This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I wish to give my experience in regard to splitting the bark of trees.
I have on my place several Early Richmond Cherries, and tried the experiment of slitting the bark on about half of them. Result, every one that I slit is dead; the others that were not cut are thrifty and doing well, every one of them. Would advise any one wishing to try the experiment, to go slow at least on Cherry trees.
My conclusions are about as follows: I have six dead facts and six living facts. If I had left them alone, I should have had twelve living trees, but I should not have known what I know now, viz.: That splitting the bark will sometimes kill trees, and I would not slit the bark on the remaining six for the value of the trees, feeling sure that it would kill them. Perhaps if I had commenced on them when they were young they would have got used to it. I do not know and cannot prove it. I have given you solid facts and my conclusions.
"Facts are stubborn things," and what may be a fact in regard to one tree may be death to another in a different locality. I have often split the bark of Apple trees without any apparent injury; the wound always healing and doing well.
I will state that the trees did not all die the first year, but they have dropped off year after year, until this year the last one is gone. It is four years ago that I slit them.