This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Not having had time to reply personally to the following questions, we give them here, hoping some of our readers will help the writer:
"At the last meeting of our Horticultural Society I was appointed as correspondent with Eastern Pomologists concerning the blight or insects that affect our orchards. At present the Aphis is destroying our apple crop, which promised one of the largest ever had in Oregon. The ends of the limbs and leaves are, not figuratively, but literally covered with the pest. Last year they were on the younger trees; this year young and old alike are covered by thousands and millions of them. In their first stage they are green, afterward many black ones with wings are seen, and on a sunny day a misty cloud of these latter floats through the orchard. The leaves of the part covered curl up, and the young fruit falls. Hardly any but apple trees as yet are infested, and so far this green fly is confined to the timber part of the valley; in the prairies, thirty or forty miles from here, they have not made their appearance yet.
For three or four years back we had the bark louse, that threatened destruction to our fine orchards, of which Oregon was so justly proud; but they have mostly left. Washing the trunks and limbs as far as possible with lime and salt was found to be a good remedy. And now comes the Aphis. Will our orchards have the common fate of those of the older States? Is the glory of them departed? Is our pride in, and the admiration of strangers of our large and beautiful red apples gone from us? It almost looks so. We have plenty of virgin soil for new orchards, and yet we have not the apples of former years. Nurserymen, too, complain that the trees in the nursery will not make the growth of three or four feet the first year, as of old. Fresh imported stock and scions have done some better. It would almost seem soil and climate had been exhausted by the enormous crops of our young orchards.
Now, we would propound the following questions:
1. What produces the Aphis?
2. What remedy can be applied to a large orchard of say fifty acres? Strong tobacco juice has been tried; it kills, but the fly comes again in a few days. The eggs don't seem to be affected by the application.
3. How long will this pest probably last? Will they run oat with this year's over-population?
4. When is the best time to apply a cure against them?
Mr. Editor, can you answer these questions? Can you throw any light to us, and probably to others, on this very important subject? Orchard ing is with many here in Oregon their sole occupation, and a break in this is a serious matter with them, hence the solicitation.
Henry Miller." Portland, Oregon, June, 1880.