The British Parliament gave Mr. Forsyth a valuable premium for the following important directions for making a composition for curing diseases, defects, and injuries in all kinds of fruit and forest trees, and the method of preparing the trees, and laying on the composition:
Take one bushel of fresh cow-dung, half a bushel of lime rubbish of old buildings (that from the ceilings of rooms is preferable), half a bushel of wood ashes, and a sixteenth part of a bushel of pit or river sand; the three last articles are to be sifted fine before they are mixed; then work them well together with a spade, and afterward with a wooden beater, until the stuff is very smooth, like fine plaster used for ceilings of rooms.
The composition being thus made, care must be taken to prepare the tree properly for its application, by cutting away all the dead, decayed, and injured part, till you come at the fresh sound wood, leaving the surface of the wood very smooth, and rounding off the edges of the bark with a draw-knife, or other instrument, perfectly smooth, which must be particularly attended to; then lay on the plaster about an eighth of an inch thick, all over the part where the wood or bark has been so cut away, finishing off the edges as thin as possible. Then take a quantity of dry powder of wood ashes mixed with a sixth part of the same quantity of the ashes of burnt bones; put it into a tin box with holes in the top, and shake the powder on the surface of the plaster till the whole is covered with it, letting it remain for half an hour to absorb the moisture; then apply more powder, rubbing it on gently with the hand, and repeating the application of the powder till the whole plaster becomes a dry, smooth surface.
If any of the composition be left for a future occasion, it should be kept in a tub or other vessel, and urine poured on it so as to cover the surface, otherwise the atmosphere will greatly hurt the efficacy of the application.
When lime rubbish of old buildings cannot be easily got, take pounded chalk or common lime, after having been slaked a month at least.
As the growth of the trees will gradually effect the plaster, by raising up its edges next the bark, care should be taken, when that happens, to rub it over with the finger when occasion may require (which is best done when moistened by rain), that the plaster may be kept whole, to prevent the air and wet penetrating into the wound.
As the best way of using the composition is found, by experience, to be in a liquid state, it must, therefore, be reduced to the consistence of a pretty thick paint, by mixing it up with a sufficient quantity of urine and soapsuds, and laid on with a painter's brush. The powder of wood ashes and burned bones is to be applied as before directed, patting it down with the hand.
Take a peck of fresh cow-dung, half a peck of quick lime, half a pound of flour of sulphur, and a quarter of a pound of lampblack. Mix the whole together with as much urine and soapsuds in a boiling state as will form the ingredients into a thick paint.
This composition may be applied to the stems of young standard trees when planted out in the orchard, to prevent their being injured by the depredations of reptiles and insects.
A Wash for the Stems and Branches of Fruit Trees. Take half a peck of quick lime, half a pound of flour of sulphur, and a quarter of a pound of lampblack. Mix the whole together with as much boiling water as will form the ingredients into a thick paint. This composition is recommended to be applied to the stems and limbs of Apple trees which are infested with the White Mealy Insect, having previously removed the moss and loose bark by scraping them off with a strong knife, or some other instrument adapted to the purpose.
In using the composition, it will be most efficacious if applied in a warm state, or something more than blood heat.
On young trees, strong vinegar will effectually destroy this insect, and I have for many years, in my own nursery, used it for this purpose; but this would be too expensive to be applied when the trees are large.
A solution of potash to wash the stems of the trees early in the spring, before the buds expand, will effectually destroy them.
Take equal parts of rosin and beeswax, and a little tallow; melt these together and mix them; then pour the composition into cold water, and as it hardens, take it out and work it up with the hands until it attains a due consistence. It may be spread on brown paper, which being cut into strips of suitable size, is quickly applied, and in cool weather may be warmed by the breath, so as to become adhesive.
Grafting Clay may be made in the following manner: Take equal parts of fresh horse manure, free from litter, cow manure, and good stiff clay; add to this a portion of hair, and work it together in the same manner as masons mix their mortar. It should be well beaten and incorporated several days before it is required to be used.