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.
120. This operation is performed at the same time as the winter-pruning and nailing. Although it is but little practiced at Montreuil, I shall notice it lest it should be supposed that we are ignorant of it. It consists in removing with the fingers the wood or fruit-buds that are considered useless, and of which the growth would be likely to absorb that sap which would prove beneficial to the buds retained. On the wood-branches, the eyes that push before and behind are taken off when it is certain they are useless; also some of the double or triple eyes that are often found at their extremities, when it is needful to moderate the strength of the branch. On the fruit-branches, those wood-buds are taken off that are likey to prove prejudicial to the one at their base. This operation should not be performed without due reflection, because, if done rashly, thereby destroying too many eyes, it may prove fatal by reason of the frosts, which often come on unexpected It is always better to have too many than too few eyes.
In fact, I do not much e of winter-disbudding, because the summer-disbudding is an excellent means of regulating the growth of the tree with much greater certainty; for when it is performed, the more advanced state of vegetation enables us better to distinguish the growths which ought to be removed.
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121. The same holds good with regard to removing the eyes from the upper fruit-bearing branches, which, when pushing vigorously, have their bases furnished with several wood-eyes, while their flower-buds are situated towards their extremities; so that in pruning, to have fruit, they must be left long. In such a case, the two eyes nearest the base are retained for successional shoots; and in order that their development may not be prevented, the other wood-buds, between the two lower and the flower-buds, are removed at the winter-pruning, or after they have pushed in spring, as I shall hereafter explain. The first proceeding is without any inconvenience in full-grown trees, where the sap does not flow so strongly; but, in order to make this suppression in young and vigorous trees, it is better to wait till the eyes push young shoots, so that sufficient time for a partial diversion of the sap may be given, thus preventing it from flowing too strongly towards the successional shoot.