The crowning effort of nature is reproduction. But man has interfered and diverted her energies from the formation of the most and best seeds to the production of fine flowers or fruits, making every other consideration secondary. The consequence is that some of our choicest fruits and flowers have almost no seeds, and are themselves few and feeble. Observe the wonderful productiveness of - we had almost said whatever is not cultivated - but compare the products of the original types of our fruits and flowers with those of the choice cultivated varieties, though none but the most productive are selected for propagation. No one can for a moment doubt that this seed-bearing propensity which thus underlies our whole system of horticultural production, is decidedly the strongest in seedlings; and, therefore, as we value the products of our trees, we should not lightly thrust aside their main prop.

Habit is (almost) everything; and if our trees, generation after generation, are to, be worked from highly forced, root-grafted-nursery trees, which are often little better than rooted cuttings, or more properly leaf buds, far removed from seedlings or fruit buds, we must not wonder if a habit of growing instead of bearing, there acquired and thus ingrained, predominate ever after. Like produces like; seedlings produce seeds, at least with whatever of fruit may be wrapped around them; while leaf buds, thus stereotyped, incline to produce leaf buds alone. Deeply conscious as I am of our horticultural inferiority here at the West, this lesson I must think we have learned by experience; if our Eastern friends have not, I would suggest that it might possibly be because their ancestors were not so well skilled in commercial gardening, especially the great art of root-grafting 1 Justice, however, requires the acknowledgement, in this connection, of our faults, if such they should prove to be. That root-grafting has ever been, as we believe, more generally practiced at the West than the East, at we, (with everybody else a few yean ago,) esteeming it highly, wrote so far as we know, one of the earliest articles upon it, descriptive and commendatory, ever published at the East See Horticulturist, vol. 1, page 280.

But it is argued that "a tree is a tree" - that root-grafts are, if not the very best, at least "good enough" - that seedlings, as well as grafts, vary in hardihood or productiveness - and that the hardy or productive ones of either class are equally so, while the opposite, the one as well as the other, will go to the wall.

Suckers, too, we recollect, were once "just as good as any," and of some plants they still seem to be; and where from time immemorial they or cuttings have answered all purposes, we would not lightly call them in question. But for all that, discriminating cultivators cannot now be persuaded to trust many kinds of suckers, as they once did. Trees do unquestionably differ, on account of different modes of propagation; thus we have standards and dwarfs, seedlings and suckers, root-grafts and top-grafts, unlike in many and important particulars - not but that they may produce similar fruit, and, under similar and favorable circumstances, be much alike throughout - still there is a plain, practical distinction. So with the different parts of a tree, the roots and tops have utterly distinct functions; a root cannot become a branch, nor a branch a proper root Thus a seedling varies from a sucker or cutting, especially in its root and collar, and unquestionably throughout Hence the impropriety of thus confounding them, and of manufacturing entire trees, roots, stem, and branches, out of tops.

Nature will doubtless do the best that can be done with them; but how can they make as natural trees as seedlings The proper place to use tops is to make tops again - at least with the nobler fruits, so liable as they have become to untoward influences. Where so much is at stake,

Let foolish art and busy man withdraw While Nature plants the corner stone.

Nor can the foundation be too rugged and enduring.

Trees differ in being of different varieties as well as classes. It is said there are sections where nearly all varieties are root-grafted, and with perfect success. In other sections, too, throughout the North and West, some varieties are generally recognized as too tender for root-grafting, and, in extreme cases, for any situation. For one, I do not know where these tender varieties do succeed so perfectly. In the very best apple districts in Western New York, we have seen (rarely, we admit, for we have never investigated particularly on this point, but we have seen) the same effects from root-grafting that are complained of elsewhere - in the nursery bursting, and in the orchard dying out at the collar, - while seedlings flourish almost everywhere; and every improved variety, without exception, in our experience, is rendered hardier and, if any thing more, productive, when worked standard high on hardy, productive seedlings. Is it not then the obvious dictate of sound policy to adhere inflexibly to the very best mode of propagation! Are we wise to take up with anything short! To strengthen a feeble grower, or renew stunted varieties, we have ever been wont to work them on the best seedling stocks; thus, by common consent, from time immemorial, acknowledging that with respect to vigor and hardihood the bottoms govern.

Bottoms change the tops greatly, and often for the better; while tops affect good bottoms, if at all, generally for the worse, except in the quality of the fruit.

I certainly would not deceive myself, nor raise any false alarm; but let us suppose, if not unreasonable, that throughout our country, when once well covered with these tender root-grafted trees, some right western winter should prevail. It may be (and it is certainly to be hoped) we shall have none more trying than that of '51 and '52.

Once more! Root-grafts cannot be better than top-grafts; still they are different, and what will that difference probably result in ? It may not be possible, yet we have thought whether they may not eventually turn out like suckers, essentially inferior. At all events on which side, we ask, is the risk!

We would by no means ascribe perfection to seedlings; but we do insist that to them, as a class, we must look as much for endurance and productiveness, as to grafting, for choice fruit. No one can be more sensible than the writer of the advantages of root-grafting - especially to the nurserymen - of the cheapness, beauty, and popularity of that class of trees, and none will be more pleased to have it demonstrated that these advantages are not counterbalanced by any increase of risk. As a nurseryman, we have grown them mostly, and must do so while they are preferred. But there fa, nevertheless, a class of stubborn facts we can explain in no other way than those above.

With our present views, between a seedling and a graft (of whatever style) of the same fruit, everything else being equal, we should prefer the former. But the truth of the whole matter, summed up, we believe to be this - that there are few seedlings but might be improved by grafting; and but few, if any, improved varieties but would be materially. benefitted by working standard height on strong, healthy seedlings. There are some good fruits which produce the same, or nearly the same, from seed; and these it would be well to increase if only to save the trouble of grafting. If it be argued that they would not be as productive, it must be because natural progress toward- the formation of perfect varieties is at an end, which we disbelieve. We are no believer in the theory of the limited duration of varieties. Of the two we prefer Prof. Turner's theory, as set forth in his famous essay on "The Vitality and Longevity of Trees," for which we think the horticultural world largely indebted to the author, as also for many other good things. Under favorable circumstances, we believe a given variety may endure through all time; but hardly, or to but little purpose, if subjected to all manner of abuses.

And so with individuals; if we could have them live out their natural lease, we must be as choice of the body as the mind - of the tree as the fruit Therefore, as nurserymen, if we would be on the safe side, let us always retain the strongest possible hold upon that inexhaustible storehouse of "vitality," that chief reliance, that staff of life in. propagation - a good, sound seedling stock. Nor should we discard grafting; although, like civilization, while it has vastly increased the numbers and merits of its subjects and possessors, it has at the same time unquestionably multiplied their diseases and risks - not from necessity, but neglect - not to vex, but to improve - that, as our strength is, so might be our exertions and improvements.