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.
An Orchardist, (Mor-ristown, N.J.) The reason you failed to get any good from the top-dressing of lime and ashpletely impoverished the ground where they have been growing and bearing, without any new supply of food for fifteen yean. Nothing that you can apply as a mere top-dressing, will restore such trees - whether in the shape of animal or mineral manures. Clear off all the old soil over the roots - taking care not to injure or cut them. At the outside of the principal roots, dig a trench all round the tree - 18 inches deep. Throw aside the old exhausted soil in this trench, and replace it by new soil from the corner of some good pasture field, where it has laid fallow for years. Mix with this soil a heavy dressing of good stable manure, or rich compost of any sort, that you may have. This will give new life to the exhausted constitution of the tree. If you now add a bushel of ashes, and half a»peck of air-slaked lime to the new soil that you must put in the place of that which yon took from the surface roots, your trees will be well supplied with both organic and inorganic food.
Both are needful; and absolutely necessary as lime, and potash, and phosphates are to the growth of trees, they can no more live upon these in a worn-out soil, than a man can live on salt, and pepper, and mustard, with no beef or bread to go along with them.
In answer to a respected correspondent who writes from "York," and asks " which do you consider the best stimulant, for the pear-tree, of all the 'special' or 'manufactured manures' you have used?" and " please state the result of your experiment, etc," I would simply reply that having made quite a number of experiments with ," special" manures, particularly with reference to their fertilizing qualities when applied to the pear-tree, I most unhesitatingly give the preference to Gould's Muriate of Lime, over all others which I have ever used.* As a stimulant, I consider it the best I ever applied, imparting more phosphate to the soil, in relation to the cost of the same, than any of the special manures, guano not excepted, Some four years since, I planted from the nursery about twenty young pear-trees, measuring from one and one-half inches to three and one-half inches in diameter. These trees were placed in a gravelly loam, good soil, and were well manured, with finely pulverized house manure, and a compost of street sweepings, etc.
The soil and location considered good for the growth of the pear-tree. From some cause, these trees, although well planted and carefully attended, made scarcely any growth of wood for three years, not growing scions over three, and many of them not over two, inches in length. I tried an application of Gould's Muriate of Lime in the following manner: -
Removed the soil about the tree to near the roots, leaving them thinly covered with earth over them. Next applied, by measure, one quart of Gould's Muriate to the roots of each tree, covering a space of from two to three feet around; replaced the soil again, and mulched thinly. These trees received no water, or other treatment, for a year, and nearly all of them made a vigorous growth; in some of them, the last year (1856), scions are, by actual measurement, over two feet and one-half in length, and the scions healthy and strong. These trees are now in good, healthy condition, and will doubtless make a rapid growth the present season. The above trees can be seen by the curious, or those interested in the culture of the pear-tree. I bare made other experiments with this fertilizer, and, in all cases, the same has given me the most perfect satisfaction. I can, from actual, careful experiment, recommend it as just the manure for the growth of young trees, particularly the pear. The component parts of Gould's Muriate are, by Dr. Jackson's analysis, as follows, viz: -
* I have used nearly all kinds of stimulants (usually denominated "special manures") , not omitting the numerous "phosphates," the "poudrettes," the "Lodi fertilizers," the " superphosphates," "guano, pure and unadulterated." I have given them all a fair trial, and, in my catalogue of "special favorites," I do not omit several astonishing "eggs" re-cently hatched, or pass by the theory of Liebig, or the universal "world renovator" of Mapes. I have found in them all, in a greater or less degree, a fertilizing 'promotive of the growth of plants to which they were offered. I suppose others have done the same.
Cabonate of Lime . . . . . . .
Chloride of Sodium (Salt) . . . . .
Phosphate of Lime and some Oxide of Iron ..... .
Chloride of Calcium (Muriate of Lime) . . . . .
Chloride of Magnesium (Muriate of Magnesia) . . . .
Amminia . . . . . .
Organio Matter . . . . .
Fine Sand • • • •
. Loss . . . .
Twenty per cent, of this compound is soluble in water.
It is shown, by the above analysis, that this fertilizer is a valuable manure, admirably adapted to siliceous soils, and to those whicb have been impoverished by long cropping.