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 4 of 31)
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three-quarters of the shoot should be buried be-
neath the surface ; and the moisture may be still
?* further retained by a covering of leaves or moss,
^ or by placing them under the shade of a wall or
V close fence. Failure often results from a neglect
to press the soil closely about the cutting.

To procure young plants of the gooseberry and
currant with straight, clean stems at the surface,
and free from suckers, it is only necessary to re-
move every bud except a few at the upper end, fig.
10. The length may be eight inches to a foot.

In propagating the grape, scarce sorts are in-
by single buds with a portion of adhering wood, each
being placed separately in a pot, about
half an inch deep, under glass in a
hot-bed, fig. 11. They are found
to root better when a portion of the
pith is removed by splitting length-
wise, as in fig. 12. The plants from
single buds are weaker in growth,
but are usually better rooted for rais-
ing vines in pots. A similar mode oi
propagation, familiar to all, is adopt-
ed with the potato, the tubers oi
which are only enlarged underground
stems, covered with eyes or buds.


A layer is a low side-shoot
bent down and buried at the
middle in the soil,fig. 13. The
buried portion strikes root,
when it is taken off and plant-
ed separately. Its advantage
over a cutting, is that it is
nourished while the roots are
forming by the parent plant.
Hence many plants which
cannot be increased by cut-

Fig. 11.

Fig. 12.

Fig. 13.


tings, and indeed with great difficulty by budding and graft-
ing, may be propagated readily by layers.

When roots are freely emitted, as from the grape, simply
bending the middle of the branch into the soil is enough to
ensure success. But in cases of difficulty, other expedients
are resorted to; one of the most common is to split a portion
upwards, immediately under a bud, (fig. 14,) which enable?

the newly forming roots to
pass freely and at once into
the soil, without the resistance
of the thick bark which they
otherwise must pierce. Some-
times the branch is cut partly
]F~- off to intercept the downward
passage of the fluids, and in-
duce them to form into roots.
At other times a wire ligature,
or the removal of a narrow

ring of bark effects the same purpose. Burying the layer
several inches under the surface is necessary, to keep it in
moist earth; and in drouth, moderate watering would be
beneficial. A small excavation of the soil at the spot is
convenient ; and when the branch is stiff', it must be fasten-
ed down with a forked stick.

The excavation should be made with a spade. Use both
hands in bending the shoot, so that it may not be bent too
short, and break. If properly done, it will press against the
nearest side of the hole, rest on the bottom, and rise up,
pressing against the opposite side, when it should be fasten-
ed upright, and if necessary, to a small stake. At the time
of bending, a sod or other weight may be laid on to keep it
down till the hole is filled ; and if the mellow earth be
pressed firmly down with the foot, no forked stick will be
usually necessary.

The most favorable state of a plant for layering, is when
the bark is somewhat soft and not too ripe ; and the worst
shoots are those which are stunted, and with a hard bark.
There are however, no shoots whatever, not actually diseased,
that will not root by layers, if sufficient time be given.
Layers, like cuttings, may be made of the ripened wood in
autumn or spring ; or of the growing wood at or a little be-


fore mid-summer, when the part intended to root is some-
what mature and firm in texture. The pear, the apple, and
the quince, if layered early, in the spring- ; or the grape in
summer will usually be well rooted in autumn.

A moist season is the most favorable to the rooting ot
layers, by preserving a softer bark. For this reason, many
plants may be more easily propagated in England than in
the United States ; and more readily in Ireland than in

Layering is largely made use of in propagating the grape,
occasionally for the quince, and sometimes for the apple.
It is also of very extensive application in propagating many
ornamental trees and shrubs.

Suckers may be regarded as spontaneous layers, the new
shoots being sent up' from buds on the roots or portions ol
the stem beneath the surface of the ground. They are the
only mode of multiplying most species of the raspberry.
The runners of strawberries may be regarded as layers or
suckers above ground.


Upwards of twenty different modifications of grafting were
mentioned by the ancient Roman writer, Varro ; and Thouin,
of Paris, has described and figured more than a hundred
kinds. The great number of modes described in books, has
tended rather to bewilder than to enlighten beginners ; the
following remarks, therefore, are more for the purpose ol
laying down reasons on which success depends, than foi
pointing out the peculiar modes of operation, which may be
varied according to convenience, provided attention is given
to the essential particulars.

Propagation by grafting differs mainly and essentially
from increasing by cuttings, by inserting the cutting into
the growing stock of another tree instead of directly into the
soil. The stock thus supplies the sap, as the soil does in
the case of a cutting ; and the graft, instead of making roots
of its own, extends its forming wood downwards, at the in-
ner surface of the bark, into the stock itself. Hence there
are two chief requisites for success : the first, that the graft
be so set in the stock, that the sap may flow upward with-
out interruption; and the second, that the forming wood


may flow downward uninterruptedly through the inner bark.
To effect these two requisites, it is nee<ttu\, first, that the
operation be performed with a sharp knife, that the vessels
and pores may be cut smoothly and evenly, and the two parts
be brought inlo immediate and even contact. Secondly,, that
the operation be so contrived that a permanent and considera-
ble pressure be applied to keep all parts of these cut faces
closely together. Thirdly, that the line of division between
the inner bark and the wood, should coincide or exactly cor-
respond in each ; for if the inner bark of the one sets wholly
on the wood of the other, the upward current through the
wood and back through the bark, is broken, and the graft
cannot flourish nor grow. And, fourthly, that the wounded
parts made by the operation, be effectually excluded from
the external air, chiefly to retain a due quantity of moisture
in the graft, but also to exclude the wet, until, by the growth
of the graft, the union is effected.

1. The first requisite is best attained by keeping a keen,
flat bladed-knife to cut the faces, and another knife for other

2. The second requires that the jaws of the stock in cleft-
grafting, press with some force, but not too much against,
the wedge-shaped sides of the graft. A stock one-third of
an inch in diameter will sometimes do this sufficiently ; but
three-quarters of an inch is a more convenient size. In
whip-grafting, the tongue and slit should be firmly crowded
or bound together.

3. The third requisite is attained by close examination
with the eye.

4. The fourth is accomplished by plasters of grafting-wax
or by the application of grafting-clay. Grafting-wax may
be made by melting together rosin, tallow, and beeswax, in
such proportions as to admit of being easily applied when
softened by warmth, but not liable to melt and run in the
sun's rays. An excellent grafting-wax is made of 3 parts
of rosin, 3 of beeswax, and 2 of tallow. A cheaper composi-
tion, but more liable to adhere to the hands, is made of 4
parts of rosin, 2 of tallow, and 1 of beeswax. But one
of the best and cheapest consists of 1 pint of linseed oil, 1
pound of rosin, and 6 pounds of beeswax. These ingredi-
ents, after being melted and mixed together, may be ap-



plied in different ways. The wax may be directly applied
when just warm enough to run, by means of a brush ; or il
may be spread thickly with a brush over sheets of muslin, 01
thin, tough paper, (" post-office paper" is best,) which are
afterwards, during a cold day, cut up into plasters of con-
venient size for applying ; or, the wax, after cold, may be
worked up, with wet hands, and drawn out into thin strips 01
ribbons of wax, and wrapped closely around the inserted
graft. In all cases success is more certain, when the wax
is closely pressed so as to fit closely to every part, and
leave no interstices ; and it is indispensible that every por
tion of the wound on the stock and graft be totally ex-
cluded from the external air. In cool weather, a lantern,
chafing dish, or hot brick, will be found necessary to soften
the plasters before applying them.



Fig. 15. Fig. 16 Fig. 17. Tig. 18.

The annexed figures represent the two most common
modes of grafting fruit trees ; figs. 15 to 18, representing
successive stages of whip or tongue grafting, from the slop-
ing cut of the scion and stock, to the completion of the ope-
ration by the covering with the wax plaster. Fig. 19 shows
a stock cut off for cleft-grafting with the upright cleft sepa-
rated by an iron or steel wedge, ready for the graft ; fig. 20,
cut wedge-form to fit it; and fig. 21, the graft in its place



Fig. 19

after the wedge has been withdrawn, the projecting angle
of the stock sloped off with a knife, and the whole ready for

the application of the wax.

Whip grafting is particu-
larly applicable to small
stocks, or where the graft
and stock are nearly of equal-
size ; and cleft-grafting to
stocks considerably larger
than the scion. In all cases,
where the lock is in any de-
gree larger, the graft must
be placed towards one side,
so that the line between the
bark and wood may exactly
coincide at one point at least

as in the cross section of cleft-grafting, fig. 22. A
useful implement for the rapid and perfect
performance of cleft-grafting, is described
in the chapter on implements.

There are other modifications of grafting
which are often useful. In saddle gTaJting,
the stock is sloped oft' on each side, giving
it the form of a wedge, fig. 23, a ; the graft is split in the
middle, and each side thinned away
with the knife, as in fig. 23 ft, until
it will closely fit when placed like a
saddle upon it, fig. 24. The most
perfect way to fit the graft, is to
make a long sloping cut from the
outer edge or bark, by drawing the
blade from heel to point, till it reach-
es the centre of the graft ; and then
another similar cut completes the
acu^e cavity for fitting the wedge of
the stock. A sharp, broad, and thin
blade, is needed for this operation.
A wax plaster, drawn closely round
Fi-.24 tne pl ace f union, completes the
work. When the stock and graft
are very nearly of equal size, this is a very perfect mode of

Fig. 22

Fig. 23.



Fig. 25.

grafting, as large corresponding surfaces are made
to fit, and the graft receives freely the ascending

In all these modes of grafting, whenever a wedge
is made to enter a cleft, it should be thickest on
the side where the fit is made between the two
parts, so as to receive the full pressure of the cut
faces at that side, as shown in fig. 22.

A modification of saddle grafting, very suc-
cessful in its results, is thus performed : Late
in spring, after growth has commenced, the scion,
which is much smaller than the stock, is split up,
nearer to one side, more than half its length,
(fig. 25.) The stronger side is then sharpened into
a wedge at its point, and introduced between the bark and
the wood, a slight longitudinal slit beino; made through the
bark of the stock, that it may open slightly and admit the
graft. The thinner division of the graft is fitted to the op-
posite sloping side of the stock. The whole is then cover-
ed with wax. The great length of that portion of the graft
in contact with the bark and fresh wood, greatly facilitates
their union ; while the cut face of the stock is speedily co-
vered with a new growth by that part of the graft which
rests upon it.

In grafting the peach, which, from its large pith and
spongy wood, scarcely ever succeeds as commonly performed,
it is found advantageous in selecting the grafts, to leave a
quarter of an inch of the more compact two years' wood at
the lower extremity.

Root-grafting is performed by taking up the stocks by
the roots, and inserting the grafts immediately into the part
below ground after the tops are cut off, after which they
are again planted out, with the tip of the graft only above
ground. This mode is successful with the apple, and oc-
casionally with other trees, and is adopted on a large scale
by many nurserymen, the work being performed in winter
or early spring within doors, and the grafted roots kept in
cellars till the ground is ready to receive them. It will
be found fully described in the chapter on the apple.

In grafting the plum and cherry, success is found to be
much more certain, when the work is performed very early


in spring, before the buds commence swelling, or even be-
fore the snow has disappeared from the ground. Apples
and pears may be grafted later, and if the scions have been
kept in good condition in a dormant state, they will mostly
grow if inserted after the trees are in leaf.

After a graft is inserted, and as soon as the tree commen-
ces growth, the buds on the stock must be rubbed off, in
order to throw the rising sap into the scion. If large trees
are grafted, the buds need only rubbing off the single branch.
The practice of allowing leaves to expand on the stock near
the point of union, to "draw up the sap," appears to be
founded in error ; for the sap thus drawn up, passes only
into and is elaborated by those leaves, and is again imme-
diately returned to the stock below, without ever reaching
the graft. Each separate branch or portion of the stock,
cannot be nourished by the leaves of an opposite branch, foi
a leafless stump left by pruning off a limb, wholly ceases
growing. In the spring of the year, when the sap vessels
are in a state of impletion, if the sap is permitted to be con-
sumed by side leaves, less will flow towards the inserted
scion. Experience fully confirms this view of the sub-

Where it becomes desirable to preserve rare sorts, which
have been grafted late in spring, a loose wrapper of white
paper round the graft will protect it from the drying and
scorching rays of the sun ; or shrivelling and failure will
often be prevented by covering the whole graft with a wax
plaster ; or by encasing it in moss kept damp by occasional
applications of water.

Grafts are usually cut during the latter part of winter 01
early in spring ; but if well kept they may be taken from
the tree at any time between the cessation of growth in late
summer or autumn, and the commencement of vegetation
in spring. They may be kept safely if buried in moderate
ly moist earth ; the best way is to place them in a box open
downwards, and buried on a dry spot, the scions being kep (
from actual contact with the earth by sticks across the box.
They may also be conveniently preserved in a box of damj
powdered moss ; or still better in moderately moist peat o 1
black muck. Sawdust answers the same purpose, if not ir
large quantities so as to become heated.



Grafts which have become dry, may be restored if the
moisture is applied so gradually that its absorption may re
quire several weeks. In one instance shoots cut early in
autumn, and subjected to thorough drying, were restored to
perfect freshness by the next spring, by wrapping them well
in moss and burying them in a dry spot of ground ; arid be-
ing set, they all grew.

Scions for sending to a distance, are usually packed in
damp moss, saw-dust, or fibrous peat. They may be sent
by mail, within a very small compass, with great safety, by
enwrapping them with oil-silk or thin oil-cloth, drawing it
closely round them to exclude the moisture, by means of
small thread.


Budding consists in introducing the bud of one tree,
a portion of bark and a little adhering wood, beneath
.he bark of another, and upon the face of the newly forming
vvood. It must be performed while the stock is in a state
of vigorous growth. An incision is made lengthwise through
the bark of the stock, and a small cut at right angles at the
top, the whole somewhat resembling the letter T., fig. 26

Fig. 30. Fig. 29. Fig. 27. Fig. 28. Fig. 26.

A bud is then taken from a shoot of the present year's
growth, by shaving off the lark an inch or an inch and a
half in length, with a small part of the wood directly be-
neath the bud, fig. 27. The edges of the bark, at the in-
cision in the stock, are then raised a little, fig. 28, and the


bud pushed downwards under the bark, fig. 29. A band-
age of bass, corn-husk, or other substance, is wrapped round,
covering all parts but the bud. The pressure should be
just sufficient to keep the inserted portion closely to the
stock, but not such as to bruise or crush the bark, fig. 30.
The shoots containing the buds should be cut when so
mature as to be rather firm and hard in texture ; they are
usually in the best condition after the terminal bud has
formed. To prevent withering, the leaves must be imme-
diately cut off, as they withdraw and exhale rapidly the
moisture from the shoot ; about one quarter of an inch oi
the footstalks of the leaves should remain, to serve as handles
to the buds while inserting them, fig. 31. After being
thus divested of leaves, they may be safely kept
a week in a cool damp place, or sent hundreds
of miles in damp moss, or encased separately in
thin oil-cloth.

When by growth, the bandage cuts into the
stock, usually in ten days to three weeks, it must
be removed. The bud remains dormant till the
following spring, when the stock is cut off two
inches or more above it. If cut closer, the end
A j 'j| of the stock becomes too dry, and the bud often
Vfl | perishes. All other buds must be then removed,
and all the vigor of the stock or branch thrown
into the remaining bud, which immediately
*-g commences a rapid growth.

To secure a straight and erect growth, the
new shoot, when a few inches long, is tied to the
Fig. 31. remaining stump of the stock, fig 32. By ano-
ther month, no further support will be needed, and the stump
may be wholly cut away, and the wound allowed to heal by
the rapid formation of new wood.

Buds inserted by midsummer, may be made to grow the
same season by heading down the stock when adhesion has
taken place ; but although often attempted, no advantage
has resulted from this practice, as the growth is compara-
tively feeble, and in consequence of its badly matured wood,
often perishes the following winter. Even where it escapes,
it does not exceed in size at the close of the second season
the straight and vigorous shoots of the spring.



The essential requisites for success in budding, are first,
a thrifty, rapidly growing stock, so that the bark will peel
very freely. Secondly, a proper time ; not too early, when
there is little cambium, or mucilaginous cement between
the bark and the wood, for the adhesion of the bud, nor
too late, when the bark will not peel freely, nor the subse-
quent growth sufficiently cement the bud to the stock.
T.-iirdhj, buds sufficiently mature. Fourthly, a keen flat
knife, for shaving off the bud, that it may lie close in con-
tact upon the wood of the stock. Fifthly, the application ot
a ligature with moderate pressure, causing
the bud to fit the stock closely.

Various modifications have been proposed
for the improvement of budding. One is to
make the cross-cut at the bottom of the long
slit instead of at the top, as the latter is sup-
posed to impede the descent of nourishment.
Another is, to raise the bark all on one side
of the slit, making a small notch in its
edge for the bud, this mode being supposed
to avoid the bad consequences of the muti-
lation of the wood by the knife. But these
modes are both inconvenient, and are found
to possess no advantage in practice ; the
supposed evils they are intended to obviate
being too small to take into account. Making
a square cut from the upper end of the bark
of the inserted bud, so that it may fit in
close contact with the bark of the stock at
the horizontal incision, to receive the re-
Fig. 32. turning sap, though strongly recommended,
has been found of no utility in practice, as the union takes
place wholly between the two faces in contact.

The English practice of taking out the small portion of
wood cut from the shoot, has been found in the climate of
this country not only useless, but really detrimental. In-
deed it often happens that buds of the cherry and other
trees of rather spongy growth and slow adhesion, succeed
much better when a thick portion of wood is taken off with
the bud than otherwise ; the wood in such cases assisting
in the retention of moisture until cemented to the stock.


When stocks are in the best condition, it is unnecessary
to raise the bark any further than to admit the lower point
of the bud, which, as it is pushed downwards, performs this
operation in the most perfect manner. When the bark does
not peel freely enough for this purpose, success becomes
very uncertain.

Budding is performed in summer, grafting in spring, and
both have their advantages. Budding is a simpler opera-
tion, and more successfully performed by a novice. It is
the best means to multiply the peach and nectarine, grafting
very rarely proving successful. It is more rapidly per-
formed, and at a season not crowded with the labors of
transplanting. It admits a repetition the same summer, in
cases of failure, the stocks remaining uninjured. But in all
?ases thrifty stocks are needed, while grafting will succeed
MI those older and less vigorous. Grafting requires less
:are subsequently, as no ligatures need removing, nor stocks
leading down, and may be conveniently employed as a re-
Tfiedy for failures in the previous summer's budding. In
England, where most fruit trees do not make so rapid a
growth as here, budding is less esteemed ; while from the
noisture of the climate preserving grafts from dying, graft-
ng becomes more successful.

Terminal Budding. It sometimes happens, where buds
ire scarce, that the terminal bud on the shoot may be used
o advantage. In this case, the wood is cut sloping down
vards, and the insertion is made as usual, fig. 33, except
that it becomes necessary to apply the
whole of the ligature below the bud.
The buds on small side shoots which are
not more than an inch or two long, may
be successfully used in this way, as the
terminal eyes are stronger than any of
the others. This practice may sometimes
be adopted with much advantage with the
peach, where scions of feeble growth only
can be obtained, as such buds usually es-
cape the severity of winter when most of
the others are destroyed.

Spring budding is successfully.practiced
as soon as trees are in leaf, the buds hav-

Fig. 33.


ing been kept dormant in an ice-house or cool cellar. As
soon as they have adhered, the stock is headed down, and
a good growth is made the same season. Peaches, necta-
rines, apricots, and the mulberry, all very difficult to propa-
gate by grafting, may in this way be easily increased by
budding. If the buds are kept in a cellar, it will be found
very important to preserve with them as unitorm a degree
of moisture as possible, and in as small a degree as will
keep them from wilting.

Annular budding is applicable to trees of hard wood, or
thick or rigid bark, as the walnut, and mag-
nolia. A ring of bark is removed from the
stock, and another corresponding ring, con-
taining the bud, slit open on one side, is made
to fit the denuded space. Fig. 34.

Ti ets which have been girdled in winter by
mice, may be preserved by a process similar
to annular budding, by cutting away evenly
Fig. 34. i^ g nawe d portions, and applying one or
more pieces of bark peeled from the branch of another
tree, so as to restore the connection between the two severed

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 4 of 31)