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 9 of 18)
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pyramid shape.

5. That weeds and grass, and, of course, the grains,
must not be permitted to grow among the trees
as they would interfere with the development of the
lower limbs, and abstract the nourishment that should
go to the tree.

6. That the soil should be kept in good condition,
well manured, well cultivated, and dry.

The violation of these rules has, without doubt,
been the cause of all the failures of the Pear on the


It is very difficult to induce the Pear to form roots
from cuttings or layers, under the ordinary circum-
stances attending such propagation. Most varieties
of the Pear, however, when budded on the Quince,
and planted with the junction from two to four inches
below the surface, exhibit a great tendency to throw
out roots from the pear wood above the junction.

MR. WILDER, and some other horticulturists, believe
this to indicate a natural repugnance in those varieties
to the Quince ; but my own experience does not confirm
this. Of a considerable number of Bartletts removed
after being three years planted in the fruit-ground,


not more than half a dozen had rooted, and these
very feebly ; while it is well known that this variety
succeeds only indifferently upon the Quince. Other
facts, however, do tend to confirm this theory. I have
seldom found the Duchesse exhibiting any tendency
to throw out roots. While of several hundred of
other varieties, five or six years old, removed at the
same time with the Bartletts above-mentioned, more
than half had rooted from the pear wood, and the
character of the roots was somewhat striking. When
a wild or seedling pear is budded and planted in the
fruit grounds, its tendency to form long, straggling
roots, almost destitute of fibres, unless root-pruned or
retransplanted, is well-known ; but every one of the
roots from the pear wood above the quince stock of
these trees, was provided with such masses of fibres,
that it was nearly impossible to free them from the
adhering soil. Remarkable as is this faculty of fibrous
rooting of the Quince, it is much more surprising in
the Pear, when grown on the quince stock. Many
roots, three or four feet long will be found, fringed
with fibres throughout their entire length, and in such
masses as to render it necessary to greatly thin them,
when reset in the ground, to allow them to be sepa-
rated by particles of soil. In some cases, I have found
the quince root entirely superseded and cast off. In
others, the double root seemed to be in perfect har-
mony, and botli parts thrifty and vigorous. In most
cases the pear root hud been formed on one side of
the tree, and rapidly radiating and swelling at the
junction, had usurped the entire ground, and held the
tree firmly and strongly in the soil. To test the fact


of the rooting of the Pear above the Quince, it is only
necessary to seize the tree by the body three or four
feet above the ground, and shake it slowly, and if
pear-rooted, the superior firmness will be readily per-
ceived. The wood-growth and foliage of all trees,
throwing out roots above the quince stock, will be
found to be more vigorous, but the production of fruit
will be considerably delayed. If a strong, vigorous
shoot or sucker grows up from near the ground, or if
the branches are much more strongly developed on
one side, it is quite certain that the Pear has rooted.
I am often asked, if the tree roots from the Pear, what
advantage is gained by growing upon the Quince ?

This query may be answered by a statement of the
following facts :

First. Many of the varieties budded on the Quince
do not obtain pear roots sufficient to support the
tree before the sixth or eighth year, and the trees,
in the mean time, have borne fruit three or four
years, while if budded on the pear stock, few of them
would have yielded fruit in less than eight or twelve

Second. The greater vitality of the Quince root has
preserved life in a large per-centage of the trees,
which, under ordinary care, would have perished if
budded on pear roots. The ratio of loss by trans-
planting healthy trees on quince roots, with but
moderate care, is not more than one per cent, while
that of pear trees on pear roots, is much greater.
After the pear roots form above the Quince, the tree
is (from causes which will be hereafter investigated) so
much better furnished with fibres, that it will endure


transplanting and root pruning better, and also con-
tinue much longer its growth and fruiting.

Third. The quince root has so governed the growth
of the tree, that it is much less difficult to reduce it
to pyramidal shape ; for it has been proved by expe-
rience, that the character of the roots determines that
of the top. Long, straggling roots, not provided with
fibres, are productive of long, vigorous, and unmanage-
able shoots, destitute of lateral branches. A long
tap-root sends up a vigorous leader, while the fibrous
quince roots provide the tree with fruit-spurs and
short, stout branches. The Pear on a pear stock is
not easily reduced to a pyramidal shape after the
first year, without root pruning, for when the leader
is pruned, the terminal bud shoots with great vigor,
and another leader is formed while the lower branches
continue weak and feeble.

Fourth. Most of the varieties which are superior
in size and flavor on the Quince, or which unite firmly
with it, and prove well adapted to it, as the Duchesse
d'Angouleme and Louise Bonne de Jersey, seldom
throw out roots from the pear wood- In those
varieties which throw out pear roots, it has been
seen that the latter are more fibrous than upon
seedlings. This is, doubtless, the result of the more
refined and cultivated condition of the grafted wood,
which, instead of the rank characteristic of a seedling,
makes the clean, stocky shoots of a more highly
developed tree. So the finer varieties of pears,
instead of the long naked roots of the wildling, pro-
vide themselves with fibrous radicles better fitted to
furnish them their proper food.


This fact has tended to confirm horticulturists in
the belief in the necesity of an adaptation of the
graft to the stock. If this theory is correct, what
roots can be better adapted to the demands of the
graft than those put forth by the graft itself. From
these facts, it may be seen that if any pear-grower is
deficient in faith in the durability of quince stocks,
he can insure the longevity of his trees by planting
them sufficiently deep to produce pear roots.


When the leaves ripen in early September, the sap
has assumed that albuminous and ripened condition
which fits it for forming new spongioles and root-
lets. If, prior to this condition, several incisions are
made in the pear bark and wood, just at the swell-
ing of the graft, by pushing a small gouge upwards,
so as to form tongues or strips an inch long, hang-
ing by their upper ends ; the sap, checked in its
downward flow, will soon cover the incision with
a soft, white, albuminous substance, which, if well
covered with firmly packed earth, will soon form root-
lets, that, before the ensuing winter, will be in a
vigorous condition. It is well to place a small pebble
between the tongue and trunk to prevent adhesion.
The production of these roots is due to the same influ-
ence which causes the union of the bud with the
stock when inserted at the same season. The sap, in
its downward flow, depositing the mucus that would
have hardened into bark and wood, is, by the check,
diverted to the formation of rootlets and fibres which
will, the next year, provide food for growth or fruit.


It does not seem to have been considered by horticul-
turists, that the absorbing powers are not retained by
spongioles and rootlets much longer than a single
season, and that they need constant renewal. When
the hardening of these spongioles takes place, they
are no longer capable of affording a supply of nutri-
ment proportionate to the wants of the tree. Most
tree culturists will have noticed that the fibres and
spongioles are not found on the larger and older roots,
but that, having fulfilled their office, they decay, as
Nature never supports useless organs.

What will be the effect of pear-rooting upon those
varieties that are so much superior upon the Quince,
must be determined by more experience than we
possess at present. There is but little doubt, however,
that the pear-rooting of such varieties as are gritty or
astringent on pear stocks is to be avoided.

The Duchesse d'Angouleme, which is not often first-
rate on pear roots, because of its hard lumpy flesh and
gritty core, and the Louise Bonne de Jersey and Beurre'
Diel, which are often astringent and bitter, 011 the
same stock, can hardly be allowed to root from the
pear wood. This may be prevented when necessary,
by planting more shallow, leaving the pear-wood but
little below the surface.


It is often desirable to improve the texture and
flavor of some varieties of pears, by growing them
upon the Quince, although they have proved iinadapted
to it. The desired effect is obtained by double work-
ing as it is the roots, the providers of nourishment,


that govern to a great extent these characteristics in the
fruit. Any free-growing varieties may be budded on
the Quince, for the purpose of double working, although
some care should be taken to obtain such as harmon-
ize with the Quince. The Yirgalieu and the Buffam
are the best, although not the most vigorous growers ;
yet most pears grow well, when propagated upon

The Beurre d'Amalis and Soldat Laboureur, are
very vigorous growers, and make good stocks for
double working. There are such obvious advantages
in double working, that it seems almost superfluous
to mention them, yet that nothing may be omitted to
secure success, we present them in a concise form :

1. Pears that refuse to grow, or grow but feebly,
or are short-lived upon the Quince, but are coarse,
gritty, or small sized, when grown upon the pear
stock, like the Beurre d'Aremberg, often become first-
rate by double working.

2. Varieties that are so tardy in bearing upon the
pear stock as to exhaust the patience and faith of the
grower, yet will not harmonize directly with the
Quince, will, by double working, come early into bear-
ing. The Dix and Seckel are examples of this.

3. Grafting, which cannot be practiced with suc-
cess directly on the Quince, may be performed on the
Pear portion of the stock.

4. Some varieties that bear quite early on the pear
stock, but are of comparatively slow growth, are pro-
duced in greater vigor upon the double stock, in con-
sequence of the increased vigor acquired from the
strong growing variety first worked upon the Quince.




The following varieties, which have proved averse
to the Quince, will, by double working, bear fruit
improved in texture, size, and flavor :

JSeurre cPAremberg coarse, woody, and gritty, on
pear roots, and a feeble, diseased grower, directly on
the Quince.

Napoleon often scarred and spotted on the Pear,
but frequently handsome and smooth upon a double-
worked tree.

Bartlett although fine when grown on the pear
stock, is much improved on the Quince.

JBeurre Clairgeau coarse on pear roots, somewhat
averse to the Quince, but nearly first-rate upon double-
worked trees.

The following varieties, that are tardy in bearing,
are but moderately improved by the Quince in quality,
and are propagated with difficulty upon that stock,
but may be profitably grown by double working :

Beurre Bosc, Dix, Seckel, Tyson, Andrews, Fulton,
Lawrence, Winter Nelis, Marie Louise, Beurre Kance,
St. Michael Archange, Columbia.



THE advantages which seem to be gained by a
pyramidal growth in the pear tree, more especially,

1. There is no violent interference with the natural
structure of the tree, but we rather aid it to attain
this form more perfectly ; that is, we do not by
crowding it in the nursery rows, or by cutting with
the pruning-knife, deprive it of the natural formation
of low branches. To cut any portion of the wood, of
more than one year old, is to interfere more or less
seriously with the organism of the tree; and the
occasion for it arises from neglect to prune at the
proper time. To prevent malformation is better than
to amputate ; and to form a tree properly, we must
begin with the maiden plant.

2. Low-branched pyramids come into bearing much
sooner than trees with long trunks. The Pear, on its
own stock, trained as a standard, varies with the kind,
from eight to twenty years, in producing fruit ; but,
trained as a pyramid, its period of fruit-bearing is
lessened from four to twelve years. The Seckel and


Urbaniste, upon pear stock, and with naked trunks,
of five or six feet, are not unfrequently fifteen years
producing their first fruit. "With low-trained pyra-
mids, and a slight attention to summer pruning or
pinching, this tedious and discouraging delay is most
certainly shortened to six or eight years. The cause
of this precocity is, that the sap, checked by the sum-
mer pinching in its flow to the terminal bad, is dis
tributed to the wood-buds below, and sufficient nutri
ment is received to mature them into fruit-buds.

A certain age of bark and cellular woody formation
of a branch is necessary before it will cause the sap
to flow slowly enough to concentrate into fruit-juice.
Now, if the earlier branches, formed near the ground,
and then, in succession, those above, are cut away,
until a naked trunk is formed, it is evident we pro*
tract the fruit-bearing period. Besides, the pruning
away of so much wood forces an over-abundance of
sap to the terminal buds, and its energies are spent in
wood-growth, at the expense of fruit-bud formation.
When, however, branches start from or near the
ground, having the same age with the trunk, fruit-
buds are formed long before they could have been on
long-trunk trees ; the sap is more evenly distributed,
wood-growth is moderately checked, and the culti-
vator's eye is early gladdened with golden fruit.

3. The size and quality of fruit is much increased
by this method of training. It has long been known,
that young trees produce larger fruit, but deficient in
flavor ; old trees produce fruit of superior taste, but
inferior in size. In the pyramid, we are able to secure
these excellences, and rid ourselves of the faults. In


the low, compact form, when an excessive quantity
of fruit has set, it becomes an easy task to thin out
the overplus, and concentrate the sap in that number
which can be perfectly matured.

4. A much larger number can be planted on a
given area. Instead of forty pear trees, planted at
forty feet apart, two hundred to four hundred may,
for many years, occupy the same area, and yield their
fruit to a whole generation without crowding. It is
much easier to cut down a fruit tree that cost a few
shillings, than it is to obtain it with fifteen years' ad-
ditional growth for ten dollars. Many a man would
hesitate to plant ten acres with four hundred pear
trees, even when by pyramidal growth he could obtain
a bushel from each, at six to eight years of age, who
would gladly cover one acre with the same number,
could he be assured that they would fruit equally well.

5. Pyramidal trees, by their comparatively low
stature, are protected from high winds, and often pre-
serve their fruit when the tall tree has lost a large
portion of the crop : their limbs are much less ex-
posed to being broken by storms, or borne down by
weight of fruit whose power is mvich increased by
growing at the end of a long branch, which acts as a

6. Pyramidal trees are less liable to wrenching
from the perpendicular, turning over by the roots, or
breaking off: having their widest diameter at or
near the ground, they offer little resistance to the
wind ; and never exhibit the distorted, leaning atti-
tudes that characterize thousands of orchards.

7. The trunk is protected by the foliage from the



parching sun-rays, and the sap reaches its destination
just in the condition Nature provided it in the roots,
without travelling an unnecessary distance.


It is with considerable difficulty that trees in the
usual condition in which they are received from the
nursery are reduced to a pyramidal form, branching
from near the ground. If two years old from the bud,

Fig. 88.

Fig. 84.

and lateral branches should have formed, the ruthless
knife of the .nurseryman has pruned them away.
Figs. 33 and 34 are specimens of trees where some
feeble attempts have been made for the production
of a pyramid. The lower cross linos in Fig. 34 indi-
cate the vicious pruning such a tree would usually


receive. The other lines show the points at which
the limbs and trunk should be shortened.

Having shortened the tree shown in Fig. 33, at A,
the next effort of Nature is to effect an aeration of the
sap produced in the roots, and as there are but few
buds to expand into leaves, a large amount of sap is
thrown upon these few.

The difficulties in forming pyramids from such
trees are numerous. Unless the tree has been root-
pruned, or recently transplanted, an effect of this
severe shortening, called by horticulturists suffocation,
ensues, and a sickly growth of small shoots is the
result. Not unfrequently, several shoots start from
near the amputation in a bushy cluster, or a gour-
mand or two obstinately shoots up, absorbing all the
sap. It will now become more and more difficult to
draw out the buds below, and, after the bark is two
years old, almost impossible.

Under this treatment, we must thus commence our
pyramid with a raw amputation, that will exhibit for
years an ungainly scar, but there is nothing less severe
to be done until we have better-formed nursery trees,
and can remedy some of these evils, by commencing
the process in the first season, as shown at Fig. 35,
which has been already explained on page 99.

If the tree shown at Fig. 33 is planted iii the same
season of its shortening, but little growth, of course,
will be produced during the first year, but if per-
fectly successful in avoiding all the mishaps noted, it
will, at the end of the second year, exhibit somewhat
the appearance of Fig. 36. If more shoots should
have been produced than necessary, they must be



thinned so as to leave the remaining ones well bal-
anced around the stem. Select one for a leader, that

Fig. 85.

Fig. 86.

as nearly as possible occupies the centre of the group,
and starts near the top. All the shoots ought now to
be shortened in such a manner as to induce a cone
shape to the tree. To effect this, the lower ones
should be cut back to six or eight inches, the next
reduced two inches more, and the next still more,
until, as we approach the leader, the side shoots must
be shortened to two or three buds. From this time,
with proper attention to summer pinching, pruning
might be almost entirely dispensed with; but as few
persons will or can bestow the requisite labor, we
shall still adapt the instructions to the ordinary con-
dition of trees.



By attention to former suggestions, the tree, at the
end of the third summer, may be expected to appear
as in Fig. 37, and from this time, the progress of the
tree in growth and shape is much more rapid. The
trees exhibited at Figs. 37 and 38 are often exceeded
in size by such as have been planted a year less, but
they are much oftener not equalled in this respect by
trees planted four or five years.

Fig. 87.

Fig. 88.


When the pyra-
midal shape has be-
come established, as
in Fig. 38, the prun-
ing is performed
more directly with
the intention of in-
ducing the forma-
tion of fruit-buds,
but the preservation
of the shape must
still be kept in view.
The line AB in Fig-
ure 38 indicates the
place at which the
branches should be

Fig. 39 is a well-
balanced pyramidal
Urbaniste, ten or
twelve years old.
The characteristic
growth of this vari-
ety may be observed
in its too numerous
branches. It can-
not, however, be
thinned to the ex-
tent needed by other
varieties without de-
laying its fruiting,
on account of its
great tendency to


Fig. 89.


Although, the pyramidal form has become estab-
lished, this tree would soon grow out of balance if
neglected. It will require annual pinching and sum-
mer checking of the leading shoots not only for the
purpose of restraining them, but to preserve the
development of the lower branches.

From neglect or bad pruning, it is not unfrequent
that trees acquire a growth similar to Fig. 40, which
is a portrait of a tree in my own grounds. In its first
pruning, the stem was left too high, and, in conse-
quence, a long space has occurred at A and B, free
from radial branches. After some subsequent prun-
ing, a gourmand, indicated by C, has pushed out
from near the collar.

Another error in pruning is shown at D, where a
cut was made too far above the bud, or the branch.
The highest shoot in this tree has abdicated the
leadership, and a strong rival has pushed up from
below it. Some of the methods of remedying the
numerous evils in the condition of this tree, without
shortening it back so severely as to lose three or four
years in its fruiting, will be noticed. To cover the
naked space on the stem, the shoots A and B, Fig. 40,
may be ingrafted by cutting them to a wedge shape,
at A and B, and fitting them into a notch in the stem,
made with a chisel, or by removing small sections of
bark from both the stem and the shoot, and binding
the two firmly in contact. The gourmand may be
used, for ingrafting upon the trunk, at G, but when
not used as a graft, it should be cut at F, in order to
conceal the trunk with foliage. The branch and part
of the stem, at D, should be entirely removed, in order



to allow E to become the leader. All the branches
should be shortened, the upper to three or four inches,
and the lower to six or eight, and the leader to ten or
twelve. Pig. 41, represents, at A and B, the incisions
which are made above a weak bud, or shoot, to check

Fig. 40.

Fig. 41.

the flow of sap, and force it to their development,
C is the incision made below a strong shoot to check
its growth.

It is important in pruning, to cut so near a bud that'


the wound will be within the influence of the sap,
elaborated by the leaves formed from that bud. If
cut as in Fig. 42, the wood above the bud being beyond
the flow of sap, usually dies, and produces a bad effect.
The cut in Fig. 43 is made so low as to endanger the
life of the bud, and effect the same bad result, as in
cutting too high. The true rule for cutting a bud is,
to make the slope reach no lower than the bottom of
the bud, and high enough on the side of the shoot
nearest the bud to clear the top of the latter. Fig. 44
represents the true cut.

Fig. 42. Pig. 43. Fig. 44.

An irregular form of trees growing on quince roots,
and resulting from overfruiting, is exhibited by Fig.
45. The check to wood-growth, caused by the early
fruitfulness of the tree, resulted in the change of most
of the buds to fruit-buds. When a period of rest from
fruiting occurred, and the tree had acquired strength
for further growth, this was all produced at the top
of the tree, and thus its balance destroyed. To
remedy this, the tree may be either shortened at the
point indicated by the long lines, or the limbs pruned
at the small cross lines, and the lower part kept from
fruiting for a year or two. Combined with summer



Fig. 45.

pinching of the t jp shoots, this last method will restore
the shape without losing the growth of two or three

I am often pained at
being obliged to cut
away half a dozen luxu-
riant shoots, three to five
feet in length, the growth
of the preceding sum-
mer, upon a tree, which,
by their production, was
thrown entirely out of

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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 9 of 18)