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.
I have read in a recent number of your interesting magazine, the statement of a writer who thinks it is necessary to take great care of the leading shoots of evergreens. He seems to regard the accidental breaking off of these shoots as a misfortune; and against this misfortune, he proposes that they should be guarded by lashing them to a stick sufficiently stiff to hold them firmly against wind and snow.
According to all my observations and experience of evergreens, this writer is mistaken. In fact, the only care which the leaders of evergreens require, is to cut them off every year or two; and if they are broken off by the wind or otherwise, the trouble of cutting them is saved.
Nature always provides that this sort of tree should grow vigorously upward, and all that the cultivator needs to do is to see that the branches are strong, vigorous and perfectly well furnished down to the ground. This is done by checking the upward growth. If the process is judiciously conducted, the result is a healthy, symmetrical and handsome tree. The Norway Spruce, the White Spruce, the Black Spruce, the Balsam Fir, the European Silver Fir, the White Pine, the Pitch Pine, in fact every variety of this class of conifers, can be made to attain their greatest perfection only by this sort of treatment. Cut off the leaders, pinch off the buds on the top branches, and while the tree will not grow so ast, it will be perfect.
[Few persons have had the experience which our esteemed correspondent has; and notes from his pen would be always acceptable. - Ed. G. M].