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.
103. The nailing consists in fastening all the branches of a Peach tree, whatever their nature may be, in the place most suitable to them. The regulation or training of the principal branches, which has just been treated on (99), is, properly speaking, the nailing of them.
104. But nailing, as I understand it, is chiefly applicable to the fruit-branches, and to the shoots as soon as their growth requires it. It will thus be perceived that we may carry on the nailing of the tree throughout the whole course of its existence; nevertheless there are two periods of the year more especially devoted to this operation - namely, when the tree is without foliage, and when it is furnished with !eives. Hence the operation is distinguished as winter-nailing and summer-nailing.
105. At Montreuil, woolen shreds and nails are used in training and nailing. These shreds surround the part to be fastened without becoming so tight as to cause strangulation. For this reason neither linen nor cotton rags are employed, as they contract or expand according to the quantity of moisture they absorb; and because, from their not allowing the nails to pierce them readily, we can not well calculate the tension which we wish to produce.
106. When there is a trellis, we train the principal branches upon it, fastening them with osiers. The fruit-branches and young shoots are tied with rushes. In gentlemen's gardens, guides, of which I have before spoken (102), are fixed to the trellis; and also a rod at each side of every principal branch, and parallel to its direction. The above is a convenient way of training the fruit-branches in their proper place, which could not always be done if they happened to be opposite the openings of the trellis.
107. Latterly some walls have been covered with trellises of iron wire. I prefer those made of wood; but if the iron ones are used, guides must be employed for training the principal branches; and when they are fastened to such trellis, care must be taken to wrap the wire several times round with osier, so that the branches may rest on the latter, in order to prevent their bark from being bruised and rusted by the iron.
108. a, Winter-nailing. This is the first operation performed after the winter-pruning, and the training of the principal branches. All the fruit-branches are fastened in the place they should occupy, having due regard, at the same time, to their form and strength.
109. It has been shown (100) that the growth of a wood-branch, likely to become too strong, is diminished by close training, and keeping it in a confined position; and that, on the contrary, it may be roused from a state of languor by giving it greater liberty. Nailing acts in the same way on the fruit-branches. The restraint that can be produced by nailing has beneficial effects chiefly on the upper sides and near the extremities, where vegetation is always more active, and which ought to be the more restrained, as it tends to increase the distance of prominent eyes from the place where the branch takes its rise. On the other hand, the branches on the lower side must be so nailed as to be in' the best position to allow of a free flow of sap. The fruit-branches must be nailed near enough the principal branches to shade them with their leaves from the sun, and so that no naked spaces may exist. In short, with a few exceptions, among which are the fruit-branches that require to be constrained, all the fruit-branches ought to form, with the branch that gives rise to them, a rectilinear angle of greater or less extent.
110. Whatever care or foresight may be used in maintaining a supply of fruit-branches, naked spaces may occur on principal branches, more especially on their under sides. Such cases may be remedied in the following manner:
At a, fig. 10, a naked space may be seen on the upper and under side of the branch. In order to fill it, the fruit-branches a, a, situated on each side, and immediately begrow to the required extent. I suppress all the eyes in the intervals of the three shoots b, b, b, and I encourage the growth of the latter, in order to convert them into fruit-branches. When these are obtained, and the branches a, a, trained as near as possible to the principal branch that bears them, no naked space appears, and the branch is as well covered at this place as elsewhere. The three shoots b, b, b, are treated in the same way as the fruit-branches; and being successively replaced, like them, they produce fruit equally as well. This simple proceeding is advantageous in two ways; it prevents the branch from being naked, and it affords fruit from the three fruit-branches on each side, of which we should have been deprived if this proceeding had been neglected. Ten years ago, at Andilly, I had occasion to cover, in this way, some principal branches that were naked to a very great extent In order to do so, I allowed a young branch, trained in the above-mentioned way, to grow along the naked branches, securing it close to the latter by including both in the same fastenings.
In this way the naked branches were covered, while the means employed were scarcely perceptible.
111. We now readily cover naked portions of branches by means of inarching. It is thus performed: - Part of the end of a young shoot originating below the naked part is trained along the naked branch; we raise from the latter a strip of bark as broad as the thickness of the shoot, and about an inch and a quarter in length, and we apply to this barked portion a part of the shoot sliced to half its thickness, with an eye in the middle. The inarched shoot is secured with worsted, leaving the top of the shoot free. This operation may be performed from April to August. In the following spring, early or late, according to the state of vegetation, the inarched shoot is divided from its original base immediately below where it was united to the naked branch; and no more scar is left than results from a shield-bud.
112. It may happen that during the winter-nailing it is necessary to suppress useless eyes. Instead, however, of entering into details respecting that operation, it will be better to proceed with the subject in hand.
113. b, Summer-nailing. The summer-nailing consists in fastening to the wall, when needful, those young shoots made by the wood-buds subsequently to the winter-pruning and nailing;
114. Whenever we have time we ought to follow step by step the growth of the young shoots, so as to nail them according to their strength, the place they occupy, what they are intended for, and with respect to their relation to the other young productions: but, as before said, the cultivators are too much engaged to take such minute precautions.
115. This being the case, the greater number of them allow the young shoots to grow promiscuously until it becomes necessary to put an end to their disorder. They then proceed to make a general summer-nailing, which is usually done between the middle and end of June. As the nailing goes on, all the nails used in training the principal branches, and in the winter-nailing, are pulled out, in order to use them afresh. This proceeding gives freedom to the branches, which sometimes remain in their places. It also economises nails, prevents the tree from being galled, and some of the fruit from being injured by nails pressing against them. It often happens, especially in young Peach trees, that in training them after the winter-pruning a sufficient inclination can not be given to the principal branches for fear of breaking their bark at the origin of the branch. If that be the case, we unnail the tree in order to bring these branches down to the proper place, which can be done with greater ease when they are rendered more flexible by the flow of sap.
Under these circumstances the main branches are not always strong enough to support the secondary branches loaded with leaves and fruit; therefore, before completely unnailing the tree, they must be tied to each other, at a foot from the stem, with strong osiers to prevent them from splitting. The bark of the main branches should be protected from the pressure of the osiers by a piece of cork. Even in old trees, where all the principal branches after being unnailed would remain in their right position, it is still advisable to support each of the two main branches by one or two nails and shreds. It is of course understood that all the ties of a tree on a trellis, which were made at the winter-nailing, must be cut as the summer-fastening proceeds.
116. In this operation all the young shoots that are situated towards the extremities of the principal branches, and those on the fruit-branches, are nailed or tied in the right direction, at proper distances, and without confusion. In summer-nailing we always begin at the upper part of the tree, and work downwards.
117. The summer-nailing produces the same effect on the young shoots that the winter-nailing has on the fruit-branches, according as more or less freedom is allowed them. Therefore, if it is desirable to increase the growth of a young shoot, we give it greater liberty in nailing.
118. After having fiest nailed the upper parts, which are always further advanced than the lower, by reason of the natural inclination of the sap to ascend, there are cases where we leave all the lower parts at liberty during ten or twelve days, thereby increasing the strength of these parts, and equalizing it with that of the upper shoots.