This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Garden reports a conversation with an intelligent Japan gentleman, as follows: " The pruning of fruit trees is considered a matter of very great importance, and exact rules are laid down for the •pruning of each particular kind of tree. For instance, in the case of pears, which are largely cultivated between Yokohama and Yeddo, and which in the commoner kinds sometimes form large trees, the stems are grown to something-over the height of a man, at which point the branches are trained in a horizontal position on bamboo trellises, so that a whole orchard will be covered with a flat roof of branches, under which one may walk and gather the fruit with the hand. The fruit is almost spherical in shape, about the size of a child's fist, and is covered with a greenish-yellow skin, spotted like a Reinette apple. It is very juicy, but abounds in stringy threads like an old radish, and is far inferior in flavor to any of our good kinds of pear. The Japanese, however, think they are superior to our pears - a matter of taste. The Kakis require a special mode of culture.
The principal object aimed at is to have large trees, and, to this end, they cause them to rest every other year, that is to say, they allow them to bear fruit one year, and hinder them from doing so the following year by twisting the fruit-bearing shoots. Moreover, it is requisite that the trees should produce deep-searching and strong roots. To obtain these, the principal roots are surrounded with a coating of clay mixed with stones, which prevents the formation of small lateral rootlets. The soil also must be of such a nature that the roots will not meet with water until they have descended to a considerable depth. In pruning plum trees, the branches are allowed to retain their natural mode of growth, but they are always pruned so as to allow the wind to pass through them readily. A free circulation of air through the branches is particularly insisted on.