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.
IT is claimed by some writers that the stock has more or less influence upon the cion; and one writer upon the subject goes so far as to hold that the better the fruit of the stock, or the nearer its fruit approach that of the cion, the better will be the fruit of the latter. James Parker, of Summit, Miss., gives, through the Rural Alahamian, some cogent facts to prove the fallacy of such doctrine. He says:
"Let us take a familiar example, and see how it works in practice. Every one knows the little, insignificant Paradise apple, and its almost worthless bitter-sweet fruit. The above position being true,, what movement of amelioration could be expected from other species of apples grafted upon it? Of course none, but exactly the reverse. Is this found to be true in point of practical fact? Far from it. Budded or grafted with such varieties as the Red Astrachan, Primate, Duchess of Oldenburg, Elarkee, Rhodes' Orange, Fall Pippin, etc., the improvement is beyond all conception. The fruit is larger, the color is clearer and more brilliant, and, in my estimation, the flavor greatly improved. Now, as we cannot find any very desirable qualities in the little, knotty, insipid Paradise apple, does not this fact go far to prove that where an inferior fruit is healthy, vigorous and of near approach in point of affinity, it is equally as a stock as seedlings from first class fruit? Hardy seedlings of free and healthy growth, are all that is required, without any reference whatever to the quality of the fruit from which they were produced.
Affinity in species and growth is the only consideration that intelligent nurserymen look to, as it is about the only one that has any practical bearing upon the case.
" I am delighted with Prof. Buckley's articles generally, and must ask pardon for differing with him upon this point. But actual experience and observation have compelled me to do so. I could show him a Hale's Early grafted on a common Chickasaw plum stock, the fruit of which would bring tears from a hungry hog's eyes, yet the fruit of the peach seems as though it were touched by the pencil of the most skillful artist, the size as large as those on ther own roots, and the flavor most excellent. An Early Crawford, budded four years ago, on a wild plum stock, in the garden here, is one of the best trees on the place, healthy and vigorous, and the fruit finer and better than the majority of the Crawfords out in the orchard. These are practical illustrations of the influence the stock exerts upon the cion or tree. Here is one or two more: Plums grafted or budded on the peach stock seem to undergo a different change. It is a fact no less strange than true, that the borer appears to avoid the roots of such trees; the bark and wood of the roots seem to become harder and partake more of the nature of the plum. I find this to .be a general rule. I have hunted for the borer in the roots of such trees, many times, and could find none, while in neighboring peach trees they were abundant.
So much for the influence of the stock on the tree.
" But we all know the objection to working the peach on the common wild plum - it throws up so many sprouts from the roots that nurserymen are afraid to use it, lest they would soon find their grounds a plum thicket. There, are, however, improved varieties of the plum that do not sucker badly, and these make excellent stocks for the peach. As it costs fully double to raise a plum-rooted peach tree, this mode of working the peach will never become popular, except for particular localities, or soils where the peach does not succeed."