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safer and more reliable; but persons who are willing and competent to give the extra care which the dwarfs need, and who have access to extra good markets, may generally grow the dwarfs with profit.*
The parentage of the stock may affect its value."It is probable that many trees fail to bear because propagated from unproductive trees. We know that no two trees in any orchard are alike, either in the amount of fruit which they bear or in their vigor and habit of growth. Some are uniformly productive, and some are uniformly unproductive. We know, too, that cions or buds tend to reproduce the characters of the tree from which they are taken. A gardener would never think of taking cuttings from a rose bush, or chrysanthemum, or a carnation, which does not bear flowers. Why should a fruitgrower take cions from a tree which he knows to be unprofitable?
"The indiscriminate cutting of cions is too clumsy and inexact a practice for these days, when we are trying to introduce scientific methods into our farming. I am convinced that some trees cannot be made to bear by any amount of treatment. They are not the bearing kind. It is not every mare which will breed or every hen which will lay a hatfull of eggs. In my own practice, I am buying the best nursery-grown stock of apples (mostly
*Further remarks upon dwarf trees may be found in Nursery-Book, 3d ed., and in Lodeman's "Dwarf Apples," Bull. 116, Cornell Exp. Sta.
Raising Trees from Seeds.
Spy), and am top-grafting them with cions from trees which please me and which I know to have been productive during many years. Time will discover if the effort is worth the while, but unless all analogies fail, the outcome must be to my profit."*
If one is to plant hardy stocks and then work them over, he should usually plan to graft or bud them after they have stood in the orchard one year. Good results sometimes follow grafting in the very year in which the stock is set, but this is the exception. Some persons have proposed to sow seeds in the very spot where the trees are to stand, and thereby to raise stocks for top-working without transplanting them, but the labor and uncertainty of the method make it impracticable. It is cheaper to grow trees in the nursery row-the same as it is cheaper to buy trees of a nurseryman than to attempt to grow them-and the trees also receive better care. Again, seedlings vary, and the poor and weak ones should be discarded the same as they are by the budder in the nursery row who finds them to be too small or too scrawny to bud. Well-grown stock of a stronggrowing variety usually gives more uniform results than a lot of home-grown seedlings can.
Buying the trees.-It is best, when it can be done, to order trees late in summer or early in the fall, if
*L. H. Bailey, Bull. 102, Cornell Exp. Sta. See, also, "Survival of the Unlike," pp. 249, 250.
one expects to plant an orchard. Buy where the best trees can be obtained, and where there is good reason to expect reliable stock and honest dealing. It is generally advisable to buy at the nearest nursery at which the desired stock can be secured, for the buyer has more personal knowledge of the nurseryman, he can visit the nursery, he saves freight, and he may be able to secure his stock in fresher condition; but trees of equal excellence will generally thrive equally well when transported from long distances, if they arrive at their destination in good condition. While one should endeavor to secure low prices, it should be remembered that nursery stock should never be purchased simply because it is cheap. Poor stock is dear as a gift. Yet farmers who annually plant a few trees, and who buy of agents, often pay exorbitant prices. In a certain town, when farmers were paying 28 cents apiece for peach trees in lots of a dozen, any reliable nursery would have been glad to have supplied the same varieties at $8 per hundred, at the nursery. Plums which should have sold for 15 cents to 20 cents apiece were selling to farmers for 50 and 60 cents apiece. The man who seriously expects to plant an orchard for profit will not be led into any wild scheme or new varieties by agents. He will generally buy directly of the nearest nurseryman who can supply the desired stock and varieties at the prices which suit him. Some nurserymen employ regular and reliable agents, and such agents carry a certificate from the firm they represent. But while these salesmen may be perfectly straightforward, and may
Substitution of Varieties.
be the best channels through whom small orders can be secured by those who are uninformed in pomological matters, all persons who expect to go into fruit-growing seriously should buy directly of the nurseries. But it must always be remembered that the tree agent has been the means of clothing the country with fruit trees, and of thereby adding much to the contentment of farm life.
The buyer should make up his mind just what varieties he wants, and then find the nursery which has them, and order early enough to get them. There is then no occasion to consider the vexed question of substitution of varieties. If the varieties are not in market, buy stocks of some strong-growing, staple variety, and after these are established-usually the spring or summer of the next year-bud or graft over the tops to the desired varieties.
THE SETTING OF THE PLANTS.
When to plant.-There is much difference of opinion as to the relative merits of fall and spring planting. The writer's opinion is that fall planting is generally preferable to spring planting upon thoroughly drained soils, particularly for the hardy tree fruits, like apples, pears and plums; and if the ground is in good condition and the stock well matured, peaches can sometimes be set in October, even in the northern states, with success. The advantages of fall planting are several. The trees become established during the open weather of fall, and they usu
ally make a start in spring before the ground is hard enough to allow of spring planting. This early start not only means a better growth the first season, but, what is more important, trees which get a very early hold upon the soil endure the droughts of midsummer much better than trees planted in spring. Planting is nearly always better done in the settled weather and workable soil of fall than in the capricious days and in the hurry of springtime; and the orchardist is free to begin cultivation at a a time when he would otherwise be planting his trees. Again, it is generally better to buy trees in the fall, when the stock of varieties is full and when the best trees are yet unsold: these trees must be kept until planting time, and it is about as cheap and fully as safe to plant them directly in the field as to heel them in until spring.
In fall planting, however, it is important to insist that the trees shall be thoroughly well matured. In order to move stock quickly, it is the practice of some nurserymen to "strip" the trees before the growth is completed; that is, the leaves are stripped off, the growth stopped, and the trees are put upon the market for September deliveries. This process weakens the trees, and many failures in young plantations are probably attributable to this cause. Such trees may die outright, especially if set in the fall and a hard winter follows; or they may live to make a dwindling growth for the first few years. Like early-weaned calves, they lack vitality and push. If one were setting an orchard in the fall, he should