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 10 of 18)
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balance. But most two-
year-old trees, if previ-
ously neglected, prove
too obstinate in their ac-
quired habit of growth,
to form easily into pyr-
amidal shape. The bark
has become too old for
buds to break from,with-
out cutting so low down
that one may almost
as well begin with bud-
ding the stock, thus go-
ing back to the very foundation of nursery treatment.

As the fruit-raiser may save several years' labor
and delay by selecting large trees, it will be seen
that it is of considerable importance to obtain those
that have received proper care in the proper time.
When well-shaped trees, two to four years old,
cannot be procured, it is better to select maiden


plants, or those of a single season's growth, as shown
in Fig. 29.


This process consists in checking the growing shoot
during summer, either by the thumb and finger or the
knife. Sometimes the soft terminal tuft of leaves
is pinched entirely off, sometimes a considerable por-
tion of the shoot is cut away, and occasionally they
are simply fractured, and left hanging.

This labor may be performed from the first break-
ing of the bud to the middle of July, the time for its
performance being governed by the need for shaping
the tree.

As before stated, the perfect formation of a pyramid
is commenced in the nursery. The plant budded the
previous year should stand at sufficient distance from
its fellows to allow its branches to radiate from the
ground, for a foot on either side, without interference
from them. Near the middle of July, the terminal
bud should be pinched off as at Fig. 35. The wood,
now in its succulent condition, heals over at once, and
no scar remains.

By the loss of the terminal bud, the sap is dis-
tributed to the lower buds, and if, as usually occurs,
radial shoots do not push out, the former are strength-
ened sufficiently to form strong shoots during the next
season. The tree, if well grown, is, at the end of the
first season, fully equal, for forming a pyramid, to
the one exhibited at Fig. 36. By a regular system of
summer pinching to restrain undue vigor of some of
the shoots, no great interference with its organism
need occur to preserve the pyramidal shape through



all its future growth. I have often seen a difference
of .two years' growth in favor of summer-treated
trees over those whose pruning was delayed until the
wood ripened.

To induce the formation of fruit-buds, summer
pinching is successfully resorted to. Fig. 46 exhibits
a twig with wood-buds at A and B, and the soft
summer growth beyond. If in July this is pinched
off or only broken to remain hanging, as in Fig. 4T,
the small weak buds at A B will be strongly devel-
oped, and appear as in this last-mentioned Figure.
At the swelling of the buds in the next spring, these
will appear as shown in Fig. 48. In all these Fig-
ures, the shoot is represented as broken too closely
to the buds.

Fig. 46.

Fig. 47.

Fig. 48.

Summer pruning must not, however, be continued


BO late in the season as to induce an unripened growth.
When several small shoots have formed from the
upper buds after pinching, they should be removed
in the subsequent spring, as they would tend to form
a tuft of branches on the end of the shoot.

The treatment of fruit-spurs upon bearing trees
forms no unimportant part of their management. The
excrescence remaining at the base of the stem of a
fruit of the Duchesse d'Angoul&ne is shown at Fig. 49.
When this is cut at A, the small buds appearing at the
base are developed in another year into the condition
represented by Fig. 50. These fruit-spurs will now,
if not displaced or crushed in gathering the fruit,
become permanent, and afford a security for fruitful-
ness in the tree. Fig. 51 exhibits a cluster of fruit-
bads on a spur, that has borne several times.

Pig. 49. Fig. 50. Fig. 51.

The rules for summer pruning and pinching may be
condensed as follows.

1. To develop wood-buds on the lower part of the
tree, prune all the branches closely in spring, and
pinch the upper shoots during summer. If the upper


shoots push too strongly, deprive them partially of
leaves, but allow the lower ones in the vicinity of the
weak buds to grow.

2. Allow no useless shoots to absorb the vigor and
sap of the ' tree for every pound of them cut away
might have been diverted to its proper growth.

3. To develop a weak branch, cut it back to two or
three buds in spring, provided the rest of the tree be
closely pruned and summer pinched, but the weak
shoot must be allowed to grow unchecked during

4. To check exuberant shoots, they must not be cut
back severely at the winter-pruning, but summer-
pinched and partially deprived of leaves.

5. Allow the strong branches to bear all their fruit,
but deprive the weak parts of the tree entirely of fruit.


Almost every variety of pear tree exhibits a distinct
and characteristic growth. This inclination to a par-
ticular form modifies our control over the tree to
such an extent as to .render it impossible to mold
some varieties into any of the shapes exhibited in the
figures. Other varieties acquire the pyramidal shape
so readily as scarcely to need the restraints of pruning.

Most of the leading varieties of pear trees can be
recognized by their characteristic forms and color of
the bark, almost as readily as by their fruit. The
light yellow bark and open growth of the Bartlett
and Duchesse, and the gray, densely-growing shoots
of the Urbaniste, distinguMi ciich of them as perfectly
;is the forms and colors of their fruits.



Fig. 52 is from a photograph of a Vicar of
Winkfield, four years planted, which was only pruned
at the time of its removal from the nursery.

Fig. 52.

The Urbaniste and Flemish Beauty assume the
pyramidal shape without shortening, but still differ
widely in their natural structure.


Fig. 53 represents a tree, the lower part of which
has ceased to grow, in consequence of over-fruiting.
To reduce this to a pyramidal shape, without pruning
away a very considerable portion of the tree, requires
judicious pruning. Cut the lower, unnourished
branches back to three or four inches. Leave the
remainder until the next spring, when the branches
extending beyond the lines in the Figure are to be cut
off; but during the summer, the upper and more vigor-
ous branches are to be checked by pinching, and par-
tially depriving of leaves, in order to throw the sap
into the lower ones. This is the true Quenonille.

Fig. 5-i represents a pear tree trained as a column
one of those eccentric forms attempted by French
gardeners, which cannot be recommended.


Happily for fruit-growers of this country, they are
not compelled to resort to the laborious, artificial
means practiced in other countries for the production
of fruit ; but as it may be desirable at some time to
employ these methods for ornament or local conven-
ience, they are here given.

In Espalier training we should commence with the
first summer's growth from the bud. The terminal
bud is pinched out in the latter part of June, and
when lateral shoots push forth, they are cut off on two
opposite sides, leaving those on the two other sides.
If these push out regularly, two or three pairs are
allowed to remain, and the stem cut back to them.

These are trained to the lattice or wall, and fastened
in the fall. The next year another pair or two are


Fig. 58. Pig. 64,


produced at the proper distances, and fastened as
before, guarding, however, against allowing horizontal
shoots to be produced more rapidly than a strong,
vigorous growth will permit.

The term Quenouille is misapplied in fruit-books.
It is now applied in France only to trees of the form
represented in Fig. 53.

Arched training, as shown in Fig. 55, is nearly
abandoned in France and Belgium. It is generally
confessed to have produced the most ugly and ill-
shapen trees imaginable, besides requiring immense
labor and unremitting care. It consisted in tying
down the ends of shoots to pegs on the ground, until
a drooping habit had been produced, or the check of
sap by the compressure has induced fruit-bearing.


1. Cut near a wood-bud when pruning to perfect
the shape.

2. Prune severely in the spring those branches
that are desired to grow vigorously.

3. Pinch in summer and partially deprive of leaves
those branches that grow too vigorously and absorb
too much sap.

4. Thin, weakly shoots should either be pruned
close, or left entire with a terminal bud : the more
vigorous ones being, at the same time, stopped by

5. Let the severest pruning be performed on the
tree when young.

6. To develop fruit-buds, break, pinch, or twist the
shoots above the buds intended to be developed.


Fig. 66.


7. Prune when the sap is active, that the wound
may heal quickly.

8. When trees are tardy in coming into bearing,
prune severely in spring, pinch constantly in summer,
and root-prune in early autumn. v

9. When a tree has been removed, prune off the
branches in proportion to the loss of roots.


Mr. DOWNING recommended winter and fall pruning
of fruit-trees, without regard to kinds. This is the
general practice ; but as relates to the Pear, it
is beginning to be thought erroneous by the best
pomologists. Wounds made in winter pruning can-
not heal over until the sap shall deposit the matter
that ripens into bark and wood. In the meanwhile,
the raw cut becomes dry and checked, the end of the
branch usually dies do.wn for some distance, and
requires a new cut in the spring. The best season for
pruning the Pear is after the buds begin to swell in
April, until the new leaves are half formed.

All the wood that requires removal should be
pruned at this season, to economize the sap before it
has been wasted in wood growth, that will need to be
pruned away. Pruning, however, beyond the 1st of
July should be avoided, as it induces a late suc-
culent growth, that remaining unripened, is subject
to blight.


It has long been known, that an obstinate variety
growing on the pear stock, might be hastened in its


fruiting, by separating some of the roots, thus cutting
off the abundant supply of nutriment that increased
the wood-growth at the expense of fruit formation.
The first object of this process is, to produce fibrous
roots, instead of the long, naked ones which support
the tree ; for fibrous roots alone provide the proper
sap for forming or sustaining fruit-buds.

When a root is smoothly separated in the last of
August or first of September, with a sloping cut from
the under to the upper surface of the root, the return-
ing sap forms upon the edges of the cut innumerable
fibres and rootlets. The tendency to form roots at
this season from every abrasion beneath the surface
is so great, that even the young shoots of the Pear
will form roots, if half cut through and layered.

The effect of root-pruning is to render the pear tree
more manageable; its growth being more equally
distributed around the tree, instead of assuming the
rampant form of the gourmand. Most varieties, tardy
in bearing upon the pear stock, may be hastened six
or eight years in fruit-bearing, by root-pruning. The
Dix, Seckel, Beurre, Bosc, and others, that are averse
to the Quince, by root-pruning may be fruited in four
or five years. Pear trees, several times root-pruned,
may be removed with almost absolute certainty of
success, at almost any age or size ; so that the favorite
trees of a tenant may be removed from the premises
he quits, with his furniture, and the regret at leaving
objects of care and skill may be entirely avoided.

Upon this subject, nothing can be said of so much
interest, and worthy of so much attention as the fol-
lowing from Mr. Rivers, of Sawbridgeport, England*



Mr. R., it should be said, confines his remarks entirely
to the Pear upon the quince stock, while instructions
for root-pruning generally refers to the Pear on pear
roots. Mr. Eivers says :

" I must premise, that handsome and fertile pyramids, more particu-
larly of some free-bearing varieties, may be reared without this annual,
biennial, or triennial operation. I have a large plantation of pear trees
on Quince, which bids fair to make handsome and fertile pyramids,
yet they have not been root-pruned, neither do I intend to root-prune
them. But I wish to impress upon my readers that my principal object
is to make trees fit for small gardens, and to instruct those who are not
blessed with a large garden how to keep their trees perfectly under
control ; and this can best be done by annual, or at least, biennial at-
tention to their roots ; for if a tree be suffered to grow three or more
years, and then root-pruned, it will receive a check if the spring be dry,
and the crop of fruit for one season will be jeopardied. Therefore, those
who are disinclined to the annual operation, and yet wish to confine the
growth of their trees within limited grounds, by root-pruning say once
in three years should only operate upon one-third of their trees in one
season. They will thus save two-thirds in an unchecked leafing state ;
and those who have ample room and space may pinch their pyramids in
summer, and suffer them to grow to the height of fifteen or twenty feet,
without pruning their roots. I have seen avenues of such trees, in
Belgium, quite imposing. Pyramidal trees on the quince stock (and
we would add, on the pear stock also), when the fruit-garden is small,
and the real gardening artist feels a pleasure in keeping them in a
healthy and fruitful state, by perfect control over the roots, should be
operated upon as follows: A trench should be dug around the tree,
about eighteen inches from the stem, every autumn, just after the fruit
is gathered, if the soil be sufficiently moist if not, it will be better to
wait till the usual autumnal rains are- fallen, and the roots < carefully
examined, those inclined to perpendicular growth, cut with a spade,
which must be introduced quite under the tree on all sides, so that no
root can possibly escape amputation, and all the horizontal roots except
those that are small and fibrous, shortened with a knife, to within a
circle eighteen inches from the stem (if they have not spread out to
this extent, they need not be pruned, but merely brought near the
surface and spread out), and all brought near the surface as possible,


filling in the trench with compost for the roots to rest on ; the trench
may then be filled with compost and the mold from an old hot-bed,
equal parts will answer exceedingly well ; the surface should then be
covered with half-rotted dung, and the roots left till the following
autumn brings its annual care. It may be found that, after a few years
of root-pruning, the circumferential mass of fibres will have become too
matted, and that some of the roots are bare of fibres toward the stem.
This will cause them to give out fibres, so that the entire circle of three
or more feet around the tree is full of fibrous roots near the surface,
waiting with open mouths for the nourishment annually given to them
by surface-dressing and liquid manures. Handsome pyramidal trees
may be produced by shortening the shoots in the summer, and if they
are inclined to grow too vigorously, occasional (say biennial or triennial)
root-pruning by the spade, will be sufficient."

I here introduce ME. RIVEES' plan of root-pruning,
although quite unadapted to our necessities, in order
that the reader may have an opportunity of observing
what is called high cultivation.

It should be understood by every one that reads this
article, that the requisites for forming fruit-spurs are,
fibrous roots well supplied with nutriment. While
the trees are making only long cane-like roots, there
will be no supply of sufficiently-digested pabulum for

The intention of most cultivators in this country
being to produce large pyramids, the annual pruning
of roots would be an unnecessary labor, especially on
the quince stock. On the pear stock, biennial root-
pruning, by thrusting down a spade, after having dug
a trench one spade deep, at the proper distance from
the stem, is sufficient. One other variation from ME.
KIVEES' recommendations is the time in which this
root-pruning is to be performed. If it is delayed until
all fruit is gathered, the Vicar and the Winter varie-


ties would lose the benefit of the descending and root-
forming sap when the leaf is ripening. On the quince
stock we have not often found that pear trees need
root-pruning, since the great difficulty is to restrain
their fruit-bearing tendency. The great cause of
failure in cultivating these trees is their enormous
overbearing, producing one great crop, and then re-
maining unhealthy, exhausted, and stinted for several

But, we repeat, in order to give emphasis to the
truth, that root-pruning is quite necessary to the per-
fection of the pyramid form, unless the tree has had
its training commenced with the young shoot from
the bud.


THE Pear has several times in this country been
subject to most fatal epidemics. Men and animals
are not alone the victims of pestilence, but Nature
suffers these violent perturbations through all her
dominions. It is not surprising that the sudden loss
of one tenth of a fine pear orchard should discourage
and alarm the fruit-grower ; still he ought not to forget
that its cause is exceptional, and will pass away.
These diseases, though prevailing for several seasons
in succession, occur only at long intervals ; and the
period of a disease being terminated, we may usually
calculate upon exemption from it for a considerable


The diseases of the Pear, known by Pomologists as
Leaf-Blight, Summer-Blight, Winter-Blight, Insect-
Blight, and Frozen-Sap-Blight, are generally, at pre-
sent, recognized under the two latter terms, though
we think the leaf-blight an entirely distinct disease.
There has been so much speculation upon the causes
of Winter or Frozen Sap Blight, and so many reme-
dies recommended, that we are not prepared to adopt
any of the theories in explanation of it, or any nos-
trum as a specific.

The pear tree is a greedy absorber of fluids, and
( 173 )


when the warm rains of September excite its absorb-
ents, the gourmand drinks np large quant
nutriment, and a late and rapid growth of shoots is
formed. In these succulent and unripe growths.
sap is retained without that vitality of leaf which will
effect its maturity and assimilation, bein^ thin
watery, and not sufficiently matured to enable it to
resist the frost, and death ensues. In the plant as
well as the animal, great length of t
before the poison affects the whole system and causes
death. It is not unfrequent that the tree, poisoned
in autumn, survi ves till the July folio w i n g. The 1 >
of the trunk and principal limbs exhibits bhv
and on cutting into them, the bark and wo
distance beneath, are found quite dead and bJ;

The only remedy is, to cut away at once all of the
tree that is affected, cutting below the lowest spot.
But few trees attacked with this disease will b<
much value, even with the best treatment, that can be
given them. Out of forty trees, six or eight i<
thus affected in one season, we succeeded in saving

the Stumps, tWO feet high, of only eif(ht. or ten. 'I :.

trees had be ghtfron] ..nd phi.-.

the fall preceding the attack, and exhibi heir

large, thrifty shoot , that rapid, unripe above

The most Successful mean:-, of having trer- . from

ravages of t- aid iti s

cause being late and unripe growth, it mo~t fn-o;

occurs o; '!) sad damp soils, retenti iter,

and abounding ifl vo^etabh: and animal matl'i. To
IOV the exccftS of Wtt' d inde-Jthe


onlv moans, is draining; the surplus rank vegetable
and animal manor must bo neutralized or decomposed
tie application ot' alkaline substances ashes,lime,
marl, eve., v\ Inch, as all experience shows, insure by
their direct intluoiuv on . a short, stocky, I

well-ripened uTowih. Fifty bushels ot' lime, and half
that niiantitv of ashes, scattered over an acre, and
worked in with tho plow, is an almost certain pre-
vontivo ot' this disease, it' well drained.

\ evideneo in support ot' this theory, is

the t'aet, that this blight has never been known to
originate on the dr\ >andv loam I i;' Island, not

ovon with lioaw manuring; the drought of midsummer

ul\\ a^ ripeniiii;- the shoots so eonipletely. that the
\oa\~es tall a month before fKv i s ev^nunenee.

It' the character ot' the season ami
urowth of the trees, inoli.i/.vM ;>\ ; . vsh ^reen leaves
and len^tlkMun^ shoves, late in the fall, warn the cul-
tivator of olan^er from this disease, he should
the earth from the collar of the tree, down to the tirst
roots, and around for some diMancc. This exposure

will check tho tendency of the roots to absorb more

nutriment, and ot' course arrest the gTCWth* The same

rosult mav be gained by root -pruning) whenever the
other method is not com enient , or pr

This disease, the most formidable that attacks the
Tear, is distinguished bv certain peculiar ligM

1. At the time of \\ spring pruning by a

thick clammx sap tlo\\ in; 1 ; slov\
while a healthy tree exhibits a fVesh, clean Ottt.

.'-v the appearance, laic in spring, ol' dead patches
of bark on tho trunk and limbs. This, however, is


Bometimes the consequence of overbearing, in which
case, the dead bark will often cover the living and
most healthy wood and bark ; yet this peculiarity is
frequently the first stage of the disease.

3. By the extremities of the shoots in early summer
shrivelling, turning black, and perishing suddenly
When these are instantly cut away for some distance
below the diseased parts, the tree may often be saved ;
but if the dead patches of bark, above mentioned,
first make their appearance, the case is critical.


The insect causing this blight is known among po-
mologists as the Scolytus pyri, and is one of the most
minute of our numerous enemies.

In July or August it perforates shoots of sometimes
two seasons' growth, and deposits its egg. The suc-
ceeding June or July, the branch is observed to wither
and turn suddenly brown. The disease seldom travels
below the point attacked, and if the part be removed
immediately, is directly checked. The insect engen-
dered near a bud eats its way to the pith, and there,
by feeding upon the sap-vessels, destroys the organ-
ism that supplies life to the upper shoot. At the
first appearance of the ravages of the insect, all the
branches affected should be cut and burned the
attack must be sudden and energetic.


This disease is indicated by a sudden spotting and
premature ripening of many of the leaves. The
growth is checked for a time, and if the attack is long-


continued, or wide-spread, the fruit is lessened in size,
and sometimes refuses to ripen. It is only serious,
when appearing upon Pear seedlings, as it checks
their growth, and prevents their being budded during
the season of its attack.

It is very probable that the winter-killing of seed-
lings results in great measure from the previous feeble
growth, as the roots produced are in exact proportion
to the quantity of leaves, and the active vitality of the
leaves being destroyed, the roots are too feebly devel-
oped to retain their hold in the soil. A curious fact
in the history of this disease is, its confining its attacks
almost entirely to seedlings and wild pears. A graft
or bud of the finer varieties, of the greatest luxuriance
of foliage, may not exhibit a single symptom of this
disease, while the leaves of the stock will be entirely
blackened. Its approach may be looked for, when-
ever warm and abundant rains are succeeded by hot,
bleaching sunshine. The leaves of pear seedlings
being very succulent, and in such a season as just
described, accustomed to a moist atmosphere and a
shaded sky, are not prepared for the great change,

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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 10 of 18)