Thomas W. (Thomas Warren) Field.

Pear culture. A manual for the propagation, planting, cultivation, and management of the pear tree. With descriptions and illustrations of the most productive of the finer varieties and selections of kinds most profitably grown for market online

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Online LibraryThomas W. (Thomas Warren) FieldPear culture. A manual for the propagation, planting, cultivation, and management of the pear tree. With descriptions and illustrations of the most productive of the finer varieties and selections of kinds most profitably grown for market → online text (page 1 of 18)
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. >-tf>f ami <lr(iun hi/ Mr. L. Btrckman*.

No. 1. Niu. No. 2, FULTON.

No. :<, BKCRRK n' AMAMS. No. 4, DOYKNNI 'Ai.EN< ON.










THE golden-dropping Pear, the reddening glow
Upon the cheek of Beauty, and the Peach,
Hnve common oource and end. The Divst
We till, we are. The nodding flower, the Elm,
Aj-chirig in cloisters and in vaulted aile,
Are man, or boast, or worm, in other forma.

No marble dumb, or crumbling tomb shall rent
Their ple chill wnlls o'er me. The tree I plan
Shall monument my dufit itoelf ilie tree,
Refined in leaf, and fruit, and flower: that when
The immaterial pnrt puts mttor on
Again, it is more fit for Heavn.



fcntered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of 3 1 w fork.

is 00}t is


O TJ I S E_ B Eli O Kl 3^ A. 3NT S,




THE pleasure with which I have, for several years,
pursued the labor of collecting and arranging the matter
of this Book, melts away, as I approach the tribunal which
is to pronounce upon the result of that labor. The Public
which an author fears most is, after all, very small it is
those of his own craft, who will easily discover his failure ;
and it is precisely that small Public whose favor I am
most anxious to deserve. Cardinal DE RETZ once said :
"He who is in good repute among his own order, can
not easily be overthrown."

It is from intelligent Pomologists that I shall receive
censure with the most humility, and praise with the most
gratification ; and it was in hope of earning the latter that
I have oegun and completed this work.

There is so little that is really original in any work,
that the unguarded and jealous critic, in reviewing some
humble author, is in imminent danger of launching his bolt
at some great and standard authority. When charged,
by a critic of such rank, with imperfections, I shall
only be able to answer : " Sir, the best Pomologists
have contributed the most perfect results of their investi-
gations to this work ; and the insensible plagiarism, by
which another's idea is reproduced in my brain, ought not
to create prejudice against the idea," So much of what
is excellent in this work may, by long residence in my
own brain, seem to have had its origin there, that it would


be vain to attempt, at this late hour, a restitution of ideas
to the proper owners. When known or recollected, the
authority whose matter has been quoted is noticed in
the body of the work.

It requires to be distinctly stated, that the plan of this
book does not admit of that extensive description of
varieties which would be desired by an amateur of long
experience in the cultivation of the Pear. Its design is
to answer, in a clear and intelligible manner, the oil-
repeated questions of the novice : " What kinds of Pear
Trees can I plant most profitably ? and how shall I treat
them, to insure a return of the investment ?"

The Author has indulged no higher ambition than to
answer these queries satisfactorily and does not claim the
ability to instruct those experienced Pomologists, whose
lives have been spent in patient investigation of the most
minute phenomena attending the Propagation, the De-
velopment, and the Fruiting of the Pear Tree.

In constant communication with Horticulturists, the
want of a Manual of Pear Culture, so often suggested by
them, originated in my mind the idea of collating the
experience of the best cultivators ; and stimulated by my
own hearty love of the subject, I have executed the work
now offered to the lovers of that noble fruit.

If it shall result in a more intelligent treatment of the
beautiful but dumb companions of the Horticulturist,
and thus obviate much of that disappointment which has
flowed from ignorance of the peculiar requirements of
the Pear Tree, and of the varieties to be selected, the Book
will have performed the office for which it was written ;
and the Author will not regret his work.



Preparation of the Soil Draining Plowing and Cropping the Ground
Trenching Manuring Digging Holes Digging Trees Soils for
Pears Transporting.


The Seedling Planting Seed Obtaining new Seedling Varieties Hy-
bridizing Leaf Blight of Seedlings Propagation by Layers and
Cuttings Quince Stocks Cost of preparing Ground and Planting
Manures for Nursery Stocks Methods of Grafting Budding.


Selecting Pear Trees from Nursery Causes of the Failure of Nursery
Trees Proper Age for Planting Pruning and Root Pruning before
Planting Replanting the Pear to form Fibrous Roots Heeling in
Treatment of Withered Trees Planting Plan of arranging Pear
Grounds Cultivation of the Pear Orchard Mulching Special
Manures for the Pear Invigorating Old Trees Grating Large


Office of the Quince-stock Causes of the failure of the Pear on the
Quince Advantage of the Quince Stock Rules for Growing the
Pear on Quince Double Working.

( vii )



PRUNING. Advantages of Pyramidal Shape Approach Grafting
Pruning to a Bud Renewing the Wood of old Dwarfs Summer
Pinching Fruit Spurs, and Treatment Forms of Training Rules
for Pruning Root Pruning.


DISEASES OF THE PEAR. Winter or Frozen-Sap Blight Signs of the
Disease Insect-Blight Leaf-Blight.


INSECTS INJURIOUS TO THE PEAR. Scolytus pyri Scale Insect The
Pear Slug Caterpillar, Canker, Worm, &c. Means of destroying.


VARIETIES. Conditions which affect the Quality of Fruit Terms
relating to Quality Qualities required for Market Cultivation Vari-
eties for Market Cultivation to be grown on Pear Stocks Varieties
that may be grown on the Quince.


of Pears Thinning Fruit Gathering Marketing Pears Coloring
and Ripening of Summer and Autumn Pears Ripening of Winter
Pears Fruit Rooms Mr. SCHOOLET'S Plan of Fruit-Room Cata-
logue of Native Varieties Catalogue of Foreign Varieties and


"WHILE revolution and conquest were disturbing tho
equilibrium of the political world, during the last
twenty years, bringing dread and terror in their san-
guinary train, another revolution was progressing,
more enduring as it was productive of happiness,
instead of misery.

This was, the revolution in the culture and produc-
tion of everything which the generous earth yields to
man's cultivation ; but more particularly manifested
in the propagation and perfection of fruits.

Our fathers required the whole of their long lives
to eat of the fruit of the tree they planted. But by
the new arboriculture, the youth may pluck fruit
from the tree he planted when a child.

In none of the fruits is this peaceful revolution so
striking as in the culture of the Pear. From the long
period of twenty or thirty years required for the fruit-
ing of the tree, we have deducted more than four-
fifths, and reduced the time to three or four.

The introduction of the French method of propa-
gation upon the Quince stock has given such an


impetus to the cultivation of the Pear, that the sales
from a single nursery in this country reach the enorm-
ous number of half a million trees in one year. It is
undoubtedly true that the propagation of the Pear on
the Quince, by its early production of this noble and
beautiful fruit, will be the source of more unalloyed
pleasure, and more innocent and healthful gratifica-
tion, than any discovery in the arts and sciences for
the last twenty years.

The origin of this method of propagating the Pear
must not be looked for in very recent times as trees
more than a hundred years old" originally upon the
quince stock, may be found growing in France. The
history of its introduction into this country would not
be difficult to trace ; but I have been able only to
ascertain sufficient to induce me to believe, that Mr,
PERKINS, of Boston, was among the first to introduce
it, nearly forty years since ; soon after, MARSHALL P.
WILDER, of Boston, and Mr. MANNING, of Salem ; and
later still, Mr. HOVEY, of Cambridge, commenced the
cultivation of quince-rooted pear trees, which may be
seen in those places more than thirty years of age.

Mr. MANTEL, of Astoria, was for some years in
opposition to Mr. A. J. DOWNING, the earliest advocate
of its general cultivation ; but it was not until within
the last eight or ten years that the planting of the
trees had become very common. Indeed, it is only
within a year or two that the theory was broached,
which governs the whole constitution of the com-
pound tree, viz. : that the office of the Quince is
entirely as root, and not as a trunk.

That we shall arrive at a point of excellence in the


propagation of the Pear which will enable us to dis-
pense even with the Quince in great part, is not
doubted by good pomologists.

In the original introduction of the Pear as a fruit
into this country, the French Huguenots bore a pro-
minent part. In preparing for their exile, they doubt-
less selected the seeds of their best varieties, and
planted them around their homes in the New World.
This is evidenced by the multitude of aged trees
(many of them producing fine varieties) in the im-
mediate neighborhood of their first settlements, par-
ticularly on Long Island and at New Rochelle, in
Michigan and Illinois.

It is not a little curious to observe how the taste
and preference for this fruit has survived in the coun-
tries through which the Huguenots passed in their
flight, or where they temporarily sojourned. Belgium
and Holland have produced more fine varieties, and
more eminent cultivators, of this fruit than all the rest
of the world.

There are many questions relating to the Pear,
which are still little understood, although discussed
for a long time by men of talent. Among these are :
the decline of certain highly-esteemed varieties, which
can no longer be grown in localities where they
formerly ranked as the highest and best ; the excel-
lence of many varieties in particular places, and their
inferiority when grown in others ; the refusal of
some varieties to grow upon the Quince stock.

These, and many other mysteries, which have caused
as much disappointment and chagrin to the cultivator,
from his inability to account for them, as from his


failure to obtain the fruit, cannot, from the limited
character of this work, be discussed at length. The
Pear has proved, by experience, to be adapted to as
wide a range of territory in the United States as the
Apple ; and on the lighter soils of the Atlantic coast,
to be much more productive. We are beginning to
learn, too, what varieties are adapted to special local-
ities and soils ; and amid the great multitude of
excellent kinds, it will not be difficult to find some
that will succeed, with ease, in the most unfavorable

We are not confined now, as formerly, to a single
variety, that ripened in August or September, whose
evanescent excellence vanished in a day or two ; but
by a skillful selection of varieties, we extend the enjoy-
ment of this king of fruits over a period of eight
or nine months or from August to May.

A great advance has also been made in the quality
of the fruit ; for in place of the dry and mealy Sugar-
Pear, the insipid Jargonelle, and the griping Winter-
Bell, we have obtained the Flemish Beauty, the
Duchesse, and the Easter Beurre.

That we shall continue to make great progress in
the knowledge of varieties, their propagation and
improvement, can hardly be doubted, as long as such
intelligent and enthusiastic men as DOWNING, WILDER,
continue to cultivate the Pear. To them the pomolo-
gists of this country owe a large debt of gratitude ;
and to them I am indebted for much that is valuable
in this treatise.


To the tree-planter, the author would say, in the
commencement of this treatise, as its most important
and best fortified proposition : that the most complete
and thorough preparation of the soil is by far the
most economical and productive.

Let none, therefore, be deterred from its performance
by the labor of preparation, as its neglect will per-
petually . remain a source of regret. Defects or
neglect in this matter can never be entirely remedied
by any future nursing or manuring. The thorough
pulverization, deepening, and mixing of the soil before
planting, will insure a healthy and vigorous growth,
which the best subsequent system of manuring, trim-
ming, and cultivation, can never equal.

The satisfaction and delight that one feels in grow-
ing a beautiful tree, are enhanced by the knowledge
of having been the instrument in supplying a soil and
cultivation intelligently adapted to its perfection.

The nurseryman is called upon to answer no ques-
tion oftener than the vexatious query : " How large
holes shall I dig for planting my trees ?" It can only
be answered wisely by saying : "If you have one
hundred trees to plant, dig but one hole for them all


in other words, dig the whole field as thoroughly as
you would the space for a single tree. If tree-
planters would observe this rule, few of them would
suffer the disappointments which often attend trans-
planting. So few persons, however, can find courage
to invest this amount of labor in the mere planting of
a tree, that it is a little to be feared that some will be
disinclined to attempt anything, when so much is
demanded for perfection. To such it can only be
said : " Undertake less than you intended, but per-
form that little in the best manner."

The processes for the important work of thorough
preparation of the soil are : first, Draining ; second,
Plowing and Cropping the Ground; third, Trench-
ing fourth, Manuring.


Thorough drainage has become so much a matter
of faith with intelligent agriculturists, that it is con
sidered almost heresy to doubt its value or necessity
in all soils.

"Without questioning the truth of this extreme doc-
trine, it is sufficient for us to say : that all soils, pos-
sessing any of the following conditions, must, to
secure a healthy growth of the pear tree, be first
thoroughly drained.

1. Those composed principally of clay.

2. Those which rest on an impervious subsoil.

3. Those generally upon which water remains more
than an hour after rains.

4. Those in which springs, or springy ground ap-


5. Those which lie at the base of a hill at some
distance below the summit.

6. Those which lie so nearly level that, although
porous in their character, do not allow the water to
flow off readily from the surface.

On any of the varieties of soil mentioned, without
draining, the pear tree i-s peculiarly subject to serious
diseases. The winter or -sap blight finds its most
numerous victims upon them, while in the worst con-
ditions of such soils the growth of the tree is slow and
stunted. In soils at all retentive of water, thorough
drainage is the only safeguard against these evils,
and many positions, not suspected of this defect, will
be found upon examination to be sadly in need of
this remedy.

If the plot of ground lies at the base of a hill, or on
its slope, at some distance below the summit, the
water percolating through the soil from the higher
ground will find its way to the surface along some
saturated strata ; and the least that can be done will
be, to cut a ditch of from four to five feet in depth
along the upper line of the ground, thus intercepting
a part of the descending waters.

This ditch should be laid with tile, or a rude but
effective channel made of rubble stone, and in both
cases should be half filled with the latter, when pro-
curable ; upon which a thick layer of straw should be
placed, and the earth pressed firmly in to fill up the

For more minute directions relating to the condi-
tions of soil requiring drainage, and the various


methods of effecting it, the reader is referred to the
works upon that subject. It is sufficient for this place
to say, that there are but few soils that would not
derive great advantage from thorough under-draining.


When the planting of an orchard can be anticipated
for a year or two, the ground should be prepared by
growing some hoed crop upon it ; as the proper treat-
ment for a good crop of corn, or potatoes, forms an
excellent preparation for the growth of trees. By
this plan, the soil is reduced to a fine tilth, the weeds
are subdued, and if the crop has been well manured,
the ground is rich enough for the first year. If the
soil is clayey, or otherwise retentive of moisture, the
plowing should be performed in the fall, and left
in ridges ; but if at all sandy and light, it should be
left as compact as possible at that time, and not
plowed until spring.

The ground should be double plowed, by turning
a deep furrow, and following in the bottom of that
furrow either with a subsoil or common plow. If
there is such a thing possible as stirring the soil for
eighteen or twenty inches in depth, it should by all
means be accomplished, for this reason : a hole dug in
a soil, more or less compact, is in effect a cistern.
This, while it loses capacity, does not lose any of
its power to retain water, by being filled with loose
Boil, in which a tree is planted. The invigorating
effect of water upon the roots of plants is probably
uearly exhausted in the first few moments of its con-


tact with them, and becomes less and less valuable,
the longer the same particles remain, until it is a cause
of absolute injury.

If the hole, therefore, is dug deeper than the sur-
rounding soil is loosened, the lower part of it will
retain water for an unhealthy action upon the roots
planted in it. But if the earth is loosened over the
whole field, as low as the bottom of the deepest hole,
the drainage from that hole is perfected, and the
otherwise stagnant water will flow oif, provided an
outfall from the field is secured.

An excellent plan for those who are pressed for
time is, to plow five or six furrows, twice deepened,
or subsoiled, in the line where the planting of a row
of trees is intended, and omit the intervening spaces
until a later period. Let these furrows be run, if
possible, in the direction of the slope of the ground,
to act as drains.

Those horticulturists, however, who intend perform-
ing their work in the most thorough manner, should
take this rule as their standard.

Pulverize the soil of the whole field to a depth
greater than the longest roots will be planted, and
this can only be well done by


As frequently performed, the best results of trench-
ing are not attained. The true design of its perform-
ance is, to add to the depth of the soil, without
destroying its capability.

When the fertile earth near the surface is thrown


to the bottom of the trench, and cohered ten to twelve
inches deep with sterile soil, which has never been
aerated by frequent stirring, in contact with the
atmosphere ; either a very large quantity of manure
must be applied, or, with ordinary treatment, some
years must elapse, before the soil can become fertile,
or capable of sustaining trees in a healthy condition.

A trench, two or three feet wide, should be dug to
the proposed depth, across the end of the ground
designed for trenching, and the earth deposited on
the side of the ditch opposite to the space intended
for treatment. The soil thrown up should now be
dressed into an easy slope, so that other earth cast
upon any part of its face will not fall to the bottom
of the trench, but remain where it is placed.

A single spade's-width should now be taken from the
surface soil, and scattered evenly over the sloping
breast of loose earth, forming a layer of three or four
inches in thickness, from the bottom of the trench to
the top of the bank. Over this should be thrown the
next spade's-depth of subsoil, forming a somewhat
thicker layer ; and this again is to be covered with
part of the adjoining surface-earth ; and lastly, over
this is placed the third spade's-depth of subsoil. The
bottom of the trench may now be simply loosened by
the spade, without throwing up the earth, unless it is
determined to trench deeper than two feet. The
manure to be used should now be spread evenly, so
as to form another layer from the top to the bottom
of the sloping bank, and the alternate strati of fertile
earth, barren subsoils, and manure, continued to the


The object to be attained is, so thoroughly to mix,
as well as pulverize, the two soils thrown together, as
to dilute the good earth with the inert ; but it will be
perceived, that they have only interchanged positions,
without commingling.

The layers of soil and manure declining at an angle
of about forty-five degrees, and which now exhibit
their edges at the surface, may be thoroughly inter-
mingled by one or two deep plowings. It will at
once be seen, that a soil deepened in this manner will
demand much more manure than when cultivated to
the ordinary depth.

When the trenching of a plot of ground is finished,
a ditch will remain, which must be filled with the
earth first thrown out at the other extremity of the

The cost of trenching an acre of ground will de-
pend greatly upon the character of the soil, and the
depth it is worked.

The trenching of my own ground may not afford a
fair criterion, but it will furnish a basis by which calcu-
lations may approximately be made of the expense.

The soil was a sandy loam, deepened to an average
of nearly three feet, with the surface earth of the adja-
cent streets, and though very free in its composition,
had been very much hardened by the passage of the
carts in filling.


Plowing, one day $3 00

Seventy-two days' labor, at $1 72 00

One day carting soil from the first trench to the last one, 2 men 3 00
Removing stones thrown out 1 00

$79 00


From some comparison of the amount of labor upon
other grounds, I am convinced that the above would
prove nearly an average cost, although the trenching
of heavier and more stony lands would cost as much
as $100 per acre. "Where the labor of preparing an
acre at once, appeared too formidable a task, a number
of amateurs have practiced the following plan at my
recommendation with good results.

The ground intended for planting is divided into
lour equal parts ; and if the whole plot contains an acre,
and is a square, each fourth will contain almost 11,000
superficial feet, and its four sides be each 105 feet in
length. A more convenient plot, for spacing the trees
accurately, would be, 100 by 110 feet. Extending these
lines to 220 feet by 200 feet would inclose but a trifle
more than an acre.

One of these quarter-acre plots should be thoroughly
trenched and manured, to receive all the pear trees
intended for the entire acre. None of these trees need
be removed before the end of the second year, when
another plot has been prepared for the reception of
every alternate tree in each alternate row. At the
end of the third year, another square having been
trenched, remove every alternate tree from the rows,
which at the last removal were untouched. The origi-
nal square will now contain one half of the whole
number of trees, or double its quota ; and the removal
of every alternate complete row to the fourth unoccu-
pied square, in the fourth year, will place the trees at
equal distances throughout the entire ground. Some-
what more than the exact number of trees necessary
to complete the plan should be planted in the first


year, in order to be able to compensate for the loss of
any, by substituting trees of equal size and vigor.

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Online LibraryThomas W. (Thomas Warren) FieldPear culture. A manual for the propagation, planting, cultivation, and management of the pear tree. With descriptions and illustrations of the most productive of the finer varieties and selections of kinds most profitably grown for market → online text (page 1 of 18)