J. C. (John Claudius) Loudon.

An encyclopaedia of gardening; comprising the theory and practice of horticulture, floriculture, arboriculture, and landscape-gardening, including all the latest improvements; a general history of gardening in all countries; and a statistical view of its present stat, with suggestions for its future online

. (page 131 of 313)
Online LibraryJ. C. (John Claudius) LoudonAn encyclopaedia of gardening; comprising the theory and practice of horticulture, floriculture, arboriculture, and landscape-gardening, including all the latest improvements; a general history of gardening in all countries; and a statistical view of its present stat, with suggestions for its future → online text (page 131 of 313)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

must be shortened more or less, according to the size of the vacancy to be filled up, and according
to their strengths, in order that the plant may appear complete in all parts as soon as possible."

3083. The summer pruning consists in pinching off all fore-right shoots as they appear, and all sucn as
are ill placed, weakly, watery, deformed, or very luxuriant, leaving a leader to every shoot of last
year, and retaining a plentiful supply of good lateral shoots in all parts of the tree. If any blank is to be
filled up, some conveniently placed strong shoot is shortened in June to a few eyes, in order that it may
throw out laterals.

3084. The fruit is thinned after the stoning season, as already described in treating of
thinning of wall-fruit. (2570.)

3085. Abercrombie savs, " There should be a preparatory thinning before the time of stoning, and a
final thinning afterwards, because most plants, especially such as have overborne themselves, drop many
fruit at that crisis. Finish the thinning with great regularity, leaving those retained at proper distances,
three, four, or five, on strong shoots ; two or three on middling, and one or two on the weaker
shoots ; and never leaving more than one peach at the same eye. The fruit on weakly trees thin more
in proportion." , .

308a Nicol concurs with these remarks. " If," he savs, " the trees set an immoderate quantity of fruit,
which plants not in a healthy and vigorous state will often do that is to say, such will frequently set more
than they are able to sustain or nourish^, they should, in that case, he moderately thinned at this time. Also,
theTruit'on tre^s in a more vigorous condition should be thinned; thinning most where health is most
wanting, and least where it prevails over sickness. And observe, that for want of timely and judicious
thinning sickness is often induced, and the whole crop lost. In a peach-house in a state of bearing,
when the fruit is swelling off, in order that it may attain a greater degree of perfection, such leaves and
summer shoots as overhang and shade the fruit are taken off or thinned."


3087. Fall of the leaves of forced peach-trees. Nicol says, the leaves of peach-trees " may be dressed off,"
when the wood is ripened, by the use of a withe or small cane, which is more necessary in a house than if
the trees were growing in the open air, where the wind or frost might make them tumble down fast.

3088. Stirring the soil. The borders are to be pointed and forked up after pruning,
and a little well rotted dung or compost added where deemed necessary. The part of
the borders on the outside may, in addition, be covered with dung ; and after forcing is
commenced, those in the inside may be occasionally watered with the drainings of the
dunghill. (Kal. 324. 438.)

3089. Time of beginning to force. " From the rise of the sap," according to Aber-
crombie, tl it occupies, in some sorts, about four months to make mature fruit ; in the
later varieties, five months ; and when much of winter is included in the course of forcing,
the time is proportionally lengthened. To ripen moderately early kinds by the end of
May, begin to force on the 21st of December. Little is gained by commencing sooner.
But you may put on the glasses a week before, and make gentle fires, admitting a con-
stant stream of fresh air, to get the house ready."

3090. M'Phail says, " Those who wish to have peaches and nectarines ripe in May should begin to force
them about the beginning or middle of December." For a general crop, Nicol, Weeks, and most gar-
deners, recommend forcing to begin the month of February. Nicol offers " a word to the novice in forcing :
Be diffident, and drive too slow rather than too fast Most new beginners in this business make haste to
outdo, or to eclipse their neighbors ; and so drive on at a p. tee they cannot long keep up, but founder their
steed, and stop short by the way."

3091. Temperature. Abercrombie directs to " begin at 42 min. 45 max. from sun-
heat ; and rise in a fortnight to 45 min. 50 max. from sun-heat, giving plenty of air ;
in the progress of the second fortnight, augment the temperature from three to eight de-
grees, so as to have it at the close up -to 53 min. 56 max. from sun-heat, admitting air
in some degree daily. When the trees are in blossom, let the minimum heat be 55 min.
60 max. Continue to aim at this till the fruit is set and swelling. When the fruit is
set, raise the minimum to 60, the artificial maximum to 65, in order to give fresh air :
when the sun shines, do not let the maximum, from collected heat, pass 70, rather em-
ploying the opportunity to admit a free circulation of air."

3092. M'Phail, beginning in February, keeps the thermometer to about 55, increasing it as the days
lengthen ; when set and swelling, raise it to 60 with fire -heat ; when the sun shines, let it rise to 65 or 70
with air. A short time before the fruit begins to ripen, from 55 to 70 is not too much, with fire-heat,
and in sunshine days a little above 75.

3093. Flanagan begins to force a new-planted house in the second week of February, by putting on the
lights, and begins fire-heat at the end of the month. The second season he puts on the lights in the latter
end of January. {Hort. Trans, v. 58,59.)

3094. Nicol, in a house begun to force on the 1st of February, begins with 45 for the first fortnight, and
then increases the heat to 50 or 52. The times of regulation are supposed to be at six or seven in the
morning, and at eight or nine at night. At the end of a month the temperature is to be kept as steadily as
possible to 55. In two months, keep it to about 65, seldom allowing it to pass 70, which, if it does, it will
have the effect of drawing the shoots up weak, and may cause the setting fruit to drop. He recommends
60 by fire-heat, mornings and evenings, as proper after the fruit is fairly stoned.

3095. Flanagan, the first season of forcing a peach-house, "attains a temperature of from 53 to 55 from
fire the last week of February, and does not allow the sun-heat to exceed 65. The second season of forcing,
fires are made in the second week of February, just to keep the heat by fire from 45 to 50, not exceeding
70 of sun-heat ; in the third week the fire-heat is gradually increased from 50 to 55, and not exceeding
75 sun-heat. In March, particular attention must be paid to the regularity of heat, which may be pro-
gressively increased a degree or two as the season advances, but I do not allow it to exceed the last-named
temperature until the fruit is perfectly stoned, when I increase it from 55 to 60 at night, and from 77 to
80 of sun-heat. At the medium of these the temperature should continue during the remaining part of
the season." (Hort. Trans, v. 60.)

3096. Air. A constant stream of fresh air is to be admitted before beginning to force,
and plenty of air during sunshine throughout the whole progress of forcing. M'Phail says,
when the fruit is set and swelling, " give the house air every day, whether the sun shine
or not." Give plenty of air, and keep the house dry, when the fruit begins to ripen.
When the intention is to begin to force on the 1st of February, Nicol shuts up the house
from the middle of January, admitting plenty of free air through the day. During the
first month of forcing, he admits air freely " every day, even in frosty weather, by the
sashes, till the flowers begin to expand ; after which time by the ventilators, except in fresh
weather, till the season become mild. Air should be admitted all this month, to such an
extent as to keep down the temperature, in sunshine, to within five degrees of the fire-heat
medium ; and this in order to strengthen the buds as they break, and that the young shoots
may spring in a vigorous manner." Admit large portions of air every day when the fruit
is swelling off, except in damp weather, from seven or eight in the morning to five or six
in the evening ; opening the sashes to their fullest extent from ten till two or three o'clock,
giving and reducing gradually, &c.

3097. Watering and steaming. " While the fruit is in blossom," Abercrombie ob-
serves, " steaming the flues must be substituted for watering over the herb ; at the same
time, you may water the roots now and then gently, avoiding such a copious supply as
might risk the dropping of the fruit to be set. Let the water be warmed to the air of the


3098. M'Phail directs to keep the border moist by watering ; and after the fruit are as big as nuts sprinkle
the flues now and then with water to raise steam, and wash the trees about once a-week with clean water
not too cold. It is better not to wash all over the top till the fruit are set. A sunshine morning is to be
preferred, and the water may be about 65. Do not water after the fruit begm to ripen, but re-commence
when all are gathered. (Gard. Reyn. 148. 191.) ^^^

3099. Xicol says, " newly planted peach-trees should be freely supplied with water at the root throughout
the season, in order to promote their growth ; and the engine must be applied with force to the branches for
the suppression of the red spider, and refreshing die foliage, generally once in two or three davs." In a
fruit-bearing house, after the fruit is set, " water should be given pretty freely to the plants at root, once
in two or three days ; increasing the quantity as the fruit begins to swell, and as the shoots advance in
growth. Also, continue the operations of the engine regularly ; and do not be sparing, or be afraid to hurt
the foliage, if the red spider appear on it. Hit hardest at, or near to the top of the house ; as it is there he
preys most, being fostered by the extreme heat, in which he delights. In looking out for this enemy, there-
lore, keep your eye particularly on this part. Withhold water from the border, and cease to exercise the
engine on the foliage when the fruit is swelling off." (Kal. 358. 401.)

3101). Flanagan, whilst the trees are in bloom, neither sprinkles nor steams the house, for he " considers
that sufficient moisture arises from the earth in the house at this stage of forcing." (Hort. Trans, v. 60.)
When the fruit is set, he gives the trees a gentle syringing on a fine morning with clean water, and
waters the borders within the house occasionally after the stoning, until the fruit is arrived at full size and
begins to change color, then all watering should be left offboth with the syringe and on the borders. '

3101. Insects and diseases. The red spider is the grand enemy to peach-trees; but
they are also attacked by blight, mildew, the aphis, thrips, and sometimes even the coccus.
" The blight," Abercrombie says, " is caused by small insects, very pernicious both to
the trees and fruit in their growth ; this is apparent by the leaves curling up, and often
by the ends of the shoots being bunched and clammy, which retards their shooting. In
this case, it is advisable to pick oft* the infected leaves, and cut away the distempered part
of the shoots. Further to check the mischief, if the weather be hot and dry, give the trees
a smart watering all over the branches. A garden-engine will perform the watering much
more effectually than a common watering-pot, as it discharges the water in a full stream
against the trees. Apply it two or three times a week ; the best time of the day is the
afternoon, when the power of the sun is declining. These waterings will clear the leaves,
branches, and fruit, from any contracted foulness ; refresh and revive the whole consider-
ably ; and conduce greatly to exterminate the vermin."

310-2. IPPhail directs, when the plants have begun to expand their blossoms and leaves, and the aphis, or
green insect, makea its appearance, to fill the house full of tobacco-smoke once a week, or oftener. If there
be any appearance of mildew, dust a little sulphur on the infected parts ; and if the gum or canker be seen
on the shoots on any part of the trees, open the bark, and cut out the dying wood. Inspect the trees in
every part minutely, and if you perceive the bark dying, or the gum oozing out of any part of them, cut off*
the bark as far as it is dead or decaying ; and if the branches be strong, that vou cannot well effect it with
your knife, take a chisel with a semicircular edge, and a mallet, and cut out the wood as far as you see it is
affected ; you need not be afraid of hurting the tree, even if the branches or main stem are cut half away.
I have cut sometimes more than half of the stems of standard trees away from the ground farther up than
where the branches began to separate, which was the means of saving them alive. This method exposes
the old wood to the sun and air, by which it is dried, and the tree is thereby assisted in casting off" the
unwholesome juices, or those kept in it too long for want of a more dry, genial climate. {Gard. Rem. 131.)

3103. Mitchel, of Montcrieff House, Perthshire, hangs on his peach-trees, when the fruit are ripe, " large
white glass phials, with a little jam or jelly in them, in order to entice large black flies, which he finds
very destructive to peaches. 'Wasps he destroys by finding out their nests in the day, marking them with
a stick ; and going in the evening with a lantern and candle, he introduces a burning stick, smeared with
wet gunpowder, which stupifies the wasps. He then pours water over them, and with a spade works up the
nest, earth, and water, into a sort of mortar. Nests on trees or hedges he stupifies by the wet gunpowder,
which causes the wasps to fall nearly dead, when he crushes them, &c." (Caled. Hort. Trans, vol. i. 194.)

3104. Xicol strongly recommends watering for keeping down insects, especially the red spider. If the green
fly or thrips make' their appearance, recourse must be had to fumigation. Shut the house close up at
night, and fill it so full of tobacco-smoke that one person cannot see another. If this should be repeated
the next evening, they will be completely destroyed. Calm weather is most favorable for this operation.
" The coccus and chermes," he says, " are not so immediately hurtful, and unless very numerous, need
not be much minded at this season ; but they must be more particularly attended to at the time of pruning
in November. The males, which have wings, and are active, will be dislodged by the operations of the
engine ; and the females, which are stationary, and adhere to the shoots and branches, if very numerous,
may readily be crushed by the finger, or by a small flattish stick, that can easily be insinuated into the
angles of the branches, where they often lodge." (Kal. 340 358.)

3105. Xicol and Abercrombie recommend that in November, when the winter pruning is finished, the
pk.nts und trellis should be anointed with the composition recommended for vines. (3061.)

310G. Ripening the fruit. Knight finds that neither peaches nor nectarines ac-
quire pei fection either in richness or in flavor, unless they be exposed to the full in-
fluence of the sun during their last swelling, without the intervention of the glass. In
consequence, he says, some gardeners take off the lights wholly before the fruit begins
to ripen ; but he recommends taking them off only in bright sunshine, and putting them
on during rain, and at night to protect the fruit from dews, &c. " When the fruit
begins to ripen, which will be about the second week in July, I gradually expose the
house to the open air on fine and dry days, by drawing down the lights as much as
convenient in the day, and shutting them again in the evening. It is this which gives
the fruit both flavor and color." (Hort. Trans, v. 61.)

3107. Gathering the fruit. M'Phail advises laying moss or some soft material over
the borders, to save those which drop off of themselves. Nicol recommends the peach-
gatherer. (Jig. 148.) Sir Joseph Banks, quoting from a French author, states, that
" Peaches are never eaten in perfection, if suffered to ripen on the tree ; they should
be gathered just before they are quite soft, and kept at least twenty-four hours in

O o


tho fruit-chamber." {Hort. Trans, vol. i. App.) Williams, of Pitmaston, says,
Should the season prove wet when the peaches are ripe, they should be gathered, and
placed for about two days in a dry airy room before they are eaten." {Hort. Trans.
vol. ii. p. 113.) , . . <

3108. Ripening the wood. Abercrombie says, " On account of the fruit of most sorts
of peaches ripening somewhat earlier than grapes, and the growth of the shoots stopping
sooner than the summer- wood of vines, it is not so often necessary to assist the plant,
in September or October, by artificial heat ; but in some of the late kinds, if, by the
time the external air is down to 60 degrees, the shoots have not taken a greenish-brown
tint as high as several eyes from the origin, and if the blossom-buds on these, round
when full swelled, are not distinguishable from the oblong wood-buds, apply a little
fire-heat, and continue it till the leaves fall."

3109 Nicol directs attention to be had to the ripening of the wood of peach-trees in September. A little
fire-heat may be necessary fully to mature the shoots, especially of young trees. " Fire-heat should be
continued till the growth of the smaller and middle-sized shoots stop, their bottom parts become greenish-
brown, and the buds upon them, that is, the flower-buds, appear turgid, and be distinguishable from the
wood-buds The stronger and more extreme shoots of the dwarfs in particular will continue to grow
later than the above shoots ; which, as they are to be considerably shortened back in November, for the
production of wood to fill the trellis next season, is not very material, provided the bottom part be pretty
well hardened."

3110. Resting the wood. The management of the peach-house, when at rest, Aber-
crombie says, " Should be nearly the same as for the grape-house, except when there is
but one set of frames to serve both an early peach-house and late grape-house ; in which
case, as soon as the young wood of the vines is perfectly ripened, the glasses should be
brought back to the peach-house ; for although the fruit of the grape is to be set and
ripened in a higher heat, the peach-tree, as a plant, is more tender than the vine ; and
independently of forcing, comes into blossom about two months sooner."

3111. WPhail keeps on the glasses from the time the fruit is gathered till he begins to force, in order to
keep the wood dry ; bujt gives them all the air he can. (Gard. Remem. 367.)

3112. Nicol exposes the house fully day and night, only shutting up in the time of heavy rains.
(Kal. 420.)

3113. Forcing peaches and nectarines by dung-heat. The following mode is practised
at Dagnam Park : " The house is seventy feet long by eleven feet wide, the front wall
being five feet and a half deep from the bottom of the lights, the depth from the roof
(there being no upright lights in front) to the ground : about three feet and a half of
the bottom of this wall in open brick -work, with a flue in the inside, the top of which
is covered with plain tiles. The inside of the house is filled up with earth to within two
feet of the bottom of the lights, and the trees planted as near as possible to the front
wall, and trained under the lights or wires, in the same way as vines. The back wall of a
pine-pit is built of the same height as the front of the peach-house, and three feet distant
from it ; this of course forms a space three feet wide for the hot dung. As soon as I wish to
begin forcing, this space is filled with hot dung : the roots being near the flue, soon begin
to feel the warmth, and I sometimes take off a few tiles from the top of the flue, so as to
admit the steam from the hot dung into the house ; I find this of great advantage, and
productive of no ill effects, until the leaf-bud begins to expand, and if the stream is not
then perfectly sweet and moderate, the places left to admit it must be secured. You
will of course observe, that while this hot dung lining is forcing the peaches and nec-
tarines, it is assisting to work the pines in the pine-pit at the same time, and without any
additional expense, there being also a lining at the front of the pine-pit, as well as this
one at the back ; and when it has become cooled by frequent turnings, I either make
cucumber-beds of it, or take it inside the peach-house or vinery. For these five years
past, I have never failed in producing an abundant crop of peaches and nectarines by
the above method." (Breese, in Hort. Trans, v. 219.)

3114. Forcing the peach-tree in pots. " All the varieties of the peach and nectarine,"
Abercrombie observes, " are extremely well suited for forcing in large pots or tubs.
Small plants, intended to come in before or after those in the borders, may be excited,
in the first stage, in a distinct house ; so as the temperature of that in which they are
brought to finish fruiting be suited to their progress^ The compost for plants in cradles
ought to be lighter and richer than the mould in the borders." The pots or tubs should
be such as not to contain less than a cubic foot of earth ; the soil should be lighter and
richer than that recommended for the borders, and liquid manure should be plentifully
supplied, to make up, in some degree, for the confinement of the roots. They are best
forced in a peach-house, but succeed in a vinery or succession-stove ; best of all, how-
ever, in a pit or Dutch frame (Jig. 446.), where the temperature can be regulated at
pleasure, and where they are near the glass. Great care must be taken to supply them
regularly with water, for which purpose some place saucers under the pots ; others cover
their surface with moss, or, what is better, fresh cow or rotten horse dung. Casing the
pots with ropes made of moss, is also a very good method, as it not only preserves a uni-


form degree of moisture, but also of temperature. Of course the moss must be kept
watered. Peach-trees, in pots, are sometimes trained to small fan-trellises attached to
the pot ; but in general they are pruned as dwarf-standards, in which fdrm tbey bear
fully better than when trained. When the fruit is nearly ripe, the pots ought to be re-
moved from the hot-house or vinery to a cooler and more airy situation ; or, if in pits,
the sashes may be taken off a part of every fine day. In other respects, the treatment
of peach-trees in pots is similar to that of trees in borders.

3115. Williams, of Pilmaston, observes, that in respect to the quality of fruit from peach-trees in pots,
" by far the best-flavored peaches I have ever tasted, were from trees planted in large pots, and kept in a
vinery from February tiU the first week in June ; when the trees were removed into the open air, and
after being shaded a little from the sun for the first ten days, were placed in the most open part of the
garden till the fruit became ripe. Treated in this way, the peach becomes beautifully colored on the out-
side, and of a most exquisite flavor." Occasionally, in very warm seasons, peach-trees in pots, when
forced very early in the season, and afterwards plunged in the open air, will produce a second crop late
in autumn; but this is more matter of curiosity than of utility. It frequently happens with forced
cherries and strawberries. {Hort. Trans, iii. 367.)

3116. Peach-trees as standards. The peach bears remarkably well in the standard
form, planted in the middle of a house ; and the flavor of the fruit is universally ac-
knowledged to be preferable to that grown on the trellis, from the comparatively free cir-
culation of air. The glass tent, or moveable house {Jig. 226. ), might be most advan-
tageously applied in this way ; and when the fruit began to ripen, the sashes could be
removed, and applied to ripening a late crop of grapes against a common wall, or
to cover pits or houses which had not been forced.

Sect. IV. Oftlie Culture of the Cherry-house.

3117. Nbjrtdt is more difficult to force than the cherry. The blossoms of forced trees
are apt to fall off before the fruit is set, and the fruit will keep falling off before and
after they are as large as peas. Gardeners think this occasioned by a kind of stagnation
of air about them, which affects the tender blossoms and young fruit.

3118. Soil. M'Phail says, " Take light, sandy, rich, mellow earth, and make a border
of it the whole width of the house, and four feet deep." Nicol " The border should be
from twenty-four to thirty inches deep ; the bottom, if not naturally mild and dry, to be

Online LibraryJ. C. (John Claudius) LoudonAn encyclopaedia of gardening; comprising the theory and practice of horticulture, floriculture, arboriculture, and landscape-gardening, including all the latest improvements; a general history of gardening in all countries; and a statistical view of its present stat, with suggestions for its future → online text (page 131 of 313)