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 Nurseryman, (Bangor.) Grafting pears on apple stocks has been abandoned by all good growers, because the union is not permanent, and the tree is short-lived. The plum tree makes a more enduring stock for the peach at the north, or in heavy soils, than the peach itself, and is less liable to disease and in* sects. A. W. (Galesburg.) The Angers Quince is chiefly prepared as a stock for dwarf pears, because it takes the bud easily, and grows more vigorously than the common quince. The latter answers very well when once budded.
Samuel. The large scarlet stocks which you admired so much in pots, are grown thus: The seed is sown in June, the young plants are transplanted when large enough to move, and by October they have become good sized plants, when they are potted, and kept during winter in a frame or cool green-house.
Mr. J. J. Thomas spoke of the stocks upon which the pear was budded, and doubted whether anything better could be used than the stocks we are now using, provided they be healthy. It is of the utmost importance that strong, healthy stocks should be used, and none other, for either budding or grafting. The difference, caused by neglect on this point, was very great, and began to show very early in the life of the tree.
Mr. Barry thought that if the intention of the cultivator would be to neglect the tree, to let it take care of itself, the way was to use the pear stock; but if the land was to be cleanly cultivated, to be kept in heart and devoted to the crop of pears, as we devote other lands to crops of corn or wheat, then use quince stocks, and great crops were to be made from dwarf trees. - Whatever stocks were used, however, "use good of its kind".
Mr. Ainsworth, for general cultivation liked the free stock best, but to take a different course is worse than useless. On quince stocks the trees require, and must have, good culture. A gentleman cultivated buckwheat in his pear orchard the first year after planting; the second year he raised oats, and then he seeded the land down to grass and raised hay.!! What was the result? Why, what few trees the meadow mice left and the blight spared, refused to grow thriftily, or to bear fruit, except in exact proportion to the kindness they had received. Mr. Ainsworth knew hundreds of trees not grown four feet, when those well tilled had grown twelve and fifteen feet. If you are going to neglect your orchard, don't buy trees on quince stocks. Mountain ash stock, which is sometimes used, is worse. The thorn, which is also occasionally budded upon, is very poor. The apple stock has also been used for the pear, but is no better, and fails to do well after a few years. In answer to a question as to which were most subject to blight, he was not able to Bay. All are, and much depends upon the soil.
Mr. Pinney had large orchards of pears under cultivation, and coincided fully with Mr. Ainsworth.
Mr. Barry remarked that this subject of stocks was of the utmost importance. In fact, stocks lie at the foundation of our success or failure in fruit growing. Of whatever tree it is, it must be good of its kind, for " puny stocks grow puny trees." We cannot be too strenuous in insisting upon good, sound, healthy, vigorous stocks. The merits of quince are, that the trees are of less size; that consequently they are better for gardens, and for circumscribed localities in cities or villages. 3d, they bear sooner, generally fruiting the third or fourth year from the bud. 4th, many sorts of pear are larger on quince bottoms than free stocks. Where the soil is well prepared, and the sorts of pear are adapted to the climate and locality, good two year-old trees, properly transplanted from the nursery, will bear the first year after setting out.
On pear stocks we cannot get the earliest sorts under seven years from the bud.
On the quince stock, the pear is not as long lived as on its own free stock; therefore for permanent orchards, the pear is the stock. Do not think from what has been said here that the trees do not require care. Standard trees need cultivation as well as dwarf; and they will pay for it, too.
The idea of planting pears for profit, and seeding down the land to grass, is perfectly preposterous.
Mr. Langworthy inquired as to the application of fresh manures. Mr. Barry replied that the compost must lie for one or more years. The more thoroughly it was mixed and rotted the better. Fresh stable manures are dangerous.
Mr. Ainsworth spoke of the practice of some in taking the sucker stocks from the roots of old pear trees, and using them to bud on; but they make very poor trees. The best stocks are from the seeds of hard winter pears, gathered from healthy trees while the leaves are all hanging on. Differed from Mr. Barry as to the time when standard pear trees can be brought into bearing; but it is by careful and judicious pruning that the fruit growing is to be hastened.
Mr. Barry admitted that two or three sorts will bear very soon upon the pear, if often transplanted, and if pruned, as Mr. A. says; but it is only a very few sorts, and only with extra care: not generally.
Mr. Thomas remarked that Bartlett would bear very young on the pear stock, and that if we took pains to select Washington, Bartlett, and Belle Lucrative, we could get our standard trees into early bearing. As a general rule, dwarfs will bear much sooner than standards. For instance, a Tyson standard bears in fifteen years, a dwarf in four years, a standard Sheldon in ten years, while as a dwarf it bears in two or three years.
Mr. Ainsworth mentioned the pear orchard of Mr. Wheelock, of Moscow, N. Y., which this year was bearing twenty-two barrels of fine Tysons. From one tree only seven years old a barrel of nice fruit was sold this Autumn.
Mr. Langworthy always used to expect when planting a pear tree that it would be twenty-two or twenty-five years before it came to bearing; but the great improvement in the cultivation of dwarfs enabled a man to plant with some certainty of eating the fruit in a very few years.