This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Fruit-trees ought now to be all planted, mulched over their roots, and safe for the winter, and stakes placed to keep them secure from wind. Former hints as to draining, trenching, and surface-dressing must not be neglected where a fair return from the trees is expected. Nothing is more tormenting in a garden than fruit-trees, which have arrived at maturity, suddenly showing signs of canker and decay. This can, in the majority of cases, be prevented by keeping the roots clear of poisonous wet soil, and encouraging them to root upwards to sun and air. Old trees may be greatly improved by clearing off the unhealthy surfaces down to the roots, placing healthy loam and rotten manure, well mixed, over the surface. The stems of the trees should be kept clear of moss and other destructive parasites. Suckers should have no existence. Scale and American bug should have prompt measures. Thoroughly wash with soft-soap water at 120°, and paint with Gishurst Compound, soot, and cow-manure made into paste. All the soil should be removed from under such trees, and fresh loam from a distance, where no fruit-trees are growing, used. Dustings of soot, lime, and sulphur may be applied several times during the winter.
Where caterpillars and other vermin have been troublesome among Gooseberries and Currants, the same measures (to prevent their depredations next season) ought to be adopted as with other fruit-trees. A painting of soot, lime, and cow-manure may be applied to branches of fruit bushes, to prevent birds from devouring the fruit-buds: this is, of course, applied after pruning has been performed. The pruning of all trees except Peaches and Nectarines maybe done when there is no frost. Cutting the wood during frost may produce canker and other evils. Apples to be kept, such as Dwarf Standards (either bushes or pyramids), may be freely thinned out, leaving the leading branches clothed with spurs, regulating the distance between each - the more equidistant the better. Orchard-trees ought not to become tangled thickets, which bear only on the outside points. It is better to thin out the larger branches, keeping the centres open. Large branches should not be cut, unless such an operation cannot be dispensed with. The same applies to Pears and Plums. Cherries do best when spurred, but they are apt to canker when root-action is bad, or when gross growth is made during the summer, and not ripened in autumn. Trench and manure soil which is to be planted with Strawberries in spring.
Mulch Raspberries heavily; they like rich cool soil. Prune them, leaving four or five of the best canes, which can be tied to wires or stakes fixed lightly every four to six feet apart. Bending them over and forming arches is a good system where stakes are difficult to procure; they are then easily netted. If frosty weather should set in, the pruning and tying of trees may be left till weather is more suitable. See that no ties cut the bark: leave plenty of space to swell.