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.
12. Double buds generally consist of a wood bud and a flower-bud. Fig. 2 shows this kind of buds: a, wood-buds; c, flower-buds.
13. In the triple buds, such as are seen at d, Fig. 3, two are flower-buds, the other a wood-bud. There are also triple buds which consist of three wood-buds. But this sort does not show itself except on the shoots of young Peach trees, or on those that are very vigorous. It is always the middle eye that is the strongest; sometimes those at each side die off. I shall state, further on, the procedure adopted in pruning them.
14. Quadruple buds, although they appear as such, have always in the midst of them a pushing-eye that is at first hardly visible, which leads one to believe that it is absent. The four prominent ones are all flower-buds; but the wood-bud that develops a little later has the same functions as the ceil de pousse, or growing-point (11); and from its presence these ought to be called quintuple. They are rare, and always at the end of a little branch or spur (Fig. 4). They are sometimes more numerous, and disposed in the same manner with a growing-point in the center (Fig. 5). The growing-point sometimes perishes without bad consequences to the fruit.
15. When no accident occurs to the fruit-bud, there results the opening of the flower, which, after having fulfilled its functions, sets a fruit, of which the growth and maturity successively take place.
16. The wood-bud produces all the woody parts of the tree; these, at first herbaceous, undergo several modifications, of which we must give some account.
The young shoot is the first state into which the wood-bud enters in continuing its growth. At first it is merely a cluster of two or three young leaves, which expand with the small herbaceous stalk that bears them; and a greater or less number of leaves form upon its length in proportion to its growth, which is sometimes very extensive. When the young shoot is vigorous, eyes situated near its point break out during its growth, and give rise to productions which receive the name of summer laterals; and which, at Montreuil, we designate redrugeons.
18. The young shoot is so called until its elongation for the season is terminated; after that it is termed a rameau [by the French; in England the qualification of young is no longer applied, and it is merely called a shoot].
It has been shown that this is nothing more than a young shoot in a more advanced state. Nevertheless, it is still distinguished from the young shoot, not by its strength only, but by the eyes with which it is furnished throughout its length. These eyes are at different distances, according to the vigor of the shoots. The latter vary in length from four inches to six and a half feet.
20. The shoot (rameau) preserves its name so long as the buds with which it is furnished remain unexpanded; but as soon as they commence to burst forth, in the following spring, it becomes a branch.
21. The false shoot, or lateral, bears the same relation to the shoot, or young branch, as the summer lateral does to the young shoot. In some respects the false shoot ought to be considered and treated the same as the shoot.
22. I admit but two sorts of shoots (rameau), namely: 1st, the wood shoot; 2d, the mixed shoot - that is to say, one for both wood and fruit.
The wood shoot is adapted for the production of wood and leaves only. Its vigor is equally distributed, and the eyes with which it is furnished are of nearly the same size. It abounds in young trees, and occasionally the terminal shoots of older trees are of this description.
The over-luxuriant (gourmand), which is a strong shoot of the sort just mentioned, differs from it in its broad base, in its disproportionate growth, in its length, in its thickness, in its grayish bark speckled with brown, and in the distance of its eyes from each other, the lower ones of which are nearly obliterated, while those at the top are large, drawing all the sap to themselves, and inclined to push out laterals. The over-luxuriant shoot shows a had circulation of the sap, and is seldom found on any hut very young Peach trees, or on those that are badly managed. It is most frequently taken off; but this should be done before it has attained too great a size; still there are circumstances, which I will point out, where it can be made useful by pruning.
The mixed shoot, as previously observed, is that on which both wood and flower-buds exist.
It is now understood that every shoot is, in general, the origin of a branch, on which, by the influence of pruning and the continuance of growth, the buds with which it is furnished break forth. Some of these buds give rise to young shoots only; others to both young shoots and flowers.
26. Hence it follows that, as I only allow of two sorts of shoots (22), I recognise but two sorts of branches, namely: 1st, the wood-branch; 2d, the fruit-branch. I make use of the latter expression because it is usually adopted, although improperly so, as branches bearing fruit only rarely exist on the Peach tree.
The wood-branch is the second state of the shoot, of which all the buds are wood-buds. The first branches that a young Peach tree makes are of this sort, because, being nourished by a strong-flowing and as yet imperfectly elaborated sap, they can not, during the first year of their existence, give rise to any thing but wood-buds, which become successively young shoots, mature shoots, and branches. They afterward remain wood-branches during the life of the tree; and they preserve the power of producing wood-buds at any age, whatever may have been said to the contrary.
I dwell so much upon this fact, because it is hardly admitted; and many persons yet maintain that the Peach tree never forms shoots from the old wood.
Whatever be the mode of training, the wood-branches form the framework of the tree. They receive different names, according to their place; but I will speak of this in treating on pruning, having only to consider here the Peach tree, and the nature of its productions.
The fruit branch follows the mixed shoot (24), as has been seen, and is always borne by the wood-branches. It is of the greatest importance, for on it all hopes of a crop depend. We also call it at Montreuil the small branch (la petite branche), from the difference between its size and that of the wood branch. In fact, its thickness rarely exceeds that of a large quill. After having borne fruit it becomes a wood-branch, if not removed by pruning, in order to replace it by another of an age to bear.
29. The fruit-branches, beside their use of producing fine and good fruit, have another that is not without its interest, that of shading from the excessive heat of the sun both the fruit which they nourish and the bark of the wood-branches which bear them, and to which the nearer they are the better they protect.
80. Such is the account that I have deemed necessary to make of the manner in which the vegetation of the Peach tree is carried on. I have thought this necessary, in order to render more intelligible the explanations which I have to give on its pruning.
In recapitulating what has been said, we recognise that all growths in this kind of tree commence by an eye or bud; that this eye is either a wood-bud or a fruit-bud; that a wood-bud may be produced on all parts of the tree, even upon those that are oldest; that it successively becomes a young shoot, a shoot, and a wood or fruit-branch; that the flower-bud is not produced on any other than wood of one year old; and that to have fruit for any length of time, we must know how to produce a succession of this young wood.
Lastly, it is doubtless understood that each wing of a Peach tree trained against a wall is the product of an eye of the original tree that has undergone all the changes spoken of. (To be continued.)