Albert Francis Blakeslee.

Trees in winter; their study, planting, care and identification online

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Call using is the first step toward root fonnation. The cuttings
are planted usually in rows eighteen to thirty-six inches apart and
about six inches apart in the row. They are 2)laced in the ground
either on the slant or in a vertical |)osition and set so that one or
two buds remain above the. surface. The soil always should be
packed finnly about the cuttings. The after treatment is about
the same as for seedlings.

PROPAGATION BY GRAFTAGE

According to Bailey's Cyclopedia of Horticulture, "Graftage com-
prises the process and operation of inserting a part of one plant into
another, with the intention that the part shall grow on the foster
root, together with all the questions which arise in relation to the
practice." It is a comprehensive term, embracing all questions
relating to the operations of both grafting and budding.

This method of propagation is employed when it is necessary to
perpetuate varieties that do not come true from seed, as is the case
with all varieties of our cultivated fruit trees, like apples, pears,
plums, cherries, peaches, lemons and oranges, and with many hor-
ticultural varieties of ornamental trees. It is employed also with
trees that do not bear seeds freely and with those whose seeds
are difficult to germinate and that do not propagate well by cuttings.
The practice is also useful in dwarfing tall-growing species ; for ex-
ample, the standard pear is made dwarf by grafting it upon the
quince. Furthermore the practice may be useful in adapting cer-
tain kinds of trees to adverse conditions of soil and climate. For
example on account of the difficulty of growing the plum on light
soil, it is sometimes grafted on the peach, which is better adapt-
ed to sandy soil.

As a rule, grafting must be done with plants of close relation-
ship, but frequently success follows grafting of one species on an-
other, as in the case of plums, and occasionally of one genus or
another, as is the case of the pear and quince. It is not enough,
however, that the graft should unite, but it should form a good
union that is not likely to be parted by wind storms or by heavy
loads of fruit. The limits within which grafting can succeed,
therefore, are to be determined only by experiment.



56 TEEES IN" WINTER

Grafting — There are many methods of grafting, differing
mainly in the position of the union and in the method with which
the scion and stock are joined. Space here will permit only of a
discussion of general principles and for the technique of the va-
rious methods the reader is referred to Bailey's N"ursery Book.

That portion of a plant that is mechanically inserted upon an-
other plant with the expectation that it shall grow, is called the
scion. The plant or the part of a plant upon Avhich the scion is set
is called the stock. The most important point in the whole
operation of grafting is the necessity for inserting the scion in
such a way that its cambium layer or inner bark will come in close
contact with that of the stock. When this condition is fulfilled
all that remains is to prevent the access of moisture and disease
spores and to prevent the parts from drying out before union is
affected. This is accomplished by the use of grafting wax which'
may be purchased at small cost or made of the following: resin,
4 parts; beeswax, 2 parts; tallow or linseed oil, 1 part (by weight).
The resin and beeswax are broken finely and melted together with
the tallow. When thoroughly melted the mixture should be
poured into a pail of cold w^ater and left there till it becomes just
hard enough to handle, when it should be taken out and pulled like
taffy until it becomes light brown or fawn in color. In the pull-
ing and subsequent handling the hands should be well greased to
prevent sticking. If the wax hardens before the time for using, it
must be slightly warmed and softened so that it may be applied ex-
peditiously and effectively.

Scions for grafting are usually collected in N'ovember, just after
the leaves have fallen, but they may be collected any time during
the dormant season. The scions are tied in bundles, packed in
moist sand or soil and stored in a cool place in the same way as
described for cuttings.

Cleft Grafting is the method commonly employed when it is de-
sired to change the variety of mature fruit trees. The process in
brief is described here and will serve to illustrate more clearly the
essential features of all grafting methods.

A branch, usually less than two inches in diameter is sawed off
squarely and smoothly. The stub is split down through the center
to a distance of about two or three inches. For this purpose a
special kind of knife is used and a mallet is often used to drive the



PLANTING AND CARE OF TREES



57



knife into the stock. The knife is equipped with a short wedge
on the back of the extreme end of the blade. This wedge is used
to hold the slit open while the scion is adjusted. The slit may be
widened by simply pressing on the knife handle and after the





Fig. 25. A Cleft Graft, before and after waxing.



Fig. 26, A scion
for cleft-grafting.



scion has been placed the pressure on the handle may be relieved
and the w^dge withdrawn. The pressure of the stock should be
sufficient to hold the scion in position. (See fig. 25.)

The scion is cut in a sloping fashion at the base, or in the form
of a very thin wedge. The sloping part should be thicker on one
side than on the other. The shaping is usually done so that the
lowest bud will come on the thicker side and at a point about
opposite the upper part of the wedge. The upper j^art is cut off
squarely and at a point slightly above the third bud. (See fig. 26).
If scion wood is scarce two buds are sufficient to each scion.
The scion is adjusted so that the inner bark on the thicker side
comes in contact with the inner bark of the stock. The lower bud
comes about level or just below the surface of the stock and is
usually covered in the waxing process. The task is completed by
covering with wax all exposed cut surfaces.

It is customary, with branches that are large enough, to insert
two scions. They should be set so that their thicker margins
will be on the outer side of the stock. The second graft affords
a double chance for success and it assists in healing up the wound.



58



TREES IN WINTER



If both scions grow, the weaker one, about midsummer, is sawed
off in a sloping fashion, taking with it part of the stock.
When the scion and stock are about equal in diameter, as is
usually the case in root grafting, the process known as whip grafting
is usually employed. Figure 27 will serve to illustrate the process.




Fig. 27. A root-graft.






Fig. 28. A "stick" of buds.



Budding — The practice of budding has become a more common
means of perpetuating varieties than that of grafting. It is
habitually employed on the trees of most stone fruits and fre-
quently on those of apples and pears. The operation is simple
and consists of inserting a single detached bud under the bark of
the stock. In the hands of experts it can be done with great
speed. The usual plan is for a man to set the buds and a boy to
follow closely and do the tying. The practice is employed chiefly
on stocks of small diameter and preferably on those not more than
one year old.

The work is done whenever the bark will peel readily, which



PLANTING AND CARE OF TREES



59



is (either in early spring or late -summer. As commonly practiced
the work is done in August or early September.

When everything is in readiness the buds are at once taken from
a tree of the desired variety. Long shoots of the past season's
growth are collected for spring budding and of the present season's
growth for summer budding. If the shoots are collected in the
summer the leaves will be on, but these should be cut off promptly,
leaving about a fourth of an inch of the leaf-stalk to serve as a
handle to the bud. This shoot is called a "stick of buds." (See
fig. 28). Each stick contains several buds, al of which are cut,
but not severed, before any of them are inserted. The cutting
consists in taking a slice out of the bark about an inch in length
and extending above and below the bud. A small amount of the
wood from just beneath the bud is likely to be taken, and this may
either be removed or left. When finally severed by making a
straight cut across the top, the result will be a shield-shaped
piece of bark with a bud in the center. A sharp thin-bladed knife
is necessary for clean and rapid work.






Fig-. 29. The three stages in the process of shield-budding".



Before inserting the buds the leaves are removed from that
portion of the stock where the operation is performed. A T-shaped
incision is made and, if the bark peels nicely, the bud may be
pushed down under the bark until its abrupt top fits snugly
against the transverse part of the T. The operation is completed
by tying with rafia or some kind of soft cord. The tying material
is usually cut in suitable lengths of about one foot. It should
not be wound over the bud itself. (See fig. 29).

Budding is usually done on seedlings and at a point very near
the ground. With larger trees the various branches should be



60 TREES IN WINTER

budded at positions somewhere near their junction with the li^ain
stem.

In about two or three weeks the bud will have "stuck" or united
to the stock. The bandage then should be cut to allow for the
growth of the stem. The summer-set bud should remain perfectly
dormant until the following spring when the stock should be cut
off just above the bud. This will throw the entire force of the
plant into the shoot that will spring from the bud. Sometimes
a growth of three or four feet will be made the first season and
the following spring the tree may be set out in its permanent
location.



PLANTING AND CARE OF TREES 61



CHAPTER III
TEEE PLANTING IN RURAL DISTRICTS.

. THE CONSERVATION OF GOOD SCENERY.

Every citizen in every country is interested, or should be inter-
ested, in good scenery. Of the various elements that constitute
good scenery or that go to make up our landscape there are none so
ornamental nor so indispensable as trees. During the early settle-
ment and development of the country the problem was to get rid
of the trees and undoubtedly there was a great waste of timber.
The necessarily wasteful methods of the early settlers were handed
down to the later generations and the wholesale destruction of
forests was thoughtlessly continued until about fifty years ago. At
this time we first began to realize that for the benefit of the
coming generation and for the future prosperity of the country,
something must be done to stop or mitigate the unnecessary waste.

The problem of today then is much different from that of the
early days and we hear a great deal now about the conservation of
forests and the necessity for planting trees. It is an important
problem from the standpoint of economy and almost equally
important from the standpoint of esthetics. This country is noted
for its fine scenery and our beautiful landscape is regarded by
foreigners as one of the country's greatest assets. Undoubtedly
there are many sections of the country that are worth more for
the scenery they possess than for agriculture or forestry. In dis-
cussions relating to the conservation of our natural resources,
therefore, the element of good scenery should always be considered.
Since good forests, good farms, and good waterways contribute
largely to the landscape, the element of good scenery cannot easily
be separated from many of the commonly recognized natural
resources.

Trees have become so much a part of our civilization that it
would seem almost impossible to get along without them. What
would our homes, our country roads, our city streets, our parks,
and our landscape be without them? We all know that trees are
beautiful and even necessary in such places, but we cannot fully
appreciate their value till we have seen the desert. The settlers



62 TREES IN WINTER

in the prairie section of the West have many times declared that
the longing to see the trees and the hills of New England caused
more distress than the desire to see old friends and relatives.

The value of trees from the economic or commercial stand-
point is well understood and can be estimated on the basis of dollars
and cents. Their esthetic value and their value from the stand-
point of health is not so generally appreciated nor is it so amenable
to calculation. We hear a great deal these days about surveys —
forest surveys, agricultural surveys, and the like. A survey in
this sense means an inventory or a stock-taking. It would be
interesting to make a survey based upon the landscape wealth of
any section or of the whole country. It would be interesting also
to compare in such a survey the relative value of the various
elements of the landscape. It seems safe to predict that in most
sections trees would be credited with a very large proportion of
the total wealth.

A NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM

There is a tendency nowadays on the part of the cities to extend
their park systems far into the country. In Massachusetts a reser-
vation scheme known as the Metropolitan Park System, embracing
the whole state is well under way. Immense tracts of land
possessing admirable landscape features have been acquired and
improved. Eoads and boulevards, connecting the various holdings
with one another and with the Boston Park System have been
constructed. The trees have been protected from injury and many
new plantings have been made. The aim of the whole scheme is
to preserve the natural scenery and to make it accessible to the
appreciative people of the commonwealth. The project does not
interfere with the utilization of the surrounding land for agri-
cultural purposes. It has had a marked influence upon land values
and has developed among the people a local patriotism and a
greater appreciation for natural scenery.

The movement in Massachusetts is sure to exert a wide influence.
At the present time there is a movement on foot that will connect
Montreal and New York by the use of a great scenic boulevard.
Other states and districts are bound to see the wisdom of such a
policy and to enact similar laws for the conservation of natural
scenery. The next step should bring together the park reserva-



PLANTING AND CARE OF TREES 63

tions of the various states and the ultimate result should be what
may be called a national park system. Such a system would unite
the great natural wonders of America, with Niagara Falls as the
central figure. Among the hundreds of special features of this
great national park may be mentioned the gigantic forests of
California, Yellow Stone geysers of Wyoming, the Grand canon
of Colorado, the wheat fields of Kansas, the Mammoth Cave of
Kentucky, the vineyards of New York and Pennsylvania, the
Green Mountains of Vermont, the famous elms and peach orchards
of Connecticut, the apple orchards of Virginia, and the palm
groves of Florida. The railway companies must necessarily take an
active part in such a movement, and many of them have already
made a start in this direction. The traveling public has done
much to encourage development in this respect and can do much
more by patronizing the companies that offer the most attractive
routes.

The Sign-Boards Must Go — There will be no place in the
great national park system for the hideous sign-board so commonly
found along railway lines and public highways. This method
of advertising should be discouraged. How to get rid of this
objectionable feature of the landscape seems like a difficult problem,
but it is believed that the offenders will eventually realize the
advisability of protecting the welfare of the public. There is a
growing sentiment in opposition to the sign-board nuisance. Many
people, by their refusal to use any of the products that they know
to be advertised in this way, have asserted their feelings in a
most effective manner. If their children should "cry for Castoria"
they will endeavor to soothe them with some brand that has been
advertised in a more legitimate fashion.

Arousing Interest — The greatest progress and the most en-
during results in any direction must come through education.
We hear a great deal in these days about the necessity for some
kind of instruction that will fit the child to his environment.
The study of the landscape, of which trees form the chief element,
will go a long way toward developing in the child a love for the
beautiful and eventually bring him in harmony with his surround-
ings. It seems advisable, therefore, that a campaign for the
conservation and improvement of rural scenery should start with
the schools.



64 TREES IN WINTER

yillage improvement societies^ of whicli there are a great many,
are doing a splendid Avork by way of stimulating greater effort
among projDerty holders and municipal officials. Their influence,
however, is too often restricted to the limits of their own little
village and their attitude toward neighboring villages too often
savors of rivalry. If every organization of this sort should reach
out and co-operate with similar organizations in neighboring
villages the result would be almost beyond comprehension. The
influence of such organizations should also be felt on the surround-
ing farms, and farmers should be encouraged to take an active
part in the movement. Many of the more thickly populated
rural sections should have societies of their own. Since well-
kept farms contribute largely to the general appearance of the
country, prizes are sometimes offered either by the state or by
some agricultural association for the best kept farms. This
practice sometimes results in better farms, but the principle is
all wrong. When farmers get the proper spirit they will improve
their farms for the added pleasure and profit to be derived.

The granges, farmers' clubs, women's clubs, and the various
organizations connected with the church, may all share in the
movement for better scenery in the country. Every section has its
own special scenery and it should be the business of some organi-
zation to protect it. If there is no organization in the community
that may be intrusted with the responsibility, one should be formed
for this express purpose.

THE PROBLEM OP THE COUNTRY ROADS-

The Location of Country Roads — The country road primarily
is for the purpose of communication and transportation. The
first consideration, therefore, should be efficiency. Many of the
country roads to reach their maximum of efficiency should not only
be rebuilt, but should be relocated. It is remarkable that in hilly
sections so many roads follow the shortest route, like the Indian
trails, rather than the natural contours of the land. Eoads that
follow the valleys and the streams are usually more efficient and
decidedly more picturesque. AVhere the streams are tortuous, of
course, it is possible to overdo such an undertaking. In flat
countries, on the other hand, there is much waste of time in
following the straight concession and crossroad routes. Some



PLANTING AND CARE OF TREES 65

cities have realized the necessity for abandoning this rectangular
or checkerboard arrangement of streets and are now planning some
diagonal routes between important points. Road builders should
keep in mind that often there is a saving of almost a third of
the distance between two points by traveling in a direct line.
Farmers who live in a checkerboard section would be astonished
if they should figure out the waste involved in traveling over
indirect routes for a period of ten or twenty years. Some farmers
would find that during their lives they have traveled thousands of
unnecessary miles. It is not an easy matter, however, to change
the location of a road and usually we must take them as we find
them.

Although somewhat foreign to the subject under discussion, it
seems advisable to digress just long enough to make a suggestion
for the improvement of country road-beds in sections where stones
are abundanl. There are many such locations where the farmers
could build permanent roads in front of their farms by using the
stone from their fields instead of piling up huge walls that not
only occupy valuable space but furnish the best protection for
injurious insects and obnoxious creatures of various kinds. On
some farms the non-productive area on account of stone walls
often amounts to one-fifth of the total acreage. It would seem
like a feasible thing for the farmers in a certain community to
"get together" on a road improvement proposition of this kind.
The removal of the stone walls could be accomplished during the
winter months and most of the work done during slack seasons.
Some communities undoubtedly could afford to invest in a stone
crusher with which to -grind stone for dressing their roads. If
nothing but the native soil is used on top of the rocks the result
will be quite satisfactory, for, on account of the drainage afforded
by the stone foundation, such roads dry out quickly in wet seasons.
For economic reasons alone, the ridding of the farm of the scat-
tered and piled stones would be worth while. Furthermore, im-
proved roads in any community reduce the cost of transportation
and tend to increase land values.

Mailing the Best Use of Existing Conditions — In many sections
of the East the problem is to keep down the brush along
the roadside. The custom in such places is to periodically
mow and burn ever3^thing within the highway limits. An able-



66 TREES IN WINTER

bodied man^ armed with a brush scythe, is capable of destroying
more good scenery within a few weeks than can be developed on
the same area within several years. Much of this, of course, is
necessary to keep the road clear, but it seems strange that
country and town officials implicated in such wholesale destruction
cannot see the folly of this practice. If it should become necessary
to widen the thoroughfare it would seem unnecessary to have the
cutting extend clear to the limits. By leaving a strip along the
fences, with occasional interruptions for a more extended view,
the effect would be decidedly more pleasing. Within a few years
the larger-growing species may be expected to arch over the road
in such a way as to furnish shelter from the hot rays of the sun
during the summer and cold winds of the winter.

A still better plan would be to retain only a few of the largest
and most desirable specimens to furni^ the needed protection
and to contribute to the beauty of the wayside scenery. More
trees may be reserved than will ultimately be required, but some
of them should be cut out as soon as the trees begin to crowd. No
attempt should be made to select trees that are in line, but it is
well to choose only those that are at some distance from the road
bed. Whenever possible, it is well to restrict the selection in a
certain stretch of road to one or two species, but it is better to
have a great variety of species than to have none at all. For this
purpose it is well to select long-lived species, like the Oak, some
of the Maples, the Hickories, the White Elm, the Chestnut, the
White Pine, the Linden, the White Ash, the Tulip, the Sycamore,
and others. The brush around the selected trees will need to be
kept cut for ten or fifteen years, but after that it is not likely to
make much headway in the shade of the larger trees, as may be
seen along country roads that pass through the forest. By allow-
ing some of the trees to develop, therefore, the municipality is
eventually relieved of the necessity for annually or bienially mowing
the brush along the roadside.

It is not an uncommon thing when traveling through rural
communities to find men engaged in cutting down fine road-
side trees. There are various reasons given for such action and
on investigation it is often found to be petty grafting on the part
of one or more of the town officials. Occasionally the men who
are found doing the work will excuse themselves on the ground



PLANTING AND CARE OF TREES



67



that in wet weather the trees prevent the road from drying out.
Such an argument carries little weight, for expert road builders
claim that on account of the roots holding the soil in place it is an
advantage to have trees along the roadside. Other offenders will
say that they get the wood as their remuneration for the work




Fig-. 30. A country road through a White Pine grove, 50 years old,
at Windsor, Connecticwt.



68 TREES IN WINTER

of cutting the brush. On the whole, the apparent inexcusable



Online LibraryAlbert Francis BlakesleeTrees in winter; their study, planting, care and identification → online text (page 5 of 31)