A persistent and troublesome enemy, but one which ought not to do a tithe of the damage it causes, inasmuch as it flaunts itself before the eyes of the grower in the form of thick white patches, which rapidly spread from shoot to shoot until the tree possesses quite a wintry aspect. Left to itself, this pest does damage both directly and indirectly. Its own individual operations cripple the tree, and, moreover, it predisposes to canker. If American blight were kept under there'would not be half the loss from canker which now takes place. The enemy, like nearly every other, fails to become formidable if attacked on its first appearance. Half an hour with a camel hair brush and a small bottle of methylated spirit or petroleum sometimes saves days of irksome labour. The liquid should be carefully applied. To plaster it all over the tree would mean destruction to the latter. Take care that the application is so made that the bodies of the insects serve as a buffer between the brush and the tree. Only a, careless operator will do harm. Where an attack has developed to proportions rendering small measures impossible, wash No. 1 may be selected.
A large and prolific family, sporting a variety of colours but only one form of appetite. The "black fly" of Peaches, the "dolphin" of Beans, the "brown fly" of Plums, the "green fly" of scores of crops - fruit, vegetable, and flower - belong to this ancient house. Fortunately they are easy to kill; and if cultivators would only remember the old proverb that "a stitch in time saves nine," which is sound sense, if faulty rhyme, there would be trifling loss. So simple a remedy as 1 oz. of washing soda dissolved in 1 gallon of water and applied at 150°, is enough, but No. 4, may be resorted to in case of emergency.
This disease is common to the three principal stone fruits - Plums, Cherries, and Peaches. Supporters of own-root fruit trees have an argument in their favour here, for "worked" (i.e. budded or grafted) trees are, I have observed, the likeliest to go off. Experience among the extensive stone fruit orchards of Kent teaches me that there is more vigour and longevity among natural than worked trees. The drawback to the former is that they are much longer becoming fruitful than worked trees, and we cannot do without these.
Young trees that become badly affected should be removed and destroyed. Isolated branches or shoots of larger trees may be cut out and burnt. When, however, a, tree of some years' standing gums badly, and then throws out clusters of stem shoots - the two things accompany each other too often to be without connection - get another ready; it will be wanted. Growers must not be misled on the score of fertilisers. In the case of gum they often represent a waste of money, aggravating rather than relieving the malady. A strong and hardy rootstock is the thing to aim at.