This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", 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.
In the November number of the 'Gardener' there are some judicious remarks on wiring garden-walls. I recur to it again simply with a view of dispelling several absurd ideas entertained by some parties on the subject. Objection has been taken to the propriety of using wire in any shape for training Peach or other stone fruits. Some few years ago the writer strongly recommended, in the pages of the 'Gardener,' covering Peach-walls or the back-walls of Peach or Orchard houses, against which trees were trained, with galvanised wire-netting, as the best, cheapest, cleanest, and in every way the most desirable material for such a purpose. The writer's observations were based on his own practice, he having had nearly 300 feet run of back-wall covered with this netting. Objections were made to the plan by some who thought themselves very wise: one was, that the trees would derive no heat from the wall, because a current of air would circulate behind them; another objection was, that the wire would eat the bark, and of course gum with its results would follow; another was, that the fruit might grow behind the netting, and would not be got out without damage; but the crowning objection was some strange idea about electricity, which was to dance along the netting and scatter destruction right and left.
However, no difficulties arose in practice; and as proof of the efficiency of the plan, we may mention that after an absence of four years, we again, last September, visited the scene of our former labours, and found the trees on the galvanised netting strong, healthy, and fruitful: in fact, we never saw a finer wall of trees. On asking our successor how he liked the wire-netting, he replied, nothing could possibly answer better: it needs no paint to prevent rust; there was no trouble with earwigs or wood-lice, because nowhere could they hide. Having before explained my very simple mode of fixing it on the walls, I need not again trouble you on that point.
Alexander Dawson. November 14, 1871.