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.
There is always plenty of work among these for the enthusiast at this season. Thinning, topping, syringing off insects, and maybe a good soaking of water for young trees especially, will do much to help them to swell off their crops of fruit, which I trust are heavy everywhere; but at present great complaints are rife in our district, known so favourably as a hardy-fruit locality; for frost such as we had during the last week of April and several nights early in May, was what the hardiest and best of crops would suffer from. Trees of a coarse watery growth, and not likely to bear fruit next year, should be taken in hand without delay. Examine the roots, and see where the mischief originates. Tap-roots may be at work, and these we never hesitate a moment with, but arrest their progress with the knife, ramming lime-rubbish and soil underneath them, and plenty of fibre is formed in a very short time. Early in May we noticed a Plum growing very strong, the shoots starting off like gross willows. A man was digging close by; we called him, and had the soil removed at one side, and found a strong tap-root going down by the base of the wall.
We cut it off about a foot from the trunk of the tree, lime-rubbish and some stones were rammed in the excavation, the root covered neatly with good soil, and a soaking of water given, the shoots were thinned, a number being stopped. The tree is struggling into healthy stiff growth, but of a different character to what it was previous to manipulation of its "tap," Strawberries and cherries will require protection by nets if not already done, also small fruits. Training may now be fully considered, and at the early stages of growth the shoots had better be taken along evenly and neatly - it saves much time in winter. Twigs placed neatly across the young shoots (though an old-fashioned plan) will keep them close to the walls and save much hammering of nails. Where wires are in use the case is different, but twigs may be used advantageously with them. Avoid all crowding, which is so common, and stop leaders taking undue share of growth. Examine grafts, and remove ties which are too tight; place stakes to shoots growing up which are in danger of being broken by wind.