This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We think there has been no doubt in the minds of the greater portion of intelligent Horticulturists, who have followed what has appeared in our pages for some years past, that the disease in the Peach known as the "yellows," comes from the operations of a root parasite. It is well known to these students that the Peach is not the only tree which suffers from a similar disease. The Rhododendron, Norway Spruce, White Pine, and many other things, are equally affected, and all as it has been positively proved through the attacks of a fungus on the roots. That the fungus which causes the Peach " yellows " is the same as that which works injury in other cases has been positively proved by experiments recorded in our pages, where a spadeful of soil from near a diseased Peach tree, permeated by the fungus spawn, placed around a Norway Spruce, produces the disease in that tree also, and a microscopic examination of the two fungi shows them to be the same.
A species of fungus ferment seems to permeate the whole tree after these attacks, and buds taken with the ferment fungus in the tissue, and used for inoculating other stocks, will spread the disease. Even seed taken from such diseased trees carries a portion of the ferment with it, and the disease is spread in other directions. All these things are well known, and it is amusing in the light of all these facts to find still elaborate papers offered which after reading for an hour we find end with the assurance that nothing whatever is known of the Peach disease.
On a recent visit to Fairmount Park the writer found that Mr. Miller the consulting landscape gardener, had found a perfect cure in common sulphur. Every practical gardener knows that sulphur is always fatal to the lower organisms, though wholly innocuous as against the higher forms of life, and it required only the suggestion to use that on fungus below ground, which had been found so effectual on fungus above. The sulphur application was quite as effectual here, and Mr. Miller was quite enthusiastic as he pointed out his Rhododendrons and Pines, once so thoroughly diseased-stricken that most good gardeners would have at once committed them to the flames, now as green and healthy as the best. The only wonder is that no one has thought to try sulphur on the root fungus as a remedy for the "yellows" before. Probably it has come about because those who have suffered are chiefly among those who have no regard for those who are "fungus-mad," and who are quite sure that nothing is known regarding the disease.
For our part we regard the successful experiments of Mr. Miller, as entitling him to a wide appreciation by his fellow cultivators.