Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

smooth, pale yellow, occasionally russet, with spots of pale red on fullyexposed specimens; flesh nearly white, very melting and juicy, with a very

[graphic]

peculiar and pleasant "rose-water" flavor. It keeps well. Ripe middle of October to middle of November. It does equally well as a dwarf or standard. James F. C. Hyde.

(To be continued.)

THE SEASONS OF 1865 AND 1866.

The horticulturists of Massachusetts have not only a changeable climate to contend with, but, in addition, hordes of insects of various species, which swarm in immense and increasing numbers every year, and threaten to blast the hopes and labors of the cultivator.

It will be remembered that the years of 1864 and '65 were remarkable for long-prevailing droughts, especially in the summer and autumn of 1865. The springs had not been so low before in the memory of the oldest person; and, in many places, water was with difficulty obtained for family use. In some sections, young forest and ornamental shade trees actually died for want of moisture ; and in many places the ground was thoroughly dry to the depth of four or five feet, which had the effect of preventing the circulation of sap, and so weakening the trees, that the fruit and flower buds were imperfectly formed, or not formed at all, laying the foundation for the failure of many fruits and flowers during the past season.

It is well known that the strawberry-crop in this vicinity was very deficient; in some localities, almost a total failure. It was so in my own limited plantation; my beds not producing one box, where, on the same extent of ground in previous years, I had obtained twenty. My vines did not produce any runners in August, 1865, suffering severely from the drought; and this was generally the case in the experience of many others of my acquaintance. With a slight covering, they did not winter very well, and looked poorly in May, and were in bloom the 14th of that month. On the morning of the 15th, we had a hard frost, the thermometer falling to 290: that probably completed the destruction which the drought had commenced. All varieties shared the same fate, and the same disappointment was experienced by many others which I suffered myself. Consequently, good strawberries, fresh from the vines, were scarce and high; and no others are fit to eat. Strawberries transported from New York, and other places south, lose their exquisite flavor, and must be unwholesome, as they are unpalatable to the consumer, in this their decaying state.

I need not say much about peaches; for nobody in these days expects to get any, however luxuriously the trees may look in autumn. I believe this great drought had much to do with the complete failure of this crop the last season; although the extreme cold of Jan. 15, when the thermometer fell to 160 below zero in my garden, was sufficient to destroy the fruit-buds, even if they had not been weakened by the drought. This peach-business is the most discouraging of all others in the horticultural line. I have always had a dozen or. more healthy peach-trees on my place for the last fifteen years, destroying those that had a tendency to the disease called "the yellows," setting out new trees in fresh soil almost every year to supply their places; and I do not remember more than four or five seasons out of the fifteen when I obtained peaches enough for rhy family and friends, and for those I had to fight with the robins and catbirds to save any. The robins are sure to stick their bills into them as soon as they begin to color handsomely, and the catbirds and bees follow suit; so that at least half the crop are punctured, and perish before maturing. My peach-trees did not show a single bloom last spring, but look hopeful now for the next season ; but probably I am doomed to disappointment as usual.

From the plum-tree we do not expect much; for, between the black-wart and curculio, this fine fruit has almost disappeared from the vicinity of Boston. I had dug all mine up as a nuisance, but spared two trees which seemed to be more promising, and free from warts. This year they were heavily laden; and, being large trees, I expected to obtain from them at least three bushels of plums. But, before they began to ripen, the bees commenced to puncture them; and, to save any for preserving, I was obliged to gather them before ripe, and my expected crop had dwindled down to about one bushel of sound and unsound fruit, while the ground was completely covered under the trees with the fallen decaying fruit. Notwithstanding the freedom of the trees from warts in the spring, they are now a sight to look at; for, during the summer, the black-wart has extended to every branch, and almost every twig. So much for plums.

Now for the canker-worms and apple-trees. What a sad subject this is to write upon! Our beautiful orchards were the pride of our land until the canker-worms made their appearance; but now what a desolation is witnessed when the rich green foliage of May and June is consumed by these voracious insects, and the trees appear as though fire had run over them!

The only complete remedy that I know of to prevent these ravages is the tedious process and patient continuance of the application of tar. I succeeded the last season in getting the mastery over them; so that my trees retained their beauty, and I secured fruit enough for my own use, and should have had many barrels to sell but for the apple-worm, and, as I suppose, the effects of last year's drought, combined. • I have from thirty to forty apple and cherry trees in my garden, which I was determined should not mar the beauty of my place. I had some faith in Ellis's protector, and had them applied to about twenty trees which he attached to my trees on the 23d of October. On the same day, we saw the first solitary female grub. I was not sure about the safety of the protectors: so I thought it prudent to tar the trees above, which I did after tacking a strip of tarred paper, six or eight inches wide, around the tree; and commenced tarring. Mixing a little poor oil with the tar, I found it was not necessary to apply it every day. I watched very carefully day by day, and found the grubs were not numerous until the 8th of November. The thermometer had fallen that morning to 180, and the ground froze. In the afternoon and evening of that day, the thermometer at 350, the grubs began to go up in considerable numbers, but scarcely a male attending them : some few got over the protector, and were caught in the tar; but large numbers were stopped, and remained below the protectors. They continued their movement upwards in small numbers; when on the night of the 13th, thermometer 460, cjoudy, wind south-west, they swarmed in immense numbers; and ten thousand were crushed by the hand on the bodies of the trees, below the protectors. I had whitewashed the trunks of the trees near the ground, that I might more plainly watch the operations of the insects, which I did every night by the light of a lantern. I had also covered the ground an inch thick about some of the trees with muriate of lime, which had no effect in checking or injuring the grubs. I also applied quicklime to other trees with the same result. After this grand rally of the 13th, they were seen in small numbers to the close of the month, or until the ground was frozen deep.

On the night of the 15th of March, and a few following nights, thermometer in the neighborhood of 700, or on the first warm night after a severely cold spell, they swarmed again in such numbers, that I thought the earth must have emptied itself of the pests; but they continued their upward movement in small numbers until the 13th of April. The males this spring were much more abundant than in the autumn. I had followed up the tarring process till the middle of the month, but found none after the 13th.

I first noticed the ravages of the canker-worm on the 10th of May, when the apple-trees began to show bloom, and the oriole, the enemy and destroyer of the canker-worm, appeared. On the 14th, the trees were in full bloom, excepting the Baldwins, which did not flower. I supposed the eggs deposited below the protectors would not avail any thing, even though they should hatch out, as I concluded the little things, no bigger than the point of a pin, would not know enough, nor have strength, to climb the tree. I did not notice them, nor take any means to destroy them: but a neighbor of mine who has better eyesight, who had used tar, saw the young plagues marching upwards, which I suppose was the reason a few were found upon my trees; but they were not numerous enough to seriously affect the foliage, or the small crop of apples which rewarded my labors. On the 10th of June, the canker-worms began to descend in immense numbers as I walked under a neighbor's trees which bordered upon the road. He had done nothing to check them except to apply the muriate of lime, which, as we have seen, was no obstruction to them.

I found the fence covered and black with the worms, apparently perishing with famine; for there was not a green leaf left in the whole orchard, and they did not appear to be fully developed, nor have strength to perform the operation of getting into the chrysalis state; and I hope the race has become extinct from starvation.

I shall watch with interest the fate of that orchard. My few well-developed worms had all disappeared by the -15th of June, I saw a robin looking upon a worm on the ground one day, but believe he did not eat it; but the oriole, bobolink, sparrow, and many other little birds, feed upon them, and for seven years prevented their increase on my trees.

In a future number, I propose to speak of the apple-worm, of grapes, pears, and flowers. Joseph Bred.

VOL. I. 12

« ZurückWeiter »