Our fickle climate, great rainfall, and late severity of winters, all tend to make our subject one of pressing importance. More especially do we need to look to the roots of fruit-trees cultivated under glass, from which average crops are annually expected, let climatic difficulties be what they may. We desire, then, to make a few observations upon the root-action of the Vine, Peach, Nectarine, and Fig, and its general bearing upon their growth and fruitfulness.

In Vine-culture, the first step to success lies in the right management of root and fibre, and this can only be done by constant watchfulness. In order to the exercising of care and vigilance, the three years' extension system of Vine-border-making cannot be too strongly recommended. Under the old system of making the full extent of border at once, the Vine, after planting, seldom or never undergoes any systematic inspection. The consequence is, that in place of the roots being kept near the surface, they too often go the reverse way, while those produced are of long, fibreless, unripened material. Under the more protracted system, we have the roots constantly under control, at least for the first three years. The direction of the roots can be easily ascertained, and those destitute of fibre at once brought under treatment, thus giving a freedom of access to the whole border. As each part of compost is added to the border, it at once imparts new vitality to the whole, - for the reason that each addition of compost must be much more fully charged with life-giving qualities than if it had been a soddened mass in the almost unoccupied border.

Another advantage of not less importance is the longer time that is given for the completion of the whole, thus giving a better chance for the drawing together of a more suitable compost. Such an advantage will be a special benefit to those whose resources in this direction are somewhat limited. We seldom, however, fully realise the importance of root-inspection until the plague of "shanking" has to be fairly faced. Such a condition plainly indicates an unhealthy root-action. This can often be prevented by careful surface-dressing, with the object of checking downward growth and drawing the roots more to the surface. Before surfacing, all loose soil should be removed down to the roots, when they may be carefully examined. If it is then found that they are in a very unhealthy condition, the best plan would be to make preparations for renewing the borders. Supposing the Vines are planted both inside and out, it will be best to renew one half one year and the other half the following season, thus doing the work in sections, which would be more convenient as well as effective. The almost incessant rains of the winter months make the outside protection of Vine-borders an urgent necessity, whether they be intended for early or late work.

Essential as inspection is for the right development of root-action, we must claim an equal position for protection as a preservative of the work done. Many kinds of material have been recommended for the purpose : corrugated iron is perhaps preferable, owing to its durability, and the ease with which rain finds its way down the corrugated surface. In Peach and Nectarine culture root-inspection is at times necessary, in order to keep under gross growth. In doing so, a trench should be taken out beyond where the roots are likely to have reached, and then commence carefully to lift the roots up to the bole of the tree. If considered necessary, the roots should be carefully examined as the process goes on, and those much larger than others, or likely to take the lead, should be cut back. They may then be relaid upon a layer of fresh loam, with another coating on the top, and the whole made fairly firm. The best season of the year for this operation is when the leaves are about ready to fall, so that no check may be given to the ripening of the wood.

In those more genial climes where the Peach and Nectarine bear in great plenty and freedom under outside treatment, the roots are left much to their natural growth, so that root-limitation is little practised. The roots are kept near the surface by the more powerful influence of the solar rays. Gross growth is by this means prevented, as also by heavy cropping and judicious pinching of the young shoots. The above, of course, relates chiefly to young trees; and we must acknowledge there is much wisdom in such a mode of procedure. The "pinching" enables the tree to direct its energies to the weaker parts, whilst the heavy cropping uses up much of that surplus strength which shows itself in gross growth. We may here observe that the roots of the Peach and Nectarine are much benefited by surface-dressings. In the case of weak and exhausted trees, the compost should be a liberal one. In ordinary cases a surfacing of good sound loam will be sufficient. As to Fig-culture, it must be repeated - as, if success is to be attained, the roots must come in for an equal share of attention. This need of attention relates in an especial manner to young trees during the first two years after planting.

If root-examining be then neglected, much time will be lost before they can be brought into fruiting condition. In order to inspect the roots, a trench 3 or 4 feet from the stem should be taken out, the roots carefully lifted, preserving those of a more fibrous character, whilst those with little or no fibre may be shortened back. This operation, however, requires the exercise of some little amount of judgment. Those who have seen the Fig bearing abundantly on an outside border, will generally have observed that the space allotted for root-action was somewhat limited.

I remember such a border which extended not more than 12 yards, running in an east and west direction, and from which large quantities of fruit were annually gathered. In the case referred to, the border was limited to a narrow strip of 10 feet, by walks running parallel on each side, which, when made, were taken out to a depth of 3 feet, and then filled in with stone. Such an arrangement formed an effectual barrier against all root-intrusion. As they would not much care for such hungry quarters, this simple example may perhaps show in a practical manner the importance of confining the roots of the Fig as much as possible. Wm. Forbes.