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.
Dr. Beale thought this an important matter.
Mr. Barber. - In taking up trees, we should take up all the roots we can. Injured roots should be examined, and the injured parts cut away. Where the roots are thus pruned clean there are more small roots thrown out from the pruned roots than from roots less mangled. The top should be pruned to correspond, for the top of the tree is the demand, and the rest is the supply. Do not prune the top too much; for it can be so severely pruned as not to leave wood-buds enough to demand and draw up the sap from the roots.
Mr. Hooker thought that other things, such as soil, manure, Ac, were of more consequence. There is a wonderful power in nature to recuperate the strength of plants; and fruits have a strong power to adapt themselves to circumstances. It is astonishing how readily trees will adapt themselves to the places were they are situated. Has tried experiments, and the growth of the trees that were pruned was greater than that of those not pruned; but the total top amounted to only about the same. As an abstract question, a great deal is to be said on both sides. Mr. Hovey thinks the pruning should be done the year after transplanting, and others think we should prune when we transplant. There are various ends to be served by pruning. If we want the plants to bear fruit immediately, we prune in one way; we prune in another way to produce a bushy tree; in another for a pyramidal tree; in another way to grow a larger tree.
Mr. Herendeen said that John J. Thomas once tried the experiment of these different modes of pruning the tops upon the same sort of tree, leaving the roots all alike, and all growing under similar circumstances. Where not pruned at ail, the trees made little if any growth. Where the tops were pruned moderately, the trees grew somewhat, sending out shoots five or six inches in length, and looked decidedly better. Where the tops were pruned severely, the trees grew thriftily.
Mr. Barry suggested that these nurserymen's experiments at home were not upon trees which are like the trees that reach their customers, and we must not be guided implicitly by them; but would recommend that in all cases the tops should be reduced a good deal. We import trees from France which reach us with tops dry and shrivelled, and we always prune them in, and these trees go on with their growth. The late A. J. Downing impressed upon tree-planters the importance of pruning the head of the tree. We all know that little trees will grow well, an 1 the manner of pruning their branches depends upon circumstances; but, at any rate, all dry and dead roots, as well as all dry and dead branches, should be cut out.
Mr. Barber. - The roots should be placed in the earth, not in wads or bundles, but spread out as nearly as possible like they grew, and every dry or dead part, or decayed portion of either a root or a branch, should be removed under all circumstances.
Mr. Herendeen suggested that these fine fibres and wads of roots spoken of are almost always dead; and if we examine trees, we shall find that all the new growth of the roots is from roots fully of the size of a pipe-stem.
Mr. Sharpe spoke of transplanting dry yearling Peach-trees, and cutting off the whole top, leaving the stumps only twelve to twenty inches in height, and they all lived and grew.
Mr. Langworthy remarked, that injudicious pruning might damage trees and plants; but close, careful pruning, when transplanting, does not destroy trees.
After somo further desultory discussion, the Society adjourned, to meet in June at Syracuse.
[The proceedings, we are glad to learn, will be published, and may be had, we presume, on application to Secretary Bissell, Rochester, N. Y.