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When trimmed back in the fall, what is left of these canes are called spurs; and they may be left with one fruit-bud on them, or more, so as to produce, on each, two bearing canes, or one and two alternately, or only one on each: and the variety thus afforded by intelligent trimming adds to the gracefulness and beauty of the vines. Till the vine has acquired its full size and vigor, it were better, however, to trim for one cane only ; but the spurs must be left by two or three buds longer than above directed until the winter has passed, or the ends may be killed back by the intensity of the weather, and the buds destroyed.
Midway between the three vines of the first course, two others grow, numbered four and eight. These are carried perpendicularly to the second course, and occupy twenty feet of that, leaving five feet at each end uncovered. These five lower vines have the advantage of those designed for the upper courses, in being trained perpendicularly to the points where they part into the permanent arms; as, by this arrangement, the sap flows with equal facility into each of the arms, and neither obtains an undue share of the vitalizing fluid to the detriment of the other.
It is necessary, for several reasons, that the vines on the upper half of the trellis should be placed immediately over those on the lower; and we effect this arrangement by training the standards obliquely to a point about a foot below the places which they are to assume, as is seen in the case of numbers three, seven, eleven, five, and nine. If the standards are so secured to the wires as to rise perpendicularly the last foot of their course, this will suffice; but, if the obliquity be continued quite to the point of separation, the sap, unless retarded as suggested below, will enter one arm so much more freely than the other, as almost, of necessity, to involve a serious inequality of the size and strength of the arms, and ultimately the absorption of the entire vigor of the vine by the favored one.
Looking now at these vines as presented in the illustration, we see, that, while the first and third courses of the trellis have been fully occupied by the vines assigned to them, spaces of five feet remain uncovered at the extremities of the second and fourth courses. A special provision is requisite for these. Vine number one is made to extend one of its arms along the vacant space at the left of the second course; while its other arm is sent four feet higher, to occupy the corresponding position in the fourth course; and, at the other end of the row, number twelve performs a similar service. It is true that this arrangement ignores a law of the grape which causes a tendency of the sap to the higher portions of the vine; and consequently the lower arms would, after a while, be robbed for the aggrandizement of the upper. This result will ultimately be reached, but may a long time be delayed. In the spring, we may attach the lower arms of numbers one and twelve to the trellis, and leave the upper ones hanging down until the buds on the lower have burst, and made a growth of four or five inches : the start thus gained will be maintained a good portion of the season; and when the upper arms, in course of time, have become unduly developed, we can cut off the vines below the top of the standards, and in the second season thereafter have new arms burdened with fruit.
With plenty of space, the trellis may be continued indefinitely, in sections of ten feet or five; all the interior vines extending their arms horizontally as above described (each being in fact a duplicate of the fourth vine preceding it), and the two vines at the extremities assuming the appearance of numbers one and twelve. But enough has been said on training, and I must hasten to a close.
Were I asked for a list of vines most appropriate for city culture, I should be governed in my selection principally by the quality of the fruit; and while procuring specimens of certain varieties because of their prominency before the public, and the pending discussion respecting their merits, I should be careful to secure an abundant supply of such as met the requirements of my own taste, and were sure of gaining the favor of my friends. As, in my judgment, the most delicious of all hardy grapes, and above the criticism of the fastidious, the beautiful Iona should enter largely into the collection. I would have the sweet and vinous Delaware, Israella, Diana, Allen's Hybrid, and Rebecca. The Adirondack must worthily occupy a place. Some of Rogers's Hybrids, fifteen, nineteen, and thirty-three, should be procured; and Salem, pronounced by Mr. Rogers to be the best of the family. One vigorous Concord should grace the collection, charming the eye amid a thousand vines by its rare beauty both of foliage and fruit, — a grape possessing every excellence but one; and I suppose that elsewhere it must be a palatable grape, and foxy only in Maryland, or how could it have been installed in the post of honor by so many gentlemen of taste and standing? And the Herbemont must not be forgotten: when all other vines have paid their grateful tribute, and composed themselves for their yearly sleep, it presents its tardy offering, a solid mass of the purest flavor, with a vinous, refreshing energy that is wonderful.
Among many vines of excellence, I have selected a few of my favorites. Some of them, in the country, may be classed as tender, or liable to disease. But a city yard is a favored spot: here they are sheltered from the cold, blighting dews of August; and here, amid the destructive droughts of summer, by means of hose and hydrant, we invoke for them an impromptu shower, healthful alike to leaf and root; and, when tales of mildew and rot are multiplied in the land, here every leaf is healthy, and every berry mature in its season.
While cultivating and enjoying in leisure hours these luscious fruits which a bounteous Providence has set before us, let us seek, ourselves, to become well-trained and fruitful branches of the Living and True Vine, whose clusters are hung so near the toiling children of earth, that all who need may gather, and whose fruit is so replete with vital energy, that he who eats thereof shall live forever. Chas. W. Ridgely.
Vol. L 38
The great agent in the destruction of red spider is water, which may not inaptly be termed its natural enemy. Water forcibly driven against foliage infested with red spider will free it of the pest; and that is the best means to adopt in the case of plants which will not be injured by its application: syringing with soft water is the best remedy, as well as preventive, which I have tried. Whenever a plant shows unmistakable signs of the presence of red spider, it is well to syringe it forcibly, directing the water against the under side of the leaves: and this is best done in the evening, at the time of shutting up the house; or if the house is not closed, or the plants are exposed, after the sun has declined in power. Bear in mind, that syringing once or twice is not of any great avail; but it must be persisted in until the trees are cleared. The only cases in which the use of water for the destruction of red spider .cannot be recommended are when the trees or plants are in flower; for then a dry atmosphere may be desirable for the setting of the fruit: and when a tree is ripening its fruit or wood, then a free use of the syringe may not be advisable. When syringing can be adopted, it will be found the very best means for the prevention and destruction of insect enemies. It is conducive to health and vigor, frees the leaves of dust, and lessens the evils of an artificial or dry atmosphere. It is objected to syringing, that it is not natural, and cannot be otherwise than injurious; it being sufficient if the atmosphere be kept moist by sprinkling the floors, walls, &c., and by the evaporation of water from troughs upon the hot-water pipes. Such may be the case; but I have failed to experience it, having seen the foliage of the vine brown, and ready to fall off, by the time the fruit was ripe, and peaches shedding their leaves before the wood was mature.
When the syringe cannot be used, then we must look elsewhere for the means of destroying the red spider. And here I would discriminate between plants which can, and others which cannot, bear an application destructive to the insect. I may instance the vine and melon as plants to which a solution of soft soap, at the rate of two ounces to the gallon, cannot be safely applied; and yet soft-soap water of this strength is effectual, and not injurious to the foliage of most trees and plants, when applied with a syringe, so as to thoroughly wet every leaf on both sides. Three applications, on alternate evenings, will be sufficient to destroy a whole generation of red spider. The vine, melon, and cucumber are the only plants which I have found injured by it; for it stains the fruit of the first, and disfigures the foliage of the other two.
Should it not be desirable to syringe, or if plants are attacked to which the soap-solution would be injurious, a good remedy is to make the floors, walls, &c., wet by syringing them without wetting the foliage of the plants or trees, — this should be done on shutting up the house, — half filling pots that will hold a peck and a half with fresh unslacked lime, and then filling up with water, and scattering on this one ounce of sulphur vivum. Two pots will be sufficient for a house thirty feet long, eighteen feet wide, and of an average height; but, if high, three will be necessary. The heat of the lime will cause rapid evaporation, and the fumes of the sulphur are carried along with the water; and, unless sulphur be volatilized, it is worse than useless as a destroyer of red spider. The plants should be syringed in the morning; but in the case of grapes coloring, fruit ripening, or plants being in flower, doing so would prove disastrous. An application of this kind should be made once a week, or twice if the attack is severe. This remedy, it should be remembered, must not be used until the leaves have attained their full size, and become somewhat firm; otherwise they will be disfigured. It is more effectual when a good syringing follows, as the insects, if not stifled, are so sick as to be easily washed off.
Another method in which it is not absolutely necessary to syringe the plants consists in making the hot-water pipes so hot, that the hand, when placed on them, cannot bear the heat more than a minute, and, after closing the house, to coat them with sulphur brought to the consistency of paint, with water in which soft-soap has been dissolved at the rate of four ounces to the gallon. The paint thus formed should be applied from end to end of the pipes or flues, and be lightly syringed until the house is full of steam; and, unless the fumes of the sulphur are strong enough to drive the operator out of the house, they will not destroy red spider. This remedy, like the preceding, must not be employed unless the foliage is somewhat mature, as in the case of the fruit approaching maturity, or becoming ripe. Two applications will, in most cases, prove effectual.