This is the best month for planting fruit trees. The ground should be prepared by trenching at least 2 feet deep, and allowed to settle before planting. In every case dig out a hole of sufficient depth, and wider than the spread of all the roots after cutting off clean any thick, woody ones, or such as are crooked or broken.
All " standard " trees, and such bushes as seem to require it, should be supported with a stout stake, driven in before planting is concluded, so as to injure roots as little as possible. Spread a layer of manure over the ground after planting.
The figure shows a gooseberry-bush, trained in palmate or gridiron form, "mulched" in this way. This form of training allows plenty of air and sunshine to play about the branches. The largest shoots of the trees may be slightly shortened at planting-time.
Wall fruit-trees will be untied, the walls washed, and the trees re-trained.
Cuttings of apples, pears, etc., should be inserted this month. These must not exceed a foot in length, and should be taken off the lower portion of a shoot springing from an older one, and, where possible, having a portion of the old wood attached.
Insert the cuttings, three-quarters of their length and 4 inches apart, in sandy, well-prepared soil, and tread the ground down firmly. This last detail should be attended to whenever the ground is disturbed by frosts.
The principles laid down above apply with equal force to rose-trees and other shrubs.
Any fruit-trees which have become rank or unfruitful must be root pruned. This is done by digging out a serviceable trench, chopping off woody tap-roots, and adding good soil to encourage surface fibres. It should be remembered that the smaller and finer roots really feed a tree or plant; the woody portion serves only as an anchor.