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The period of life allotted to us, compared to the growth of a tree, is short; and every person who plants fruit trees with a view to enjoy their produce must consider the saving of a year, or the being enabled to enjoy the fruits of their labour and expence a year earlier, and consequently a year longer, (and this without lessening the future productive powers of a tree,) a most desirable object, and which may readily be attained.
If plants are raised in such a manner that they may
be removed with the whole of the roots entire, and without being curtailed or injured, the full benefit of a needful age, and progressive growth and extension of branches, may be transferred from the nursery ground to the garden or orchard, and no loss of time incurred ; and this is easily effected when the soil is light, or it might be provided for, either by having the beds or borders prepared with a stratum of light open earth, for
the roots to run in, as hereafter described, or more perfectly by raising the plants in pots.
When the stocks or seedlings are planted with a view to transplantation, great care should be taken that the roots be drawn out even, and not crossed or bended; for if the roots are not first placed in a right posture, they seldom grow straight, or can be taken up perfect.
If apricots, peaches, plums, and all dwarf trees, are raised in pots of about fourteen inches diameter and depth, such trees may be trained two or three years to the full extent of their growth, and in proper shape, and be then transplanted, without receiving any check, or occasioning loss of time.
This process may be attended with a little more trouble and expence, but it would certainly give the nurserymen a better claim for double the sum than the price now charged for trees of more than one year old.
And if those who are about planting consider their interest, they will rather pay twice the sum for trees raised in this manner, than what is now charged for those which are called trained trees, raised in the common way.
A peach or nectarine tree thus raised, and trained as hereinafter directed, may be removed the third autumn after budding, and the following summer produce several dozens of the finest fruit; the next year, (the fourth,) twice the number; and the fifth year, upwards of forty dozen ; and these are certainly advantages sufficiently great to counterbalance a trifling additional expence.
It will also answer as good a purpose to raise apple trees in the same manner; for when the roots of those trees are diminished or injured, they require along time to recover the loss, - indeed few more so,—and after repeated transplantation, they seldom form handsome or healthy trees.
A standard tree of three or four years' growth from the graft near the ground, or one year from a stem of due height, removed with its roots entire and uninjured, will make greater progress towards forming a handsome tree, produce more fruit, and in orchards get out of the reach of cattle, in less time than those raised and transplanted in the common way will do, of six or eight years old. .
The shape or figure which the different trees should be trained to, I have represented by sketches.
As to the mode and manner of performing the different operations of budding, or inoculating and engrafting, &c. I shall not attempt to suggest any improvement of the general practice; but it will of course be necessary, that the stock should be sufficiently recovered from its transplantation, and have taken good root, before it is operated upon.
All plants that are intended to be trained with two stems from the buds, such as peach trees, &c. should have two buds inserted opposite each other, and the stocks should be carefully looked over the spring next after budding; but if only one be inserted, or one only should grow, as soon as this begins to shoot, its top must be nipped off, to occasion
it to throw out two branches of equal strength. As these grow, they must be carefully protected from being broken or injured; should one branch grow stronger than the other, the strongest must be fastened in a proportionally reclining position, which will give the weakest a larger portion of sap, and forward its growth.
Should those branches during the first summer grow so fast or large as to endanger their breaking, when fastened down in the winter, which they sometimes will do, they may, during the summer or in the autumn, be fastened in a reclining position, proportioned to their size; but if not in this shape, and of a less height than four feet, they may remain until the next season.
All collaterals or shoots springing from the sides of the stems, must be stopped immediately above the first bud, as they grow out, as this will incline them to grow more in height than in size, and render them more compliable.
Those intended for the simple horizontal plan, as Plate 2. must be managed in the same manner, until the branches are six or eight feet long; and also such as are intended for one serpentined stem, until of a proper height.
Plants that are intended for spiral espaliers must be headed back, and managed so as to produce four or five branches of equal strength on a stock or stem of about six inches from the earth, and those permitted to grow erect, removing all collaterals, until they are from four to eight feet long,
unless, as before remarked, they grow so large and luxuriant as to endanger breaking; in which case they must be fastened in a reclining position, more or less, according to their strength, during the season of their growth.
Should the leading branches of any of those plan be by any casualty stopped, several buds will pro . bably shoot; in this case, only one shoot must be permitted to grow, to continue it; all others must be removed as soon as perceived.
When budded trees are intended for standards, one shoot only must be suffered to grow, and this carefully trained up, so as to continue rising from the point bud; and when stocks are grafted for standards, such grafts should be selected as have the point bud perfect, and the shoot produced by this should be carefully trained up and continued from the point bud.
When necessary to shorten the graft, previous to its insertion, it should be done from the lower or largest end; and if the grafts that are used have not the point bud, one shoot only should be suffered to grow, and this fixed as perpendicularly and straight as possible from the graft.
When grafts have taken to the stock, and have grown a few inches, they should be unbound and fastened, if necessary, to stakes, to prevent their being blown off, and all shoots except the leading one taken off.
If no accident occurs, these will require no other labour for two or three years; the point buds will