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.
In the December number, Reuben asks for information respecting budding the finer kinds of magnolias, Conspicua, Soulan-giana, etc. Having had some experience with these, 1 give my mode, first saying, however, that magnolias are more difficult to propagate by budding than most trees, and if not successful the first time, repeat the operation until you succeed.
The best stock to work upon is the magnolia acuminata, commonly called cucumber tree. The stocks should be young thrifty seedlings, two or three years old, or about half an inch in diameter near the ground. The trees from which buds or cuttings are to be taken should be thrifty and healthy, and about half or two-thirds the size of the stock to be budded upon. Make a lateral or cross-cut about an inch above and below the bud through the bark, then down each side of the bud perpendicularly from the crosscuts, so that the whole piece will be about half the circumference of the cutting; then with the thumb and fore finger wring it off, only be careful not to press and injure or tear out the inside of the bud, in which case it will not grow, and another must be prepared. With the bud so taken from the cutting, proceed to insert it in the usual way, tying carefully below and above the bud with bass matting.
In about a week or ten days, look over the buds; if they remain green and fresh, it is probable they have taken, that is, will live; then examine the strings or wrapping, and if too tight, or appearing as if it was cutting into the tree, untie and rewrap it. If, on the other hand, the bud looks dark and dried, it is likely a failure, and you must perform the operation again immediately.
Some seasons the work has to be done two or three times over, very much depending on the weather, and the condition of the stocks and buds.
The right time for performing the operation, it is difficult to state; but it is when the stock is about, or just before completing its growth, and preparing to ripen its buds - usually about the middle of September.
Reuben is very much obliged to Mr. Downing for this practical article. I never practiced budding, but have been pretty successful in growing the Chinese Magnolias on the Acuminata by means of side grafting in spring. I cut my grafts when a warm day occurs in February, lay them away in sand in the cellar, and as soon in March as the buds swell strongly on the Acuminata, I side graft, tie with matting, and wrap with grafting cray. When the leaves of the graft are half grown, I cut away a part of the top of the stock, and gradually take all away in about three weeks, leaving the graft to go on rejoicing.
What is the "Renewal" System? - I think the term "renewal," in vine-pruning, one of modern introduction, but I may be in error. I have always understood it as meaning, when used, the cutting away each year of all the old two or more years' wood and leaving only the wood of the present year's growth. I do not think the term can be accurately used for any system where any portion of old wood is left, because the very meaning of the word would be robbed of half its import thereby. Reuben.