If young stock, such as August and September potted suckers, are at all crowded, let them be taken out of the pit and replunged at wider distances, now that the autumn fruit will be mostly cut, and more room is at command. Being now well rooted, the young stock will require quiet careful treatment for the next three mouths, so that they may neither grow too much and become drawn, nor get any stunting check which may cause them to start prematurely into fruit in spring. 55° at night will be heat sufficient for them when the weather is cold, with 5° more when mild. When the temperature exceeds 65° by day give a little air. The bottom-heat should not be more than is enough to keep the roots healthy, and 75° will be sufficient. If the pots are firmly and fully plunged in moderately moist tan or leaves, little or no water will be necessary to keep them fresh and healthy. The atmosphere should be dry and the pit free from drip, at the same time avoiding a parching atmosphere. Suckers recentty potted should have 5° more heat than is directed above, until they are well rooted. See that they too are not too thickly placed.

These, if they are stocky suckers to begin with, and in light pits and near the glass, may be grown gently on all winter, if the general condition of the sucker stock makes this desirable. As a general rule, the less young pines grow in the dead of winter the better they will grow after the turn of the year. That portion of the succession Queens intended for starting soon after the shortest day, should have a steady temperature of 60° at night, with about the same amount of bottom-heat recommended for suckers. Where the bottom-heat is derived from hot-water pipes, and the plunging material shallow, see that the plants do not suffer from excessive dryness. All plants that may show fruit now of Cayennes, Black Jamaicas, and C. Rothschild, should be carefully dealt with, for they come in at a time in spring when they are much appreciated. Place them in a light pit near the glass, with a bottom-heat of 85° and a night air temperature of 70°, and keep the soil just moist, but not wet. Keep plants now swelling off their fruit also steadily moist with manure-water, with the same heat named for those that are just started. Do not water indiscriminately at this season, but examine each plant, watering those that require it.

The atmosphere, although it should not by any means be dry, should be less moist now than in lighter weather, or the result will be drip and unsightly large crowns. Remove fruit that are quite ripe and not required for table immediately they ripen to a dry place, with a temperature of about 50°. All Pine-pits that can be readily and conveniently covered at night should be covered after the middle of the month. It saves firing, and is better in cold weather than hard firing.

Pine Forcing #1

To have a good many ripe Queens in May and the early part of June is a desideratum with most Pine-growers, and means must now be taken to secure them. Look over the stock of the earliest Queens and select the required number of those most likely to start without making much growth, and plunge them about the middle of this month in a bottom-heat of 85° to 90°, with a night temperature of 65°. Let them have as much light as possible by placing them near the clearest glass that can be devoted to them. If very dry, water them with tepid weak guano-water, but do not keep them over-moist at the root, or the tendency - where such exists - to their growing on instead of starting into fruit will be encouraged. Rather keep the air more moist, with less water at the root, until it can be clearly seen that the fruit is coming. Last autumn has, in many places, been most unfavourable for producing plants that are likely to fruit thus early without much trouble, and too much moisture now will increase the evil. Plants intended to start at this season should be under instead of over potted, and grown with a minimum of water at the root.

Keep the remainder of the stock of Queens intended to form a succession to those just referred to quiet for the present. 55° at night is heat enough to keep them in good condition. Any suckers that are ready to pot on Smooth Cayennes and Charlotte Rothschild, and other winter fruiting sorts, and from which ripe fruit is now being cut, should be potted in 6 and 7 inch pots, and plunged in a bottom-heat of 85° to 90°, kept near the glass and with a night temperature of 65°. Under such conditions they soon establish themselves, and make a fine succession to earlier potted ones. Any portion of the early-potted suckers that are likely to become severely pot-bound by the usual time for shifting should rather have a small shift at once than be left to get pot-bound and stinted; or they may be potted into 9-inch pots now, with the view of supplying ripe fruit from November till the end of next year. The surest way of having a constant supply of ripe fruit is to be potting suckers and shifting them frequently throughout the whole year. Attend carefully to fruit now swelling off. Do not allow the soil to get meally dry; at the same time avoid keeping it as damp now as in summer or autumn, especially after the fruit has attained full size.

Otherwise some sorts will be likely to be black at the centre when cut, which is a frequent result of too much moisture, and the neglect of ventilation in the winter months. Let the heat for these range to 70° in ordinary weather, letting it decline a few degrees during sharp frosts and high winds. Apply coverings to the glass when this is practicable in preference to hard firing when the weather is severe. See that no portion of the young stock that are well rooted and plunged over hot-water pipes get over dry for a length of time, or they will be likely to start prematurely after being stoved.