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.
E. S. W., Beverly, N. J., writes: "I have been from home for two years, and on my return home I scarcely knew my surroundings, through the work of the tree butchers. I am disgusted with the stupidity of gardeners, as they call themselves".
The misfortune is, that people take no pains to inform themselves as to the difference between gardeners and those who only call themselves such. If people take counterfeit money for genuine, they have but themselves to blame for the blunder. And it is because of the readiness on the part of the public to accept counterfeit gardeners, that the genuine article is so scarce. There are few things that require more intelligent management than a tree, yet any wood-chopper who may call himself a gardener is engaged to attend to them without any inquiry at all. When we hear complaints of the stupidity of gardeners, we know that the sufferer has been in the hands of the counterfeiter.
No gardener heads back a tree. Trees have to be planted thickly at first for various reasons; as soon as the branches of the trees spread out and touch each other, the superfluous ones are cut entirely away.
"E. S. W.", Beverly, N. J., writes (page 192, June number of Gardeners' Monthly), complainingly of the stupidity of gardeners, as they call themselves - having reference to pruning - calls them tree butchers, etc., and says: "There are few things that require more intelligent management than a tree, yet any wood-chopper, who may call himself a gardener, is engaged to attend to them," etc.
In reference to the above I agree with "E. S. W."; but when he says: "No gardener heads back a tree. Trees have to be planted thickly at first, for various reasons; as soon as the branches of the trees spread out and touch each other, the superfluous ones should be cut entirely away," I only object to the words "No gardener heads back a tree." For instance, several years ago, in planting trees round my not very extensive place with Lindens and Maples (the latter obtained from an old farmer from the woods, who had not much taste or judgment, and who did not bring these Maple trees uniform, one or two being too tall and long in the stem to correspond with the others), I thought, after they had grown a year or two and got well established, I would head them down with the saw and knife. Of course this was done judiciously and at the right season of the year. I remember a neighbor's remarks to the effect that I had spoiled my trees. My answer was that I had an object in view. They are now nice, bushy, symmetrical shaped trees. At the same time it is a serious thing to give a man a knife unless he knows well what he is about, with the exception of cutting out dead wood. Of course I may not be a gardener after all.
Frederickton, N. B.
[Our New Jersey correspondent, E. S. W., will not object to this, we are sure. His shaft was aimed against those fellows who will cut away nine-tenths of a twenty-year-old tree, leaving nothing but the trunk and stumps of the main branches. This disgraceful mutilation is very common about Philadelphia. The cases indicated by our New Brunswick correspondent are specimens of good gardening rather than bad. The pruning knife is the most merciful educator of a young tree when in good hands. - Ed. G. M.]