This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol3", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This introduces one of the most difficult questions of market-garden politics, indeed of agriculture generally. The old race of farmers, from which the ranks of market gardeners have hitherto been principally recruited, is so splendidly independent, and so inveterately individualistic, that combination among them is almost impossible to attain. They will readily follow a lead when once there has been proof positive that it is a lead to advantage; but to meet together and submit plans and business arrangements to the dictation of others is an interference with individual liberty of action which they cannot brook. It is true that some method of compulsion like that in force for sheep dipping might be adopted. The only justification for such action, however, is that the scientist has put forward something which by actual practice has been proved to be an effective remedy. It can scarcely be said that in the matter of pests of fruit trees anything at present on the market is entitled to be called absolutely effectual. There are many preparations which are a great assistance to the grower in combating the attacks of his enemies; but this is the most that can be said.
It cannot be doubted that an agreement among all_the growers in a district to take common action with any measures which, after due investigation, commend themselves as the best, if carried out loyally, would lessen the depredation of the pests against which the action was directed in that district. If once the imagination of market gardeners, or better still agriculturists generally, awoke to the mine of benefit lying waiting to be worked by combination and mutual confidence, they would sink a shaft at once. A great deal has been said about a Government fruit farm for experimental purposes, and demands are made for State aid in other directions. It is curious that extreme individualism and grand independence should be driven by their own centripetal force to lean on Government action. Agriculture, besides being the oldest, is still far and away our greatest industry; a little infusion of the spirit of buoyancy and enterprise, a little softening of ancient prejudices, a little opening of the lungs to the air that blows from the hills of high endeavour, and agriculture would have its own experimental farms, conduct its own investigations, even perhaps have a home for its Central and Associated Chambers!
To return for a moment to the question of compulsory treatment, there is this difficulty with pests that attack fruit trees, which does not exist in the case of animals: you can order all the sheep to be dipped and see that it is done, you can order all the fruit trees to be sprayed and may get it done; but then you have but touched the fringe of the matter, for forest trees may be as acceptable, as hosts, to the pests, as fruit trees, and it will be admitted that the compulsory spraying, for instance, of giant elms is a tall order; yet much of your spraying of fruit trees may be rendered nugatory unless you do it. (See Vol. I, p. 171.)
The fungus that produces scab on the Pear as well as on the Apple will probably cause the Pear grower some annoyance. It will be impossible to produce fruit of presentable appearance if this pest is allowed to run unchecked. A good caustic spray in winter, and two or three sprayings with Bordeaux mixture in spring and summer, should keep it down.
Pear Thrips have been reported as causing some damage by attacking the blossoms and fruitlets. Professor Theobald recommends a dressing of Kainit round the trees before the buds open, and says tobacco wash has been found effective. The latter is, however, rather expensive and will not pay to use unless the pests are numerous, and its effect very beneficial.