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.
This Plum was introduced here about ten years ago. It came highly recommended by the very best authority, and was planted quite extensively by the most of our orchardists, and high expectations were entertained of it. Its knotting propensity, however, soon became apparent; the knife' was, during the growing season, brought in almost daily requisition, but, in spite of all the vigilance we were able to use, it was found impossible to keep it in a respectable condition. After several years' vainly combating the disease, the trees were mostly rooted out, and, with a few exceptions, their cultivation abandoned. We do not wish to censure those who first introduced this fruit, for it is well known to have once been, in certain parts of the State of New York, very productive and profitable, paying better than any plum then in cultivation.
But the question is often asked: Are there any orchards in. a thriving and profitable condition in its original locality, or elsewhere? From what we have seen and heard, we very much doubt if there are. Cannot some one of your correspondents who has experience with it give us some information on this subject? I would willingly make a journey of a couple of hundred miles, to see a good-sized orchard of bearing trees in a healthy condition. If such an orchard cannot be found in some of the numerous localities in which it has been sent, then, in my humble opinion, this fruit ought not to be tolerated in any respectable nurseryman's catalogue or grounds.
True, there may be seen in the market immense quantities of plums that are sold for the Frost Gage, but, on a close examination, seven-eighths of them will be found to resemble it, but are inferior in quality.
It is with much pleasure I learn that the American Pomological Society has removed the Frost Gage Plum from the list for "general cultivation;" but I should have been more pleased had they put it on the " rejected list;" had it been put there some six years ago, a vast deal of time and money would have been saved by the fruit growers of this locality. It is a fact that cannot longer,be concealed, that the Frost Gage, which hitherto stood unrivalled as a market plum on account of its productiveness and ready sale at a high price, has become so much subject to the "knots" as to make it a nuisance to every good gardener or orchardist. The inexperienced planter, in looking over catalogues of fruit-trees, is too often induced to select those varieties that are noted for their high price in the market, without being aware of the many drawbacks incident to their culture. Thus the Frost Gage is highly extolled, in some catalogues, as an " exceedingly productive and valuable market variety," and thousands of trees have been ordered and planted by " beginners" from which not a dollar ever has or will be realized; instead of being laden every fall with a crop of " delicious plums," the poor planter, to his no small mortification, finds nothing but "knots," and is thereby discouraged, and frequently makes no further efforts at raising the plum.
Whereas, had he been " posted up" as to the plain and simple truth, he would not have ordered a single tree of the above-named plum, but some others that are known to be reliable and fruit growing; instead of being checked and injured on the start, would receive an impetus that would not only encourage " beginners," but induce others to engage in it also.