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.
As, at the present time, there are many (some of them extraordinary) accounts relative to dwarf pear trees - their produce and its market value - and as my experience in their cultivation does not accord with much that I read respecting them, I will, with yonr permission, give your readers a four years' history of about seventy of them, premising that they have been well taken care of and received all the kind attentions their most sanguine advocates could desire in the way of annual manuring, spring pruning, summer pinching, mulching; etc., etc.
Twelve Duehesse d'Angouleme, fine, healthy trees, nearly six feet high, and branched almost to the ground. They bloom bountifully every year, but as yet have produced but ten pears.
Twenty-two Louise Bonne de Jersey - healthy trees - have produced three pecks of fruit.
Ten White Doyenne - healthy trees - have produced two pecks of fruit.
Ten Bartlett - thrifty trees - have produced three pecks of fruit.
Ten Flemish Beauty. These trees are double worked, fine, and healthy, but as yet have never formed a blossom bud.
Five Summer FranereaL Trees, healthy, but no blossom buds.
One Duchess d'Orleans - Never bloomed, but has now a few blossom buds.
Now as to matter of profit, here is a little over two bushels of fruit, which, valued at say four dollars per bushel, (no mean price) would be eight dollars as a credit against interest on first cost, manure, and rent for four years, which, if the trees are valued at first cost of one dollar, each three years old, would amount to a gross debit of $22.50, leaving a balance of $1450 against the trees, without any charge for attentions or blight deaths. The latter, as yet, I have escaped.
It might be urged that the account would have stood better if I had planted none but Louise Bonne de Jersey, Bartlett, and White Doyenne, which would be true as far as this account is concerned; but if all should plant only the most productive sorts, the price would soon be down below the price here assumed, viz., four dollars per bushel.
Again, it might be said that the trees are not yet in a full bearing state. But in answer to that I would reply, that if they do not do much better than they now do, they will have such an arrearage against them as will take the term of their natural life to wipe off.
These trees, from being, as Mr. Rivers says, so "come-at-able" that every bud and branch can be watched so completely throughout all the stages of their growth, will no doubt be a source of much pleasure to the amateur; but that they will ever be a source of much profit, I have many doubts. J. Frazkr. - Rochester, N. Y.
We think the interest account on the seventy trees is pretty large, bat admitting it to be correct, we think Mr. F. has no good reason to complain. Very few planters of dwarf trees will expect the first four years product to balance the outlay; indeed, if the trees were ours, we should prefer to take our profits in growth instead of fruit, and we apprehend that Mr. Frazer, if asked to sell his trees to-day, would ask a price that would induce the purchaser to believe they had not been a very unprofitable investment. One thing is certain: dwarf trees have no such fault as that of tardiness in bearing. The defects are of an opposite nature, according to all our experience.
The testimony of Southern growers seems to be uniformly in their favor, notwithstanding the efforts of some writers to run them down and pronounce them a failure. Sagacious cultivators, however, plant the trees low, so that the union of pear and quince stocks shall be a couple of inches below the surface of the ground. In this way they all in time take root from the pear stock, and become virtually permanent standard trees. Their growth then becomes stronger and more thrifty, and uniformly growing more productive yearly. Their advantage over large standard trees is that they make an early growth and quick fruiting, throwing the tree almost into immediate bearing. The following varieties have all done well on the quince stocks in the Middle and Southern States: Duchesse d'Angouleme, Louise Boune de Jersey, Vicar of Winkfield, Beurre d'Anjou, Howell.
A Prolific Pear Tree.:
A single branch of the Vicar of Winkfield pear, cut from a tree grown in Cape May Co., N. J., was found to have 65 pears on it.
The American Rural Home regards this with favor. "We have watched it for some years, and find that it averages about one-third larger than the common orange quince, and is uniformly fair and excellent in quality. It is quite inclined to the pyriform shape. Specimens received from Ellwanger and Barry weigh 21½ ounces. On their grounds it is a good grower and prolific bearer.
IN a discussion on this subject by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at an early meeting of this year, Mr. Charles M. Hovey excepted to the rooting of dwarfs from the pear, believing it would be better to let them run out their natural lives and then take them up. He thought they would not make as good standards as those originally grafted on pear stocks, on account of their tendency to send out one or two strong roots on one side of the tree, instead of rooting regularly all around the tree. If allowed to root from the pear, they must either be planted at the proper distance for standards at first, or thinned out to such a distance.
Mr. Wood admitted the tendency to which Mr. Hovey objected, but said that it could easily be obviated by the operation of "lipping;" that is, removing the earth and cutting several tongues at intervals around the tree by an upward cut with a gouge or knife, beginning to cut at the bottom of the swelling of the pear where it joins the quince. These cuts should be from an inch to an inch and a half long and a quarter of an inch wide, and kept open by pressing a little earth under the tongue. The earth should be replaced over them, when they will soon send out roots freely all around the tree. The best time to perform the operation is after the middle of June, when the tree is growing rapidly and the ground is warm, so as to excite the production of roots. The soil should be kept moist by mulching or otherwise; in fact, the conditions of success are precisely the same as those required for striking cuttings.
Marshall P. Wilder had had a great deal of experience with dwarf pear trees during the last forty years, and was strongly in favor of them on account of their early bearing. Two - thirds of his collection were originally on quince roots, and by using this stock he was not only able to test many new varieties in much less time than would have been required with standards, but to furnish himself with fruit in a very few years. Viewed in this light dwarfs were not only exceedingly useful to the amateur and experimenter with new fruits, but a great blessing to the family. He did not concur with Mr. Hovey's view that the dwarf, when rooting from the pear, sends out one-sided roots. Some varieties, such as the Vicar, send out roots freely all round, without the trouble of lipping, and, the quince dying out, they made the very best standards he had got. His system was to plant standards sixteen feet apart, with dwarfs between, and when the standards grew so large as to require all the room, the dwarfs which had rooted from the pear were transplanted to other situations, and were found to be amply supplied with fibrous roots, without any tap root whatever. In this way a large proportion of his trees were made.
Where varieties like the Bartlett, Doyenne Boussock, and Belle Lucrative send out roots from one side only, they . still make fine standards when they get well established. In regard to the durability of trees on quince roots, Mr. Wilder said that he had some which, though not rooted from the pear, were more than thirty years old, among which were Urbanistes, that each bore regularly more than a barrel a year.
A writer in the Kansas Farmer says he practices transplanting his dwarf pear-trees every other autumn, that it adds to their vigor and causes them to bear earlier. He thinks the Bartlett and Doyenne d'Ete do not agree well with the quince, and should be grown on pear roots.