This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
E. J. B., Philadelphia, writes:"Please to publish the following, in order to save others from the annoyance to which I have been subject, and the destruction of fine orchards. We bought a farm, with fine Apple, Pear and Cherry trees, about twenty years old. They yielded quantities of fruit, but wormy. Seeing in your Gardener's Monthly, Vol. xix., No. 220, April 1877, page 115, Query, Oil for Fruit Trees, 'The writer of this washed some hundreds of trees with linseed oil a year ago; it destroyed all insects, and the trees were all the season and still are models of health. It is far preferable to anything that we know of. - Ed. G. M.'
"My trees, perfect models of health, are now all dying. The bark has split, and is now covered with a white fungus growth to a height of twenty feet, or as far as the oil went. When touched it falls off, and the wood beneath is dead. It looks as if I should lose thirty or forty well-grown, handsome trees. No money could repay the damage done in the loss of shade and comfort afforded. Thinking it would be impossible to have better authority, I had them carefully washed at the end of March or beginning of last April. Perhaps you may be able to suggest something that will save our orchard and our bitter disappointment in losing all our shade and fruit trees".
[The trees referred to in the extract quoted are still "models of health," though now two summers have elapsed. We feel quite safe in saying that pure linseed oil will not only not injure, but be of great advantage. Those who have had losses must have used adulterated oils. We would advise them to get some more of the same sort, use a little to kill a branch of another tree, get the balance analyzed, and then sue the seller for damages. Any court would award it on such evidence. - Ed. G. M].