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.
Hon. A. J. Downing - Sir: Permit me, through your estimable journal to make known a fact of the utmost importance to your countrymen, who import trees from Europe. And this communication is the more valuable from not being mere theory, but the result of actual experience.
In the spring of 1850, M. Andre Leroy, nurserymen of Angers, in France, imported from an American nurseryman, a large number of fruit trees, evergreens, plants, etc. The season was rather too far advanced when the order was sent, and when the trees arrived at their destination, they appeared to have suffered so much from the length of their journey, and to be in such a dry condition, that if they had been offered for sale, not a single buyer could have been found for them. But the intelligent owner was not easily discouraged, He had them unpacked, and taken to the bank of a stream which runs through his grounds. There he had a wide ditch dug, in which he placed the pear trees, covering them eight or ten inches deep with sand, which extended even upwards among the branches and over the roots, so as to cover them completely. In this condition they remained fifteen days, and on examination he found they were doing very well; he was not able to plant them until six days later, being at the time much engaged with other business; when he drew them from the earth they were in full blossom, and the roots were covered with new white fibres, nearly an inch long. The ground they were planted in some of them did not advance much, all, nevertheless, seemed healthy and vigorous.
Some of the sorts have made four feet of new growth.
There were two thousand young pear trees, which were also a little dry, but by burying them under-ground some time before planting them, we succeeded with the greater number, that is to say, four-fifths are living and doing well. The quinces and other fruit trees were buried not in sand, but in earth which was too moist, on account of the abundant rains of that season, so that we were less fortunate with them, as well as with some young plants of the Cedar of Lebanon. The Larches, Mahonias, Hollies, Norway spruces, Rhododendrons, Judas trees, Filberts, etc., all flourish well.
This method has been known to us for some time past, and we have already pointed it out on the first page of our catalogue; these facts now serve to corroborate its value.
We also made the experiment during the past winter, with seventy-two rose bushes that were left out of the ground during three months; we had them covered with nearly six inches of earth, for the space of eighteen or twenty days; we planted them afterwards in the midst of others, which had not been subjected to this test, and we lost only five out of the whole number. All the others grew and flourished as usual.
This method cannot be too much urged upon those persons who receive their trees in too dry a condition. B. Despoetes,
At Andre Leroy's Nursery, Angers, [France,] Feb. 5,1851
Having made trial of the above method, we can vouch for its efficacy. We will add to it, that trees which are imported when not in a growing state, should never be packed in wet moss, (ignorant packers often put them up for a long voyage as if they were going 100 miles at home,) but always in dry moss. In the latter case, they never heat or start to grow - in the former, always. If they are over dry, they are easily recovered by burying them in earth, (not too damp) as our correspondent suggests. If they have been forced into vegetation by being enveloped in damp moss, they are often wholly, always half ruined. úd