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.
The interest excited by the method of immediately rendering barren fruit trees fertile by using fruit spurs or buds as scions is so great that we lose no time in returning to the subject. In another column will be found a translation of a good practical paper, by Mons. Baltet, a French nurseryman, in which he fully describes his mode of operating. The following memorandum from the valuable correspondent who first drew attention to the practice, also throws further light upon the question: -
"The notice, in a late number, of a sentence contained in the brief report sent to you of the exhibition of flowers, fruits, etc, held by the Horticultural Society Of Paris last September, viz: that the finest pears exhibited were produced from flower buds which had been inserted on barren spurs of other trees during the previous autumn,' leads me to offer some additional information on the matter. You state you are not surprised at the inquiry made about this novel operation, and farther, that no success has attended your examination of French works on gardening relative to it; consequently you are driven to the conclusion that the reporter was misinformed, or else that the method of grafting (budding I would rather call it) is undescribed.' In reference to the foregoing, I would beg to state in the first place, that my opinion on the superiority of the fruit appears to have coincided with that of the judges, who awarded a first-class prize to the group; and in the second, that it was under the supposition that the latter of your conclusions is correct, at least in so far as English practice and works on horticulture are concerned, that I considered the subject worthy of being recorded.
My imperfect knowledge of the French language might make me doubt whether I understood exactly the information given to me by the gentleman who exhibited the fruit in question, but it was fully borne out by what I saw. The spurs on the parent tree on which the fruit buds were inserted were cut off, together with the latter growing on them, and the fruit still attached, of which I made the accompanying rough sketch. Judging from the extracts you give of M. Pepin's report and M. Bourgeois' garden, I consider the budding with fruit buds to be similar both in practice and effect to that in question. I may also refer to another French work where this method of budding fruit buds is very pointedly alluded to, viz: 'Methode Elementaire pour tailler et conduire soi-mene les Poiriers, Pommiers, et autres Arbres Fruitiers,' etc, par Jean Lachaume. Paris, Bouchard Huzard, Rue de I'Eperon, No. 5. At page 49 of that work, under the head 'Greffe de boutons a fruits,' the author states: 'This mode of working is employed at the beginning of August for apples, and at the end of the month for pears;' and after giving directions for the performance of the operation, he further states: - 'This method is employed successfully on trees which are obstinately barren; it ensures a crop the following year; and when once the fruit spurs are fixed on such trees, the crop they bear will completely overcome the excessive vigor of the stock, and hasten the time of ripening.' The foregoing may assist inquiries on this interesting subject, which I have no doubt can be fully explained and dilated on by M. Louis Bernier, au chateau de Boulayes, pres Tournah (Seine-et Marne,) or his gardener, M. Mayre, who according to my notes are the parties who exhibited the pears".
In further illustration of the effect of spur-grafting we have before us two branches of the Easter Beurre thus treated at Trentham, where the method has for some time been employed under the intelligent management of Mr. Fleming. One of these specimens had been a scion five inches long with a single spur, on the side. In the first season it made three inches further growth, and has now seven magnificent pears on eight inches of wood. The other specimen had been a scion nearly four inches long, with a spur near its base. The first year it made rather more than three inches of wood with two spurs. The second year it extended ten inches, forming four spurs; and this year it carried nine capital fruit on about seventeen inches of bearing wood.
In one important respect Mr. Fleming's method differs from the French. They graft in August only, he grafts both in spring and autumn. The French seem to have taken August in order to avoid with certainty the chance of the fruit spurs breaking into wood and forming branches, as we should have feared they would do. No such bad consequence appears however to have been experienced at Trentham. The method of working there adopted is the common English side-grafting, the only kind that can be conveniently followed.
That this process will come largely into use can hardly be doubted, for it enables the gardener immediately to cover the old naked branches of his wall pears with bearing wood, not only of the same variety but of any other variety - an immense advantage - and it also invigorates old trees in a very remarkable manner by aid of the abundance of new healthy wood, which these stranger spurs immediately organize all over the old alburnum.
For so complete is the junction between stock and scion in this spur-grafting, that no force will separate the two after the first year.