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

. (page 11 of 18)
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 11 of 18)
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and consequently are scorched and blackened. "When
occurring in the seed-bed, I do not doubt that the
close planting of the young trees occasions this result.


THE Scolytus pyri, already mentioned, is a very
minute beetle, not much larger than a flea. It punc-
tures the young wood of the pear shoots, and deposits
there its eggs. It is the larva of this insect that
accomplishes the mischief. It is thus described by
DOWNING : " The beetle is a deep brown, with legs of
a paler color ; its thorax is short, convex, rough in
front, and covered with erect bristles. The wing
covers are marked with rows of punctured points,
between which are also rows of bristles, and they
appear cut off very obliquely behind." The larva
completes its change by June or July, and gnaws its
way through the bark, leaving a small round punc-


This abominable and prolific nuisance is insignificant
in appearance, but formidable in mischief. Trees of
clean, smooth bark, sometimes in the single month of
September, become so foul with this insect as to
appear covered with bran-scales. These scales are
not the insects, but cover small reddish cocculi, that
when crushed with the finger-nail leave a spot of
blood. They feed upon the more sluggish juices of
the trunk and limbs. In a short time the tree becomes
( 178 )


BO infested with them, that the most vigorous efforts
must be exerted to clear it of the enemy. Some
of my trees had, by neglect, become so badly
affected, that I saw no remedy would preserve them,
and was compelled to cut them down. When the
cocci are washed away, the bark appears rough and
blotched, and presents a diseased appearance.

"WASHES. A solution of soda, or potash in water,
not stronger than one pound of soda to one gallon of
water, or one pound of potash to two gallons of water,
is efficacious. But washes of this strength must not
be applied to trees in foliage.

Whale-oil soap, dissolved at the rate of one pound
to three or four gallons of water, is a most effective
wash, and the efficiency is increased when the soap is
dissolved in a decoction of refuse tobacco. Camphor
is sometimes added ; but this gum is somewhat costly.
The wash of whale-oil soap may be used stronger, if
applied when the leaves have fallen.

For the following, I am indebted to. the pen and
pencil of Mr. A. O. MOOKE.

"If in the month of October the vigilant cultivator scrutinizes hia
young pear trees, he may be surprised at finding many of them
strangely covered, on trunk and limbs, with a white substance, which at
first may seem to be a mold or mildew, such as would be engendered
by a damp situation. Upon attempting to scrape this off, a claret-
colored liquid will smear the stem as if with blood. A close examina-
tion will show that this white substance is composed of small paper-
like scales. If a scale is removed carefully so as to expose the under
surface, it will at this season be found to cover a minute dark-red
object, surrounded by yet smaller dust-like atoms. This is as far in our
investigation as the unaided vision will carry us. A good microscopic
lens will, however, reveal a family composed of a mother (as seen at



Fig. 57) with her numerous unhatched progeny, consisting of from
twenty to fifty eggs the breaking of which latter furnished the red
fluid before noticed. After the eggs have been deposited, the body of

Fig. 56.

Fig. 56 represents a Pear branch attacked by the Bark-Louse. The insect being
concealed under the white scales.

Fig. 57 represents the under side of one of the scales, with the eggs adhering,
greatly magnified.

the female contracts, as shown in Fig. 67. Previous to the first of Octo-
ber, I have found the insect under the scale without the eggs, but by
arranging the light so as to produce a slightly transparent effect, the
eggs may then be seen within the body of the parent, as at Fig. 58.



Fig. 58.

" At this time the insect appears almost lifeless, and
probably it has already committed all the injury to
the tree it is capable of inflicting : this injury con-
sists in the abstraction of the juices of the tree.
Around each minute paper domicil may be seen a
discolored spot. It is not unusual to see a tree of
eight or ten feet in height with every part of the
stem and many of its branches whitened by this
injurious insect. No tree thus attacked can be healthy.
" Trees situated in grass lands, or otherwise neglect-
ed, peculiarly invite this sloven's pest. Slow-growing
varieties of the Pear are more subject to it than the
rapid growing kinds.

" We will now consider the means of destroying
this troublesome insect. It is probable that the time
in which the injury is committed is during the sum-
mer months, although the insect, being not then
invested with its paper-like covering, can only be discovered with diffi-
culty. The practice of washing the trunk and main branches of fruit-
trees with a mixture of soft-soap and water, one part of the former to
two of the latter, applied with a coarse cloth, using considerable fric-
tion, can not be too highly recommended for the health and general
thriftiness of the orchard. This application should be made in the
spring, before the swelling of the buds, and again in early June this
time, however, greater care is necessary to avoid injury to the young
shoots. The young insect is then about commencing its summer depre-
dations, and all that escaped the spring washing maybe easily destroyed.

" Where soft-soap can not be obtained, common hard-soap may be
used instead ; half a pound dissolved in two gallons of hot water.
Harris recommends a solution of two pounds of potash in seven quarts
of water, or a pickle consisting of a quart of common salt in two gal-
lons of water. No preparation, however, I believe to be so safe and
efficacious as the one first mentioned.

"Whale-oil soap, or even common hard-soap, placed in the 'crotch
of the principal branches, and allowed to remain until washed down
gradually by the rains, will be found excellent for the general health
of the tree, and prevent the attacks of this and many other insects.

* Fig. 8 is a magnified view of the Female Bark-Louse before depositing her egga.


" Another species of the coccus has lately been brought to my notice,
which seems to affect the Apple and the Pear in the same manner as
the above, and is sometimes found upon the same tree. It has, instead
of the white paper-like covering, a hard coriacious scale, of narrower
and longer shape, and the eggs are pearly white instead of red. I fear
that where this insect exists, it may prove a more troublesome enemy
than the white scale, as its hard covering forms a more effective protpo-
tion against the wash recommended."

After the coccus has acquired its shell, a simple
washing will not remove it. It must be scrubbed
off with considerable force, and in bad cases, with sand
and soap.


The pear-slug is another insignificant, but trouble-
some enemy. This slimy and disagreable fellow
attaches himself to the upper part of the leaf, in Juno
or July.

It is about half an inch long, and somewhat resem-
bles a snail. It quickly devours all the succulent
portion of the leaf, the skeleton of which remains
upon the tree, and appears as if scorched with fire.
Growth is stopped at once, and what fruit has set,
never attains any considerable size. Dust, lime, ashes,
and other substances, that will attach to the slime of
the insect, will, if thrown upon the leaves where it is
feeding, soon detach his hold, and cause him to fall off
and die. Soapsuds, potash-water (made with six or
eight gallons of water to a pound of potash), or strong
tobacco-water, will speedily destroy this insect.

I am happy to be able to add the result of some
investigations into the habits of this insect by Mr. A.

"The insect which we familiarly call the Pear Slug (Selandria cerasi,)


represented in Fig. 59 is, at the period of its life when generally noticed
by the cultivator, a greenish-black, club-shaped worm, with a thick
rounded anterior extremity, and tapering towards the posterior. It is
covered with a semi-transparent coat of slime, which exudes from the
body, and, in the hottest sunshine, does not become hard or dry.

" While resting undisturbed upon the leaf, the tail or last segment ot
the body is slightly raised. At its greatest size, the worm is about half
an inch in length ; it is very sluggish in its habits, being rarely seen to

" The injury consists in its eating the upper skin of the leaf, while the

Fig. 59.

Fig. 59. The Pear-Sing full grown. The Leaf with its upper surface partially
destroyed, (a.) The Egg deposited upon the upper surface of the leaf.

lower skin and the veins are untouched ; the leaves immediately assume
a brown, unsightly appearance, while the proper function of the leaf,
the elaboration of the sap, is almost entirely obstructed.

"Like all other insects, its existence may be divided into four stages :
First, the Egg ; second, the Larva, or worm state, which is peculiarly
its eating and growing period ; third, the Pupa, or dormant state ;


fourth, the Imago, which is the perfect or winged state. In this last
stage only are the differences of sex discernible ; and by the Fly, or
perfect insect, the eggs are deposited which reproduce the brood of
destructive worms.

"This fly of the Pear Slug is described as a four-winged Hymenopter-
ous (or wasp-like) insect, of a glossy black color. The wings are some-
what convex on the upper side, and slightly wrinkled, transparent,
reflecting the colors of the rainbow, the anterior pair having a smoky
band across them. The legs are tipped with a dull yeUow color. The
body of the female measures rather more than a fifth of an inch
in length, that of the male is smaller. They make their appearance
twice during the summer, the first time about the end of May or the
first of June, the second appearance about the latter end of July. On
each occasion they lay their eggs, and disappear in about three weeks.

Fig. 60.

Fig. 60. The Perfect Insect or Fly of the Pear Slug magnified. The cross line*
represent the natural size.

" The slug fly deposits its eggs singly on the upper surface of the most
matured leaves, covering it with a frothy, white, varnish-like mucilage,
which surrounds it, and serves at once to attach it to the leaf, and to
exclude the atmosphere. The small spot a on the leaf, Fig. 59, repre-
sents the size and form of the egg, which is seen as a dark center in the
middle of a white spot. Fig. 61 represents the egg magnified, and the
worm or young slug within the semi-transparent shell. Fig. 62 exhibits
the egg also magnified, after the insect has emerged.

"When first hatched, the young slug is white, andean with difficulty
be discerned by the naked eye ; it commences immediately to puncture
with email holes the surface of the leaf upon which it is produced. It


soon acquires a covering of greenish-black slime, and is said by HARRIS
to live as a worm twenty-six days, shedding its skin during that period

Fig. 61. Fig. 62.

Fig. 61. The Egg magnified, with the Embryo Slug seen through the shell.
Fig. 62. The Egg empty after the Slug has escaped magnified.

five times. Fig. 63 gives its appearance after it has shed its skin for the
last time, with the forsaken skin lying near it. It is now much changed
in color, being a brown-yellow, and somewhat diminished in size. In
a few hours it falls to the ground, and immediately seeks to burrow into
the soil. Descending to the depth of several inches, it forms a cocoon
with a shiny brown interior surface, and a rough exterior, with
grains of earth adhering. Fig. 64 shows a broken cocoon with the

Fig. 63. Fig. 64. Fig. 65.

Fig. 63. (a) The Slug, after shedding its skin the last time. (&) The skin left upon
the leaf.

Fig. 64. (c.) The Cocoon from which the insect has been prematurely removed.
(d) The Slug after having commenced its change to the fly state.

Fig. 65. The Ichneumon Fly magnified; supposed to be of the species Encyrtus,
taken from the egg of the slug.

insect, now much further diminished in size, taken out. This is the
Pupa or dormant state. It remains in the earth after its first appear-
ance sixteen days, when it comes forth as the perfect insect, Fig. 60.
The second brood remain hi their subterranean retreat until the suc-
ceeding spring.

" We will now consider the means for preventing or palliating the
injury resulting from the attacks of the pear-slug. I would first remark,
that the slug is found in much greater abundance on weakly growing
trees than on those of strong and rapid growth. This fact points to


the first and fundamental remedy, the securing of healthy trees, and by
the proper enrichment and preparation of the soil, of a thrifty and
uniform growth. Nature has provided a minute but formidable enemy
to the slug, which serves very materially to check its increase. This
enemy is a species of ichneumon fly, which is also of the wasp family.
Soon after the slug fly has deposited its egg on the leaf, the ichneumon
deposits its egg within the shell of the former, which developing to a
minute grub before the time for the hatching of the slug worm, feeds
upon the embryo slug, passing the whole period of its existence as a
worm, and even undergoing the succeeding transformation through the
pupa state, within the smah 1 space afforded by the egg of the slug, the
natural size of which may be seen at a, Fig. 58.

" Fig. 65 exhibits the ichneumon fly as found in the egg of the pear-
slug, nearly ready to emerge as a perfect insect.

" The application, at the proper time, of lime in a dry, or powdered
state, while the leaves are wet with rain or dew, will prove effectual in
destroying the egg before it is hatched, or the slug during the time of its
depredations. If the number of trees to be treated is large, it will only
be necessary to apply the remedy twice during the season, provided
the proper stage of the insect's development is chosen. This should
be as soon as possible after the eggs are all hatched, which is usually
about the first of July with the first brood, and the first of September
with the second brood. If applied earlier than the times' mentioned,
some of the eggs will not have hatched, in which case it requires much
greater care and a larger quantity of lime ; or if applied much later,
many of them will have undergone their transformation into the pupa
state, and therefore be beyond our reach. I have found this remedy
always efficacious, and even plaster of Paris, ashes, or dust from the
road, applied to the slimy coat of the slug, will cause it to sicken and
die." " A. 0. MOORE."

"NEW YORK, 140 Fulton Street, Oct., 1857."

The caterpillar, canker-worm, and apple-worm,
which increase in size and number with such rapidity,
are easily destroyed when attacked in time. The web
must be crushed at its first appearance. The best
method is not always the most pleasant; but all the
operations of horticulture are not equally agreeable.


A thick buckskin glove should be worn; and with the
hand thus protected, the nest should be grasped and
crushed being careful to press firmly all the crevices
of the bark to destroy every individual.

There is but one method^ better, and this is to look
carefully over the trees several times after the leaves
have fallen ; gather every leaf curled and gummed
to the tree, and every circlet of whitish eggs attached
to a limb, and put them in the fire.

The most effective and convenient allies in destroy-
ing insects are, birds and dung-hill fowls. When the
latter are fed at distant and different spots about the
pear grounds, they acquire a habit of wandering
among the trees, and although generally shy of
attacking caterpillars, yet their quick eyes no sooner
detect a miller, a fly, or a beetle, about to lay eggs for
an innumerable generation, than the hapless insect is
deposited . in the crop of some of the gallinacecB.
"Wasps, flies, and moths are the parents of rapidly-
increasing tribes, and by destroying one of them, we
rid ourselves of thousands. Wide-mouthed vials con-
taining molasses, and hung in the branches of trees,
will catch large numbers : small bright fires made in
various parts of the fruit-grounds, during the nights
of June and July, will attract and destroy many.



GREAT diversity of opinion prevails in regard to the excellence of
every variety of the Pear. This arises from the different character-
istics of the fruit when modified by circumstances. Some of the
conditions unfavorable to the proper development of the fruit are :

First. The fruit of some varieties is small, astringent and
insipid, while the trees are young, but large, delicious, and high-
flavored, when the trees become older.

Second. The fruit may have remained too long upon the tree.
Many kinds are nearly worthless unless picked as soon as the stem
will cleave easily from the spur without breaking, and ripened
with protection from the air and light. They then become nearly

Third. Some varieties are only second-rate when grown on the
pear stock, but when grown on the Quince, are ranked as high as
" best."

Fourth. Soils have great influence on the quality of Pears ,
incompatibility of soil often ruining the fruit of the best varieties.

Thus, from lack of knowledge of these conditions, many falla-
cious opinions have been formed, and much disappointment has
followed the attempts to cultivate varieties which, though " first
rate" in their original position, in other places do not find their
special requirements.


Best, Pears that are of fine texture, melting, very juicy, and
high flavored and the term is applied only to those that possess
all the qualities denoted by buttery, melting, juicy, and high-

( 188 )


Very good, denotes varieties that possess all but one of the above
qualities in a high degree.

Good, is applied to those that lack some of the above qualities,
or possess one or two of them in only a moderate degree.

.Fair, indicates that the varieties have some claim to attention,
but not enough to entitle it to a high rank.

Poor, designates those entirely unworthy of cultivation.

Pyriform, denotes the fruit with the small end at the stem, or
approaching in form a cone.

Acute Pyriform, fruit tapering to a point at the stem, like the
Beurre Bosc.

Obtuse Pyriform, the small end rather blunt at the stem, like the

Depressed Pyriform, the sides immediately below the stem
sunken, as if forming an incipient neck.

Long Pyriform, neck very long, as in the Dix.

Obovate, denotes an egg shape, like that of the Vergalieu.

Turbinate, is roundish, but approaching a point at the stem.

Oblate, flattened at the ends like the Bergamots.

Pyramidal, regularly increasing in size from the base to the stem

Large, a size ranging from the Bartlett to the Duchesse.

Small, ranging between the Seckel and Washington.

Medium, the size of the Lawrence and Vergalieu.

Calyx, the flower end, or the leaves of the flower which remain
on the fruit.


In this selection of varieties, it has been the writer's purpose to
include none which were of doubtful value, and which have not
been proved, by the most ample experience, to be suited to general
cultivation. The list is carefully made from comparisons of the
experience of the best pomologists, as well as of ordinary cultivat-
ors, from Maine to Georgia, from the lists of Pomological
Societies, and from the writer's personal experience and observation.
The rules observed in the formation of this list are :

First . The tree must be hardy, able to withstand severe winters,
a strong, vigorous grower, and not liable to crack in the bark, or
to blight.


Second. The fruit must be of fair size, and if not of first-rate
quality, must be large, and handsomely colored. The only excep-
tions are in favor of the long known and popular varieties.

Third. The variety must be prolific, and come early into bear-
ing. The only exceptions are those admitted by the next rule.

Fourth. The trees must have considerable longevity, and be not
easily exhausted by overbearing.

Fifth. Of the varieties grown on the Quince, only those are
admitted which an experience of ten years, at least, has proved
to possess great affinity for that stock, to acquire thereby higher
flavor, greater size, and to come considerably earlier into bearing.

Sixth. No kind is admitted upon the list, whatever may be its
excellence of flavor, size, or color, if it cracks, cankers, or rots at
the core.


MOST of the kinds recommended for growing on pear-stocks may
be grown on the Quince : but as their fruit is not materially im-
proved in size and flavor, and as they sometimes fail on that
stock, they are placed in the list for pear-stocks.


Williams. | Williams' Bon Chriticn.


While this beautiful and excellent fruit is not allowed by ama-
teurs to take the first rank, it possesses qualities which have se-
cured to it high esteem, and have made it the most popular variety
in this country, since the decline of the Vergalieu, and it is there-
fore to be recommended for profitable cultivation.



It was originally found in Berkshire, England, in 1770, and
brought to Roxbury, Mass., in 1797 ; under the name of Williams'

Bon Chretien.

Fig. 66.

Both in France and England it was but little esteemed, and it


affords a striking instance of the fallibility of any standard of taste;
for, while many consider it unsurpassed, not a few regard it as

The chief difficulty in growing it results from its precocious and
too abundant fruitfulness. The tree coming into bearing at four
or five years from the bud on its own roots, is often the first time
so overloaded with fruit, that its growth is checked for several
years, and thus it fails to attain fair size in many years.

On the Quince ; the Bartlett is the most objectionable variety on
our catalogue. It grows vigorously for two or three years, till
fruiting commences, and then, if it bears abundantly, it perishes
soon after ; and even if carefully managed, and fruit-thinned, it
rarely attains to a vigorous condition. The natural growth of the
Bartlett, unchecked by fruit-bearing, is strong and vigorous ; the
shoots exhibit a peculiar equality of size throughout their entire
length, ending abruptly and bluntly.

As a market pear, it has no superior, taking into consideration
all its qualities its early bearing, its great productiveness, and
regularity, the fair size and bright lemon tint of its fruit, its melt-
ing, buttery flavor, and its universal popularity. The fruit pos-
sesses a peculiar musky aroma, which somewhat affects the taste.
The pears exhibit a remarkable uniformity of excellence. There
is not that inequality in the product of a tree, that is found in
some varieties a part very good and a part very poor.

The fruit may be picked when quite green and hard, trans-
ported long distances without injury, and still ripen with perfect
flavor and high color. The Bartlett has, however, some defects.
It is more subject to blight than most other varieties a consequence
of its strong, succulent, protracted growth. It cannot be grown
on the Quince with success. Its fruit ripens when other fruit is
most abundant ; all the late summer and early autumn fruits dis-
puting the market with it. But it has the advantage of producing
good crops every year.

The French make it succeed much better than others on the
Quince, and they propagate it on that stock largely. Having a
large number grown on the Quince sent me one spring from France,
by mistake, I planted one hundred and fifty then ordinary-sized



nursery trees closely together, and allowed them to fruit the
next year. They produced thirteen bushels of handsome fruit,
which I thought compensated for the death of half of the trees the

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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 11 of 18)