Planting And Pruning





The apple tree that you grafted should be set out in the spring. Dig a

hole three or four feet in diameter where you wish the tree to grow.

Place the tree in the hole and be very careful to preserve all the fine

roots. Spread the roots out fully, water them, and pack fine, rich soil

firmly about them. Place stakes about the young tree to protect it from

injury. If the spot selected is in a windy location, incline the tree

slightly toward the prevailing wind.




Present shape comes from pruning]




Correct shape]



You must prune the tree as it grows. The object of pruning is to give

the tree proper shape and to promote fruit-bearing. If the bud at the

end of the main shoot grows, you will have a tall, cone-shaped tree. If,

however, the end of the young tree be cut or "headed back" to the lines

shown in Fig. 72, the buds below this point will be forced to grow and

make a tree like that shown in Fig. 73. The proper height of heading for

different fruits varies. For the apple tree a height of two or three

feet is best.



Cutting an end bud of a shoot or branch always sends the nourishment and

growth into the side buds. Trimming or pinching off the side buds throws

the growth into the end bud. You can therefore cause your tree to take

almost any shape you desire. The difference between the trees shown in

Figs. 73 and 74 is entirely the result of pruning. Fig. 74 illustrates

in general a correctly shaped tree. It is evenly balanced, admits light

freely, and yet has enough foliage to prevent sun-scald. Figs. 75 and 76

show the effect of wisely thinning the branches.




Unthinned]




Properly thinned]



The best time to prune is either in the winter or before the buds start

in the spring. Winter pruning tends to favor wood-production, while

summer pruning lessens wood-production and induces fruitage.



Each particular kind of fruit requires special pruning; for example, the

peach should be made to assume the shape illustrated in Fig. 77. This is

done by successive trimmings, following the plan illustrated in Figs.

71, 78, 79. You will gain several advantages from these trimmings.

First, nourishment will be forced into the peach bud that you set on

your stock. This will secure a vigorous growth of the scion. By a second

trimming take off the "heel" (Fig. 78, _h_) close to the tree, and thus

prevent decay at this point. One year after budding you should reduce

the tree to a "whip," as in Fig. 79, by trimming at the dotted line in

Fig. 78. This establishes the "head" of the tree, which in the case of

the peach should be very low,--about sixteen inches from the ground,--in

order that a low foliage may lessen the danger of sun-scald to the main

trunk.







Cut off heel, _h_]





In pruning never leave a stump such as is shown in Fig. 78, _h_. Such a

stump, having no source of nourishment, will heal very slowly and with

great danger of decay. If this heel is cleanly cut on the line _ch_

(Fig. 78), the wound will heal rapidly and with little danger of decay.

Leaving such a stump endangers the soundness of the whole tree. Fig. 80

shows the results of good and poor pruning on a large tree. When large

limbs are removed it is best to paint the cut surface. The paint will

ward off fungous disease and thus keep the tree from rotting where it

was cut.



Pruning that leaves large limbs branching, as in Fig. 74, _a_, is not to

be recommended, since the limbs when loaded with fruit or when beaten by

heavy winds are liable to break. Decay is apt to set in at the point of

breakage. The entrance of decay-fungi through some such wound or through

a tiny crevice at such a crotch is the beginning of the end of many a

fruitful tree.






Sometimes a tree will go too much to wood and too little to fruit. This

often happens in rich soil and may be remedied by another kind of

pruning known as _root-pruning_. This consists in cutting off a few of

the roots in order to limit the food supply of the plant. You ought to

learn more about root-pruning, however, before you attempt it.




Refuses to Heal--Heals promptly]



How is a peach tree made? First, the blossom appears. Then pollination

and fertilization occur. The fruit ripens. The pit, or seed, is saved.

In the spring of the next year the seed is planted. The young tree,

known as the stock, comes up quickly. In August of that year a bud of

the variety which is wanted is inserted in the little stock, near the

ground. One year later, in the spring, the stock is cut off just above

the bud. The bud throws out a shoot, which grows to a height of about

six feet, and in the fall this little peach tree is sold as a

one-year-old tree. However, as is seen, the root is two years old.






How is an apple tree made? The seeds are saved in the fall of one year

and planted the following year. The seedlings of the apple do not grow

so rapidly as those of the peach. At the end of the year they are taken

up and sorted, and in the following spring they are planted. In July or

August they are budded. In the spring of the next year the stock is cut

off above the bud, and the bud-shoot grows three or four feet. One year

later the shoot branches and the top begins to form; and in the fall of

the following year the tree may be sold as a two-year-old, although most

persons prefer to buy it a year later as a three-year-old. In some parts

of the country, particularly in the West, the little seedling is grafted

in the second winter, in a grafting room, and the young grafts are set

in the nursery row in the spring to complete their growth.



The planting in the orchard of the young peach and the young apple tree

is done in practically the same way. After the hole for the tree has

been dug and after proper soil has been provided, the roots should be

spread and the soil carefully packed around them.





=EXERCISE=



Do you know any trees in your neighborhood that bear both wild and

budded or grafted fruit? What are the chief varieties of apples

grown in your neighborhood? grapes? currants? plums? cherries?

figs? What is a good apple tree worth? Is there any land near by

that could support a tree and is not now doing so? Examine several

orchards and see whether the trees have the proper shape. Do you

see any evidence of poor pruning? Do you find any heels? Can you

see any place where heels have resulted in rotten or hollow trees?

How could you have prevented this? Has the removal of branches ever

resulted in serious decay? How is this to be prevented?



If your home is not well stocked with all the principal kinds of

fruit, do you not want to propagate and attend to some of each

kind? You will be surprised to find how quickly trees will bear and

how soon you will be eating fruit from your own planting. Growing

your own trees will make you feel proud of your skill.





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