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whether hybrids between the two may not be originated; and also whether it may not be substituted as a stock, in place of the cucumber-tree, for the propagation of the several species of magnolia.
Several experiments, testing the feasibility of the latter suggestion, resulted in effecting an adhesion between the bark of the magnolia buds, and alburnum of the tulip-tree; yet, in every instance, the chit of the bud perished. These experiments, though falling short of perfect success, served rather to strengthen the affirmative side of the query.
By Seeds. — A cold frame is required. It should be constructed in a situation protected from cold winds, shaded from noonday sun, and not under drippings of either buildings or trees. The soil should consist of wood-mould, well-digested peat-earth, and sandy loam, in equal proportions, intimately mixed and riddled.
The seeds, prepared as directed under the head of M. acuminata, should be planted one inch deep; and the surface of the bed should be covered with a layer of leaves during winter, and until the seeds begin to sprout about the middle of May, when the covering should be removed. Constant attention to the condition of the surface will be required till the plants are well established. An excess of sun, dryness, or moisture, is equally fatal to them. From time to time, until September, seedlings will often continue to appear. The most luxuriant usually make only a few inches of growth by the close of the first season: that is, however, the best period for their removal either to nursery-rows or their permanent localities. At this age they suffer little from the operation; and, besides, it induces them to throw out fibres from the main roots, which prepares .them for subsequent removals should it be desirable.
By this method, a supply of choice seedlings as well as stocks can be secured.
By Layering. — Two seasons are required to complete the process with the magnolias. For directions, see practical works on horticulture.
By Budding. — The method is familiar to every nursery-man, and differs little from that required in propagating the peach. Two periods each season are, however, afforded. First, When the bark of the stock will peel freely,— about the ioth of May in this vicinity. The wood of the stock may be from one to three years old. Buds may be selected from scions cut in February and carefully preserved, or may be taken directly from the tree. If from the latter, employ those the least swollen; and even those which are small and semi-abortive are to be preferred to those which have burst. Cut them with a long base, and dip slightly into the wood; but never attempt to remove the slice of wood taken off with the bud.
When inserted, tie them in with narrow strips of waxed cloth; and complete the process by stopping every crevice about the bud with melted grafting-wax, so as to exclude air and water. Neither woollen-yarn nor bass-matting can be substituted for these cloth ligatures.
Second, From the middle of June to the middle of July, a period is furnished for summer-budding. At this time, well-matured buds of the present season's growth are to be selected. The operation, in every particular, is the same as in spring-budding. It is, however, more difficult to fix upon the exact moment for doing it. The buds must be well ripened, while at the same time the deposit of young sap-wood in the stock must not be too mature. The present year's growth only is now used for the stocks. Buds set in the spring are expected to make a free growth before autumn, while those set later will remain dormant till the next spring. They form their adhesion with the stock very slowly, and a premature removal of the ligatures will destroy them. Such removal should not be attempted till the stocks are slightly strictured.
By Ingrafting. — Inarching can sometimes be resorted to; but I have found other methods more convenient.
Side-grafting, or double-tonguing the scion upon the side of the stock, often succeeds. It is preferable to leave on the graft a shank five or six inches long, projecting below the junction with the stock. By placing this shank in a suspended bottle of water, the graft will be prevented from drying till it forms a union with the stock.
If the stock be small, the scion may be tongued on the side of the stock, just above the crown of the roots; and the shank may, in that case, be in'serted in the earth.
No mode of grafting these spongy-wooded magnolias will succeed that requires amputation of the stock. The top is required to keep the sap in circulation.
By Graft-budding. —This is similar in all respects to budding; only a scion is employed in lieu of a bud. One side of its base is sloped for two inches, so as to leave its end, drawn to a narrow edge or point. When it is inserted in the T incision in the back of the stock, it must be confined there by means of. the wax-cloth ligatures; and it is important to close the incisions carefully with melted wax, as previously directed.
The ioth of May, in this latitude, is the suitable time for operating. After a few days, the larger and expanded buds of the scion may perish; but soon those at the base, and sometimes small ones at the side of those which have perished, will be forced into a growth. To these insignificant buds we often look for success, and should choose scions on which they abound.
After buds-or grafts have taken, skill is required to divert into them the main flow of sap without impairing the health of the stock. The top, hitherto left, must be gradually shortened, at intervals of a week or two, during the season; and, in some instances, the process must be carried into the second season. If attempted too abruptly, both stock and bud or scion may be destroyed.
Soil And Management. —The health, vigor, and durability of the members of this order of plants depend in a great measure upon their roots being continuously in a condition similar to that which existed in their native localities. The soil must be deep and rich in the requisite elements. An excavation at least two feet deep, and four in diameter, should be formed for the reception of each tree, however small. This should be filled with a soil similar to that recommended for the cold-frame, omitting the labor of riddling; and time should be allowed for it to settle before the tree is planted. If it be of any considerable size, it should be removed with a ball of earth investing the roots. If a selection can be obtained in a nursery, secure such as have been repeatedly removed.
When the transplanting has been completed, the next step is to preserve a uniform moisture about the roots, akin to that which is uniformly sustained about the roots of trees in a thick and shaded forest. There the surface of the earth is constantly strewed with a covering of decaying leaves, which preserve a constant moisture. Applied artificially about the roots of a magnolia in a lawn, the same effects follow. To preserve this mulching in place, and aid in forming a shade, a well-adjusted circle of boards should be placed upon the leaves.
The leaves should be turned under the soil every spring; and I have found it beneficial to add to them a liberal quantity of saw-dust, small chips, and fragments of bark collected in a wood-yard. A new layer of leaves should then be applied, and ths boards replaced for another year. While thus protected, they appear to suffer neither from the sun of summer, nor the frosts of winter.
These protecting materials may appear unsightly in a neatly-kept lawn. An ingenious cultivator can contrive means to conceal them. Vines and trailing plants may be trained over them during summer. In winter, they strike the eye no more unfavorably than the furs upon a well-dressed person.
Lime, ashes, and animal matter, in any considerable quantities, are injurious to plants of this order. Vegetable mould is their requisite food.
In conclusion, it may be recapitulated that success in their cultivation depends, —
i st, On furnishing them with a deep soil, rich with decayed-vegetable matter.
2d, On sustaining that richness by annual supplies.
3d, On preserving the ground extensively about their roots in a moist condition, similar to that existing in their native forests.
4th, On protecting the roots from the impression of frost during winter.
5th, On propagating the shrubby, weaker, and less hardy kinds on the stock of the acuminata. jfared P. Kirtland.
Cleveland, O., Jan. 9, 1867.
SUMMER-PRUNING OF THE GRAPE.
Third, Trimming to direct the growth of the canes. Pinching off the ends of some of the shoots is a very important part of summer-pruning; but it is one which has been very much abused in practice, and still more so in the criticisms of those who theoretically condemn the practice. Before proceeding any faither, it is well for us to consider, that, in all pruning
of vines, we must remember the necessity of keeping the plant in due shape as to its wood, and that we desire to have this properly distributed. We want the new growth, which goes to form the canes for the next year's fruitage, formed low down on the stock, and not at the ends or higher parts of the vine, which would soon give us high, naked stocks, and bare, empty trellises, such as may everywhere be seen, — striking witnesses of the ignorance of Nature's laws as illustrated in the vine.
No intelligent cultivator need be told, that when a vine is tied up to a stake, or trained vertically upon a trellis, the terminal or upper buds will break the most vigorously; and if let alone, and allowed to grow upward, they will maintain their ascendency throughout the season. This is often at the expense of those starting from a lower point, which were expected and desired to be the stronger, so as to produce the wood for the annual renewal of the vine. The same thing is - true of vines trained upon the bow system, especially if the binding have been done too early in the season; the object of the bow being to distribute the nourishment equally to the different parts of the vine. The binding should not be done till the sap has started towards the upper buds, and they have received an impulse. If they are then brought down to a lower position, they are subordinated; and other buds at the upper bend become the highest, and thus produce the stronger shoots. In the mean time, those springing from the spur for renewal-canes can get the desired start; and the pinching now to be described is intended to favor their growth. In trellis-training, for the same reason, the canes should be allowed to hang loose until after the starting of the sap, so that advantage may be taken of the condition of the leading buds, and we can subordinate those that are likely to receive too much nourishment.
Do what we may, however, whether our vines be trained in one method or another, and despite all our forethought and care and management, the higher shoots will often become leaders at the expense of those we are endeavoring to produce from the spur, upon the principle of renewing by canes from below, and thus keeping the vine in good shape. Here, then, the pinching becomes an agency of the greatest value to the vine-pruner; for, by the removal of the tips of these strong shoots, he may succeed in so directing the flow of sap as to develop the growth of those he desires to produce for the future crop, and which are suitably placed upon the vine.