definite information than heretofore disseminated, in regard to almond culture in the South, it is safe to conclude that failures in the past have been due mainly to want of judgment, or knowledge of varieties and of positions for the orchard, with, perhaps, some neglect in care and cultivation.
In California almond culture has been pushed with vigor for several decades, but at first with rather indifferent results, because growers depended upon noted European varieties, which, as experience proved, were not adapted to the soil and climate of the country. In a paper read before the American Pomological Society at its session held at Sacramento, Cal., Jan. 16-18, 1895, Prof. E. J. Wickson, of the University of California, alluded to this subject of almond culture in the State as follows: “In no branch of this effort for improved varieties has our success been more marked than in the development of seedling almonds. The achievements of A. T. Hatch in this line are too well known to require but a passing allusion. It is not too much to say that this work rescued almond culture to California. When he began, the almond, because of almost universal failure of the old varieties, was a jest and a byword in our horticulture. Nine-tenths of all the almonds planted during the preceding twenty-five years had gone for firewood or were carrying the foliage of the prune to conceal their hated stems. At the present time, through the dissemination of Mr. Hatch’s varieties, the almond, in all regions decently adapted to the tree, is productive and profitable and has a future.”
That almond culture in California is rapidly becoming an important and successful industry, we have an
ocular demonstration in the tons of these valuable nuts received from there in the past few years, and placed on sale in Eastern markets.". If one man, by his individual efforts, can revolutionize or establish a great industry in a región as large as the State of California, it is not too much to expect that something of the kind could be dónė, elsewhere, 'with the combined efforts of several men. If the varieties heretofore tried in the East are unsuited to the climate, it is certainly within the range of probabilities that others better adapted to surrounding conditions can be produced. The native grape, raspberry and strawberry have had a history similar to the almond, but now all are extensively and successfully cultivated. •. iii
Propagation of the Almond.—The propagation of the almond is identical with that of the peach : that is, from seed to procure new varieties, or by budding the more desirable ones, when obtained, upon seedling almond, peach or plum stocks. The half-wild hardshelled almond is probably the most congenial and best stock for this purpose, but seedlings of the peach are most generally employed because the niost abundant and cheapest. Under certain conditions, such as cold, heavy, moist soils, and where rather dwarfish trees are desired, the plum may be employed with advantage as a stock; but it is not to be recommended for general orchard culture. In mild climates seedlings of the best of the soft-shelled varieties may be raised and planted in orchards without budding, but the nuts from such trees áre likely to be somewhat variable in size and quality, although the trees will usually prove to be as healthy and produétive as those subjected to artificial modes of propagation. If, however, the grower desires a uniform product, he must resort to the usual means of obtaining it; that is, multiplying superior or distinct varieties by budding, either upon peach, almond or other stocks. It is advisable, as well as exceedingly important, fot all who intend or feel inclined to cultivate almonds in regions where the adaptation of this nut has not been fully established by years of practical experience, that seedlings should be raised in large numbers, and from these a selection be made to meet the requirements of the climate and other conditions under which they are to be propagated and grown. If spring frosts have been heretofore inimical to the cultivation of the almond, then the production of late-blooming varieties would be a remedy. There will also be variations in the season of ripening; some may come on too early, others far too late for special localities, but all these faults or variations may be readily overcome by raising seedlings, and then selecting for propagation those coming nearest fulfilling the requirements of local conditions or circumstances. It is by such experiments and means that fruit culture has reached its present position in this and all other countries, where it is practiced as an art or industrial pursuit. Varieties that have become exceedingly popular and profitable in one locality or country, may not have succeeded elsewhere, and this holds good with all cultivated plants.
In making experiments with the almond in regions where it has not been cultivated, but under conditions which appear to be favorable, I would certainly advise testing the well-known varieties first, and if these fail, then see what can be done in the way of producing new ones adapted to the locality and climate.
Raising Seedlings for Stocks.-In warm or moderately mild climates the nuts, whether peach or almond, may be planted soon after they are gathered in the fall, but should the weather continue - warm and moist the nuts will sometimes sprout prematurely and the young sprouts get frosted later in the season, and for this reason it is better to store them in a cool room,