This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
About fifty years ago, my residence was on 9th street, near that of Jacob Ballanger, a worthy citizen, referred to in the last number of the Gardener's Monthly, in the article headed " The Black Cat and Pear Tree." He was then quite noted for having in his small yard a pear tree which produced large crops of very beautiful and luscious butter pears. Perhaps I should never have thought again of the tree or its fruit, or even of my old neighbor, who has been deceased many years, if not reminded of them by the story of the black cat, which is wound up with the remark that " The philosophy of its produce was no doubt owing to his cutting the tap root in the burial of the cat." I have a number of thrifty-looking pear trees, but no fruit; cats plentiful, but no faith in the interment of them, black, white or gray. I should like very much to know that I could get such crops as my old friend J. B. displayed by amputating the tap roots.
[Never mind the cat, - but if pear trees have reached what ought to be a bearing age, and are yet of vigorous growth, cut some of the roots, and they will soon bear freely. We may have been indebted to the cat for this knowledge originally, as we were to a donkey for the benefit from stem-pruning the grape - "as it is written." - Ed. G. M].