Fruit tree care

In the removal or transplantation of trees, gardeners and nurserymen are generally very careless and inattentive in taking them up, and care not how much the roots are broken or lessened in number, provided they have enough left to keep the tree alive; the consequence is that although the branches left on remain alive, there is so great a deficiency of sap, from the loss of roots, that the vessels cannot be filled the following spring.

The roots are broken or cut off at random, and generally diminished more than one-half, or they are doubled back and distorted, and if there be enough left to keep the plant alive, it is thought quite sufficient, and by these means the appearance of blossoms and fruit being prematurely produced, those stinted and deformed plants are sold as half or full-trained trees for four times the price of others, and when sold they are again taken up and the roots treated and diminished in the same careless manner.

When the soil of a garden wherein fruit-trees are to be planted is not naturally comfortable or congenial to the first principle, it must be made so.

The top of a wall should be so formed as to throw off water, for otherwise it will generally be damped, which renders the trees unhealthy and when the substance against which the branches are fixed is dry, the temperature on all sides will be more equal.

In preparing beds or borders, due attention must be paid both to the soil and subsoil, as each equally affects the health and fruitfulness of trees, and principally as it retains or discharges water, stagnant water being at all times particularly detrimental to the fructification of trees.

For peaches, nectarines, etc., a border of ten or twelve feet wide will generally prove sufficient. In cases where the soil has been too close and retentive, and the roots apt to grow deep on the substratum, lay a stratum of six inches of the common soil of the garden and then form a stratum of about six inches for the roots to run and repose in, composed of two-third parts of fine drift sand (the scrapings of a public road that has been made or repaired with flints), and one-third part of rich vegetable mould, well mixed together; and the better way to perform this is first to lay on about three inches of the composition and on this place the roots of the plant, and over them spread the other three inches, and cover the whole down with from nine to twelve inches of the common soil of the place.

Where it is not found necessary to form an artificial substratum, it will be sufficient to remove the soil to the depth of fifteen or eighteen inches and there form the stratum of the roots, covering it down with afoot or nine inches of the common soil.

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