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.
If you would have nice evergreens, use the knife freely and yet judiciously. The strongest central shoots should be cut out where thickening is desired. If the tree be running up tall the leader may have the point pinched out. It will make a new bud, which will be a leader. If it is naked for many feet the top may be sawed off as low as desired, and a young side shoot tied up for a leader. Exact directions cannot be given here. Those who learn how, will make a thing of beauty out of an ugly stump. If an evergreen be yellow, and does not grow well, a surface dressing of manure helps it. The old idea was that evergreens despised manure, - a great error. After the young growth has become hard, evergreens may be transplanted from one part of the ground to another if immediate removal be desired. If growing in poor ground it is never absolutely safe to move an evergreen. Any tree from poor land has a struggle for life.
Deciduous trees, like evergreens, may be improved in appearance by the summer use of the knife; and so may deciduous shrubs.
Propagation by layering may be performed any time when strong, vigorous growing shoots can be had. Any plant can be propagated by layers. Many can be readily propagated no other way. Cut a notch on the upper side of the shoot - not below, as all the books recommend - and bend down into, and cover with rich soil. In a few weeks they root, and can be removed from their parent in the fall. Stakes for plants should be charred at the ends before using, when they will last for years.
When the tree gets a fair start, grass does less injury, and when it becomes a tough sod, and the tree, by its shade, or say by frequent mowings, keeps the grass short, the grass roots do not penetrate deep, and the sod is a benefit, by keeping the surface spongy, and the substratum cool.
Evergreen hedges will require attention as they grow. Where the height desired has been attained, the top and strong growth should be cut back while they are still watery. The side shoots should not be touched till past midsummer. All wise people now employ the conical shape for hedges. In cutting back the top growth at this season, the conical form can still be preserved.
Cut off the flowers of roses as they fade, - the second crop will be much better for the attention. Seeds of all flowering plants should be also taken off; all this assists the duration of the blooming season.
After the walks and lawns, the flower-beds should be a constant source of attention. If the plants appear to suffer by drouth, there is no better remedy than to place a fork around the plant and loosen up the soil deeply, without disturbing the plant more than can be avoided. After being thus loosened, it will not dry out near as much as before. Above all, keep the surface continually broken by hoeing and raking fine. Nothing is so sure a preventive of soil-drying, as a loose, porous texture. But much of watering and hoeing will be saved if in hot places the flowers have tan or other mulching substances over the beds among the flowers.