This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Our readers must remember that only recently has it been clearly demonstrated that a dead branch on a tree makes almost as great a strain on the main plant for moisture as does a living one. It is one of the most important discoveries of modern botanical science to the practical horticulturist, as by this knowledge he can save many a valuable tree. When one has been transplanted some roots get injured, and the supply of moisture in the best cases is more or less deficient. Any dead branch, or any weak one, should therefore be at once cut away. So in pruning trees at transplanting, the large lifeful branches should not be cut back, as is generally done, but the weak, half-dead ones that are usually left should be the ones to cut away. The large, stout ones are reservoirs of sap, which the plant needs; the half-dead ones draw on these reservoirs and contribute nothing of their own. It has been found that deciduous trees can be transplanted easily all through the summer season by simply cutting out all the weak or miserable wood and leaving a few main branches with their foliage.
The lesson from these facts may be of use at all times in the year as well as in July. Equally valuable is the lesson brought out in modern times by the Gardener's Monthly in regard to the use of lawn mowers. After their introduction it was found that small creeping weeds often get the better of the much desired grass, and a good green lawn soon became spoiled. Attention being drawn to the matter it was seen that to cut away foliage from a growing plant weakened it, and that grass was no exception to this rule. The little creeping weeds, not cut by the mower, gained strength as the grass lost it. But we must cut grass. The question was, how shall we cut it to weaken it the least? One way is not to cut down to the bare ground, and then after it is cut, give it every chance to get green again as soon as possible. In olden times we left the cut grass on the lawn. It was said it decayed and returned to the earth again. Some of the food we robbed it of. But now we know the importance of giving all the light to the grass possible. The more light the sooner it gets green, and the sooner the green the sooner it strengthens after being cut.
So now we do not cut low, and rake up all the cut grass to get a good lawn.
Plants set against walls and piazzas frequently suffer from want of water at this season, when even ground near them is quite wet. Draw away the soil around each plant so as to form a basin; fill in with a bucketful of water, allowing it time to soak gradually away, and when the surface has dried a little draw in loosely the soil over it, and it will do without water for some weeks. This applies to all plants wanting water through the season. If water is merely poured on the surface, it is made more compact by the weight of water, and the harder the soil becomes, the easier it dries; and the result is, the more water you give the more is wanted. As a rule, plants newly set suffer as much from the soil being too loose as from want of water. If the roots in their every part touched the earth, they could draw water for themselves. It is a good plan, therefore, when a newly planted tree seems to be suffering from water to pound down the earth about it with a heavy paving rammer before giving it water. After being once pounded down and watered, a mulch of old hay or some other non-conducting material will keep the moisture in for the rest of the season. Some complain of injury from mulch. This is because they use strawy manure fresh from the stable.
They might as well use brine about the roots at once.
Many persons use the Manetti stock to bud roses on, and it is recommended to "bud them as low" as possible. It is better to bud them a few inches above the ground, for the Manetti will throw up suckers which, if left, will kill the rose, and they are better detached when we can See a little stem.
When people will have new roses at the lowest price, or where much wood is desired for propagating purposes, or where extra fine flowers of weak growing kinds are desired, budding on the Manetti is all very well, but it is all very bad to use the Manetti for the general public. Practically, the bed of choice grafted roses becomes all stocks in a few years.
In budding, select strong, healthy shoots, and let the buds to be used for the inoculation be a little in advance of the stock. Works on roses mostly still keep up the recommendation originally copied from English works to "take out the wood" from the bud - but no American operator does it.
If you have more varieties than you care for, some of them poor, bud the rejected ones with the better kinds.
Scarce kinds of roses may be propagated this month, by eyes of the unripened wood taken off just after flowering, and set in sandy soil in a shady place. Cuttings from shoots grown in partial shade root better than those matured in the full light.