Fruits should be counted a regular part of the home premises. There are few residence plots so small that fruits of some kind cannot be grown. If there is no opportunity for planting the orchard fruits by themselves at regular intervals, there are still boundaries to the place, and along these boundaries and scattered in the border masses, apples, pears, and other fruits may be planted.
It is not to be expected that fruits will thrive as well in these places as in well-tilled orchards, but something can be done, and the results are often very satisfactory. Along a back fence or walk, one may plant a row or two of currants, gooseberries, or blackberries, or he may make a trellis of grapes. If there are no trees near the front or back of the border, the fruit plants may be placed close together in the row and the greatest development of the tops may be allowed to take place laterally. If one has a back yard fifty feet on a side, there will be opportunity, in three borders, for six to eight fruit trees, and bush-fruits between, without encroaching greatly on the lawn. In such cases, the trees are planted just inside the boundary line.
A suggestion for the arrangement of a fruit garden of one acre is given in Fig. 270. Such a plan allows of continuous cultivation in one direction and facilitates spraying, pruning, and harvesting; and the intermediate spaces may be used for the growing of annual crops, at least for a few years.
[Illustration: Fig. 270. Plan for a fruit-garden of one acre. From "Principles of Fruit-growing."]
For very small areas, and for the growing of the finest dessert fruits, dwarf trees may be grown of apples and pears. The apple is dwarfed when it is worked on certain small and slow-growing types of apple trees, as the paradise and doucin stocks. The paradise is the better, if one desires a very small and productive tree or bush. The doucin makes only a half-dwarf.
The pear is dwarfed when it is grown on the root of quince. Dwarf pears may be planted as close as ten feet apart each way, although more room should be given them if possible. Paradise dwarfs (apples) may be planted eight or ten feet each way, and doucin twice that distance. All dwarfs should be kept small by vigorous annual heading-in. If the tree is making good growth, say one to three feet, a half to two-thirds of the growth may be taken off in winter. A dwarf apple or pear tree should be kept within a height of twelve or fifteen feet, and it should not attain this stature in less than ten or twelve years. A dwarf apple tree, in full bearing, should average from two pecks to a bushel of first quality apples, and a dwarf pear should do somewhat more than this.
If one grows dwarf fruit trees, he should expect to give them extra attention in pruning and cultivating. Only in very exceptional instances can the dwarf fruits be expected to equal the free-growing standards in commercial results. This is particularly true of dwarf apples, which are practically home-garden plants in this country. This being the case, only the choice dessert fruits should be attempted on paradise and doucin roots. For home gardens the paradise will probably give more satisfaction than the doucin.
If the tree is taken young, it may be trained along a wall or on an espalier trellis; and in such conditions the fruits should be of extra quality if the varieties are choice. Plate XXII shows the training of a dwarf pear on a wall. This tree has been many years in good bearing. In most parts of the country a southern wall exposure is likely to force the bloom so early as to invite danger from spring frosts.
_Age and size of trees._
For ordinary planting, it is desirable to choose trees two years from bud or graft, except in case of the peach, which should be one year old. Many growers find strong one-year trees preferable. A good size is about five-eighths of an inch in diameter just above the collar, and five feet in height, and if they have been well grown, trees of this size will give as good results as those seven-eighths of an inch, or more, in diameter, and six or seven feet high. Buy first-class trees of reliable dealers. It rarely pays to try to save a few cents on a tree, for quality is likely to be sacrificed.
If properly packed, trees can be shipped long distances and may do as well as those grown in a home nursery, but it will generally be best to secure the trees as near home as possible, provided the quality of the trees and the price are satisfactory. When a large number is to be purchased, it will be better to send the order direct to some reliable nursery, or to select the trees in person, than to rely on tree peddlers.
Having planted the trees, they should be carefully pruned. As a rule, trees with low heads are desirable. Peaches and dwarf pears should have the lower branches from 12 to 24 inches above ground, and sweet cherries and standard pears generally not over 30 inches; plums, sour cherries, and apples may be somewhat higher, but if properly handled, when started 3 feet from the ground, the tops will not be in the way of the cultivation of the orchard.
For all except the peach in the northern states, a pyramidal form will be desirable. To secure this, four or five side branches with three or four buds each, should be allowed to grow and the center shoot should be cut off at a height of 10 to 12 inches. After growth has started, the trees should be occasionally examined and all surplus shoots removed, thus throwing the full vigor of the plant into those that remain. As a rule three or four shoots on each branch may be left to advantage. The following spring the shoots should be cut back one-half and about half of the branches removed. Care should be taken to avoid crotches, and if any of the branches cross, so that they are likely to rub, one or the other should be cut out. This cutting-back and trimming-out should be continued for two or three years, and in the case of dwarf pear trees regular heading-back each year should be continued. Although an occasional heading-back will be of advantage to the trees, apple, plum, and cherry trees that have been properly pruned while young will not require so much attention after they come into bearing.
Heavy pruning of the top tends to the production of wood; therefore the severe pruning of orchard trees, following three or four years of neglect, sets the trees into heavy wood-bearing, and makes them more vigorous. Such treatment generally tends away from fruit-bearing. This heavy pruning is usually necessary in neglected orchards, however, to bring trees back into shape and to revitalize them; but the best pruning-treatment of an orchard is to prune it a little every year. It should be so pruned that the tops of the trees will be open, that no two limbs will interfere with each other, and so that the fruit itself will not be so abundant as to overload the tree.
In general, it is best to prune orchard trees late in winter or early in spring. It is sometimes better, however, to leave peaches and other tender fruits until after the buds have swollen, or even after the flowers have fallen, in order that one may determine how much they have been injured by the winter. Grape vines should be pruned in winter or not later (in New York) than the first of March. If pruned later than this, they may bleed. The above remarks will apply to other trees as well as to fruits.
_Thinning the fruit._
If the best size and quality of fruit are desired, care must be taken to see that the plant does not overbear.
Thinning of fruit has four general uses: to cause the remaining fruit to grow larger; to increase the chances of annual crops; to save the vitality of the tree; to enable one to combat insects and diseases by destroying the injured fruit.
The thinning is nearly always performed soon after the fruit is thoroughly set. It is then possible to determine which of the fruits are likely to persist. Peaches are usually thinned when they are the size of one's thumb. If thinned before this time, they are so small that it is difficult to pick them off; and it is not so easy to see the work of the curculio and thereby to select the injured fruits. Similar remarks apply to other fruits. The general tendency is, even with those who thin their fruits, not to thin enough. It is usually safer to take off what would seem to be too many than not to take off enough. The remaining specimens are better. Varieties that tend to overbear profit very greatly by thinning. This is notably the case with many Japanese plums, which, if not thinned, are very inferior.
Thinning may also be accomplished by pruning. Cutting off the fruit-buds will have the effect of removing the fruit. In the case of tender fruits, as peaches, however, it may not be advisable to thin very heavily by means of pruning, since the fruit may be still further thinned by the remaining days of winter, by late spring frost, or by the leaf-curl or other disease. However, the proper pruning of a peach tree in winter is, in part, a thinning of the fruit. The peach is borne on the wood of the previous season's growth. The best fruits are to be expected the strongest and heaviest growth. It is the practice of peach-growers to remove all the weak and immature wood from the inside of the tree. This has the effect of thinning out the inferior fruit and allowing the energy of the tree to be expended on the remainder.
Apples are rarely thinned; but, in many cases, thinning can be done with profit.
_Washing and scrubbing the trees._
The washing of orchard trees is an old practice. It usually results in making a tree more vigorous. One reason is that it destroys insects and fungi that lodge underneath the bark; but probably the chief reason is that it softens the bark and allows the trunk to expand. It is possible, also, that the potash from the soap or lye eventually passes into the ground and affords some plant-food. Trees are ordinarily washed with soap suds or with a lye solution. The material is usually applied with an old broom or a stiff brush. The scrubbing of the tree is perhaps nearly or quite as beneficial as the application of the wash itself.
It is customary to wash trees late in spring or early in summer, and again in the fall, with the idea that such washing destroys the eggs and the young of borers. It no doubt will destroy borers if they are just getting a start, but it will not keep away the insects that lay the eggs, and will not destroy the borers that have found their way beneath the bark. It is perhaps quite as well to wash the trees very early in the spring, when they are starting into growth.
It is an old practice to wash trees with strong lye when they are affected with the oyster-shell bark louse. The modern method of treating these pests, however, is to spray with some kerosene or oil compound when the young growth is starting, for at that time the young insects are migrating to the new wood and they are very easily destroyed.
The whitewashing of the trunks of trees tends also to relieve them of insects and fungi; and it is probable that in hot and dry regions the white covering affords protection from climate.
_Gathering and keeping fruit._
Nearly all fruits should be gathered as soon as they will readily part from the stems on which they are borne. With many perishable fruits the proper time for gathering will be determined largely by the distance they are to be shipped. With the exception of winter varieties of apples and pears and a few kinds of grapes, it is best to dispose of fruit soon after it is gathered, unless it is kept for family use.
If for winter use, the fruit should at once be placed in the cellar or fruit house in which it is to be stored, and there kept as near the freezing point as possible. There will be less danger of shriveling if the fruit is placed at once in closed barrels or other tight packages, but if proper ventilation is provided, it may be kept in bins with little loss. Even though no ice is used, it will be possible to maintain a fairly low temperature by opening the windows at night when the outside atmosphere is colder than that inside the building, and closing them during the day as the outer air becomes warmer.
Fruit should be handled with great care at all times, for if the cells become broken by rough handling, the keeping qualities will be greatly injured. The illustrations (Figs. 187-189) show three types of fruit storage houses.
Apples and winter pears may be packed in sand or leaves in the cellar (in boxes) and thereby be kept from shriveling.
ALMOND.--The almond tree is seldom seen in the eastern states, but now and then one will be found in a yard and not bearing. The failure to bear may be due to frost injury or lack of pollination.
The almond is about as hardy as the peach, but it blooms so early in the spring that it is little grown east of the Pacific slope. It is an interesting ornamental tree, and its early bloom is a merit when the fruit is not desired. The almonds commonly sold by nurserymen in the east are hard-shell varieties, and the nuts are not good enough for commerce. The almond fruit is a drupe, like the peach, but the flesh is thin and hard and the pit is the "almond" of commerce. Culture as for peach.
The "flowering almonds" are bushes of different species from the fruit-bearing tree. They are usually grafted on plum, and the stock is likely to throw up suckers and cause trouble.
APPLES thrive over a wider range of territory and under more varied conditions than any other tree fruit. This means that they are easy to grow. In fact they are so easy to grow that they are usually neglected.
Apples do best on a strong, sandy loam soil, or a light clay loam. While a soil very rich in organic matter is not desirable, good results cannot be secured unless it contains a fair amount of vegetable matter. A clover sod is particularly desirable for this as well as for other fruits.
For a commercial orchard, most varieties should be from 35 to 40 feet apart; but the slow-growing and long-lived sorts may be at 40 feet, and, halfway between in both directions, some of the short-lived, early-bearing varieties may be placed, to be removed after they begin to crowd. In home grounds the trees may be placed somewhat closer than 35 to 40 feet, especially if they are planted on the boundaries, so that the limbs may project freely in one direction.
It is ordinarily advisable, especially in the humid climates east of the Great Lakes, to have the body of the tree 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 feet long. The limbs should be trimmed up to this point when the tree is set. From three to five main branches may be left to form the framework of the top. These should be shortened back one-fourth or one-half when the tree is set. (Figs. 142-145) Subsequent pruning should keep the top of the tree open and maintain it in more or less symmetrical form. West of the Great Lakes, particularly on the plains and in the semi-arid regions, the top may be started much nearer the ground.
In orchard conditions, the trees should be kept in clean culture, especially for the first few years; but this is not always possible in home yards. In lieu of tillage, the sward may be mulched each fall with stable manure, and commercial fertilizer may be applied each fall or spring. If fruit is wanted rather than foliage and shade, care should be taken not to make ground too rich, but to keep it in such condition that the tree is making a fairly vigorous growth, with good strong foliage, but is not overgrowing. An apple tree in full bearing is usually in good condition if the twigs grow 10 to 18 inches each season.
Apple trees should begin to bear when three to five years planted, and at ten years should be bearing good crops. With good treatment, they should continue to bear for thirty or more years in the northeastern states.
[Illustration: XXI. The king of fruits. Newtown as grown in the Pacific country.]
_Insects and diseases of the apple._
Among the insects most commonly found on the apple tree are the codlin-moth, canker-worm, and tent-caterpillar. The codlin-moth lays its egg on the fruit soon after the blossoms fall, and the larvae, on hatching, eat their way inside. A thorough spraying of the trees with arsenites within a week after the blossoms fall will do much toward destroying them; and a second application, in about three weeks, will be essential. The canker-worm (Fig. 217) and tent-caterpillars feed on the leaves, and can also be destroyed by means of arsenites. To be effective against the former, however, the applications must be made soon after they hatch, and very thoroughly.
A close watch should be kept for borers. Whenever the bark appears to be dead or sunken in patches, remove it and search for the cause. A borer will usually be found underneath the bark. About the base of the tree the most serious injury occurs from borers, since the insect which enters there bores into the hard wood. His presence can be determined by the chips that are cast from his burrows. If the trees are well cultivated and in a thrifty growing condition, the injury will be greatly reduced. It will be well to wash the trunks and larger branches with soft soap, thinned with water so that it can be applied with a brush or broom, during the spring. The addition of an ounce of Paris green in each five gallons of the wash will be of value. The only real remedy, however, is to dig the borers out.
The most troublesome disease of the apple is the apple-scab, which disfigures the fruit as well as lessens its size. It also often does much harm to the foliage, and thus checks the growth of the trees (Fig. 214). The Baldwin, Fameuse, Northern Spy and Red Canada are particularly subject to this disease, and it is much more troublesome in moist seasons than when the weather is dry. The use of fungicides will do much to lessen the injury from this disease.
_Varieties of apple._
The selection of varieties of apples for home use is, to a large extent, a personal matter; and no one may say what to plant. A variety that is successfully grown in one section may prove disappointing in another. One should study the locality in which he wishes to plant and choose those varieties which are the most successfully grown there,--choosing from amongst the successful kinds those which he likes best and which seem best to meet the purposes for which he is to grow them.
For the northern and eastern states, the following varieties will generally be found valuable:--
[The varieties marked with (A) are particularly valuable for market purposes as well as for home use; the others are chiefly desirable for home use.]
_Early._--Yellow Transparent, Early Harvest, Early Strawberry, Primate, Dyer, Summer Rose, Early Joe, Red Astrachan, Golden Sweet, Oldenburg,(A) Summer Pearmain, Williams (Favorite), Chenango, Bough (Sweet), Summer Queen, Gravenstein,(A) Jefferis, Porter, Maiden Blush.
_Autumn._--Bailey (Sweet), Fameuse,(A) Jersey Sweet, Fall Pippin, Wealthy,(A) Mother, Twenty Ounce, Magnate.
_Winter._--Jonathan(A) (Fig. 271), Hubbardston,(A) Grimes,(A) Tompkins King,(A) Wagener(A) (Fig. 272), Baldwin,(A) Yellow Bellflower, Tolman (Sweet), Northern Spy,(A) Red Canada,(A) Roxbury, McIntosh,(A) Yellow Newtown (Plate XXI), Golden Russet, Belmont, Melon, Lady, Rambo, York Imperial, Pomme Gris, Esopus (Spitzenburgh), Swaar, Peck (Pleasant), Rhode Island Greening, Sutton, Delicious, Stayman Winesap, Westfield (Seek-no-further).
For the South and Southwest the varieties named in the following list are of value:--
_Early._--Red June, Yellow Transparent, Red Astrachan, Summer Queen, Benoni, Oldenburg, Gravenstein, Maiden Blush, Earlyripe,(A) Williams,(A) Early Cooper,(A) Horse.
_Autumn._--Haas, Late Strawberry, Oconee, Rambo, Peck (Peck Pleasant), Carter Blue, Bonum,(A) Smokehouse,(A) Hoover.
_Winter._--Shockley, Rome Beauty,(A) Smith Cider, Grimes, Buckingham, Jonathan,(A) Winesap, Kinnard, York Imperial, Gilpiri (Romanite), Ralls (Genet), Limbertwig, Royal Lumbertwig, Stayman Winesap,(A) Milam, Virginia Beauty,(A) Terry,(A) Ingram.(A)
In the Northwest only such varieties as are extremely hardy will be satisfactory, and among those likely to succeed we may mention:--
_Early._--Yellow Transparent, Tetofski, Oldenburg.(A)
_Autumn._--Fameuse, Longfield, Wealthy, McMahan,(A) McIntosh,(A) Shiawassee.
_Winter._--Wolf River,(A) Hibernal, Northwestern (Greening), Pewaukee (Fig. 273), Switzer, Golden Russet, Patten (Greening).(A)
APRICOT.--This fruit is not often seen in home gardens in the East, although it deserves to be better known. When grown at all, it is likely to be trained on walls, after the English custom.
In the latitude of New York, the apricot has proved as hardy as the peach. Given the right conditions as to soil and exposure, it will yield abundant crops, ripening its fruits about three weeks in advance of early peaches.
The apricot usually thrives best on strong land; but otherwise the treatment given the peach suits it very well. The soil should be rather dry; especially should the subsoil be such that no water may stand around the roots. The exposure should be to the north or west to retard the blooming period, as the one great drawback to the successful fruiting is the early blooming and subsequent freezing of the flowers or the small fruits.
The two serious difficulties in the growing of apricots are the ravages of the curculio, and the danger to the flowers from the spring frosts. It is usually almost impossible to secure fruits from one or two isolated apricot trees, because the curculios will take them all. It is possible, also, that some of the varieties need cross-pollination.
Among the best kinds of apricots are Montgamet, Jackson, Royal, St. Ambroise, Early Golden, Harris, Roman (Fig. 274) and Moorpark. In the East, apricots are commonly worked on plums, but they also thrive on the peach.
The introduction of the Russian varieties, a few years ago, added to the list several desirable kinds that have proved hardier and a little later in blooming than the old kinds. The fruits of the Russian varieties, while not as large as the other varieties, fully equal many of them in flavor, and they are very productive. They bear more profusely and with less care than the old-fashioned and larger kinds.
Blackberry.--In a general way, the planting and care of a blackberry plantation is the same as required by raspberries. From the fact that they ripen later in the season, when droughts are most common, even greater attention should be given to placing them in land that is retentive of moisture, and to providing an efficient mulch, which can generally best be secured with a cultivator. The smaller-growing kinds (as Early Harvest and Wilson) may be planted 4 x 7 ft., the rank-growing varieties (as Snyder) 6 x 8 ft. Thorough cultivation through-out the season will help in a material degree to hold the moisture necessary to perfect a good crop. The soil should be cultivated very shallow, however, so as not to disturb the roots, as the breaking of the roots starts a large number of suckers that have to be cut out and destroyed. While hill culture (as recommended above) is desirable for the garden, commercial growers generally use continuous rows.
Blackberries, like dewberries and raspberries, bear but one crop on the cane. That is, canes which spring up this year bear next year. From 3 to 6 canes are sufficient to be left in each hill. The superfluous ones are thinned out soon after they start from the ground. The old canes should be cut out soon after fruiting, and burned. The new shoots should be pinched back at the height of 2 or 3 ft. if the plants are to support themselves. If to be fastened to wires, they may be allowed to grow throughout the season and be cut back when tied to the wires in winter or early spring.
Blackberry plants are sometimes laid down in cold climates,--the tops being bent over and held to the ground by earth or sods thrown on their tips (Fig. 155).
The most troublesome disease of the blackberry is orange rust (conspicuous on the under sides of the leaves), which often proves very destructive, particularly to Kittatinny and a few other sorts. There is no remedy, and on the first appearance of the disease the infected plants should be dug up and burned.
_Varieties of blackberries._
Many of the better varieties of blackberries are lacking in hardiness, and cannot be grown except in the more favorable localities. Snyder and Taylor are most generally successful, although Wilson and Early Harvest are often grown on a large scale for market, and do well with winter protection. Eldorado is much like Snyder, that seems hardy and productive. Erie, Minnewaski, Kittatinny, and Early King are in many sections large and valuable sorts.
CHERRY.--Of cherries there are two common types, the sweet cherries and the sour cherries. The sweet cherries are larger and taller-growing trees. They comprise the varieties known as the hearts, bigarreaus, and dukes. The sour cherries (Fig. 275) include the various kinds of morellos and pie cherries, and these usually ripen after the sweet cherries.
The sour cherries make low, round-headed trees. The fruits are extensively used for canning. Sour cherries thrive well on clay loams. The sour cherry should be planted 18 by 18 ft. apart, in well-prepared, under-drained soil. The trees may be slightly trimmed back each year, keeping the head low and bushy.
The sweet cherries have proved disappointing in many instances from the rotting of the fruit. This may never be entirely avoided, but good cultivation, soil not too rich in nitrogen, attention to spraying, and picking the fruit when dry, will lessen the loss very much. In years of severe rotting the fruit should be picked before it becomes fully ripe, placed in a cool, airy room and allowed to color. It will be nearly as well flavored as if left on the tree; and, as the fungus usually attacks only the ripe fruit, a considerable part of the crop may be saved. Set the trees 25 or 30 ft. apart. Only very well-drained land should be devoted to sweet cherries, preferably one of a somewhat gravelly nature.
Leaf-blight is readily controlled by timely spraying with bordeaux mixture. The curculio or fruit worm may be controlled by jarring, as for plums, or by spraying. The jarring process is seldom employed with cherries for the curculio, inasmuch as the poison spray seems, for some reason, to be particularly effective on these fruits.
_Varieties of cherry._
Of the sour varieties, May Duke (Fig. 36), Richmond, Dyehouse, Montmorency, Ostheim, Hortense (Fig. 34), Late Kentish, Suda, and Morello (English Morello) (Fig. 35) are the most valuable. The following sweet varieties are of value where they succeed: Rockport, (Yellow) Spanish, Elton, (Governor) Wood, Coe, Windsor, (Black) Tartarian, and Downer.
CRANBERRY.--The growing of cranberries in artificial bogs is an American industry. The common large cranberry of markets is also a peculiarly American fruit, since it is unknown in other countries except as the fruit is shipped there.
Cranberries are grown in bogs, which may be flooded. The whole area is kept under water during the winter time, largely to prevent the plants from winter injury by the heaving and freezing and thawing of the bogs. Flooding is also employed at intervals for the purpose of drowning out insects, mitigating drought, and protecting against frost and fires. The ordinary practice is to choose a bog which has a creek running through it, or through which some creek or ditch may be diverted. At the lower side of the bog flood-gates are provided, so that when the gates are shut, the water backs up and floods the area. It is best that the bog be comparatively flat, so that the water will be of approximately equal depth over the whole area. At the shallowest places the water should stand about a foot above the plants. The water is usually let on the bog early in December and kept on until April or early May. No flooding is done during the rest of the year unless there is some particular occasion therefor.
All the wild and turfy growth should be taken off the bog before the vines are set. This is done either by digging it off and removing it bodily, or by drowning it out by means of a year's flooding. The former method is generally considered to be the better. After the turfy growth is removed, the bog is smoothed, and covered 2 or 3 in. deep with clean sand. The vines are now set, the lower ends of them being shoved through the sand into the richer earth. In order to prevent a too rapid and tangled growth of vine, it is customary to resand the bog every three or four years to a depth of one-fourth or one-half inch. When sanding is not practicable, the vines may be mown off when they become too luxuriant.
The plants for setting are merely cuttings or branches of the vines. These cuttings may be 5 to 10 inches long. They are inserted into the ground in a hole made by a crowbar or stick. They are usually planted at distances of 12 to 18 inches each way, and the vines are allowed to cover the entire ground as with a mat. In three years a good crop should be secured, if the weeds and wild growth are kept down. A crop ranges between 50 to 100 barrels per acre.
CURRANT.--As the currant is one of the hardiest and most productive of fruits in the North, so is it often neglected, the patch allowed to become foul with grass, never thinned or trimmed, the worms eating the leaves until, in the course of time, the plants weaken and die. Along the fence is no place to plant currants, or, indeed, any other fruit; plant out in the open, at least 5 feet from anything that will interfere with cultivation.
No fruit crop will respond more readily to good care than the currant. Clean cultivation and a liberal use of manure or fertilizers will certainly be followed by well-paying crops. One-or two-year-old plants may be set, 4 by 6 feet. Trim the bush by cutting off most of the suckers below the surface of the ground. The currant should have cool moist soil. If the season is dry, a mulch of straw or leaves will assist the plants to establish themselves.
Currants are easily propagated by mature cuttings of the new or previous year's canes.
The red and white currants bear mostly on two-year-old or older wood. A succession of young shoots should be allowed to grow to take the place of the old bearing wood. Cut out the canes as they grow older. The partial shade afforded by a young orchard suits the currant well, and if the ground is in good condition, no bad results will follow to the orchard, provided the currants are removed before the trees need the entire feeding space.
A currant patch should continue in good bearing for 10 to 20 years, if properly handled. One very important point is to keep the old, weak canes cut out, and a succession of two to four new ones coming from the root each year.
To combat the currant worm, spray thoroughly with Paris green to kill the first brood, just as soon as holes can be seen in the lower leaves --usually before the plants are in bloom. For the second brood, if it appear, spray with white hellebore (p. 203). For borers, cut out and burn the affected canes.
_Varieties of currants._
In most sections the Red Dutch will be found to be the most satisfactory variety, as the plants are much less injured by borers than are Cherry (Plate XXIII), Fay, and Versailles, which are larger and better varieties, and are to be preferred in sections where the borers are not troublesome. Victoria is a valuable market sort where borers are numerous, as it is little injured by them. The same is also true of (Prince) Albert, which is little attacked by currant worms and is particularly valuable as a late sort. White Dutch and White Grape are valuable light-colored varieties, and (Black) Naples as a variety for jelly. London (London Market) is also proving to be satisfactory in some sections.
DEWBERRY.--The dewberry may be called an early trailing blackberry. The culture is very simple. Support should be given to the canes, as they are very slender and rank growers. A wire trellis or large-meshed fence-wire answers admirably; or (and this is the better general method) they may be tied to stakes. The fruits are large and showy, which, combined with their earliness, makes them desirable; but they are usually deficient in flavor. The Lucretia (Fig. 276) is the leading variety.
Lay the canes on the ground in winter. In the spring tie all the canes from each plant to a stake. After fruiting, cut the old canes and burn them (as for blackberries). In the meantime, the young canes (for next year's fruiting) are growing. These may be tied up as they grow, to be out of the way of the cultivator. Dewberries are one to two weeks earlier than blackberries.
FIG.--The fig is little grown in the East except as a curiosity, but on the Pacific coast it has gained considerable prominence as an orchard fruit. Figs will stand considerable frost, and seedling or inferior varieties grow out-of-doors without protection as far north as Virginia. Many of the varieties fruit on young sprouts, and, inasmuch as the roots will stand considerable cold, these varieties will often give a few figs in the northern states. Figs have been fruited in the open ground in Michigan. In regions having ten degrees of frost, the fig should be laid down in winter. For this purpose the plants are pruned to branch from the ground, and the soft tops are bent to the surface and covered with earth. In commercial cultivation, fig trees grow large, and they stand 18 to 25 feet apart; but in gardens where they are to be bent over, they are to be kept as bushes.
Adriatic is the most commonly grown white fig. Among the other varieties are California Black or Mission Fig, Brown Ischia, Brown Turkey, White Ischia, and Celeste (Celestial).
GOOSEBERRY.--The gooseberry differs little from the currant in its requirements as to soil, pruning, and general care. The plants should be set 3 to 4 feet apart; rows 5 to 7 feet apart. Select a rich, rather moist soil. The tops need no winter protection. If mildew and worms are to be kept in check, spraying must be begun with the very first sign of trouble and be thoroughly done.
The propagation of the gooseberry is similar to that of the currant, although the practice of earthing up a whole plant, causing every branch thus covered to throw out roots, is practiced with the European varieties. The rooted branches are cut off the following spring and planted in nursery rows or sometimes directly in the field. In order to succeed with this method, the plant should have been cut back to the ground so that all the shoots are yearling.
Since the advent of the practice of spraying with fungicides to prevent mildew, the culture of the gooseberry has increased. There is now no reason why, with a little care, good crops of many of the best English varieties may not be grown.
A large part of the gooseberry crop is picked green for culinary purposes. Several of the English varieties and their derivatives have proved of value, having larger fruits than the natives (Fig. 277).
_Varieties of gooseberries._
For ordinary use the Downing can generally be recommended. It is hardy, productive, of fair size, and greenish white in color. Houghton is even more hardy and productive, but the fruit is rather small and of a dark red color. Among the varieties of European origin that can be successfully grown, if the mildew can be prevented, are Industry, Triumph, Keepsake, Lancashire Lad, and Golden Prolific. Among other varieties that are promising are Champion, Columbus, Chautauqua, and Josselyn (Red Jacket).
GRAPE.--One of the surest of fruit crops is the grape, a crop each year being reasonably certain after the third year from the time of setting the vines; and the good amateur kinds are numerous.
The grape does well on any soil that is under good cultivation and well drained. A soil with considerable clay is better under these circumstances than a light, sandy loam. The exposure should be to the sun; and the place should admit of cultivation on all sides.
For planting, 1-or 2-year-old vines should be used, being set either in the fall or early spring. At planting, the vine is cut back to 3 or 4 eyes, and the roots are well shortened in. The hole in which the plant is to be set should be large enough to allow a full spreading of the roots. If the season should be dry, a mulch of coarse litter may be spread around the vine. If all the buds start, the strongest one or two may be allowed to grow. The canes arising from these buds should be staked and allowed to grow through the season; or in large plantations the first-year canes may be allowed to lie on the ground.
The second year one cane should be cut back to the same number of eyes as the first year. After growth begins in the spring, two of the strongest buds should be allowed to remain. These two canes now arising may be grown to a single stake through the second summer, or they may be spread horizontally on a trellis. These are the canes that form the permanent arms or parts of the vine. From them start the upright shoots which, in succeeding years, are to bear the fruits.
In order to understand the pruning of grapes, the operator must fully grasp this principle: _Fruit is borne on wood of the present season, which arises from wood of the previous season._ To illustrate: A growing shoot, or cane, of 1909 makes buds. In 1910 a shoot arises from each bud; and near the base of these shoots the grapes are borne (1 to 4 clusters on each). While every bud on the 1909 shoot may produce shoots or canes in 1910, only the strongest of these new canes will bear fruit. The skilled grape-grower can tell by the looks of his cane (as he prunes it in winter) which buds will give rise to the grape-producing wood the following season. The larger and stronger buds usually give best results; but if the cane itself is very big and stout, or if it is very weak and slender, he does not expect good results from any of its buds. A hard, well-ripened cane the diameter of a man's little finger is the ideal size.
Another principle to be mastered is this: _A vine should bear only a limited number of clusters,_--say from 30 to 80. A shoot bears clusters near its base; beyond these clusters the shoot grows on into a long, leafy cane. An average of two clusters may be reckoned to a shoot. If the vine is strong enough to bear 60 clusters, 30 good buds must be left at the pruning (which is done from December to late February).
The essential operation of pruning a grape vine, therefore, is each year to cut back a limited number of good canes to a few buds, and to cut off entirely all the remaining canes or wood of the previous season's growth. If a cane is cut back to 2 or 3 buds, the stub-like part which remains is called a spur. Present systems, however, cut each cane back to 8 or 10 buds (on strong varieties), and 3 or 4 canes are left,--all radiating from near the head or trunk of the vine. The top of the vine does not grow bigger from year to year, after it has once covered the trellis, but is cut back to practically the same number of buds each year. Since these buds are on new wood, it is evident that they are each year farther and farther removed from the head of the vine. In order to obviate this difficulty, new canes are taken out each year or two from near the head of the vine, and the 2-year-or 3-year-old wood is cut away.
The training of grapes is a different matter. A dozen different systems of training may be practiced on the same trellis and from the same style of pruning,--for training is only the disposition or arrangement of the parts.
On arbors, it is best to carry one permanent arm or trunk from each root over the framework to the peak. Each year the canes are cut back to short spurs (of 2 or 3 buds) along the sides of this trunk.
Grapes are set from 6 to 8 feet apart in rows which are 8 to 10 feet apart. A trellis made of 2 or 3 wires is the best support. Slat trellises catch too much wind and blow down. Avoid stimulating manures. In very cold climates, the vines may be taken off the trellis in early winter and laid on the ground and lightly covered with earth. Along the boundaries of home lots, where grapes are often planted, little is to be expected in the way of fruit because the ground is not well tilled.
The grape is subject to many insects and diseases, some of which are very destructive. The black-rot is the most usual trouble. See p. 209.
To produce bunches of high quality and free from rot and frost injury, grapes are sometimes bagged. When the grapes are about half grown, the bunch is covered with a grocer's manila bag. The bags remain until the fruit is ripe. The grapes usually mature earlier in the bags. The top of the bag is split, and the flaps are secured over the branch with a pin; Figs. 278, 279, 280 explain the operation.
In all the above discussion, the so-called native grapes alone are considered. In California, the European or vinifera types are grown, the requirements of which are radically different from those of the eastern kinds.
_Varieties of grapes._
Under nearly all conditions, the Concord will be a valuable black variety, although Worden, which is a few days earlier, may be preferred by many. Moore (Moore Early) has been our best very early black variety, but is likely to be superseded by Campbell, which is a stronger vine, more productive, bunches larger, fruit of better quality, and of superior keeping qualities, making it valuable for shipping purposes. Catawba, Delaware, and Brighton are among the best red varieties, although Agawam and Salem are much used. Winchell (Green Mountain) is the best early white variety, and in most sections Niagara, a late white sort, does well. Diamond (Moore Diamond) is a white grape of better quality than Niagara.
_Grapes under glass_ (S.W. Fletcher).
The European grapes rarely thrive out of doors in eastern America. Grape houses are necessary, with or without artificial heat. Fruit for home use may be grown very satisfactorily in a cold grapery (without artificial heat). A simple lean-to against the south side of a building or wall is cheap and serviceable. When a separate building is desired, an even-span house running north and south is preferable. There is no advantage in having a curved roof, except as a matter of looks. A compost of four parts rotted turf to one of manure is laid on a sloping cement bottom outside the house, making a border 12 feet wide and 2 feet deep. The cement may be replaced with rubble on well-drained soils, but it is a poor makeshift. Every three years the upper 6 inches of the border should be renewed with manure. The border inside the house is prepared likewise. Two-year-old potted vines are planted about 4 feet apart in a single row. Part of the roots go through a crevice in the wall to the outer border and part remain inside; or all may go outside if the house is desired for other purposes. One strong cane is trained to a wire trellis hanging at least 18 inches from the glass, and is cut back to 3 feet the first year, 6 the second, and 9 the third. Do not be in a hurry to get a long cane. Pruning is on the spur system, as recommended for arbors on p. 430. The vines are usually laid on the ground for winter and covered with leaves or wrapped with cloth.
As soon as the buds swell in early spring, tie the vines to the trellis and start out one shoot from each spur, rubbing off all others. After the berries begin to color, however, it is better to leave all further growth to shade the fruit. Pinch back each of these laterals two joints beyond the second bunch. To keep down red spider and thrips, the foliage should be sprayed with water every bright morning except during the blooming season. At least one-third of the berries should be thinned from each bunch; do not be afraid of taking out too many. Water the inside border frequently all through the summer, and the outside occasionally if the season is dry. Mildew may appear in July. The best preventives are to syringe faithfully, admit air freely, and sprinkle sulfur on the ground.
Fruit may be kept fresh on the vines in a warm (or artificially heated) grapery until late December; in a coldhouse it must be picked before frost. After the fruit is off, ventilate from top and bottom and withhold water, so as thoroughly to ripen the wood. Along in November the canes are pruned, covered with straw or wrapped with mats and laid down till spring. Black Hamburg is superior to all other varieties for a cold grapery; Bowood Muscat, Muscat of Alexandria, and Chasselas Musque may be added in the warmhouse. Good vines will live and bear almost indefinitely.
MULBERRY.--Both for fruit and ornament the mulberry should be more generally planted. Even if the fruit is not to the taste, the tree is naturally open-centered and round-headed, and is an interesting subject; some of the varieties have finely cut leaves. The fruits are in great demand by the birds, and after they begin to ripen the strawberry beds and cherry trees are freer from robins and other fruit-eating birds. For this reason alone they are a valuable tree for the fruit-grower. Trees may be purchased cheaper than one can propagate them.
If planted in orchard form, place them 25 to 30 feet apart. About the borders of a place they can go closer. The Russian varieties are often planted for windbreaks, for they are very hardy and thrive under the greatest neglect; and for this purpose they may be planted 8 to 20 feet apart. The Russians make excellent screens. They stand clipping well. The fruit of the Russians varies in quality, as the trees are usually directly from seed; but now and then a tree bears excellent fruit.
New American, Trowbridge, and Thorburn are leading kinds of fruit-bearing mulberries for the North. The true Downing is not hardy in the northern states; but New American is often sold under this name. Mulberries thrive in any good soil, and need no special treatment.
NUTS.--The nut trees demand too much room for most home-ground fruit plantations, although they are also useful for windbreaks and shade. The hickories, all American, make excellent lawn trees, and should be better known. The filberts and cobnuts, small trees or bushes, are not successfully grown in this country except in very special cases.
The commercial nut-growing in the United States and Canada is chiefly of almonds, walnuts, and pecans, with some attempt at chestnuts. Of these the chestnut is the most adaptable for home places in the northeastern section.
Of chestnuts there are three types in cultivation: the European, the Japanese, and the American. The American, or native chestnuts, of which there are several improved varieties, are the hardiest and most reliable, and the nuts are the sweetest, but they are also the smallest. The Japanese varieties are usually injured by the winter in central New York. The European varieties are somewhat hardier, and some of the varieties will thrive in the northern states. Chestnuts are very easily grown, although the bark disease now threatens them. They usually bear better when two or more trees are planted near each other. Sprouts in old chestnut clearings are often allowed to remain, and sometimes they are grafted to the improved varieties. The young trees may be grafted in the spring by the whip-graft or cleft-graft method; but the cions should be perfectly dormant, and the operation should be very carefully done. Even with the best workmanship, a considerable percentage of the grafts are likely to fail or to break off after two or three years. The most popular single variety of chestnut is the Paragon, which bears large and excellent nuts when the tree is very young. When the home ground is large enough, two or three of these trees should be planted near the borders.
ORANGE.--Oranges are grown extensively in Florida, in places along the Gulf, and in many parts of California, but in the most favored sections there is occasionally some injury from cold or frost to the trees or fruit.
The soil preferred for oranges in California is a rich, deep alluvium, avoiding hard-pan or adobe subsoils. Stagnant water in the subsoil is a fatal defect. Although they can be grown near the ocean at a lower level, an elevation of 600 to 1200 feet is generally desirable. While southern California is particularly adapted to orange culture, the fruit is successfully raised along the foot-hills of the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys and in other parts of the state.
In Florida, pine lands with a clay subsoil are generally preferred for oranges, but if properly handled, good results can be obtained from hammock land. As elevated spots cannot be secured, a timber belt surrounding the orchard or along the north and west sides is desirable.
The distance for the large-growing kinds of orange in the orchard is from 25 to 30 feet each way, but the half-dwarf kinds, such as Bahia or Washington Navel, may be as close as 20 feet each way, although 25 feet will be desirable. If the roots are sacked, the trees should be placed in the hole without removing the covering, and the soil should then be packed about them; but if they are puddled, a mound should be made in the bottom of the hole. In the center an opening should be made into which the tap-root can be inserted. After the soil has been firmly packed about it, the other roots should be spread out and the hole filled with good soil, packing it carefully. Care should be taken that the roots are not exposed in handling the trees, and if the weather is hot and dry, the tops should be shaded. Water may often be used with good results in settling the soil about the roots.
When transplanted, the tops should be cut back in proportion to the amount of roots lost in digging the trees. The head is usually started with the branches about 2 feet from the ground. Each year while the trees are small, the strong shoots should be cut back to preserve a symmetrical form and the weak and surplus shoots should be removed.
The cultivation of orange orchards should be the same as recommended for other fruits, except that as they grow in hot, dry climates, it should be even more thorough, that the evaporation of moisture from the soil may be reduced to a minimum. California growers have found that by frequent shallow cultivation they can reduce the amount of water that must be applied by irrigation, and that frequent tillage and a little water will give better results than little or no cultivation and a large amount of water. The amount of water required will also depend on the season and the character of the soil. Thus on strong soils and after a heavy rainfall no irrigation will be required, while sandy soils will need irrigating as often as once in three or four weeks from May to October. As a general rule, two or three irrigations in a season will be ample. When used at all, water should be applied in sufficient quantities to wet down to the roots of the trees. Frequent scanty waterings may do much harm. The water is usually applied in furrows, and for young trees there should be one on either side of each row, but as the roots extend the number should be increased, until when five or six years old the entire orchard should be irrigated from furrows 4 or 5 feet apart. In Florida, irrigation is not practiced.
Cover-cropping in winter is now common in Florida and California, some of the leguminous crops being used.
_Varieties of the orange._
Among the best varieties are: Bahia, commonly known as Washington Navel, Thompson Improved, Maltese Blood, Mediterranean Sweet, Paper Rind St. Michael, and Valencia. Homosassa, Magnum Bonum, Nonpareil, Boone, Parson Brown, Pineapple, and Hart are favorites in Florida. The tangerines and mandarins, or the "kid-glove" oranges, have a thin rind that is easily detached from the rather dry pulp. Orange trees are frequently injured by various scale insects, but for several of the most troublesome kinds, insect parasites have been found that keep them partially or wholly in check, and for others the trees are sprayed, or fumigated with hydrocyanic acid gas.
PEACH.--Given the proper exposure, peaches may be fruited in many sections where now it is thought impossible to have a crop. It is usually the practice of the amateur to set peach trees in the shelter of some building, exposed on the south or east to the sun, and "in a pocket" as regards winds. This should be reversed, except in the close vicinity of large bodies of water. The fruit-buds of peaches will stand very cold weather when perfectly dormant, often as low as 12 or 18 below zero in New York; but if the buds once become swollen, comparatively light freezing will destroy the crop. Therefore, if the trees be set on elevations where a constant air drainage may be obtained, sheltered, if at all, on the south and east from the warming influence of the sun, the buds will remain dormant until the ground becomes warm, and the chances of a failure will be lessened. This advice applies mostly to interior sections.
A well-drained, sandy loam or gravelly soil suits the peach better than a heavy soil; but if the heavier soil is well drained, good crops may be secured.
Peaches are short-lived at best, and one should be satisfied with three or four crops from each tree. They bear young, usually a partial crop the third year. If a crop may be had every other year until the trees are eight or ten years old, they will have well repaid the effort of cultivation. But they often bear twice this long. Young trees may be set every four or five years to replace older ones, thus having trees at a bearing age at all times on a small place. Trees should be set 14 to 18 feet apart each way.
Peach trees are always bought when they are one year old, that is, one year from the bud. For example, the bud is inserted in the fall of 1909. It remains dormant until the spring of 1910, when it pushes into vigorous growth; and in the fall of 1910 the tree is ready for sale. Peach trees that are more than a year old are scarcely worth the buying. It is a common practice, when setting peach trees, to prune them back to a whip, leaving a stub bearing not more than one bud where each branch is cut off.
The three great enemies of the peach are the borer, the yellows, and the curculio.
The borer is best handled by digging it out every spring and fall. Trees attacked by the borer have an exudation of gum about the crown. If the borers are dug out twice a year, they will not get sufficient start to make the operation very laborious. It is the only sure way.
The yellows is a communicable disease, the cause of which is not definitely known. It shows itself in the fruit ripening prematurely, with distinct red spots which extend through the flesh, and later by the throwing out of fine, branching, twiggy tufts along the main branches (Fig. 215). The only treatment is to pull out the trees and burn them. Other trees may be set in the same places.
The curculio must be captured by jarring on sheets (see _Plum_).
_Varieties of the peach._
For home use it is advisable to provide varieties that will ripen in succession, but for market purposes, in most sections, the medium and late kinds should be most extensively planted. Although there are many varieties that have a local reputation, but are not commonly found in the nurseries, the following kinds are well known, and can be generally grown with success: Alexander, Hale Early, Rivers, St. John, Bishop, Connett (Southern Early), Carman, Crawford (Early and Late), Oldmixon, Lewis, Champion, Sneed, Greensboro, Kalamazoo, Stump, Elberta, Ede (Capt. Ede), Stevens (Stevens' Rareripe), Crosby, Gold Drop, Reeves, Chairs, Smock, Salway, and Levy (Henrietta).
PEAR.--No fruit plantation should be considered complete without trees of various kinds of pears, ripening fruits from early in August till winter. The late varieties are generally good keepers, and extend the season into February, thus supplying fruit for six or seven months.
As the pear grows to perfection on quince, the dwarf tree is peculiarly adapted to planting on small home grounds, and is often used as a boundary plant, or to serve the purpose of a screen. These dwarf trees should be set deep--4 to 6 inches below the union--to prevent the stock from growing. Dwarf trees may be set as near together as 10 to 16 feet, while the standard or tall-growing pears should be set 18 to 25 feet apart. Trees are planted when two or three years old.
The pear thrives on clay soil, if well under-drained, and for this reason may succeed in places where other fruits might fail. A good, steady growth should be maintained, but the use of nitrogenous manures should be avoided, as they tend to make a rank growth and invite attacks of pear blight, which is the worst enemy of the pear (p. 211).
_Varieties of the pear._
As a selection to supply a succession of varieties throughout the season, the following list is recommended:--
_Early._--Summer Doyenne, Bloodgood, Clapp, Osband, Elizabeth (Manning's Elizabeth).
_Autumn._--Bartlett, Boussock, Flemish (Flemish Beauty), Buffum, Howell, Seckel (Fig. 281), Louise Bonne, Angoulme (Duchesse d'Angoulme) (Fig. 282), Sheldon.
_Winter._--Anjou, Clairgeau, Lawrence, Kieffer (Figs. 283, 284), Winter Nelis, and Easter Beurre.
For ordinary market purposes the following have been proved valuable: Bartlett, Howell, Anjou, Clairgeau, and Lawrence. In the central and southern states, Kieffer is grown successfully. For home use this variety is not to be recommended in the North, because of its poor quality and smaller size.
For growing as dwarfs, Angoulme (Duchesse d'Angoulme), Louise Bonne, Anjou, Clairgeau, and Lawrence are most popular, but many other varieties thrive on the quince.
PLUM.--Of plums there are three general or common types: first, the common Domestica or European plum, which gives rise to all the older varieties, like Lombard, Bradshaw, Green Gage, the Prunes, the Egg plums, the Damsons, and the like; second, the Japanese plums, which have become popular within the last twenty years, and which are adapted to a wider range of country than the Domesticas; third, the native plums of several species or types, which are adapted to the plains, the middle and southern states, and some kinds to the cold North.
Wherever the Domestica and Japanese plums can be grown, the native plums are not destined to become popular; but many of the natives are much hardier than others, and are therefore adapted to regions in which the Domestica and Japanese are not safe. Others of them are well adapted to the middle and southern states. The Domestica and Japanese plums are considerably hardier than peaches, but not so hardy as the apple. The northern limit of their general cultivation is the southern peninsula of Michigan, central and southern Ontario, central New York, and central New England.
Plums thrive on a great variety of soils, but they do better, as a rule, on those that are rather heavy and have a considerable content of clay. In fact, many of the varieties will thrive on clay as hard as that in which pears will grow. On the other hand, they often thrive well in light, and even almost sandy soils.
The trees are set when they are two and three years from the bud. It is preferable to have plum trees on stocks of the same species, but it is not always possible to secure them at the nurseries. In the South, plums are worked mostly on peach roots, and these make excellent trees where the climate is not too severe, and especially on the lighter lands on which they are planted in the South. In the North the larger part of the plum stocks are grown on the Myrobalan plum roots. This Myrobalan is an Old World species of plum, of smaller growth than the Domestica. This stock, therefore, tends to dwarf the tree, and it is also likely to throw up sprouts from the roots.
Plum trees are set 12 to 18 feet apart. Many growers like to set them 8 feet apart in rows, and have the rows from 16 to 20 feet apart.
Plums are pruned much the same as apples and pears. That is, the top is thinned out from year to year, and all superfluous branches and broken or diseased wood are removed. If the soil is very strong and the trees are close together, it may be well to head them in a little each year, especially those varieties which grow very strong and robust.
_Pests and diseases._
There are four leading difficulties in the growing of plums--leaf-blight, fruit-rot, black-knot, and curculio.
The leaf-blight usually appears about midsummer, the leaves becoming spotted and dropping off. The remedy is to spray thoroughly with bordeaux mixture, beginning soon after the fruits have set, and before the trouble begins to show.
The fruit-rot may be prevented by the same means--that is, by spraying with bordeaux mixture. It is usually best to begin just after the fruits are well set. A very important consideration in the checking of this disease is to thin the fruit so that it does not hang in clusters. If one fruit touches another, the rot spreads from fruit to fruit in spite of the spraying. Some varieties, as Lombard and Abundance, are specially susceptible to this injury.
The black-knot is best kept in check by cutting out the knots whenever they can be seen, and burning them. As soon as the leaves drop, the orchard should be gone over and all knots taken out. Orchards that are thoroughly sprayed with bordeaux mixture for the leaf-blight and fruit-rot fungus are less liable to attacks of black-knot.
The curculio, or the insect which is the parent of the worms in the fruit, is the inveterate enemy of the plum and other stone fruits. The mature beetle lays the eggs in the fruits when they are very small, usually beginning its work about as soon as the flowers fall. These eggs soon hatch, and the little maggot bores into the fruit. Those fruits that are attacked whilst very young ordinarily fall from the tree, but those attacked when they are half or more grown, may adhere to the tree, but remain wormy and gummy at the picking time. The mature beetles are sluggish in the mornings, and are easily jarred from the trees. Taking advantage of this fact, the fruit-grower may jar them on sheets; or, in large orchards, into a large canvas hopper, which is wheeled from tree to tree upon a wheelbarrow-like frame, and under the apex of which is a tin can into which the insects roll. There is a slit or opening in one side of the hopper, which allows the tree to stand nearly in the middle of the canvas. The operator then gives the tree two or three sharp jars with a padded pole or mallet. The edges of the hopper are then quickly shaken with the hands and the insects roll down into the tin receptacle. In this receptacle there is kerosene oil, or it may be emptied from time to time. Just how long this machine is to be run in the orchard will depend entirely on circumstances. It is advisable to use the catcher soon after the blossoms fall, for the purpose of finding out how abundant the insects are. If a few insects are caught from each tree, there is indication that there are enough of the pests to make serious trouble. If after a few days the insects seem to have disappeared, it will not be necessary to continue the hunt. In some years, especially in those succeeding a very heavy crop, it may be necessary to run the curculio-catcher every morning for four or five weeks; but, as a rule, it will not be necessary to use it oftener than two or three times a week during that season; and sometimes the season may be shortened by one half. The insects fall most readily when the weather is cool, and it is best, therefore, to get through the whole orchard, if possible, before noon. On cloudy days, however, the insects may be caught all day. A smart man can attend to 300 or 400 full-bearing trees in six hours if the ground has been well rolled or firmed, as it should be before the bugging operation begins. The same treatment applies to the saving of peaches and rarely, also, of sour cherries.
_Varieties of the plum._
The following varieties of European origin will be found desirable for growing in the northern and eastern states: Bradshaw, Imperial Gage, Lombard, McLaughlin, Pond, Quackenbos, Copper, Jefferson, Italian Prune (Fellenberg), Shropshire, Golden Drop (Coe Golden Drop), Bavay or Reine Claude, Grand Duke, Monarch.
Several of the Japanese varieties are also well adapted to growing in these sections, as well as in the states farther south. The trees are generally hardy, but they bloom early, and are likely to be injured by late frosts in some localities. Among the better kinds are the Red June, Abundance, Chabot, Burbank, and Satsuma.
Few of the above sorts are hardy in the Northwest, and growers there have to rely on varieties of native species. Among these are: Forest Garden, Wyant, De Soto, Rollingstone, Weaver, Quaker, and Hawkeye. Farther south still other classes of plums have been introduced, among them being Wildgoose, Clinton, Moreman, Miner, and Golden Beauty. And still farther south, Transparent, Texas Belle (Paris Belle), Newman, Lone Star, and El Paso are grown.
QUINCE.--Although not largely grown, quinces generally find a ready sale, and they are desirable for home use. The trees are usually planted about 12 feet each way, and may be trained either in a shrub or tree form, but it will generally be best to grow them with a short trunk.
They succeed best on a deep, moist, and fertile soil. They require much the same care as the pear. The insects and diseases by which they are attacked are also the same as for that fruit. Blight is particularly bad. The fruit is borne on short shoots of the same season, and strong heading-in of the growth in winter removes a good part of the buds from which the shoots arise. The Orange is the most common variety, but Champion, Meech (Fig. 285), and Rea are sometimes grown.
RASPBERRY.--Both the red and black raspberries are essentials of a good garden. A few plants of each will produce a supply of berries for a family through six or eight weeks, provided both early and late varieties are planted.
A cool situation, soil that will hold moisture without being wet, and thorough preparation of the ground, are the conditions necessary to success. The blackcap raspberries should be set 3 to 4 feet apart, the rows 6 or 7 feet; the red varieties 3 feet apart, the rows 5 feet apart. Spring setting is usually preferable.
The shoots of raspberries sent up one season fruit and die the following year, as in blackberries and dewberries.
Most of the blackcap varieties naturally throw out side branches the first season, and with such it is a good plan to pinch back the new canes as soon as they have reached a height of 2 to 3 feet, according to the full height of the variety. This will hasten the throwing out of side shoots, upon which fruit will be borne the following year. As soon as severe freezing weather is over in the spring, these side shoots should be cut back 9 to 12 inches, according to the strength of the canes and the number of side branches upon them.
The same method of pruning is advisable with red varieties like Cuthbert, which naturally branch freely. Other sorts, like King, Hansell, Marlboro, Turner, and Thwack, that seldom branch, should not be pinched back in summer, as, even though this might induce them to send out shoots, the branches will be weak, and if they survive the winter, will produce less fruit than would the strong buds upon the main canes had they not been forced into growth.
As soon as the crop has been gathered, and the old canes are dead, they should be removed, and at the same time all of the surplus new shoots should be cut away. From four to five good canes will be sufficient for each hill, while in rows the number may be from two to three in each foot.
Pruned in this way, nearly all varieties will have stems sufficiently large to support themselves, but as there will be more or less breaking down and injury to the fruit from the bending over of the canes, many growers prefer to support them by means of stakes or trellises. Stakes may be set in each hill, or for matted rows stout stakes 3 feet high are driven at intervals of 40 feet and a No. 10 galvanized wire is stretched along the row, to which the canes are tied. It would be a saving of labor if a wire is stretched either side of the row, as then no tying will be required.
If it is desired to secure new plants, the ends of the branches of the black varieties should be covered with soil about the middle of August, when the tips are seen to divide into several slender shoots, and to take root (Fig. 286); these can be taken up and planted the following spring. While the suckers that spring from the roots of red varieties (Fig. 287) may be used in propagating them, it will be better to use plants grown from root-cuttings, as they will have much better roots.
Raspberries may be bent over to the ground so that the snow will protect them, in severe climates.
For red rust, pull out the plant, root and branch, and burn it. Short rotations--fruiting the plants only two or three years--and burning the old canes and trimmings, will do much to keep raspberry plantations healthy. Spraying will have some effect in combating anthracnose.
_Varieties of raspberries._
Of the black sorts the following will be found desirable: Palmer, Conrath, Kansas, and Eureka, which ripen in the order named. In some sections the Gregg is still valuable, but it is somewhat lacking in hardiness. Ohio is a favorite variety for evaporating. Of the purple-cap varieties, Shaffer and Columbian generally succeed. Among the red varieties none are more universally successful than Cuthbert. King is a promising early variety, and Loudon is a valuable late kind. Many growers find Marlboro and Turner well worthy of cultivation, although rather local in their adaptations; while for home use, Golden Queen, a yellow Cuthbert, is much liked.
STRAWBERRY.--Every one may grow strawberries, yet the saying that strawberries will grow on any soil is misleading, although true. Some varieties of strawberries will grow on certain soils better than other varieties. What these varieties are can be determined only by an actual test, but it is a safe rule to choose such varieties as prove good in many localities.
As to the methods of culture, so much depends on the size of the plot, the purpose for which the fruit is wanted, and the extent of care one is willing to give, that no set rule can be given for a garden in which but few plants are grown and extra care can be given. The grower must always be sure that his varieties will "fertilize"; that is, that he has sufficient pollen-bearing kinds to insure a crop.
With the highest culture, good results can be obtained from the hill system of growing strawberries. For this the plants may be set in rows 3 feet apart and 1 foot in the row, or if it be worked both ways, they may be from 2 to 2-1/2 feet each way. In the small garden, where a horse cannot be used, the plants are frequently set 1 foot each way, arranging them in beds of three to five rows, with walks 2 feet wide between them. As fast as runners form, they should be removed, so that the entire vigor of the plant will be exerted in strengthening the crown. When extra fine specimen berries are desired, the plant may be held above the ground by a wire frame, as shown in Fig. 288.
Or strawberries may be grown by the narrow matted-row system, in which the runners, before rooting, should be turned along the rows at a distance of 4 to 6 inches from the parent plant. These runners should be the first ones made by the plant and should not be allowed to root themselves, but "set in." This is not a difficult operation; and if the runners are separated from the parent plant as soon as they become well established, the drain on that plant is not great. All other runners should be cut off as they start. The row should be about 12 inches wide at fruiting time (Fig. 289). Each plant should have sufficient feeding ground, full sunlight, and a firm hold in the soil. This matted-row system is perhaps as good a method, either in a private garden or field culture, as could be practiced. With a little care in hoeing, weeding, and cutting off runners, the beds seem to produce as large crops the second year as the first.
The old way of growing a crop was to set the plants 10 to 12 inches apart, in rows 3 feet apart, and allow them to run and root at will, the results being a mass of small, crowded plants, each striving to obtain plant-food and none of them succeeding in getting enough. The last, or outside runners, having but the tips of their roots in the ground, are moved by the wind, heaved by the frost, or have the exposed roots dried out by the wind and sun.
Ground rich in potash produces the firmest and best flavored berries. Excessive use of stable manure, usually rich in nitrogen, should be avoided, as tending to make too rank growth of foliage and berries of a soft texture.
For most purposes, strawberries should be set as early in the spring as the ground can be worked. The planting can be done with a trowel, spade, or dibble, taking care to spread the roots out as much as possible and to press the soil firmly about them, holding the plant so that the bud will be just above the surface. If the season is late and the weather is hot and dry, some or all of the older leaves should be removed. If water is used, it should be poured about the roots before the hole is filled and as soon as it has soaked away the remaining soil should be packed about the plants. During the first season the blossom stalks should be removed as soon as they appear, and the runners should be restricted to a space about 1 foot wide. Some persons prefer still further to reduce the number of plants, and after layering from three to four plants between those originally set, to remove all others.
Strawberries are often set in August or September, but this is advisable only for small patches or when the soil is in the best possible condition and the highest culture is given. For garden culture, it may pay to secure potted plants (Fig. 290). These are sold by many nurserymen, and they may be obtained by plunging pots beneath the runners as soon as the fruiting season is passed. In August, the plant should fill the pot (which should be 3-inch or 4-inch) and the plant is ready for setting in the plantation. Such plants should bear a good crop the following spring.
During the first season strawberries should be frequently worked, rather deep at first, but as the weather becomes warm and the roots fill the ground, tillage should be restricted to a depth of not more than 2 inches. The weeds should never be allowed to get a start, and if the season is dry, cultivation should be so frequent that the surface soil should at all times be loose and open, forming a dust mulch to conserve the moisture. If the fall is moist and the plantation free from weeds, there will be little occasion for cultivation after the first of September, until just before the ground freezes up, when a thorough cultivation should be given. In addition to the horse cultivation, the hoe should be used whenever necessary to loosen the soil about the plants and to destroy weeds that may start in the row.
After the ground has frozen, it will be advisable to mulch the plants by covering the space between the rows with some waste material to the depth of about 2 inches. Directly over the plants a covering of 1 inch will generally suffice. The material used should be free from the seeds of grass and weeds, and should be such as will remain upon the beds without blowing off and that will not pack down too closely upon the plants. Marsh hay makes an ideal mulch, but where it cannot be secured, straw will answer. Corn fodder makes a clean but rather coarse mulch, and where they can be held in place by some other material, forest leaves do well as a mulch between the rows. In the spring the straw should be removed from over the plants and allowed to remain between the rows as a mulch, or all of it may be removed and the soil worked with a cultivator.
A large crop should be produced the second season; many persons think it best to renew the plantation each year, but if the plants are healthy and the ground free from grass and weeds, the plantation can often be retained for a second crop. It will be well to plow the soil away from the rows so as to leave but a narrow strip, and along this the old plants should be cut out so as to leave the new plants about 1 foot apart. If this is done in July, the rows should fill up by winter, so as to be in about the same condition as a new bed.
_Insects and diseases of the strawberry._
The insect most commonly troublesome to the strawberry grower is the common June-bug, or May-beetle, the larvae of which are often very common in land that has been in sod. Two years should elapse before sod land is used for this crop.
Cut-worms are often troublesome, but plowing the land the fall previous to setting the plants will destroy many of them. They can be poisoned by sprinkling about the field clover or other green plants that have been soaked in Paris green water (p. 203).
The most common fungous disease of the strawberry is leaf-blight or "rust," which frequently causes much injury to the foliage, and may result in the loss of the crop. Varieties least subject to the disease should be chosen for planting, and on suitable soils and well cared for, there need be little loss from this disease if the plantation is frequently renewed. The rust and mildew may be held in check by bordeaux mixture. It is usually sufficient to spray after the blooming season (or at any time the first year the plants are set), in order to secure healthy foliage for the next year (p. 213).
_Varieties of strawberries._
For most parts of the country, Haverland, Warfield, Bubach, and Gandy afford a succession and are all hardy and productive varieties. The first three are imperfect-flowered varieties, and some such perfect-flowering kinds as Lowett or Bederwood should be provided to fertilize them. Among other varieties that do well in most sections are Brandywine, Greenville, Clyde, and Woolverton. Parker Earle is very late, and is valuable for either home use or market, upon strong, moist soils, where it can have the best of care. Belt (William Belt) and Marshall have large, showy fruits, and do well on strong soil.
Excelsior or Michel might be added as very early; Aroma is grown very extensively in some sections; also Tennessee (Tennessee Prolific) is a very promising new sort from Tennessee.