This section of the book is from the Guide To Hardy Fruits And Ornamentals book, by Thomas Joseph Dwyer, published in 1903.
This must be attended to annually with unfailing regularity; it is absolutely indispensable to success. There is no iron-clad rule that can be applied intelligently to all kinds of tree fruits, or in fact to any one kind; no two trees are just alike, nor can they be made so with the best and most approved scientific skill or management. As a matter of fact each tree has, so to speak, an individuality and formation of its own, and should be pruned accordingly. When the trees receive annual treatment, and have been brought into the proper shape by judicious pruning and attention, the only pruning afterwards needed is to remove any branches that are crossing or interfering with each other and to keep the head in symmetrical shape and well open to the sun, light and air. In neglected trees where severe pruning is a necessity, the wound should be made smooth and a coating of paint or shellac applied to protect it from the weather, and prevent decay.
The Borers should be looked after twice each year; the best time is during the months of May and September, but almost any other time will answer quite as well. The Borer is a fleshy white grub about one-half an inch in length and attacks the tree at the collar near the surface of the ground. As a rule the surface indications of the bark (resembling fine saw dust) will disclose its presence when it is readily found and destroyed. Occasionally, however, it will have worked its way some distance in the tree; then you must follow along this line with a strong wire or some other slim, stiff instrument. It is, of course, important to exterminate these Borers. Neglected, feeble growing trees or trees grown permanently in sod ground without cultivation, are much more susceptible to the ravages of the Borers than those of a vigorous constitution.
* The Caterpillars -- These are very annoying and destructive insects and seem to come in more or less quantities with increasing regularity each Spring. They should be destroyed at once, before they have a chance to spread and multiply, otherwise they will in a few days' time strip the tree of its foliage, the result of which, while not necessarily fatal, is of course very injurious to the welfare of the tree. You can cope with these easily and successfully if you attack them in their early stages in the Spring. The Caterpillar seems to have a special like and reverence for the apple and peach trees; they will, however, when left unmolested, build their castle in any fruit tree, "hang up their hats" and make themselves at home and comfortable.
Protecting the Trees from the ravages of mice and rabbits during the Winter months is very necessary in some localities. The remedy is very simple and easily applied. Wrap hardware paper about the trunk of the tree and coat it with coal tar; it is advisable to add a small quantity of coarse oil to the tar as it prevents it from cracking; remove the soil from about the collar of the tree to the depth of about two inches, and start your paper at that point, always filling in the soil when the work is completed. The proper time to apply this coating is in October and should remain on the tree until May.
Spraying -- This is not at all times an absolute necessity, but whether or not your trees are diseased spraying is beneficial, therefore we advise it both as a preventive and safeguard and as one of the essential requirements to bring about the best results. Thorough and persistent spraying under all conditions or circumstances adds very materially to the vigor and health of your trees; it influences and helps to develop a large and rich system of foliage, which of itself is a necessary fore-runner to the largest, highest colored, most uniform and best flavored fruit. We follow with the best orchard formula spray:
Bordeaux Mixture -- Copper sulphate, 6 lbs.; quicklime, 4 lbs.; water, 45 gals.
The copper sulphate should first be dissolved in the water, which should be done as follows: Place the copper sulphate in an earthen or wooden vessel (do not use metal), and pour on the water occasionally until the blue crystals are dissolved. Slake the lime in 3 or 4 gallons of water; stir well, and when cooled off, strain through a fine sieve or cheese cloth into the vessel prepared for the mixture. The copper sulphate solution should always be poured into the lime. Do this carefully, that nothing may pass through the strainer which might stop up the nozzle of the sprayer. Add sufficient water to make 5O gallons of solution, and it is ready for use. Then to this add one quart of any kind of molasses, which will make it more adhesive; then dissolve to a pasty substance one-quarter pound of Paris green and add to above. mixing all thoroughly together. This is an efficacious mixture and one that can be used advantageously at all seasons for spraying.
The first spraying should be done in the early Spring, just as the buds begin to swell; the second spraying as soon as the blossoms begin to fall. This is the most important spray of all, its principal purpose being, of course, to destroy the codlin moth, and in addition it is intended to have it cope with any other insects, or fungous diseases. It is also desirable as well as beneficial to make a third spraying about two weeks after the second. Should the leaves of your trees show rust or mildew at any time, spray at once with the Bordeaux Mixture (without the addition of the Paris green). The spray can be applied to the trees so that it may fall upon the limbs, leaves and fruit. The style of spray pump to use will depend entirely on circumstances and your requirements. For large orchard spraying the barrel pump will be the best and most economical, while for scattering small plantings and for general purposes on the private place or small diversified fruit farm, the knapsack sprayer would be the most desirable and satisfactory. We are using the Gould's make of pump and are able to recommend them.