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.
The following hints are given in the Country Gentleman by J. D. Jones, Jr.:
Make a circular incision in the wood, cutting away a ring of bark about the breadth of the twelfth of an inch. The wood acquires greater size about the incision, and the operation accelerates the maturity of the wood, and that of the fruit likewise. The incision should not be made too deep, and farther than the bark, as it will spoil both the wood and fruit.
Remove it with a hard scrubbing brush in February and March, and wash the trees with cow-dung, urine and soap-suds.
Rub tar well into the bark of the apple trees, about four or six inches wide, round each tree, and at about one foot from the ground. This effectually prevents blight, and abundant crops are the consequence.