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 first annual exhibition of this Society was held at Buffalo on the 18th and 14th of September. Members were in attendance from a considerable number of the twenty-three counties embraced within its limits, and a rich and select collection of fruits, many of them new and rare, were exhibited on the tables. Several competent persons gave it as their opinion for extent and variety, this exhibition has never before been equalled in the State.
The report of the proceedings reached us one day too late to appear this month.
The Philadelphia County Agricultural Exhibition, held two weeks since, was very successful. The show of cattle, agricultural implements, etc., was creditable to all concerned. We noticed some fine fruit.
The New Jersey State Exhibition at Camden, followed close upon the above. The horses, cattle, implements and fruits, all marked decided progress. The arrangements, as well as those here, were on a liberal scale.
The annual meeting of this Society will be held at the Court House in Rochester, N. Y., at eleven o'clock A. M., on Wednesday, January 8, 1862. Our friends there expect a fine show of fruit, which we hope may be the case. Will Secretary Bissell be so kind as to send us an abstract of the proceedings?
This Society was organized in 1855, and is intended to include among its members all who are interested in fruit growing in the counties west of and including Oswego and Onondaga. After the usual formalities of organization, the committees on nominations and on subjects for discussion were appointed. The officers of last year were unanimously reelected. We give their names in our "Table".
The President's address was one of exceeding merit, and will be published by the Society, together with the reports of the committees and a full report of the proceedings. Copies of these transactions can be obtained by inclosing a stamp to the Secretary.
Our reporter has furnished us a brief abstract of the proceedings, which will well repay a perusal.
Mr. Pinney, of Clarkson, was most decidedly of opinion that there is at least one sort which is not a humbug. The Louise • Bonne de Jersey will bear as much fruit on the same size of limbs as any other stock; when full grown it will bear two bushels to the stock. Has seen one and a half and even two bushels upon a tree eight years old - two years old when set. There are other sorts which bear in proportion. The Vergouleuse, if it would do well, is nearest to Louise Bonne de Jersey, as grown by myself. There are some sorts in which I have but little confidence compared with Louise Bonne de Jersey. If I had 100 acres to set out. now to pears, I would set at least half of them dwarf pears.
Mr. Townsend, of Lockport. The crops of fruit from Louise Bonne de Jersey dwarf trees have been three to one of any other variety I have ever cultivated, and I join heartily with Mr. Pinney in asserting that the dwarf pear is not a humbug. Were I to commence planting pear-trees again, I am sure, from the experience which I have had, that I would not plant a standard tree. I plant dwarfs in rows twelve feet apart and six to eight feet in the row; give the trees thorough cultivation; and if upon a soil moderately clayey, your dwarfs will certainly succeed.
Samuel Jay, of Yates. In these orchards, and in all orchards, we need a thorough stirring of the whole surface of the ground; no portion allowed to weeds or grass. A fruit orchard should be a fruit garden, and this is where most men fail. Post holes spaded around trees won't answer.
Mr. Coppock, of Buffalo, would endorse all that friends here have said. Dwarf pears around Buffalo do well; Vicar of Winkfield does very well. In cultivation of dwarf pear-trees any spading near the trees is decidedly bad; the fibrous roots near the surface are cut off. No implement should be used near the tree except a fork.
C. M. Hooker, of Rochester. The question is often asked how many sorts of pears can be successfully cultivated on quince. Our pear orchard of eighty varieties has been set three years, and over seventy sorts are doing finely.
In answer to question, what sorts do not do well as dwarfs, Mr. Ell-wanger named Beurre Bosc, Sheldon, Dix, Paradise d'Automne. Vergou-leuse is better for double working. Some are always poor as standards, as the Belle Lucrative.
Mr. Beadle, of Canada. Belle Lucrative as dwarfs invariably had borne very large fruit and fine crops.
Mr. Frost, of Rochester. Duchesse d'Angouldme is peculiarly good as a dwarf: two trees in 1858 had yielded two and three bushels, and in 1859 three and a half bushels.
Mr. Brooks, of Pearl Creek. If anything needs particular cultivation, don't send it out to us farmers. You can't by any possibility induce a farmer to drive a cultivator through an orchard once in two weeks - four weeks - no, nor two months! If dwarf pear-trees need good cultivation, better not recommend them.
Mr. Smith, of Syracuse The gentleman might as well advise us not to sell Durhams or other fine breeds of cattle to farmers, because they thrive better under care, and because fine breeds sometimes fail. Yet when cattle are well treated they generally do well, and when pear-trees arc well treated they also do well.
Mr. Brooks. Farmers make some one thing prominent. Farmers will use stock well; but fruit-trees are a little one side - a little out of their line. Some gentlemen have advised that every farmer should have dwarf pear-trees in his garden, thinking that in a nice garden the trees will of course have good cultivation. Now, what we in our country call a garden is a place back of the house, where we have a few hills of potatoes, and several hundred - (hesitates and blushes) - several hundred - -pig-weeds - (great laughter).
Mr. Ainsworth, of Bloomfield, some time ago said something against dwarf pear-trees; but would admit that some varieties succeeded far better as dwarfs than as standards. Louise Bonne de Jersey, for instance, bears double the crop for the same amount of space, and is better in flavor also, and larger. Another advantage is, that the fruit ripens every year. Vicar of Winkfield on standards is not worth anything, unless for cooking; while from dwarf trees this sort bears well and ripens well. The ground of Mr. A.'s orchard is stirred all over every week with a double horse cultivator, and the trees are pruned thoroughly, so as to get a vigorous growth of wood each year. Soil is a good wheat soil; has raised thirty-four bushels to the acre.
Mr. Yeomans spoke of one-third of an acre of Duchesse d'Angouleme, eight years from the bud last spring, planted in a strong loam soil, and bore last summer thirty barrels of pears - netted $500. Can keep four or five acres of orchard clean as easily as I can take care of one acre of potatoes.
Mr. Ellwanger, in answer to a question, said that eight by ten feet apart would be one thousand trees to the acre, and Louise Bonne de Jersey will average a bushel per tree. Fruit should be regularly thinned as it grows, and when picked should be assorted, and only the finest sent to market.
Mr. Barry. One great advantage of the dwarf is its earliness in bearing: even aged people can plant the trees and eat the fruit thereof. Again, the dwarf is more easily and safely removed than the standard, and not one in a hundred need fail, .while they are not liable to any more diseases than the standards. Trusts the day is coming when farmers will plant dwarf pear-trees in abundance, and enjoy their fruits. To the nurserymen the dwarf pear is one of the greatest blessings. In every part of the United States the nurseryman is able very speedily to test all these sorts, and to recommend them, while it would not have been practicable to test them upon standard stocks. Would not advise farmers to plant a great many varieties. Anybody can succeed with some kinds,(Jaminette, for instance,) that knows enough to shorten the branches, and cultivate as well as a hill of corn.
Best protection of fruit-trees from the effects of severe winter - shelter - under draining, & c., and the hardiest sorts of apples and pears.
J. J. Thomas, of Macedon, spoke of parts of the United States, like Illinois, where winds are high, and farmers feel the necessity of shelter from wintry winds. Trees must have plenty of sun and air; but the more they are protected from violent winds, the better they stand the winter.
Mr. Barry. In pear cultivation, particularly, shelter is of especial consequence. It not only protects the trees in winter and spring, but in autumn prevents the fruit from being shaken off by the winds. "Underdraining:" the soil must be dry; draining is the great essential. As to hardiest sorts, our Western New York is hardly a fair test. For instance, Baldwin is perfectly hardy here, and at the West is not so. A capital shelter can be formed of evergreen hedges; plenty of them grow three or four feet per year. You can make in ten years, with larch and spruce, such a barrier against fierce winds as cannot be made of boards.
Mr. Brooks. Farmers do not realize how important these barriers are for shelter even of their grain crops. Believed such barriers should cover the entire area of the country.
Col. Hodge. The fact is, that the great body of farmers care nothing about putting out trees; but at the West some are commencing to plant Locust and other rapid-growing trees.
Mr. Beadle has confidence that belts of. timber will be put out; for the shelter benefits the cattle. The wheat crops are improved by belts of trees, and in Canada farmers are beginning to plant them at the west sides of their farms. If Norway Spruce, etc, are planted at the same time with our orchards, they will soon be as high as our orchards, and higher, and speedily we shall have good shelter.
Mr. Barry mentioned the case of two wheat fields side by side, on one of which the crop was good, and on the other none. The farmer could assign no reason except that the field bearing the fine crop was sheltered against the sweeping west winds. Now, the loss in that one wheat field alone from the failure of the crop, was enough to have bought and planted full shelters of evergreen trees to the farm.
Judge Miller. We cannot leave the forest trees, because from their place of growth twenty or thirty feet of the body have no limbs, thus giving, when their comrades are cut away, a strong leverage power to the wind against the head of the tree, while the looseness of the soil permits the roots to be speedily torn up and the tree to fall.
Mr. Ainsworth. Where fields slope toward the east, crops are generally . good; seldom killed by frosts; while on land sloping to the west the wind Utrikes hard; snow blows off, and crops are apt to be winter-killed.
Mr. Yeoraans. About the planting of these belts of timber, people anticipate that the advantage is to come so slowly they won't do it Have seen great advantage from planting apple and peach trees alternately. The great mass of the orchard won't be injured at all by sweeping winds.