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apple-tree, and is sucking its vitals; or because a curculio punctures the apple to make a nest for her egg, soon to hatch into an ugly worm. It is man's prerogative to snatch the apple from the claim of these insects. It is our purpose to show how this can be done, so far as the aphis mali, or apple-tree aphis, is concerned. This insect is rightly named aphis, which means an exhauster; for it sucks the life-blood from the tree. It began its depredations in America about the close of the last century, and was probably imported on young trees from Europe. Like all of the aphis tribe, it is very prolific, as two broods at least are produced in the course of a summer. If, in the latter part of May, we carefully raise the body of the aphis, we can discover numerous eggs, destined in a few days to produce thirty or forty lice, all eager for food and to reproduce their species in the same ratio; so that a thousand-fold is a moderate calculation for the increase each season. One who has not examined carefully will be surprised to find how extensively our apple-trees are infested with these lice, and how much they exhaust the vital energies of the trees. They can live only on the fresh, juicy bark, and are, consequently, mainly found on the trunks and branches of young trees, and the extremities of the branches of the older ones. Within a few years, so great has been their increase, that we have found them on the apples themselves, though the bark is evidently their favorite home. Being nearly of the color of the bark, and only about a tenth of an inch in length, a careless observer may pass them by unheeded. If so, the diminished product of his trees, and the decaying and dead limbs, must soon attract his notice. The sap, which should support the foliage and fruit, sustains myriads of these lice. We have seen the bodies and limbs of some apple-trees so thickly covered with these insects, that myriads is no exaggerated term in which to speak of them as existing on one tree. The female, after laying her eggs, dies; but the outer skin remains as a protection to the eggs. When first hatched, the young have some motion, and disperse themselves over the tree. While in the larva state, the young lice grow rapidly, and must greatly exhaust the trees by drawing from them the nourishment necessary for their growth. In a few clays, they pass into the pupa, or chrysalis state, and the females become fixed, never changing their location after they have once become stationary, and seem merely a rough excrescence on the bark. In this state, they probably exhaust the tree less; but the functions of life still go on till after the eggs are laid, and their bills are constantly inserted in the bark to draw from it the little nourishment they may require.
It is not merely by these exhausting bills that damage is done to the tree. The bark serves much the same purpose to the tree that the skin does to the animal. Through its minute pores, exhalations and inhalations are constantly going on. Now, if the bark is thickly covered with these scaly lice, these pores must be stopped, and the functions of the bark cease in a manner, and the health of the tree be impaired. We have dwelt somewhat minutely on the description of this aphis, that the attention of farmers may be called to it. The insect is so insignificant, its onward march is so silent, and its aggressions so insidious, that we have treated the' enemy with too much neglect; and he has partial possession of nearly all our orchards, and is a prominent cause of the premature decay of our trees.
The remedy is simple, and is in the hands of every one. It is merely to wash the trees with strong soap-suds; half soap and half water in the case of old trees, and one-third soap and two-thirds water for the younger trees. The best time to put this wash on is the latter part of May, or first of June, when the young lice are in the larva state; and the most efficient instrument is an old broom. Strong lye, or a strong solution of salt and water, will also destroy the lice. Old mackerel-brine is one of the best exterminators of tree-lice, as, besides the salt, it contains a penetrating and destructive oil. But, of all the remedies, we recommend the soft-soap as the most efficient. Besides its efficacy in destroying the lice, it is an excellent fertilizer for the tree, rendering the bark smooth and healthy, so that it may best perform its functions. Whatever soap is washed off from the trunk and limbs of the tree is not lost, but serves as an excellent stimulus for the roots. We have been in the practice of washing apple-trees with soap once a year, and have no doubt of its efficacy upon the health of the trees. We doubt not that two washings a year would be still better; and, if a second wash is given, we would recommend the first part of August as the time, as then the second brood of lice makes its appearance, and may be seen sometimes on the apples. If the soap is rubbed thoroughly around the crown of the roots, it is also a great preventive of the louse. We have never been troubled with this pest of apple-trees, when they have been thoroughly soaped. Keep the trees vigorous, and the insects will be much less likely to attack them. .Strong soap-suds act both as a preventive and a remedy. While they are death to the insect, they give life to the tree. They are, therefore, the ounce of prevention and the pound of cure.
CULTURE OF THE GRAPE IN CITIES.
When they whose lives are pent up within city-homes escape at rare intervals to the country, and find their friends luxuriating in domains whose area is told off by the acre, not the running foot, and amidst whose almost unbounded amplitude
"Blossoms and fruits and flowers promiscuous rise,"
the unconscious sigh escapes from their laboring breast; and "Oh that!" ushers in some specific desire expressive of their sad condition.
City-yards, no doubt, are small. One or two peach or half a dozen dwarf-pear trees would exhaust their capacity. One of those straggling vines in which the country rejoices would almost remand them to their pristine wilderness-state. Nevertheless, experience has fully shown that cities are the true place for the perfect development of the grape, and that yards of very moderate size are amply large for the rearing of a goodly assortment of the choicest kinds.
It has been demonstrated by actual culture during many years, both in Europe and America, not only that a space, or section of trellis, ten feet long and one and a half or two feet in height, is sufficient for the demands of one vine, but that vines thus confined produce grapes of a finer flavor than can be obtained by the old system.
Having tested the matter to his satisfaction, let the writer present the subject in some detail, — not for the instruction of the experienced horticulturist, but rather for the benefit of any, who, having recently taken tJie grape-fever, are earnest inquirers after elementary and practical knowledge. Has the reader a small unoccupied space — say ten feet long and from two to three feet wide — besicje any fence of his lot where the sun shines for six or eight hours per day? Then let him rejoice in the assurance that he may have his four favorite vines, — an Iona and a Delaware, for instance, with an Israella, and a Diana or Allen. Does he ask how? In this way: Procure the four vines from some reliable source, and plant them in a row, at intervals of two and a half feet, leaving half that space between the outer vines and the ends of the border. Train the vines perpendicularly the first season; cut them down within a few inches of the ground in November. The second year, grow single canes from each stem, until, by measurement, you find that each is just long enough to take its place in the centre of the trellis in the course you have assigned it to, and then pinch off the terminal bud. This will cause the highest lateral buds to grow rapidly. Train both branches perpendicularly to the end of the season, and cut' them off at the distance of a foot from the point of separation. In the spring, fasten the cane to the trellis at the selected spot, and lay down these branches right and left, and secure them to the trellis as the permanent arms of the vine. Each arm should be permitted, the third season, to put up only two or three fruit-branches, yielding some three bunches apiece; and, if thrifty, the arms should be lengthened a foot or more every succeeding year, until they attain the full dimensions of five feet and occupy the entire trellis.
When I speak of measuring the distance to the spot on the trellis to be occupied by the centre or branching point of each vine, I mean this: A trellis should be constructed of the exact length of the border, say ten feet; stout cedar-posts, sunken two feet into the ground, and reaching to a height of nine feet, should be placed near the ends of the border • and to these posts should be nailed four well-seasoned strips of scantling, three inches wide and one thick; the first, one foot from the ground; the others at three, five, and seven feet elevation: complete the trellis by fastening two wires of stout galvanized iron above each of the four horizontal strips or bars. In the centre of each bar drive a grape-hook or nail, leaving the head slightly projecting. Select one of the two inner vines to occupy the lowest bar, or course, as it is called; and the other to occupy the second: allot the two outer vines to the third and fourth courses respectively. Each vine should be grown, the second season from planting, with a single cane or standard, until it has reached a height equal to the distance obliquely from its roots to the grape-hook, by which it is to be fastened to the trellis: at that point let it be pinched, and caused to produce two canes for the arms, as above suggested.
The trellis should be placed eighteen inches from the fence, -*- thirty inches space would be preferable, — so as to insure ample ventilation for the vines in hot, moist weather, and prevent mildew of leaf and fruit. A good coat of whitewash applied to the fence in March or April, before the bursting of the buds, would add, by reflection of the solar rays, several degrees of heat to the temperature through the season.
Perhaps I should fortify my position in respect to the close planting of the vines. Pruned as the tops will be, the roots require less space than in the old untrimmed state; and, though placed in such juxtaposition, they may, and probably will, run nearly across the yard, and obtain all the space they need. And if most of the yard be paved, so much the better. A brick or stone pavement keeps the ground in a damp, warm condition, admirably adapted to the requirements of the vine. But attention should be given to the soil; and, if one desires to possess vines which shall ripen abundant crops for many successive years, he should remove the ground to the depth of two feet, and width of five or more, and substitute a soil composed principally of fence-corner or old-field sods, with a little thoroughly-rotted manure, some plaster and cellar-dirt, and a liberal sprinkling of bone-dust, all well incorporated. After planting the vines in this unfailing soil, the entire border, excepting a small space around each vine, may very profitably be paved over, and used as if no roots were beneath.
Another inquiry let me anticipate: "Will the vines consent to remain within the restricted limit of two feet perpendicular space?" At first they will not, and the pinching-in process is requisite. When the young fruiting-shoots have advanced three leaves, or joints, beyond the highest bunch of grapes indicated upon them, their terminal buds should be
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