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.
It is well known that in consequence of the attacks of the curculio, plum culture once came near being abandoned. Ellwanger & Barry, and the late Dr. Hull, of Illinois, just kept the fruit in peoples' minds by persistent shaking of the trees. Others have followed the plan with a more or less partial success. Of late the quantities in the markets have increased. On a recent run through New York city, the writer saw them in Fulton Market as abundant as peaches. The dealers said they came from along the Hudson and central New York. Since then, visiting Geneva, they were seen in great abundance. Mr. Cobleigh and Mr. S. D. Willard have especial success. Mr. Willard's orchard is chiefly of the celebrated Green Gage, Reine Claude de Bavay. They practice shaking the trees, but their method is different from any one we have met with before. They have two light frames, on which common muslin is spread. They look like huge barn doors, but they are very light. These are placed under the trees when the insects are to be shaken. Then they have a long bandied sort of crutch; the arm-rester as we should say if it were a crutch, being nicely padded to prevent injury to the bark.
This is pushed up and the branches jolted, and the "little turk" comes down, and is killed by the boy when it falls on the muslin. This is better than the old plan of striking the trunk. It has to be done every day, and it would be as well twice a day. Mr. Cobleigh finds it takes two hours and a-half to shake 1600 trees. Mr. Willard's boy goes slower; but still it is profitable for those who wish to raise plums. It may be that there are some who may yet yearn for a once-for-all method by which they can give an hour or two a year, and then get a full crop of plums. Of course we all wish them much joy in their hopes; but in the mean time let us give thanks to men who like Willard, Cobleigh and others are placing plums at small cost within the reach of all.