This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Of all the blunders that the common farmer, and some others, make with trees, none is so common, or so hurtful, and which he is so long finding out, and of which he might know so certainly, as the practice of cutting off lower limbs. All over the country nothing is more common than to see mutilated trees on almost every farm. Big limbs cut off near the body of the tree, and of course rotting to the heart.
This is a heart sin against nature. The very limbs necessary to protect the tree from wind and sun, and just where limbs are needed most, they are cut away.
But the greatest injury is the rotting that always takes place when a big limb is sawed off - too big to heal over it must rot, and being kept moist by the growing tree, is in the right condition to rot, and being on the body, the rotting goes to the heart and hurts the whole tree.
It is common all over the country to see large orchards mutilated in this way. We often see holes in the trees where big limbs have been cut away, where squirrels and even raccoons could crawl in. Perhaps the only reason these trimmers would give is, that the lower limbs were easiest got at, and some would say they wanted to raise a crop under the trees.
[To the good suggestion made by our correspondent we would say also, Do not hack with hatchet and saw; but when you do, paint the surface of the part exposed by the saw, to keep out water. Common paint is quite as good as wax or plaster made from the most approved recipes, - Ed. G. M.]