William Forsyth.

A treatise on the culture and management of fruit trees ... To which is added, a new and improved edition of Observations on the diseases, defects and injuries of all kinds of fruit and forest trees .. online

. (page 23 of 29)
Online LibraryWilliam ForsythA treatise on the culture and management of fruit trees ... To which is added, a new and improved edition of Observations on the diseases, defects and injuries of all kinds of fruit and forest trees .. → online text (page 23 of 29)
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young and tender shoots seem to be much in-
fected, wash them with a woollen cloth dipped in
the same liquid that is recommended for the

Another cause of blights in the Spring will be
found in sharp hoary frosts, which are often suc-
ceeded by hot sunshine in the day-time j these are
certain and sudden destruction to the fruit. Sharp
pinching frosty mornings, which often happen
when the trees are in flower, or while the fruit is
very young, occasion the blossoms or fruit to <ko]>
off, and sometimes greatly injure the. tender shoots
and leaves.

The only method yet found out to prevent thia
mischief is, the carefully covering the walls with
netting, &c. as before directed.* The covering i&
to remain on during the night, and to be taken,
pff in the day-time. This method has been req-
^oned of Uttje service by some, which, indeed, may
be the c?tse when the coverings are not properly
used j for, if* the trees are kept too long covered,
the young branches and leaves will be so weak as
not to be able to bear the open air when they ace
exposed to it

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The same consequences wifl follow when the
trees are incautiously exposed to the air after hav-
ing been long covered.

But if the covering be properly performed, it
will frequently preserve the fruits under it* when
there happens almost a general failure in the neigh-
bourhood where this precaution has been neglect-
ed. The great trouble which seems to attend it
may deter many from putting it in practice $ yet if
the nettings, or other coverings, be so contrived as
to draw up and let down by means of putties, the
business maybe done with ease and expedition;
and the success attending it will make ample

But what is called a blight is frequently no more
than a weakness or distemper in trees. This is
the case when trees against the same wall, and
enjoying the same advantages in every respect,
differ greatly in their health and vigour, the weak
ones appearing to be continually blighted, while
the others remain in a flourishing condition. This
veiy great difference, in such circumstances, can
be attributed only to the different constitutions at
the trees, proceeding from a want of proper nou-
rishment, or from some bad qualities in the soil*
some distemper in the stock, buds, or scions, or from
.mismanagement in the pruning, &c. all of which
$re productive of distempers in trees, of which
they are with difficulty cured.
; If the fault be in the soil, it must be dug out,
and fresh mould put in ita place ; or the trees T$pet

b b 2

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be taken up, and others better adapted to the soil
planted in their room. It will be found absolutely
necessary always to endeavour to suit the particu-
lar sorts of fruits to the nature of the soil ; for it
is in vain to expect all sorts of fruit to be good in
the same soil

If the weakness of the tree proceed from an
inbred distemper, it will be adviseable. to remove
it at once, and after removing the earth to plant
another in its place.

But if the weakness has been brought on by
ill-management in the pruning, which is frequently
the case, I would advise the method of pruning
and training which is laid down in this treatise to
be adopted without loss of time.

How common it is to see the young luxuriant
branches trained up to their full length every year,
and so carried to the top of the wall in a very short
time, by which the fruit-bearing branches are
robbed of a great part of their nourishment, which
weakens them so much that they have not strength
to produce fruit ; but the blossoms fall otE, and not
unfrequently the branches decay, sometimes even
their whole length, and this is ascribed to a blast!
Luxuriant shoots should be stopped ; and all super-
fluous wood should be cut out ; otherwise they will
exhaust a great part of the nourishment which
should go for the support of the fruit-bearing

There is another sort of blight that sometimes
happens pretty late in the Spring, viz. in April and

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May, which is very destructive to fruit trees in
orchards and open plantations, and against which
we know of no effectual remedy. This is what is
called a fire-blast, which in a few hours hath not
only destroyed the fruit and leaves, but often parts
of trees, and sometimes entire trees have been
killed by it

• TC

This is generally thought to be occasioned by
certain transparent flying vapours, which may
sometimes take such forms as to converge the sunV
rays in the manner of a burning-glass, so as to
scorch the plants they fall upon, and this in a greater
or less degree in proportion to their convergency.
As this generally happens in close plantations, where
the vapours from the earth, and the perspirations
from the trees, are pent-in for want of a free circu-
lation of air to disperse them, it points out to us
the only way yet known of guarding against tibia
enemy to fruits; namely, to make choice of a
clear , healthy situation for kitchen-gardens, or-
chards, &c. and to plant the trees at such a dis-
tance as to give free admission to the air, that it
may dispel those vapours before they are formed
into such volumes as to occasion these blasts.

But blasts may also be occasioned by the reflec-
tion of the sun's rays from hollow clouds, which
sometimes act as burning mirrors, and occasion ex-
cessive heat. Against this there is no remedy.

b fi 3

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Qf the Different Sort* of Insects infesting Fruit- Trees> and the
Method of destroying them. — Hotv to preserve Fruit from
Birds ; and of destroying Rats and Mice*

Of the Aphis. *

Aphides, or Plant-lide, axe a very numerous and
destructive tribe of insects. Entomologists enu-
merate seventy-five species of them j but probably
there are many more, as every tree infested by
them has a distinct species ; and Linnaeus names
them from the different trees that they live upon ;
as the currant aphis, the plum aphis, the cherry
aphis, &c. &c. The males, which are very few in
comparison of the females, have wings j but the
females are apterous, or without wings.

Aphides are devoured by the larva of the Myr.
meleon Formicarius, or ant-eater, pf Linnaeus.

* Those who wish for farther information respecting insects,
may consult Reaumur's History of Insects, or Dr. Anderson's
Recreations in Agriculture, Natural History, &p. &c

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O* INSECTS, &C. 873

Ants are likewise very fond of them, on account
of a sweet liquid which they eject from the anus.
Aphides are extremely common.

Fruit trees are frequently very much infested
with different species of the aphis ; the Plum, in
particular, suffers greatly by them. Those which
I have most frequently found on Plums, are, the
brown, the green, and the light sea-green aphis ;
but as before observed, different sorts of trees ge-
nerally have different species of aphides. Great
care should be taken to destroy these pernicious
insects at as early a period of their growth as pos-
sible ; otherwise they will consume the leaves and
fruit for that season. The best method that I have
found for this purpose is, to take some fine wood-
ashes mixed with one-third part of fine unslaked
lime, and throw it on with a common dredging-box,
till you have covered the undersides of all the
leaves where you find the insects : this should be
done in the morning early, while the dew is on the
leaves, which will cause the powder to adhere to
them; letting them remain so covered with the
powdered lime for three or four days. Then mix
unslaked lime and soft water, or water that has
been exposed to the sun a week at least, at the rate
of half a peck to thirty-two gallons, and stir it well
two or three times a day, for three or four days.
If you have many trees that are infected with in-
sects, mix up a large quantity in the same pro-
portion as the above. I generally mix as much at


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once as will fill a cistern *, about seven feet long by
three and a half broad, , and three feet deep, and
that contains about 550 gallons, which, according
to the foregoing proportion, requires about two
bushels and half a peck of lime. With this liquid,
after the lime has subsided, give the trees a good
watering, observing to throw a considerable part of
it under the leaves, by a barrow-engine ; this should
be repeated once a day, for six days, which will
destroy all the aphides. The engine that I would
recommend, is that of the late Mr. Winlaw's con-
struction, which may be had of Messrs. Chieslie
and Yowle, No. 72, MargarekStreet, Cavendish-
Square. (1802.)

If you find the insects begin to make their ap-
pearance again, apply the powder as before di-
rected, and repeat the watering.

Particular Directions for using the Lime-toater.

Take the clear water after the lime has settled,
fill the engine with it, and give the trees a good
watering, throwing it with as much force as you
can under the leaves ; pressing your fore-finger
over the mouth of the pipe to spread the water like
the falling of small rain, which you may very easily
do, at the same time wheeling the engine back-

* If it be a leaden cistern, a little loam, enough to cover the
bottom, must be thrown in, and then trod down, before the lim4
and water are put in ; the loam will prevent the lime from cor-
roding the metal.

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of insects, &c 877

wards and forwards, that no part of the tree be
missed. This should be done in cloudy weather,
or when the sun is off the wall. If the trees are
on an East wall, you may begin to water them
about half-past eleven o'clock ; if on a North wall,
you may water them the first thing you do in the
morning ; and if on a South wall, at four o'clock
in the afternoon; repeating the watering for at
least six days successively. But if there be cold
Northerly and Easterly winds, or frosty nights,
the watering should be discontinued till the wea-
ther is milder.

Be always careful that your trees get dry before
night, and be sure never to water when the sun is
on them, nor yet water them with the grounds of
the lime, which will make the trees look very un-
sightly, and also injure the leaves.

When aphides are numerous at the ends of the
shoots, the leaves there will be curled up ; these
should be stript off, and the insects crushed with
the foot

Of the Acarus.

The Acarus, or Red Spider, is one of the most
destructive insects that can infest plants, particu-
larly in forcing-houses.

These insects have no wings, and the female is

There are not less than 82 species of this genus.
The Acarus is very common on trees, particularly

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the Currant, on the frnit of which it is frequently
seen running.

These insects attack the Vines, Nectarines,
Peaches, and Cherries : and forced French-Beans
are very subject to their depredations, as are also
Peaches and Nectarines on the natural waD, in hot
weather. Melons in frames are very much infest-
ed with them. I once saw a ridge of Melons, of
seventy lights, so much injured by them, that
when the fruit was full-grown, it was good for
nothing, and the stems and leaves were completely
exhausted of their moisture by these insects feed-
ing on them. They are equally hurtful to most
exotics in hot-houses.

The best thing that I know for destroying these
pernicious insects is moisture j which will also
destroy many other insects in hot houses.

Frequent watering of wall-trees, standards, &c.
with lhne-water (the making and using of which is
described in the directions for destroying the
Aphis), and throwing it plentifully on the under-
side of the leaves, where the Acarus is generally
found, will in a short time extirpate that destruc-
tive insect

For plants, &c. in hot-houses, I would recom-
mend using water only, and in the following man-

Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon
fill the barrow-engine with soft- water, or such as
has been exposed to the sun all day, and wheel it
along the foot-paths of the house, where they are

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OF IN8BCTS, &C. 3?9

wide enough to admit it, and sprinkle all the plants*
pressing your finger on the top of the pipe, to
spread the waiter like a fine showerof rain, playing
also against the top lights and shelves till the water
stands an inch deep in the paths of the house. *
If you cannot conveniently get the engine into the
house, open the front Hghts, or when there are no
front lights, slide down the top lights, and throw
the water in at the front or top. When you begin
this operation, if in the inside, every light must he
shut ; and if you throw the water in at the front,
you must keep only one light open, which shut
immediately when you have sufficiently watered
that part of the house opposite to it : and, then
opening another light, proceed as before ; and sa
en, till the whole is properly watered. The house
must then be kept close shut till next morning :
this will cause such an exhalation from the glass,
tan, (if there are any tan-beds in the house,) &o
that the plants will be covered all over with the
vapour, which will infallibly destroy the Cocci,
Aphides, and other insects : but the watering must
be repeated every afternoon, during hot weather
only. By this you will also save a great deal of
labour in watering; hut such plants as require
much watering should be watered before you be-
gin to sprinkle the house. Before morning the

* I have lately seen a small copper engine, made by Mr. Phi-
lips, Engine-maker, Blackfriars Road, which answers very well,
when a barrow-engine cannot be got into the house.

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plants will have imbibed all the moisture, and the
paths will be perfectly dry.

When I lived at the Botanic Gardens, Chelsea,
I observed in hard Winters, when we were obliged
to keep strong foes in the stoves night and day,
that the plants which stood on shelves in the dry
stoves were so scorched up that the leaves used to
drop off, as from deciduous trees in Autumn, which
gave them a very disagreeable appearance. This
induced me to consider what could be done to pre-
vent it ; when the following method occurred to
me: about eight in the morning, when the sun
shone out, and there was the appearance of a fine
day, I threw in water till it covered the floor, which
was of tile, from one to two inches deep, and kept
the house shut the whole of the day, unless the
thermometer rose to about eighty degrees, which
seldom happens at that season of the year ; in that
case I opened the door to admit a little air. By
the middle of the day the water was entirely ex-
haled, and the floor perfectly dry. This I used to
repeat two or three times a week, in sunny wea-
ther j the plants in about a week's time began to
throw out their foliage, and in a fortnight or three
weeks they were in full leaf. This success induced
me to take the same method with the tan-stoves
and other houses in Summer, when troubled with
insects, and I had the satisfaction to And that it
had the desired effect

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Of the Acarus an Melons.

As we are now treating of insects, although it
may look like a departure from my original plan, I
hope that some instructions for destroying the Red
Spider on Melons will not be unacceptable.

Melons, in dry weather, and with a dry heat, are
very apt to be infested with the red spider j and
you may always observe the symptoms long before
you can see these insects with the naked eye, by
the leaves curling and cracking in the middle*
Whenever you observe them in that state, in fine
warm sunny weather, I would recommend water-
ing them all over the leaves from a watering pot
with a rose, or an engine, about six in the morn-
ing} and about eight o'clock shade them with
mats, if the sun shines, and shut the frames close
down till about eleven ; then admit a small quan-
tity of air, letting the mats remain till about three
in the afternoon, when they should be taken off.
Shading with mats will prevent the leaves from be-
ing scorched by the sun while they are wet. If
the Wind be South or South-West, I should re-
commend watering them again about three in the
afternoon, shutting them up close to keep the heat
in, which will cause a strong exhalation, and de-
stroy the spiders, as they by no means love mois-
ture. In watering, throw as much as possible on
the underside of the leaves, where the insect gene-
rally lodges j the Vines may be gently turned, tak-

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382 OF INSECTS, &c

ing very great care not to hurt them j by which
means you can easily throw the water all over the
underside of the leaf} which must be done in a
gentle shower from the engine, or from a watering
pot with a rose, so as not to wash up the mould on
the plants : at the same time throw great plenty of
water on the lights and sides of the boxes. After
you have done .watering, lay the Vines gently down
again in their former position. If a sunny day, let
the mats remain as before directed until the leaves
of the plants are perfectly dry, admitting air ac-
cording to the heat of the day.

Before the frames and lights are used, I would
recommend washing them well, both inside and
out ; first, with clean water, and then with soap
suds and urine mixed ; using a brush or woollen
rag in the washing ; this will kill the eggs of the
spiders and other insects that may have been depo-
sited the preceding season.

When the ridges are fit for putting the mould on
for the hills to plant the Melons in, it should be
from, a foot to fifteen inches deep, and the rest of
the bed should be covered with light mould, or
rotten leaves, about one inch deep to keep down
the steam. Take care not to make the hills too
broad at first (a wheelbarrow frill and a half will
be enough for one hill)* and observe that the heat
is not too great, which will burn the mould. and
the roots of the plants. You will know, when the
beds are of a fine temperate heat, from sticks stuck

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OF INSECTS, &c, 383

in at different parts of the bed, by the feel of
your band, and the sticks having a pleasant sweet

It will be very proper to water the hills, with a
watering pot having a rose, once a day for two or
three days before you put in the plants, keeping
the lights shut, which will destroy any eggs of the
spider that may yet remain ill the crevices of the
boxes and lights.

The day on which you mean to put in the plants,
you should give the beds a great deal of air, to let
put the steam that has been penned in ; then turn
over the hills, and put in your plants about three
o'clock in the afternoon, making a hollow circle
round the bottom of each hill to separate the mould
of the hills from that on the bed, which will suffec
the steam to evaporate more easily $ then watering
the plants, shut them down till next morning*
admitting air according to the heat of your bed*
taking care not to give too much till your plants
are well rooted in the hills, which will be in a
couple of days ; it will also be necessary to shade
^bem in the heat of the dqy s tp prevent the plants
from flagging.

In cold frosty weather you njust by no means
sprinkle the plants, as the frost in the night will
infallibly bring on the canker.
. Soft water should be used in sprinkling, or such
a£ ha* been exposed several days to the sun. If
the water be very bard, put some wood-ashes
into it, and stir it up two or tfeyree times a-day:

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384 OF INSECTS, &c.

it will be fit for use in the course of two days ;
let the ashes subside, and use the clear water only.
If your Melons have been infested with the
spider in the preceding year, by no means use any
of the mould again.

Of the Coccus.

The Coccus is a genus of insects belonging to
the order Hemiptera, whose males have wings,
but the females have none.

The most common insects of this genus are
those which attach themselves to Peach, Nectarine*
and Pear trees; and when full grown they have
somewhat the appearance of a boat with the keel
turned uppermost. These are apparently without
feet, eyes, or other members, while in this state ;
and so much resemble some kinds of galls, or
excrescences of the bark, as frequently to be taken
for such. A thin film of a white cotton-like
substance is interposed between the flat part of the
body and the tree. This is commonly, in a greater
or lesser quantity, to all the species, and appears
at first all round the edge as a kind of cement, to
join it to the tree.

The males are very few in proportion to the
females, and not nearly one-fourth of their size ;
they are beautiful little flies, which, after a short
but active life, terminate their existence without
having tasted food, being provided with no sort of
organs for that purpose.

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Peach, Nectarine, and Pear-trees, are very much
infested with these insects: they frequently cut
through the bark, and the trees then appear as if
they had been scratched by cats. I have seen
some trees with this appearance all over them.

When these insects first appear on the bark,
they should be scraped off with a wooden knife,
and the stem and branches of the tree well washed
with soap-suds and urine, applied with a stiff
painter's brush. This should be done in February,
before the buds begin to come out But if the
outer bark is perforated, it must be cut or pared
off with a long knife ; and if you find any brown
spots in the inner bark, they must be carefully cut
out. This disease is one great cause of the canker,
and of the death of the tree. [See Plate IX.
Fig. 8.-]

When this disease has made its way through
both barks, as is often the case, the branches on
each side of the tree may be cut close to the
stem, if it has an upright one ; but if the tree be
trained fan-fashion, the best way is to head it near
to the place where it was grafted. I have headed
old Pear-trees which were so dead except a small
strip of live bark on one side, that you might rub
the bark off them as easily as off a bundle of
faggot-sticks that had been cut upwards of a-year ;
yet these trees have shot out fresh branches to the
length of seventeen feet in two years, and produced
fine fruit the second year. Apply the Composition

c c

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386 OF INSECTS, &c»

immediately after heading, or cutting, or paring
off the diseased bark. .

A very destructive species of the Coccus tribe
(Aphislanigera qf Iltiger), has lately done in-
credible damage to the Apple trees in the nur-
series and gardens in the neighbourhood of
London. Some Nurserymen have lost several
thousand Apple trees in one year. These in-
sects attach themselves to the bark by their
suckers, and, by feeding on the juices of the
tree, rob it of its nourishment Such trees as are
infested with them have a sickly appearance. I
am happy, however, in being able to say, that I
have nearly extirpated them from His Majesty's
gardens at Kensington : but, as our neighbours do
not pay the same attention to their trees as we do
to ours, the insects frequently emigrate to us ; this
obliges me to be very attentive to their first
appearance ; and, as I take the earliest opportunity
of destroying them, the trees suffer very little from
their depredations.

These insects make their nests generally where
branches have been cut ofl) or in hollow places,
where the canker has eaten holes in the trees.
Their first appearance is like a white down; on
touching, or rubbing them, they tinge the fingers
of a crimson colour, like cochineal. If suffered to
remain long on trees, they take wing, like Aphides.
The method that I have followed for these ten
years to destroy them is as follows :

I rub the places where their nests are with an

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old brush, such as painters use, till they are all
cleaned off; and if the part be canker-eaten, I cut
it clean out with a knife or chisel : I then take of
sbap-suds and urine equal parts, and with this
I wash the wound and the bark all round it ; and
with a brush apply the Composition mixed with
wood-ashes and the powder of burnt bones, cover-
ing the wound all over with it. Afterwards I shake

Online LibraryWilliam ForsythA treatise on the culture and management of fruit trees ... To which is added, a new and improved edition of Observations on the diseases, defects and injuries of all kinds of fruit and forest trees .. → online text (page 23 of 29)