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.
All pruning should be done the moment the leaves have fallen, whatever be the period at which they are required to be forced. To go into detail about pruning in general would occupy too much space. But I must say a little more about cleansing and dressing. The object of all dressings is two-fold, to destroy whatever insects, or eggs, may exist, and to avert their attacks in future. There are several practices extant as to the kinds of dressing to be used: but I would have it borne in inind, that soft soap and sulphur are the two principal things on which the gardening world at present depends - that is to say, as to power. But in many cases it becomes requisite to use some thickening medium, to form a body of some endurance on the wood; and for this purpose such things as lime, clay, cow-dung, etc, are used. I will, therefore, merely offer an universal recipe, which, although it may not suit every case in gardening, is yet of service in nine cases out of ten.
It is this - one gallon of water, in which four ounces of soft soap are well dissolved; add then as much sulphur as it will carry; and finally thicken with clay to a regular paint. This mixture may be applied to any fruit tree in a rest condition, but not to living foliage. The stems should be thoroughly painted with this mixture, not leaving a crevice untouched. In the case of vines, the loose bark must be stripped away as clean as possible, before applying the paint. This is a most indispensable procedure, for this extraneous bark is of no real use to the tree, which', indeed, in a state of high health, seems to make an effort to cast it off. The stem enlarges, and, like a fast-growing youth, the same coat no longer fits, and, in attempts to wear it, the seams, or other parts, give way. T. E.