John Jacobs Thomas.

The American fruit culturist, containing directions for the propagation and culture of fruit trees, in the nursery, orchard, and garden, with descriptions of the principal American and foreign varieties, cultivated in the United States online

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Online LibraryJohn Jacobs ThomasThe American fruit culturist, containing directions for the propagation and culture of fruit trees, in the nursery, orchard, and garden, with descriptions of the principal American and foreign varieties, cultivated in the United States → online text (page 26 of 31)
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shrivelling on the tree. Shoots smooth, resembling those
of the Green Gage. A spurious sort is often dissemi-
nated.

Red Apricot. (Syn. Abricotee Rouge.) Size medium,
oval, flattened at ends ; stalk nearly an inch long, cavity
slight ; skin clear red in the shade, violet in the sun ;
bloom blue, copious ; flesh orange, sweetish, rather dry
and insipid. Season medium. Shoots smooth. French.

RED GAGE. Medium or rather small, round-ovate, brown-
ish-red, stalk rather slender, cavitv narrow; flesh green-



THE PLUM. 34

ish-amber, juicy, melting, rich, mild sweet, free from the
small stone ; flavor unusually pleasant and refreshing
Rather early. Shoots dark reddish, smooth ; leaves o

E>ung trees deep green, crimpled. Origin, Flushing
ong Island,

Red Perdrigon. Medium in size, roundish, slightly oval
skin deep red ; bloom thick, lilac ; stalk an inch long
cavity small, round ; flesh bright yellow, slightly crisp
juicy, sweet. Season medium or rather late. Shoots
downy.

ROYALE. (Syn. Royal, La Royale.) Size medium, some
times rather large, round, slightly narrower towards the
base, or approaching obovate ; suture distinct on one side
at apex; skin reddish-purple, bloom very thick; stalk
three-fourths of an inch long, cavity narrow ; flesh dull
yellow, rather firm, melting, juicy, rich, of excellent fla-
vor. Ripens first of autumn. Shoots very downy, growth
slow, tree spreading, moderately productive. French.

ROYALE HATIVE, or "AKLY ROYAL." (Syn. Mirian.) Size
medium, roundish, slightly wider at base ; skin light
purple, stalk half an inch long, stout, scarcely sunk ; flesh
amber yellow, with a rich, high flavor, nearly free from
the small, flattened, ovate stone. Very early. Resembles
Purple Gage, but a month earlier. Shoots very downy.
French. New. Rare.

De Montfort, according to Rivers, is much like Royale Ha-
tive, but larger, and later.

Section III. Fruit small.

Blue Gage. (Syn. Azure Hative, Black Perdrigon.) Small,
round, dark blue, bloom light blue ; stalk -three-fourths
of an inch long ; flesh greenish, juicy, sub-acid, pleasant ;
rather early, shoots slender, downy ; tree very productive.
Different varieties appear to be described by Prince, Coxe,
and Downing, under this name, none of which are high-
ly commended.

C.heston. (Syn. Violet Diaper.) Rather small, oval, dark
purple ; bloom blue ; stalk quite short, not sunk ; flesh
firm, sweetish, pleasant; early; shoots downy.



342 THE PLUM.



Damson. (Syn. Common Darnson, Early Damson,

Damson, Blue Damson.) Small, oval, (an inch long,)
purple, bloom thick, blue ; melting, juicy, sub-acid, part-
ly free from stone. Early autumn. Profusely productive.

The Sweet Damson is less acid. The Winter Damson is
small, round, purple, bloom copious, with an acid, slight-
ly astringent flavor ; it bears enormous crops, which hang
uninjured till late in autumn. The Damson makes good
preserves. There are several sub-varieties.

Elfrey. Rather small, oval, blue ; flesh greenish, very
sweet, dry, firm, very free from the stone; shoots smooth,
leaves glossy. Very productive. Not so good as Or-
leans.

HOWELL'S EARLY. Kather small, oval, .slightly angular,
suture obsolete ; skin light brown, often greenish-yellow
in the shade ; bloom thin, blue ; stalk three-fourths of
an inch long, slender, not sunk ; flesh amber-colored,
juicy, sweet, perfumed, free from the small, oval stone.
Quite early, ripening a little before the Morocco and Ear-
ly Orleans. Shoots slender, grey, downy ; tree very pro-
ductive. Newburgh, N. Y.

Judson. Rather small, roundish, slightly oval, base a little
flattened, suture indistinct ; surface a handsome damask
or pink, slightly mottled ; stalk one inch long, slender,
cavity small, rather deep; flesh juicy, rich, vinous, high-
flavored, free from the rather large stone. Ripens a few
days before the Green. Gage. Origin, Lansingburgh, N.
Y. New.

Queen Mother. Small, round, an inch in diameter, dark
purplish red ; stalk half an inch long ; flesh yellowish,
sweet, rich, free from the quite small stone. Rather late
Shoots smooth, growth, rather feeble.

SCHENECTADY CATHERINE. Size small or nearly medium,
roundish, slightly narrowed- to the apex; suture rather
shallow ; skin deep purple-violet in the shade, slightly
netted on the sunny side ; stalk three-fourths of an inch
long, slender, cavity deep, narrow; flesh greenish-yellow,
melting, sweet, rich, excellent, next to the Green Gage



THE PLUM. 343

in quality, and ripening at the same time. Shoots rather
slender, smooth. Origin, Schenectady, N. Y. New.
This is a quite distinct variety, often reproducing itself
from seed, not perceptibly varying from the parent.



CLASS II. FLESH ADHERING TO THE STONE.
Section L Fruit large.

Brevoort's Purple. (Syn. New-York Purple.) Large', oval,
suture distinct at base; skin reddish, with a violet bloom;
stalk three-fourths of an inch long, cavity deep, nar-
row ; flesh soft, juicy, sub-acid, moderately rich, second-
rate. Season medium. Shoots long, smooth ; tree pro-
ductive. Origin, New- York.

Duane's Purple. Very large, oblong-oval, longer on one
side; slightly narrowed towards the base ; skin reddish
purple, bloom lilac ; stalk three-fourths of an inch long,
slender, cavity narrow; flesh juicy, moderately sweet, of
second-rate flavor, adhering mostly to the stone. Rather
early, ripening with the Washington. Shoots very dow-
ny, leaves large, downy beneath. Popular from its large
size and handsome appearance. Origin, Duanesburgh,
N.Y.

Goliath. Large, roundish oblong or oval, enlarged on one
side ; skin deep red, approaching blue or purple ; bloom
thin, blue ; stalk half or three-fourth's of an inch long,
cavity very deep, distinct ; flesh yellowish, mostly adher-
ing to the stone, juicy, coarse, sub-acid. Season medium.
Shoots grey, very hairy, leaves narrow. Productive.

Gwalsh. Large, obovate, regular, suture obscure ; skin
rich dark purple, bloom blue ; stalk three-fourths of an
inch long, slightly sunk ; flesh yellow, juicy, sub-acid,
second-rate. Rather early. Shoots nearly smooth. New-
Jersey.

Smith's Orleans. Large, oval, slightly wider at base, a little
irregular, suture deep on one side ; skin reddish-purple,
becoming very dark, bloom deep blue ; stalk small, slen-
der ; cavity narrow, deep ; flesh deep yellow, slightly

15*



344 THE PLUM.

firm, juicy, rich, nearly first-rate. Shoots vigorous, straight,
glossy reddish purple; leaves dark green, crimpled. Ri-
pens the last week of summer. Productive in nearly all
soils. Long Island.

Hovey considers this identical with Cooper's Plum, of Coxe
and others.

Nectarine. Large, regular, roundish; skin purple, bloom
blue; stalk half an inch long, stout; flesh dull greenish-
yellow, often tinged with red, rather coaree, rich, acid,
partly adhering to the stone. Rather early. Shoots
nearly smooth, leaves broad. Quite distinct from the
Peach Plum of the preceding class.

ROYAL TOURS. (Syn. Royale de Tours.) Large, roundish,
suture deep, half round, one side swollen ; a white de-
pressed point at apex; skin red in the shade, deep violet
in the sun, bloom copious, blue; stalk half to three-fourths
of an inch long, cavity narrow; flesh greenish-white,
rather firm, juicy, rich, high-flavored, adhering closely
to the large, oval, flattened stone. Quite early; shoots
quite downy. Valuable for its earline^s and good quali-
ty. The genuine sort is very rare. French.

Sectw?i II. Fruit medium in size.

BLUE IMPERATRICE. (Syn. Imperatrice.) Size, medium,
obovate, narrowed to the base in a somewhat obconic
neck; skin deep purple, bloom copious, blue; stalk three-
fourths of an inch long, slightly sunk ; flesh greenish-
yellow, rather firm, not juicy, rich, sugary; ripening very
late, and hanging till nearly winter.

The variety known erroneously as the Se?nia?ia or Blue Im-
pcratrice of Boston, and disseminated as such, differs from
the true Imperatrice in its shorter and smaller neck, much
shorter and not sunk stalk, and more acid flavor. It is
very productive, and a good very late culinary sort.

Blue Perdrigon. (Syn. Violet Perdrigon.) Medium in
size, oval, slightly narrowed at base, skin reddish, be-
coming purple, with many brown dots j bloom whitish,
very copious ; stalk three-fourths of an inch long, cavity



THE PLUM. 345

small ; flesh greenish-yellow, rather firm, rich, sweet,
good. Season medium. Shoots downy.
Corse's Admiral. Medium or rather large, oval, slightly
obovate, much larger on one side ; skin light purple, with
yellow specks ; bloom pale lilac ; stalk three-fourths to an
inch long, hairy, slightly sunk; flesh greenish-yellow,
juicy, sprightly, second-rate. Rather late. Productive.
Shoots quite downy. Origin, Montreal.
Corse's Field Marshal. Medium or rather large, oval,
bright purplish red, handsome ; stalk rather slender,
three-fourths of an inch long, slightly sunk; flesh green-
ish-yellow, juicy, sub-acid, adhering closely to the long,
pointed stone. Season medium. Origin, Montreal.
Domine Dull. (Syn. German Prune, of some.) Size me-
dium, long-oval, suture very obscure; skin very dark purple,
bloom blue; stalk three-fourths of an inch long, scarcely
sunk ; flesh juicy, becoming dry, rich, sweet, good. Pro-
fusely prod active. Rather late. Origin, Kingston, N. Y.
ICKWORTH IMPERATRICE. Medium or rather large, obovate,
purple, with irregular streaks of fawn color ; stalk me-
dium ; flesh greenish-yellow, sweet, juicy, rich, mostly
adhering to the rather small stone. Very late, keeping
into winter, becoming dryer and sweeter. Shoots smooth.
English.

LOMBARD. (Syn. Ble'ecker's Scarlet.) Size medium, some-
times rather large,
round-oval, slightly flat-
tened at ends, suture
obscure ; skin violet
red; stalk very slen-
der,half to three-fourths
of an inch long, cavity
broad; flesh deep yel-
low, pleasant, not rich,
but of fine quality. Ra-
ther early or medium
in . season, ripening a
week or two before the
end of summer. Har-

264 Frost Gage. Fig. 265 Lombard or , .._ ,,

Blacker', Scarlet, dy, very prolific, well




346 THE PLUM.

adapted to light soils, valuable. Shoots thrifty, quite
smooth or glossy, bright purple ; leaves much crumpled.
Origin, Albany, N. Y.

This is a strongly fixed variety, and has in many instances
produced seedlings very closely resembling itself.

Long Scarlet. (Syn. Scarlet Gage, Red Gage erroneously.)
Size medium, oblong-obovate, elongated, one side swol-
len, base narrow ; skin bright red, bloom fine lilac ; stalk
three-fourths of an inch long, cavity narrow ; flesh deep
yellow, acid, becoming rather rich and sweet, of second-
rate flavor, but makes beautiful bright red jelly. Season
medium. Shoots downy. Orange co., N. V.

Peoly's Early Blue. Size medium, oblong, suture very ob-
scure ; skin dark blue, bloom light blue; stalk short;
flesh yellow, pleasant, second-rate, adhering partially to
the bluntly terminated stone. Early. Snoots very
downy. Mass.

Suisse. (Syn. Prune Suisse, Swiss Plum, Simiana, Mon-
sieur Tardif.) Medium or rather large, round, suture
broad, shallow ; a sunk point at apex ; skin lively violet
red, thickly dotted, and slightly marbled ; bloom blue,
copious ; stalk three-fourths to an inch long, cavity wide ,
flesh crackling and melting, flavor brisk, rich, slightly
sharp, adhering to the thick, rough-edged stone. Quite
late. Shoots smooth. Distinct from the " Semiana," of
Boston.

Section III. Fruit small.

American Wheat. Quite small, globular, pale blue, bloom
white, stalk slender, half an inch long, flesh greenish,
melting, juicy, sweet, second-rate, dropping when ripe.
Season, medium. Very productive. Shoots slender,
smooth, leaves small, light colored. Mass.

Cherry. (Syn. Early Scarlet, Myrobolan.) Small, (one
inch diameter,) round, remotely heart-shaped, bright red,
bloom faint; stalk shott and slender; cavity narrow;
flesh juicy, slightly fibrous, soft, melting, sub-acid, not
rich, second-rate, adhering to the oval, pointed stone.



TH5 PLUM. 347

Ripens very early or about midsummer, its only value.
This is a distinct species, (Prunus cerasifera,) and is
distinguished by its smooth, slender shoots, small bushy
head, and narrow leaves. There are several varieties.
The Golden Cherry Plum, (Market Plum, of Hoffy,) is
heart-shaped, yellow, speckled with scarlet in the sun,
productive, and slightly earlier than the common cherry
plum.

J arly Tours. (Syn. Precoce de Tours, Early Violet.) Me-
dium or small, deep purple, bloom copious, blue ; stalk
half an inch long, cavity narrow ; flesh dull yellow,
slightly fibrous, rather sweet, melting, good. Quite ear-
ly. Shoots downy.

FROST GAGE. Rather small, round-oval, suture distinct on
one side ; skin deep purple, bloom thin ; stalk half to
three-fourths of an inch long, scarcely sunk ; flesh juicy,
sub-acid, becoming sweet, melting, of fine but not of the
highest flavor ; very valuable from its hardiness, late ma-
turity, and great productiveness. Shoots smooth, rather
slender ; tree tall, upright. Eighteen hundred dollars,
says Downing, were received by a single farmer near
Newburgh, for one year's crop of this plum.



ADDITIONAL VARIETIES.

Muscle. Fruit oblong, dark red, stone large, flesh thin, of
poor flavor. This plum is used only for stocks.

Sloe, (Prunus spinosa.) Fruit small, nearly globular, dark
violet, bloom thick, flesh very acid and powerfully astrin-
gent. A large shrub, ten or twelve feet high, thorny ;
flowers abundant, ornamental. The double flowering is
rather smaller, and more beautiful. Some writers, with
too much poetical freedom, speak of the common plum,
(Prunus domestica,) as an ameliorated sort from the
" austere sloe," which being a distinct species, such a
change is impossible.

Red Chicasaw. (Pntnus Chicasa.} Small, roundish, light
red, flesh melting, soft, pleasant. Ripens soon after mid-



248 THE PLUM.

irummer. Another variety produces yellow fruit. Tree
low, spreading-, bushy, thorny; leaves narrow-lanceolate,
somewhat in shape like those of a peach. A native of the
Western States.

Wild Red or Yellow Plum. (Prunus americana.} There
ate many w;ld varieties of this species, the fruit varying
from roundish to oval, and presenting various shades of
color, mostly light red. Some have a pleasant, rich,
sweet, or sub-acid pulp. Tree 10 to 15 feet high, leaves
ovate, coarsely serrate, branches somewhat thorny. Ri-
pens latter part of tummer. The quality of the fruit is
improved by cultivation. It is sometimes used as stocks
for the plum and aprico.t.

The Beach Plum. (Prunus maritima.} Fruit nearly me-
dium in size, varying from reddish to dark purple, plea-
sant, astringent. A shrub with stout straggling branches;
leaves oblong-ovate. A native of the sea-coast of the
northern and middle states.



CHAPTER VII.



THE CHERRY.



PROPAGATION. The cultivated varieties of the cherry con-
sist of two distinct classes of sorts ; the first comprising the
Mazzards, Hearts, and Bigarreaus, is characterized usually
by the tall upright growth and pyramidal form of the tree,
by the large, vigorous, and straight young branches, and by
a sweet or bitter, but not a sour taste. The second class, or
round-fruited, including the Dukes, Morellos, and the com-
mon pie cherry, has small, irregular, and thickly growing
branches, and a decidedly acid fruit. Observation will
soon enable any one to distinguish these two classes, even
where the trees are not more than a foot in height. It is
the former only that are valuable as stocks for grafting and
budding, on account of their straight and rapid growth.*

The stones, as soon as they are taken from the fruit,
should be dried only enough to prevent mouldiness, and
then mixed with an equal quantity of clean moist sand.
This will preserve a proper degree of moisture, and allow
the easy separation of the stones in planting. The best way
to keep them till spring, is to bury them in shallow pits on
a dry spot of ground, covering them with flat stones and a
few inches of earth.

The seed may be planted in autumn or spring. If in au-
tumn, the ground should be dry, and entirely free from all
danger of becoming flooded or water-soaked. Unless the soil

* Attempts are not unfrequently made to propagate the common cherry on the
wild Black Cherry, (Cerasus virginiana,) or on the Choke Cherry, (C. serotina.)
Such attempt* prove to be failures, the sorts being too dissimilar in their natures to
favor union. These two species, it will be observed, have racemose inflorescence,
while in the cultivated cherry the flowers are simply in fascicles or umbels. Some of
the wild species, (as the Sand Cherry, C. pubescent,) having the latter kind of inflo-
rescence, have been successfully used as slock?, and their adoption might possibly
prove useful at the south and west, where the Heart cherries fail.



550 THE CilERKY.

is quite light, the seeds should be covered with black mould
to prevent the formation of a hard crust upon the surface
Vvhich would prevent the young plants from breaking through
But. usually, spring is the best season, if the planting k.
done the moment the frost is out of the ground ; for th&
seeds sprout and grow on the first approach of warm wea-
ther. The distance should be the same as for the peach
ahd apple ; and nearly the same directions are applicable to
their management in the nursery rows.

Good seedlings, averaging a foot and a half high, maybe
transplanted from the seed beds when a year old, and if well
cultivated in good soil, may be budded the same season.
Where the buds fail, the trees may be grafted the following
spring.

Bud.ding can only succeed with thrifty, freely growing
stocks, and with well matured buds. About the time, or a
little after the most vigorous stage of growth, or just as the
terminal buds on the shoots commence forming, is the most
successful period. If earlier, the buds will usually be too
soft ; if later, the bark will not peel freely, nor the Luds ad-
here well. This period usually commences about mid-sum-
mer, and continues, under the various influences of season
and soil, for two or three weeks, and sometimes more than
a month. Success will be found to depend also upon cut-
ting out with the bud, a larger portion of the wood than
common with other budding, or equal to at least one-third
the diameter of the shoot. This will be found particularly
useful where the buds are slightly immature, retaining in
them a larger portion of moisture, and preventing their
.curling off from the stock. .

Great difficulty is often experienced in successfully graft-
ing the cherry. It succeeds well, if performed very early in
the spring, before the slightest swelling of the- buds, and
before the frost has disappeared from the ground. After
this period it is greatly liable to failure.

In propagating the slower-growing, round-fruited varie-
ties, good trees are often soonest obtained by grafting or
budding them at standard height into large straight stocks.
If grafted, they soon form a handsome head; if budded,



THE CHERRY. 35*

care must be taken by judicious pruning to prevent the
young 1 shoots from growing ail on one side.

Pruning the cherry- except ti form the head, is rarely
needed. When necessary, midsummer is found to be the
most favorable season, and least attended with the exudation
of gum.

SOIL.

In the northern states, the cherry being a very hardy tree,
will thrive in nearly all good soils. But a dryer soil than
for most other species is found preferable ; a sandy or
gravelly loam is best. In wet pjaces, or on water-soaked
sub-soils, it does not flourish, and soon perishes.

DWARF CHEBRIES.

These are, as yet, cultivated to a limited extent in this
country. They are chiefly adapted to village gardens, or
other grounds of limited extent, as they may be set as near
each other as five or six feet. They may be easily covered
with netting, and thus protected from the birds, and what
is most rare and desirable, the fruit permitted to remain un-
til fully ripe, so important to the flavor of all cherries of an
acid character.

The stocks used for this purpose are the " Perfumed
Cherry " or Prunus Mahaleb, which also possesses the ad-
vantage of flourishing on heavy clay ground. The grafts
will usually grow quite vigorously for two or three seasons,
but they soon form dwarf, prolific bushes ; their branches
being so pruned that seven, nine, or more, may come out
from the centre of the plant, like a well-managed goose-
berry bush. These branches will put forth, early in sum-
mer, as in the horizontal shoots of pyramidal pears, several
shoots at their extremities, all of which must be pinched
off to within two or three buds of their base, leaving the
leading shoots untouched till near the close of summer,
when they must be shortened to eight or ten buds. The
Heart and Bigarreau cherries maybe left of one-half great-
er length than the Dukes and Morellos, which are of smaller
habit of growth; -and where the space is small, the trees
may be root-pruned and kept within a very limited space.*

* Rivers' Miniature Fruit Garden.



352



THE CHERRY.



The cultivation of dwarf cherries would greatly facilitate
the use of net screens for covering entire orchards, as some-
times practiced in Holland and England. The boundary
fence is made of wire (or wood) lattice, so as to exclude
small birds. At regular distances, through the enclosed
area, are inserted into the earth, wooden or tile sockets for
the reception of poles or props to support the net. These
poles have a small circular board each nailed on their tops,
to prevent injury to the netting. The boundary fence is
supplied with hooks, to which the net is readily attached.
When the cherries begin to ripen, it is elevated on several
of the poles, each carried, by a man, and spread over the
garden, the rest of the poles being easily inserted in their
sockets afterwards. All birds are thus completely excluded.
During rain or dewy evenings, the net is stretched to its ut-
most extent, as indicated by the dotted lines- in the annexed
figure :

Fig. 266.




Birds excluded from miniature cherry orchard by net screen.

In dry weather, it is slackened, and forms a festooned vault
over the whole cherry garden. Its durability is increased
by soaking it in tan once a year.* Ten square rods of
ground, comprised within a circle of fifty-nine feet in diam-
eter, would contain forty dwarf cherry "trees at eight feet
distance, or ninety trees at five feet distance.

THE DISEASES AND ENEMIES,

To which the cherry is liable at the North, are few arid not
formidable. After the young trees are procured, they are
consequently of remarkably safe and easy cultivation.

There are, however, some varieties which are liable to
black excrescences on the branches, which, gradually increas-
ing and extending, destroy the tree. The only means of
arresting their progress, and which, when vigorously and

* London's Sub. Hort.



THE CHERRY. 353

unremittingly applied, does not fail, is to cut off the injured
branches at once, and commit them to the fire.

The Hack aphis, or plant louse, is often very injurious to
young trees in the nursery, causing a stunted and distorted
growth, and when abundant on newly grafted trees, some-
limes destroying them.

The best remedy is the application of whale-oil soap. A
teacupful is dissolved in a pail of water, and applied with a
syringe, or by the immersion of the infested branches, which
causes the immediate death of the insects t and must be re-
peated every few days till no more are found.

The " Cherry Slug," (Fig. 267,) when in large numbers,
does serious injury by eating the leaves. This
animal, which appears to be the larva of an
insect, is about half an inch long, and dark
greenish brown when filled with food. Its
smooth, shining, and jelly-like skin, and snail-
like appearance, have given it the name " Slug." It may
be repelled by dusting the cherry leaves regularly, while
wet with dew, with dry fresh ashes.

The curculio, so destructive to the plum and apricot, some-
times injures young fruit. The orchard caterpillar often
defoliates the cherry tree. Remedies have been pointed out
in former chapters.

Sometimes the cherry crop is much lessened by long and
heavy rains, at the period of the bursting of the anthers,
washing down the pollen, and preventing the fertilization of
the stigma and germ.

At the South and West, most of the finer varieties of the
cherry do not flourish. This is supposed to be caused, at
the South, by the hot sun upon the trunk of rapidly grow-
ing and succulent trees, the wood of which does not mature



Online LibraryJohn Jacobs ThomasThe American fruit culturist, containing directions for the propagation and culture of fruit trees, in the nursery, orchard, and garden, with descriptions of the principal American and foreign varieties, cultivated in the United States → online text (page 26 of 31)