This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A correspondent writing from Trumansburg, N. Y., says:
"I think your article on 'shelter' is particularly applicable to my case, as I have an orchard of from one to two hundred peach trees growing in an exposed situation which have been old enough to bear three years, and not a peach has yet set on them, to my know, though the trees grow very luxuriantly, so much so as to attract the attention of all who am. I attribute their failure to produce peaches to the cold winds, as peach trees within < ds of them bear regularly though in no more favorable situation, except having build an apple orchard on the north-west of them, which screens them from the cold winds.1
Benjamin Hodge thought this subject very important. Shelter was essential to the growth of fruit in many localities. Peaches could not be raised at Buffalo - not on account of severe frosts, as many thought, but because of the cold, bleak winds. At the lower end of Grand Island, is a tract of land called Peach Haven, it is protected from the west winds by a natural forest. There the Peach succeeds well. Would advise the planting of the Norway Spruce; it grows quick, and will afford good shelter.
Mr. Hooker said many fruit growers thought the principal injury to the Peach, was from the cold northeasterly winds in the spring, just after blossoming.
Mr. Burtis, of Rochester, would prefer the coldest, bleakest hill for a peach orchard, so that the ground would freeze deep, and thus keep the trees back in the spring.
Dr. Roach, of Ontario Co., has two peach orchards, of about two hundred trees each. One is exposed to the west wind, and the other pretty well sheltered. From the exposed orchard he gathered about a peck of peaches, last season, and, from the other, one hundred and fifty baskets.
Mr. Barry had no doubt but exposure to the west winds was very injurious. The winter before last, the west sides of hemlock-trees, standing in the natural forest, were injured by the cold of the winter, as were the west sides of privet hedges, and other hardy plants, plainly showing the evil effects of continued cold blasts from the west. Pear plantations that were exposed, bore but little. Mr. Barry agreed with Mr. Hodge, that the Norway Spruce should be recommended as a suitable tree to plant for sheltering orchards. For small gardens, the Arbor Vitae would be suitable.
Mr. Langworthy had cultivated the Peach for twenty-five years, somewhat as a profession. He found that both the east and west winds destroyed a good deal of fruit. As a general rule, the rows of trees on the east and west ends of the orchards bear but little, while those in the other parts of the orchard bear well.
Of the value of shelter for the orchard, there can be but one opinion. Those who have travelled over the Western prairies, and noticed the effects of the tremendous winds that prevail there on fruit-trees, must feel the importance of shelter. Were we to plant an orchard on the prairies, we would almost surround it with a belt of Norways.
This is an important subject for gardeners and fruit growers, and has of late been frequently adverted to by horticultural writers. Strawberries, raspberries, currants, dwarf pear-trees, and, indeed, all small fruits, are more or less injured, yearly, by the cold, drying winds of winter and spring. Evergreen hedges are at once the most beautiful and efficient protection, and the American arbor vitae the best plant to produce them.