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.
J. R. Comstock, Dutchess County, N. Y., writes that he "practices with success growing peach-trees in pots and tubs, and wintering them in the cellar, from whence they are taken in spring, after all danger of frosts, to the specimen orchard out doors, and there plunged in the earth to the tops of the pots or tubs."
Raspberries that were left unpruned last fall should be at once attended to, and all the old wood and young, slender, weakly shoots cut out. Leave four to six good strong canes to each hill, but head off their tops about one fourth of their height.
Leavenworth, Kansas, January 7,1867.
Messrs. Geo. E. & F. W. Woodward : In Horticulturist for July you put the duration of the pear on quince, with proper pruning and culture, at 100 years. "Your opinion." Have been planting dwarfs for five years, and hare 400 to 500. Those planted in 1861 are 8 to 12 feet high, 5 to 7 feet diameter, through top, stem at ground 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Showing fruit for first this season, and are making shoots 8 1/2to 5 feet long of a single season; and Bartletts on pear have grown 6 feet. Would you cut such back severely, or "let 'em run?" I know nothing about it, scarcely - all the "doctors" disagreeing - but have cut back to 8 to 8 buds of previous seasons.
Respectfully, John Myers, Jr.
[Judging from the growth of your trees, they have taken root upon the pear stock, but yet they may not have done so. Tour soil is doubtless rich, and under good cultivation, and this we have known to cause trees supplied only from the quince root to make extra strong growths; yet, as a rule, one foot to eighteen inches is about their annual growth. We should cut back again this spring, and in July should again prune back. This will keep a healthy tone in growth, and the summer pruning will aid in forming fruit spurs more abundant and farther up on the limbs, and thus next season, and thereafter, absorb a part of the sap in production of fruit, thereby in its order regulating the extended growths.]
Repeated stirring of the soil we regard as almost, if not quite, as essential to good and successful cultivation as manure. Indeed, we have known good crops taken from land that was counted as "too poor to grow beans," by merely repeated plowings and harrowings. Expend money first in draining, if you have heavy, clayey, or naturally wet soils; then plow, plow, plow, as often and as deeply as you please. The more, and oftener, and deeper the soil is stirred, the better will trees or plants grow and fruit. The mechanical action of soil, and its permeability to atmospheric influence, is too often lost sight of, and many a piece of ground on which manures have been placed until it has got to be what is termed "fat" and unproductive, only needs repeated stirrings and opening to the action of atmospheric elements to bring it to the highest and most profitable condition.