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these tying materials are at hand, the inner bark of the persimmon, corn husks, cotton twine, woolen yarn, or even strips of old muslin and calico may be employed with equally as good results, although not as handy and convenient for such purposes. The amateur, with only
a few stocks to bud, can readily improvise implements and materials for doing the work, even if they are not of the regulation type. In selecting buds, the young shoots of the present season's growth are preferred, and these should be taken from the most healthy and vigorous branches of bearing trees, if possible. The leaves should be immediately removed, not by breaking or pulling off with the hand, but by severing the leafstalks with a knife, as shown in Fig. 4. If the leaves have fallen from the twig, the buds may be too ripe, with some kinds of plants, but with the almond, and where only a few leaves near the base have dropped, all may be used with fair success. If there are any soft and immature buds on the upper part of the shoot, or any undeveloped ones at the base,
they should be rejected. Success FIG. 4. PREPARED SHOOT. in budding depends very largely upon the condition of the stocks at the time the operation is performed. Unless the sap is flowing and in sufficient abundance to allow the bark to part or peel readily from the wood underneath, the bud is certain to fail. If the buds used should happen to be a little over
ripe or wholly dormant when placed in direct contact with the living tissues and the juices of the stock, they will absorb moisture and nutriment, and be as likely to unite and live as under opposite conditions.
In performing the operation of budding, the following rules may be observed : Take the twig from which the buds are to be removed, in the left hand, with the small end pointing under the left arm; insert the knifeblade half an inch, or a little more, below the bud, cutting through the bark and a little into the wood; pass the knife under the bud, and bring it out about the same distance above it, taking off the bud with the bark, and a thin slice of wood attached, as at c, Fig. 4. Then, if using the Yankee budding knife, or one of similar form, let the forefinger clasp the lower part of the blade, make the horizontal incision in the stock first, and from this an incision downward about an inch long,– or it may be twice this length without doing any harm,-being careful not to cut too deep. Lift up the edge of the bark by passing the back of the end of the blade (without removing it) up to the horizontal inci- Fig. 5. INCIsion. Lift the bark on the other side in the sioN FOR BUD. same manner, the two incisions making a wound in the stock resembling the letter T, as shown in Fig. 5. If other forms of budding knives are used, the thin end of the ivory handle is thrust under the bark, raising it sufficiently to admit the bud. The budder holds the bud between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand while making the incision in the stock; and as the knife leaves it he places the lower point of the bark attached to the bud under the bark of the stock before this falls back into place, and thrusts it down into position. If the upper end of the bark attached to the bud does not pass completely under the bark of the stock, it must be cut across, so as to allow that which remains with the hud to fall into place and rest firmly on the wood of the stock, as shown in Fig. 6.
When the bud is in position and fitted to the stock, as shown, wind the raffia, or other material used, around the stock, both above and below, covering the entire incision, leaving only the bud and part of leafstalk uncovered. Of course experienced propagators have their own individual systems and modes of operation, but the
above may be taken as a safe guide for the amateur budder. The ligatures should be loosened or removed as soon as the bud has become firmly united with the stock, which will usually be in ten or fifteen days, if at all. When the buds have failed, others may be inserted, provided, of course, the stocks are in condition to admit of the operation. Exceptions, however, may be made where the budding has been done so late in the season that the stock has ceased to grow by the time the buds have taken,
and in such cases the ligatures may be left FIG. 6. BUD IN on later and removed any time before
POSITION. winter. In cold climates the snow, ice and water are likely to get in around the bud if the ligatures are not removed. But where the stocks are vigorous and the buds set early, there will be danger of the ligatures cutting into the bark as the stocks swell or increase in diameter, unless they are loosened or entirely removed.
Under ordinary circumstances budded stocks should not be headed back until the following spring, and then . should be cut off two or three inches above the inserted bud; and when this pushes into growth, all suckers and sprouts below and above it should be rubbed off as they
appear, for the object is to throw the entire strength of the stock into this one bud, and when this has made a growth of two or three feet the short stump of the stock above the base of the shoot may be carefully removed with a sharp knife. This is usually done the last of July or first of August, which gives time for the healing of the wound before the close of the growing season. Sometimes it may be necessary to place small stakes by the side of these shoots for their support and to prevent breaking at the point of union with the stock; but this will rarely be necessary, except in very exposed situations.
If the young trees make a fairly good growth they will be ready for planting out in the orchard the following spring, and one-year-old almond trees are usually preferable for transplanting than older. It is not advisable to prune these young trees during the growing season the first summer, but allow all the side shoots or branches to grow unchecked, for by so doing we secure a more stocky plant, if not as tall a one, than we would if trimming up was practiced. But when the trees are taken up for transplanting, in the late fall or early spring, then they may be pruned and the lateral branches cut off close to the main stem, leaving a naked rod, and if low-headed trees are desired (and they usually are), cut back the main stem to about three feet from the ground. If the young trees have made a growth of from four to six feet, then prune away the lateral branches to a hight of three feet or a little more, and cut in all branches above this point to within four to six inches of the main stem, leaving the buds on these stuinps to form the head of the tree. Four or five branches at the top of the stem will be sufficient for the foundation for an open, round-headed tree, or in what may be termed a vase form, which is the best for almonds.
Soil and Exposure for Almonds.-The almond requires a warm, rather light and well-drained soil. Cold, heavy clays, and low, moist soils, whether light or heavy, are always to be avoided for the almond and closely allied trees. That the soil should be moderately rich is, of course, a condition required with all cultivated nut and fruit trees, but over-stimulation may result in excessive and immature growth late in the season, this leaving the twigs in such a state that they will be unable to resist even a few degrees of frost, to which they may be subjected the ensuing winter. In what are generally termed mild climates, or where the temperature seldom goes more than four to six degrees below the freezing point, hardy trees, if they have made a late growth, are often injured more than they would have been in a colder climate, with early matured wood. There are many kinds of what we consider very hardy trees and shrubs here in the North, that are very likely to be winterkilled or severely frosted when grown at the South, simply because the conditions are such that they do not ripen up in time to resist the cold.
In touching upon the subject of location for an almond orchard east of the Mississippi, I should be inclined to relegate this valuable nut to semi-tropical Florida, were it not for the fact that almost a score of ornamental species and varieties of the same genus,—to say nothing of the widely cultivated peach,-flourish over a very wide range of country and climate, and nowhere better than near the Atlantic ocean in the Middle and some of the Northern States. It is also generally conceded that several of what are called hard-shelled varieties thrive and bear fruit in nearly all of our best peach-growing regions. From all that I have been able to learn of almond culture, and with my own limited experience with this nut, experiments are wanting to prove that it cannot be successfully cultivated in the