Training Cherry Grafts.
I have grafted a lot of seedling cherries, leaving two or three buds on each piece of grafted wood. In planting these out, shall I put the union under ground (they are grafted at the crown of the root) and shall I loosen the cloth a little later when they start to grow? How can I get the head for the tree? Should I let only one shoot form, and when it is as high as I want it, cut it off as I would a tree gotten from a nursery?
If you have used waxed cloth in your grafting, it will be necessary to loosen it after the tree gets a good start. Common unwaxed cloth could be trusted to decay soon enough, probably, but it should be looked at to see that it is not binding. The union should not be placed much below the ground surface, although it can be safely covered, and the future stem may look the better for it. One shoot could be allowed to grow from each graft, choosing the best ones and pinching the others so that they will stop extension and hold leaves during the first season. These can be cleanly removed at the first winter pruning at the time you head back the main shoot to the proper height.
Restoring Cherry Trees.
I have about two acres of cherry trees in Sonoma county said to be about 20 years old. They are in a very neglected condition and I am desirous of putting them in good shape for next year's crop. They are in a very light sandy loam sail which is easily worked.
Cherry trees under good growing conditions and proper care are very long lived in California and bear abundant crops when thirty and more years of age. In the San Jose district and elsewhere there are orchards considerably older than the limit stated and are still very profitable. If your trees have been so neglected that the branches have died back, the trees should be pruned, of course, cutting out all dead wood and shortening weak or dying branches to a point where a good strong shoot can be found. Then a good application of farmyard manure plowed in during the rainy season, followed by summer cultivation for moisture retention. Although the cherry is very hardy, it is quite likely to suffer on light soils which become too dry. On such soils as yours there is little if any danger of too much water in the winter, unless the land lies low, but the injury to the tree comes from the lack of moisture during the summer time, and this, with your abundant rainfall, you can probably assure by thorough summer cultivation.
Renewing Cherry Trees.
We have cherry trees set out diamond shape about 16 feet apart. We cannot take out every other tree and have any order, so we ask you if it would be possible to cut the trees back and keep them pruned down to a smaller size. The trees are about 20 years old and are dying back quite badly.
If the trees are dying for lack of summer moisture it is idle to do much for them until you can give them irrigation right after the fruit ripens. The cherry tree takes kindly to cutting back and will give good new fruit-bearing shoots if the roots are in good condition. It is desirable to remove surplus branches entirely rather than to cut back everything to a definite height, the branches to be removed being those which show disposition to die back and those which are running out too far so as to reduce the space between the trees or to interfere with branches from other trees. Branches which are failing above can in some cases be cut back to a strong thrifty lateral branch below. Shortening-in branches high up is less desirable because it forces out too much new growth in the top of the tree and carries the fruit so high that picking would be expensive. All cuts of any size should be painted to prevent the wood from checking.
I have cherry trees in their third season which have been given the usual winter pruning. The trees are putting forth a great many more branches than are required, and naturally many of the branches are growing across the tree. In cutting these extra branches, I am informed that there is a way to trim them so that they will eventually form fruit spurs. I had an idea that in order to do this it would be well to cut about one inch from the main branch. Some one has told me that this would merely cause the little branch to sprout again.
Cherry shoots which are not required or desired for branch-forming can be transferred into fruit spurs, if the tree is of bearing age, by shortening them in. Do not, however, cut at an arbitrary distance of one inch from the starting point, but rather save one or two buds at whatever distance from the starting point these may be growing. If the tree is too young to bear, only growth shoots may appear from these buds, but they are likely to be short and will support fruit spurs later. This practice should not be carried to excess or you will have too many small shoots which will not get light enough to bear good fruit, even if fruit spurs should appear.
Pollination of Black Tartarian.
There are many old Tartarian cherry trees around our district that have only borne a few cherries in years. There are Bing, Royal Ann and Early Purple Guignes here with these, but they seldom, if ever, bloom with the Tartarian at the proper time to pollinate. What varieties would cause the trees to bear?
Sterility of the Black Tartarian is rather unusual. In the coast regions, Bing, Black Tartarian and Early Purple Guigne are all considered pollinizers for the Royal Ann. Inversely all these should be pollinizers for the Black Tartarian, if that variety requires such assistance, which we have all along supposed that it did not.
Treatment of Fig Suckers.
A few young fig trees are not growing from the tops, but are sending out suckers, in some cases above and others below the point of grafting. Had I better let these suckers grow and see what comes from them or plant new trees?
Graft near the ground all those which are sending suckers from below the graft. Suckers from above grafting point can be trained into trees by selecting the best, tying to stakes to straighten up and removing all other suckers but the one selected.
No Gopher-proof Fig Roots.
Is it necessary that figs should be grafted in some other roots to keep the gophers from destroying the trees? What root should I order?
Figs are not grown on any other than fig roots and are generally propagated by rooted cuttings for the purpose of avoiding the expense of grafting. The fruit must then be protected by killing the gophers rather than by an effort to get the tree upon a gopher-proof root.
Pollination of Bartletts.
Would Clapp's Favorite be a good pollinizer for the Bartlett as well as the White Doyenne?
The white Doyenne and the Clapp's Favorite usually begin to bloom three or four days later than the Bartlett, but the Bartlett period extends about ten days into the blooming period of the others. Therefore, your question is to be answered in the affirmative; that is, if the Bartlett needs pollination, it will be likley to get it from either of these varieties.
Would you plant Comice pears instead of Bartletts, and why? What is their behavior as to bearing? Do they require any different treatment than Bartletts? What roots? Do they need other varieties for pollinizing?
Do not plant Cornice instead of Bartletts except for those who have tested out the Cornice to their production and selling. Though satisfactory in some places, it makes no such wide record of success as the Bartlett and should be planted only on the basis of experience with it. Its propagation and culture are the same as other pears. It takes to the quince all right if you want dwarf trees. We have no record of its pollination needs, but as the Bartlett in California defies its Eastern reputation for self-sterility, it is likely that Cornice may also take care of itself, for it is not handicapped by such Eastern condemnation.
No Pears on Peach.
I saw, the other day, some Bartlett pear grafts in Salway peach trees, and the party informed me that he had seen three-year-old grafts that had pears last season. I would like your opinion, as I always thought that such a union was not possible.
Our opinion is like yours, and seeing some pear grafts set in peach branches would not convince us that they would grow or bear fruit.
Pigs in the Orchard.
I have an orchard of Bartlett pears about fifteen years old, located on sediment land. I desire to set this to alfalfa, and to feed the alfalfa by letting hogs eat it off, thereby leaving the droppings on the land. What I wish to know is this: Will this crop be beneficial or injurious to the trees?
Alfalfa can be successfully grown in an orchard, providing you have irrigation water so that the alfalfa shall not rob the trees of moisture; otherwise it is a very dangerous practice. The practice of running animals of any kind in an orchard is to be condemned. Pigs are particularly liable to injure trees by gnawing the bark, and we have seen fig trees barked clean as high as a pig could reach by standing on his hind legs. Of course, if you try an experiment for your own satisfaction, you will have to watch the pigs very carefully. It is true that growing pasture crops in an orchard and grazing, it off is injurious to trees, because the land lacks proper aeration, and good orchard cultivation is even more necessary in this State than in humid climates. Therefore, unless you are sure of a good water supply for irrigation, it would be altogether safer to give the whole land to the trees and keep them cultivated well, or else dig out the trees and use the land for other purposes.
Dwarf Pears Not Commercially Grown.
Will you kindly give the experience of pear growers in California who have grown the dwarfs? If you can give me the data or refer me to persons who can give data showing that the growing of dwarf pears can be made a commercial success the information will be of great value.
There is no commercial growing of dwarf pears in this State, except some trees owned by the A. Block Company, Santa Clara. The late Mr. Block had an old orchard of dwarf trees, planted perhaps forty or fifty years ago, which he converted into an approach to a standard orchard by removing alternate rows, and the trees being otherwise treated like standards have been satisfactorily producing pears for many years. How far these trees are still on the dwarf roots and how far they have supplied themselves with roots from the variety growth above, we do not know. There is no disposition whatever to plant dwarf trees in this State except among a few amateurs who are making home fruit gardens. In view of the successful growth of standard trees in this State, there seem to be no adequate reasons for recourse to dwarf trees.
Yield in Drying Pears.
What is the loss of weight in drying Bartlett pears?
They run from 7 to 8 lbs. of fresh pears to 1 lb. hard dried. There is quite wide variation according to condition of the fruit. Probably about 7 1/2 to 1 would be as near a realizable ratio as you could get by arbitrary estimate.
Kindly let me know the advisability of grafting Bartlett pears onto apple trees. In replanting pears in young orchard, how would it do to take rooted pear suckers, graft the Bartlett on them, and save the cost of nursery stock? Last year my five-year-old Bartlett orchard was full of blossoms, but, though many pears became as large as white beans, the majority of them dropped.
The pear and apple do not make a good union. The grafts may grow for a while, but finally fail. Do not use suckers as stocks. You can dig up some year roots and use them as starters by making root-grafts with Bartlett scions and do better than with suckers, but a good pear seedling is the proper thing either for budding or root grafting. Unless you have some experience in such work, it will be cheaper in the end to buy good nursery trees. The nonbearing of your young trees is probably due to their youth and vigor.
Bees and Pear Blight.
A few years ago, I planted alfalfa between my pear trees and the trees bore a very heavy crop that year. Then blight made its appearance, and it was claimed that the bees carried the blight. I therefore plowed under the alfalfa and destroyed what few beehives I had. If the theory that the bees carry the blight from tree to tree is not correct, I will experiment with alfalfa again this year.
It is true that bees carry pear blight. It is also true that you are not likely to get many pears without bees to pollinate the blossoms. You cannot escape the carriage of the pear blight by removing tame bees, because wild bees are abundant in all parts of the State. The way to overcome the blight is to pursue it by amputation of diseased branches continually, so that there may be no contamination for the bees to carry. You are certainly warranted in continuing your alfalfa growing without regard to this question, using water enough to keep the alfalfa growing well without saturating the soil to the injury of the trees or inducing too much summer growth on them.
Forage Under Sprayed Trees.
Is it safe to use arsenical sprays in a pear orchard in which alfalfa is raised between the trees and afterward cut and fed to cattle?
It was fully demonstrated by experiment about 25 years ago that herbage under trees sprayed with paris green at the rate of 1 pound to 160 gallons of water was not injurious to animals pasturing upon it. We are not aware that such an experiment has been made with the more recently used arsenates - which can be used with a much higher amount of arsenic to the gallon because they do not injure the foliage - to determine whether the herbage below would be poisonous or not. Presumably not, because modern spraying does not admit as much loss from run-off as was the case with old Spraying methods.
Pears on Quince.
I saw some time ago a report of some French experiments in grafting the pear onto quince root. The report said the fruit produced was much larger than on any other root.
Most of our common pears will take readily when grafted on the quince, but the quince transforms them into dwarfed trees. Such trees do produce, with proper care, very fine fruit. The remark about their being better than on standard trees refers, however, to other climates than ours, for California grows just as large pears on standard trees as can possibly be grown, while where conditions are harder the higher culture of the dwarf tree and the protection which it requires from climatic hardships, gives the dwarf tree the advantage. You can get pears on quince roots from most of our California nurseries.
Pollination of Pears.
Is it necessary in growing the Comice pear successfully, to put some other pear near for the purpose of pollination in order to make it successful? Will the ordinary Bartlett pear do for pollination?
The Comice pear blooms with the Bartlett, and would therefore presumably be of pollinizing benefit to the Bartlett if the latter should require such treatment. Common experience in California, however, is that the Bartlett is self-fertile and not self-sterile as it is commonly reported in Eastern publications. California practice is, then, to plant Bartletts solidly without reference to preparation for pollination. Taking the matter the other way around, the Bartlett will do for pollination of the Comice probably, if that should be necessary.
Please give the formula for peeling peaches by dipping them in caustic soda or lye.
Lye for peeling peaches is used at the rate of half to one pound to the gallon of water, according to the strength of the lye, which you can determine by the quickness with which it acts. The lye water is kept boiling, and the fruit is dipped in wire baskets, only being allowed to remain in the lye a few seconds, and is then plunged at once into fresh water. You must be careful to keep the lye boiling hot, also either to use running water for rinsing or change it very frequently, for you have to rely on fresh water to remove the lye, or the fruit is likely to be stained.
Aged Peach Trees.
What should be done with peach trees 35 years old which are becoming unthrifty, bearing only at the ends of the limbs, etc.?
Old peach trees become bark-bound and need to be cut back to just above the crotch for the forcing out of new branches, this being facilitated, of course, by application of manure, good cultivation of the soil, use of water during the dry season, etc. The peach is, under most conditions, not a long-lived tree, and if your trees are 35 years of age, it is probable that best results could be obtained by grubbing them out and replanting with young trees on new soil if possible. The profitable life of the Eastern peach tree is put down at five or six years. In California the profitable life of the peach sometimes reaches twenty or more years, if growing under exceptionally good conditions; but 35 years would seem to be at least on the borders of decrepitude. Growing at the tips shows that you have not pruned annually to induce the growth of new wood lower down.
Renewing Peach Orchard.
Which is the best way to renew an old peach orchard? The trees are about 18 years old, Muirs and Fosters, and are yielding good crops, but some of the trees show decline. Is it best to replace the old ones with new trees or to plant a new orchard in between the old trees and cut out old ones when new trees are three or four years old?
If the trees have sound bodies and are not badly injured by sunburn borers, do none of the things you mention, but would cut back for a new head. Cutting back should be done during the latter half of the dormant period and thinning of shoots to proper balance a new head should be carefully done the following winter. It is a hard job to get young trees to start among old trees and you are apt to get a mixed lot of trees which you will not be proud of. Cut back as suggested or rip out, plow deeply and start anew, placing the rows midway between the old rows.
Will He Have Peaches?
I have a young orchard between five and six years old, mostly of the Lovell variety. I didn't have much of a crop this year. Should I have a good crop next year?
You ought to be able to tell now how full a set of fruit buds you have. If you do not know what the fruit buds are, ask some neighbor who knows peaches to point them out. If you have a good show of fruit buds, the question in California is not whether they will winter-kill or not, but whether the leaves held late enough the preceding summer and therefore the tree had strength enough to make good strong fruit buds. The late action of the leaves shows that the trees had enough autumn moisture. You will soon learn to recognize the condition also from the plumpness of the wood which carries the fruit buds. If all has gone well so far, the next point is to spray with the bordeaux mixture in November or December so that the new wood shall not be attacked by the peach blight or shothole fungus. This disease comes on early in the winter, sets the the new bark to gumming and endangers the crop. Then if you have San Jose scale, or if your trees showed much curl-leaf last spring, you ought to spray before the blossom buds show color with the lime-sulphur wash. Supposing that you have good buds now and are willing to protect them as suggested, your trees may be expected to come through with a good crop if seasonal moisture conditions are right.
Peach Fillers in Apple Orchard.
I have heard some talk against planting peach fillers in an apple orchard. What is your opinion on the subject?
There is no objection providing the peach is profitable in the locality; and that point you must look into. The peach trees will not injure the apples unless they are allowed to stand too long. In that case they would interfere with the development of the apple.
Grafting Peach on Almond.
May I expect to get good results by grafting some kind of peach to 19-year-old almond tree? If so, what kind of peach will be best? When shall I do grafting?
Peaches take to the almond all right. Cut off and graft in the branches above the main forking of the tree; leaving at least one large branch to be grafted later or to be cut out entirely if you have peach growth enough to fill the top sufficiently. Graft in any kind of peach you find to be worth growing. Graft toward the latter part of the dormant season, say when the buds are swelling for a new start.
Peaches on Apricot.
I have a three-year-old peach orchard grafted or budded on apricot roots, and interspersed through the orchard are young apricot trees, from half-inch to inch and a half in diameter, which sprang from the root, the peach bud or graft having died. I budded these over to peaches in summer, but the buds all died for some cause. What is now the best course to transform them into peach trees? If a graft, what form of graft, and approximately when should it be made?
You can graft peach scions into the apricot sprouts by taking the peach scions of the varieties you desire while the tree is perfectly dormant, keeping them in a cool place and putting in the grafts just as the buds are beginning to swell on the apricot stock. The scions can be buried in the earth in the shade of a fence or building, selecting a place, however, which is moist enough and yet where the water does not gather. The ordinary form of top grafting in stems an inch or more in diameter will work well. The half-inch stems can be whip-grafted successfully. You will have to wax well and see that the wax coating is kept sound until the growth starts.
Replanting After Root-knots.
In digging out some old peach trees, I find now and then a tree affected with root knot. I am burning the root, of course, but as these trees are scattered in the orchard, I wish to plant young trees in same locations, thus preserving the rows. Can new stock be safely put in the earth from which the old tree is removed? If treatment of the soil is essential, what is recommended?
Dig a good large hole, removing the earth, and fill with new earth from between the rows, and in this way healthy growth ought to be obtained, although there is always a disposition in some trees to put on knots. They should be looked at from time to time and all those affecting the larger stem should be removed and the wound painted with bordeaux mixture.
Buds in Bearing Trees.
In budding over some old peach trees, should I cut away the branch above the bud when the latter seems to have taken?
The sap flow to the upper part of the branch should be checked by part girdling or by part breaking or bending the top above the bud, after the bud is seen to have set or taken. Do not remove the whole top until the growth on the bud has started out well or else you will "drown it" with excessive sap flow.
Pollen Must Be of the Same Kind.
Do peaches, nectarines and apricots set fruit with the pollen of one another, and are the various peaches, nectarines and apricots self-sterile, or will most kinds set fruit with their own pollen?
We do not count upon pollination between different kinds of fruit. Most fruits are self-fertile, else we could not attain the practical results we do, because it is only in the planting of almonds, cherries, pears and apples that any regard is paid to the association of varieties for that cross-fertilization. Some fruits are more apt to be self-fertile in this State than in other States where the growing conditions are not so favorable.
Which is easier with the peach, grafting or budding?
The peach is rather a difficult tree to graft, and budding, on the other hand, is quite easy. You can bud into new shoots of this season's growth in July, and, if necessary, you can improve the slipping of the bark by irrigation a few days before budding. Buds can also be successfully placed in June in the old bark of the peach, providing it is not too old. For this select well-matured buds from the larger shoots and use rather a larger shield than in working into new shoots. When the buds are seen to have taken, the top growth beyond it can be reduced gradually and some new growth forced on the buds the same season, if the sap flow continues as it might be expected to do on young trees well cared for.
Grafting on the Peach.
Will pears do to graft on the peach, or will plums do well on the peach? How soon ought they to bear when grafted on the peach which is past three years old?
Pears cannot be grafted on peaches. Plums generally do well on the peach, and if the grafts are taken from bearing trees, should come into fruit the second season. The peach is more difficult to graft than other fruit trees, because of the drying back of the bark. Be extra careful in the waxing and be sure that the waxing remains good until the growth starts out well the following summer.
Young Trees Failing to Start.
Some peach and almond trees set out last spring lived, but made no growth. Should they be replaced with new stock? If not, what may be expected of them?
If your inactive trees have good plump dormant buds (though they may not be large buds), they may make good growth the coming summer, if the land is good and the moisture right for free growth.
Peach Planting in Alfalfa Sod.
Is it advisable to plant canning peaches in April, and will I gain time in growth and development? I want to set out eight acres in Tuscans or Phillips on deep rich soil near Yuba City. I have a pumping plant and can irrigate. The land has been in alfalfa for several years. I have in mind setting out trees without disturbing the alfalfa - until next plowing season. Do you think it advisable to use commercial fertilizer on ten-year-old Muirs?
Planting the best canning peaches on good peach soil near Yuba City seems to be about the safest line of fruit investment which can be undertaken. We doubt that you can get much growth from trees planted in an old stand of alfalfa without some effort to kill out the plant which now occupies the ground. Still, by deep digging, throwing out all the alfalfa roots and thorough hoeing during the growing season and keeping the alfalfa mowers from sawing off the tops of them, the trees may make a good start. As the alfalfa will have to be irrigated, April may not be too late to start the trees, providing you can find nursery stock which is still quite dormant. Probably ten-year-old peach trees will be very much improved by commercial fertilizers.
Prune on Almond.
What root is considered best for prune trees? The ranch lies above the creek. A friend is very partial to the almond root instead of the myrobalan, but I understand that the prune tree sometimes outgrows the almond root.
If you have a deep rather light soil which drains well and which there is, therefore, no danger of water standing during the rainy season, the almond root is perfectly satisfactory for the prune. It is a strong-growing root and keeps pace with the top growth well. The prune, in fact, is more apt to overgrow the myrobalan than the almond, and the myrobalan will not do well on light soils likely to dry out as the almond will.
Re-grafting Silver Prunes.
I have five acres of Silver prunes which produce very little fruit. The trees are strong and healthy. French prune trees adjoining bear regularly and heavily. Can I graft French prunes on the Silver trees? Will Silver prune trees take other grafts, such as apricots or apples?
The Silver prune is often unsatisfactory for reason of shy bearing. It is perfectly feasible to graft over the tree to the French prune and this has been done for years by different growers. Apricots will usually take on the plum stock, but are apt to over-grow it or else be dwarfed themselves, but the apricot is often worked upon a plum stock. Apples have no grafting affinity whatever for the plum.
French or Italian.
In the prune-growing district around Salem, Oregon, Italian prunes are grown exclusively for drying purposes. French prunes were considered worthless. Here in Sutter county, California, a great many French prunes are grown and we are advised to plant them, but would rather plant the Italian prune. Which would you advise us to set out in this part of the State?
The Italian or Fellenberg prune was grown to some extent in California 40 years and abandoned; it was not so sure in bearing as the French, and it was not the type of prune which we had ambition to excel with. The prune which we grow as the French is the true prune or plum of Agen. We should plant it and let the Oregon people have the Italian.
I am sending two small plums which I am told are Myrobalan plum. I desire to grow seedlings on which later to bud and graft French prunes. If these are Myrobalan plums, will trees from them be as good as trees from pits that were imported?
The fruits are Myrobalan plums, and their seedlings would be suitable for the French prune, providing the trees which bear them are strong, thrifty growing trees. There is great variation in the colors of the Myrobalan seedlings, from light yellow to dark red, and it is the satisfactory growth of the tree rather than the character of the fruit which one has to bear in mind when growing seedlings from selected trees instead of depending so largely on imported seedlings.
Drying Plums and Prunes.
I have plum trees of various kinds that are loaded with fruit. I do not know if any are of the variety used for drying as prunes: I know nothing of the process of making or drying prunes. One man suggests that I dip them for four or live minutes in a 3 or 4 per cent solution of lye and then place them in the sun.
Dipping your plums is right providing they are very sweet, as they will dry like prunes without removing the pit. If they are plums that are commercially used for shipping, without enough sugar to dry as prunes, the pit must be removed. Drying in this way, you do not need to use lye, which is simply for the purpose of cracking the skin so that the moisture can be more readily evaporated. There is no danger in using the necessary amount of lye. Less is used than in making hominy.
The Sugar Prune.
What is the commercial value of the Sugar prune? Is there any other early ripening variety better than the Sugar?
It is selling very well as a cured prune, and growers in the northern bay counties especially have done so well that they are extending their plantings. It is coarser in flesh than the French and generally flatter in flavor when cooked and thus falls below the ideal of a cured prune, but it has compensating characters, such as early ripening, with which no other prune compares. The Sugar is also valuable as a shipping plum to Eastern markets.
Glossing Dried Prunes.
Will you give the method for giving the gloss to dried French prunes?
There are various methods. One pound of glycerine to 20 gallons of water; a quick dip in the mixture very hot gives a good finish. Where a clear bloom rather than a shine, is desired, five pounds of common salt to 100 gallons of water, also dipped hot, gives a good effect. Some use a thin syrup made by boiling small prunes in water (by stove or steam) and thinning with water to produce the result desired. Steam cooking avoids bad flavor by burning. The salt dip is probably the most widely used.
Price of Prunes on a Size Basis.
Explain the grading in price of prunes. For instance, if the base price is, say, five and three-fourths cents, what size does this refer to, and how is the price for other sizes calculated? Also, what is the meaning of the phrase "four-size basis"?
Prunes, after being sold to the packer, are graded into different sizes, according to the number required to make a pound, and paid for on that basis. The four regular sizes are 60-70s, 70-80s, 80-90s, and 90-100s, which means that from 60 to 70 prunes are required to make a pound, and so on. The basis price is for prunes that weigh 80 to the pound. When the basis price is 5 3/4 cents, 80-90s are worth 1/4 cent less than this amount, or 5 1/2 cents. The next smaller size, 90-100s, are worth 1/2 cent less, or 5 cents, while prunes under this size are little but skin and pit and bring much less to the grower. For each next larger size there is a difference of 1/2 cent in favor of the grower, so that on the 5 3/4-cent basis 70-80s are worth 6 cents, and 60-70s 6 1/2 cents. This advance continues for the larger sizes, 30-40s, 40-50s, etc., but these quite often command a premium besides, which is fixed according to the supplies available and the demand for the various sizes. The sizes for which no premium or penalty is generally fixed are those from 60 to 100, four sizes, so that this basis of making contracts and sales is called the "four-size basis." The advantage that results in having this method of selling prunes can be seen by the fact that on a 5 3/4-cent basis the smallest of the four sizes will bring but 5 cents a pound, while 30-40s would bring, without any premium, 8 1/2 cents, and with 1 cent premium, 9 1/2 cents. This size has this season brought as high as 10 and 11 cents a pound. It may be noted here that no prunes are actually sold at just the basis price, as they are worth either less or more than this as they are smaller or larger than 80 to the pound. No matter what the basis price is, there is a difference of one-half cent between each size and the sizes nearest to it.
How many rows of Robe de Sergeant prune trees should be alternated with the French prune (the common dried prune of commerce) to insure perfect fertilization of the blossoms?
The French prune is self-fertile; that is, it does not require the presence of other plum species for pollination of the blossoms. It is the Robe de Sergeant prune which is defective in pollination and which is presumably assisted by proximity to the French prune. If you wish to grow Robe de Sergeant prunes your question of interplanting would be pertinent, but if you desire only to grow French prunes you need not plant the Robe de Sergeant at all.
How deep should an olive orchard be plowed? I was told that by plowing deep I would injure my trees, in cutting up small rootlets and fibres which the olive extends through the surface soil. Is this so or not?
Plowing olives is like plowing other trees, the purpose being to get a workable soil deep enough to stand five or six inches of summer cultivation, usually. If you have old trees which have never been deeply plowed, you would destroy a lot of roots by deep plowing, and you should not start in and rip up all the land at once. You can gradually deepen the plowing, sacrificing fewer roots at a time, without injuring the trees if they are otherwise well circumstanced. Small rootlets and fibres in the surface soil do not count; they are quickly replaced, and if you do not destroy them, the whole surface soil, if moist enough, will be filled with a network of roots which will subsequently make decent working of the soil impossible.
Moving Old Olive Trees.
Would there be anything gained by transplanting old olive trees 6 to 8 inches in diameter over nursery stock? They would have to be shipped from Santa Clara to Butte county and grafted. Would they come into bearing any sooner and be as good trees? Could the large limbs be used to advantage? Would the fact that they are covered with smut cause any trouble?
Old olive trees can be successfully moved a long distance by cutting back, taking up a ball of earth, and possibly a short distance with bare roots if everything is favorable. But do not for a moment think them worth such an outlay for labor, freight and hauling which such a movement as you mention involves. The trees on arrival would probably only be firewood, and if they lived, the time required in getting a good growth and grafting, etc., would perhaps be as great as in bringing a young tree of the right kind to bearing, and the latter would be a better tree in every way. Large limbs can be split and used as cuttings, but the tree would be growth on one side and decay on the other. Use the smaller limbs for hard-wood cuttings and the balance for firewood. The smut shows that the trees are covered with scale insects and might indicate that it is better to burn up the whole outfit unless you learn to fight them.
Darkening Pickled Olives.
Is there anything that will make olives keep their black color when put into lye? When I put my first picking of ripe olives in lye, a large part of them turn green, the black leaving the fruit. My formula is one pound of lye to five gallons of water. Have you any better formula?
By exposing the olives to the light and air, either during the salting or immediately after, ripe olives may be given a uniformly black color. Also, fruit which is less ripe and which shows red and green patches after processing with lye, becomes an almost uniform dark brown color. To do this, the olives are removed from the brine and exposed to light and air freely for one or two days. Your lye was stronger than necessary. With ripe olives it is desirable to use salt and lye together to prevent softening, and the common prescription is two ounces of potash lye and four ounces of salt to the gallon of water after the bitterness is largely removed by using one or two treatments with two ounces of lye to the gallon without the salt. It is necessary to draw off the solution, rinse well, and put on fresh solution several times during the process to get the best results.
Seedling Olives Must Be Grafted.
Will olive trees grown from the olive seed be the right thing to plant? Will they be true to the parent tree or will they have to be grafted?
Olives which a seedling olive tree will bear will be, as a rule, very inferior and generally of the type of the wild olive. All such trees must be grafted in order to produce any particular variety which you desire.
Olives, Oranges and Peppers.
We have been told that olive trees easily become infested with a fungus disease which they then impart to the orange tree. The same objection is raised to the planting of pepper trees. May this be true in some parts of the State and not in others?
The fungus of which you have heard is the "black smut." It is a result, not a cause. It grows on the honey dew exuded from scale insects and if your trees have no scale they have no fungus. The olive trees and pepper trees may communicate this trouble to citrus trees, or vice versa - whichever gets it first gives it away to the other. If you will work hard enough to kill the scale wherever it appears you can have all these trees, but, of course, it costs a lot to fight scale on big pepper trees, and it is, therefore, wisest usually to choose an ornamental tree not likely to accept the scale.
Budding Olive Seedlings.
I have planted olive seeds which are just sprouting now. Can these be budded next June or July in the nursery row, or can they be bench-grafted the following winter?
Your seedlings may make growth enough to spur-bud this summer. The ordinary plate-bud does not take freely with the olive. Some of them may do this; other seedlings may be slow and have to be budded in the second summer. Watch the size and the sap flow so that the bark will lift well - which may not be at just the time that deciduous trees are budded. It may be both earlier or later in the season. Graft evergreens like the olive in the nursery row; not by bench grafting.
Budding Old Olives.
I have seedling olive trees, set out in 1904, which I wish to change over to the Ascolano variety. Which is the best way to do it, by budding or grafting, and what is the proper time?
Twig-budding brings the sap of the stock to bear upon a young lateral or tip bud, which is much easier to start than dormant buds used either as buds or grafts. A short twig about an inch and a half in length is taken with some of the bark of the small branch from which it starts, and both twig and bark at its base are put in a bark slit like an ordinary shield bud and tied closely with a waxed band, although if the sap is moving freely it would probably do with a string or raffia tie. Put in such buds as growth is starting in the spring.
Olives from Small Cuttings.
In the rooting of small soft-wood olive cuttings is it necessary to cover same with glass - say perhaps prepare a cold-frame and put stable manure in the bottom with about eight inches of sand on top?
It ceases to be a cold-frame when you cover in manure for bottom heat; it becomes a hotbed. Varieties of olives differ greatly in the readiness with which they start from small cuttings. Some start freely and grow well in boxes of sand under partial shade - like a lath house or cover. Some need bottom heat in such a hotbed as you describe with a cloth over; some start well in a cold-frame with a lath cover. To get the best results with all kinds, it is safer to use some more heat than comes from exposure to ordinary temperatures - either by concentration, as in a covered frame, or by a mild bottom heat. If you have glass frames or greenhouse, they are, of course, desirable, but much can be done without that expense.
Olives from Large Cuttings.
I am about to take olive cuttings from one-half to one inch thick and 54 to 20 inches long, and wish to root them in nursery rows. Please advise me if it is necessary to plant under half shade? Also, can same be planted out right away, or should they be buried in trenches for a while before setting out? Would it be best to strip all leaves or branches off, or leave one on? How many buds should be left above ground?
Plant in open ground in the coast district generally; in the interior a lath (or litter shade not too dense) is desirable in places where high dry heat is expected and where sprinkling under the cover may be desirable. Plant out when the soil is right as to warmth and moisture, which is usually a little later than this in the central and northern parts of the State. Remove all leaves and twigs and plant about three-quarters of the length in the soil, which should be a well-drained sandy loam. The cuttings can be taken directly from the trees and need not be bedded. If the cuttings come some distance and get end-dried, make a fresh cut at planting. If shriveled at all, soak a few hours in water before planting out.
Trimming Up Olives.
Limbs are shooting out too low on my olive trees. Would it be right to trim them up while dormant this winter, or should I let them grow another year before doing so? I think I want the first limbs to start at 18 to 20 inches above the ground.
Take off the lower shoots whenever your knife is sharp. Do not let them grow another year. Theoretically, the best time to remove them is toward the end of the dormant season, but if they are not large as compared with the whole growth of the tree, go to it any time.
What is the recipe for preserving olives by heat, and how long do they have to remain in the heated state?
Canning olives is a process, not a recipe, and it has to be operated with judgment. It resembles, of course, the common process of canning other fruits and vegetables. It has been demonstrated that heating up to 175 Fahrenheit is effective to keep olives in sealed containers for over two years. The heating was done in the jars in the usual canning way for several minutes after 175 was reached, to be sure the contents were heated through.
Renewing Olive Trees.
I have olive trees on first-class land; no pest of any kind is apparent. The trees look healthy in every way, and average about 12 inches at the butt and 30 feet high. They have borne fruit, but for the last three years have not borne. I am advised to cut back to stumps, 5 or 6 feet high, and start new tops.
Unsatisfactory olive trees may be cut back, but not to such an extent as you mention. Thin out the branches if too thick and cut back or remove those which interfere, but to cut back to a stump would force out a very thick mass of brush which you would have to afterward go into and thin out desperately. The branches which you decide to retain may be cut back to twelve or fifteen feet from the ground. This would have the effect of giving you plenty of new thrifty wood, which is desirable for the fruiting of the olive, but we cannot guarantee that this treatment will make the trees satisfactory bearers. Are you sure they are receiving water enough? If not, give them more next summer. Also give the land a good coat of stable manure and plow under when the land is right for the plow.
Growing Olives from Seed.
How are seedlings grown from olive seeds?
Growing olives from seeds is promoted by assisting nature to break the hard shell. This can be done by pinching carefully with ordinary wire pliers until the shell cracks without injury to the kernel, or the shell may be cut into with a file, making a very small aperture to admit moisture. The French have specially contrived pliers with a stop which admits cracking and prevents crushing. Olive seeds in their natural condition germinate slowly and irregularly. They must be kept moist and planted about an inch deep in sandy loam, covering with chaff or litter to prevent drying of the surface. Before experimenting with olive pits, crack a few to see if they have good plump kernels. Seedling olives must be grafted, of course, to be sure of getting the variety you want. For this reason growth from cuttings is almost universal.
Neglected Olive Trees.
I have a lot of olive trees which have grown up around the old stumps. They are large trees and some of them have six or eight trunks. Should I cut away all but one trunk or let them alone? There are some of the trees with small olives; others none.
If the olive trees which were originally planted were trained at first and still have a good trunk and tree form, the suckers which have intruded from below should be removed. If, however, the trees have been allowed to grow many branches from below, so that there is really no single tree remaining, make a selection of four or five of the best shoots and grow the trees in large bush form, shortening in the higher growth so as to bring the fruit within easier reach and reduce the cost of picking. You can also develop a single shoot into a tree as you suggest. Of course, you must determine whether the trees as they now stand are of a variety which is worth growing. If they are all bearing very small fruit, it would be a question whether they were worth keeping at all, because grafting on the kind of growth which you describe would be unlikely to yield satisfactory tree forms, though you might get a good deal of fruit from them.
Olives from Cuttings.
I have two choice olive trees on my place. I am anxious to get trees from these old ones and do not know how to go about it. Can I grow the young trees by using cuttings or slips from these old trees ? If so, when is the proper time to select the cuttings, and how should they be planted?
Take cuttings of old wood, one-half or three-quarters of an inch in diameter, about ten inches long, and plant them about three-quarters of their length in a sandy loam soil in a row so water can be run alongside as may be necessary to keep the soil moist but not too wet. Such dormant cuttings can be put in when the soil begins to warm up with the spring sunshine. They can be put in the places where you desire them to grow in one or two years. Olives, like other evergreen trees, should be transplanted in the spring when there is heat enough to induce them to take hold at once in their new places, and not during the winter when dormant deciduous trees are best transplanted.
Water and Frost.
I have in mind two pieces of land well adapted to citrus culture. Both have the same elevation, soil, climate and water conditions, except that one piece is a mile of the Kaweah river, while the other is four or five miles distant. In case of a frost, all conditions being about the same, which piece would you consider to be liable to suffer the more? In the heavy frost of last December, while neither sustained any great damage, that portion of the ground nearer the river seemed to sustain the less. Is this correct in theory? The Kaweah river at this point is a good-sized stream of rapidly flowing water.
The land near the river, conditions of elevation being similar, would be less liable to frost. There are a good many instances where the presence of a considerable body of water prevents the lowering of the temperature of the air immediately adjacent. It is so at various points along the Sacramento river, and it is recognized as a general principle that bodies of water exert a warming influence upon their immediate environment even in regions with a hard winter. How much it may count for must be determined by taking other conditions into the account also.
Is it advisable to thin fruit on young citrus trees? Our trees have been bearing about three years, but they are still small trees. The oranges and grape fruit ripen well and are large and of excellent quality, but the trees seem overloaded.
The size of oranges on over-burdened trees can be increased by thinning, just as other fruits are enlarged, but it is not systematically undertaken as with peaches and apricots, because it is not so necessary and because it is easy to get oranges on young trees too large and to be discounted for over-sized coarse fruit. Removing part of the fruit from young trees is often done - for the good of the tree, not for the good of the fruit. It should be done after the natural drop takes place, during the summer.
Wind-blown Orange Trees.
What would you do for citrus trees five years old that have been badly blown out of shape?
Such trees must be trued up by pruning into the wind; that is, cutting to outside buds on the windward side and to inside buds on the lee side; also reducing the weight by pruning away branches which have been blown too far to the leeward. Sometimes trees can be straightened by moving part of the soil and pulling into the wind and bracing there by a good prop on the leeward side, but that, of course, is not practicable if the trees have attained too much size.
Handling Balled Citrus Trees.
I have some orange and lemon trees which were sent me with their roots balled up with dirt and sacks. As we are still having frosts I have not wanted to set them out. Would it not be better to let them stay as they are and keep the sacks wet (they have a sack box over them) than to put them out while the frosts last?
Your citrus trees will not be injured for a time unless mold should set in from the wet sacks. Get them into the ground as soon as the soil comes into good condition, and cover the top for a time after they are planted to protect them against frosts. This would be better than to hold them too long in the balls, but do not plant in cold, wet soil; hold them longer as they are.
The Navel Not Thornless.
I have lately purchased some Washington navel orange trees, and upon arrival I find they have thorns upon them. I thought the Washington navels were thornless.
The navel orange tree is not thornless. It is described as a medium thorny variety, so that the finding of thorns upon the trees would not be in itself sufficient indication that they were not of the right variety.
I have some orange trees in a disintegrated granite with a good many small pieces of rock still remaining in the soil. What I wish to know is whether it is probably something in the soil that makes them grow too large, or is it probably the method of treatment? What treatment should be adopted to guard against this excessive growth?
Young trees have a natural disposition to produce outside sizes of fruit, and this is sometimes aggravated by excessive use of fertilizers, sometimes by over-irrigation. We would cease to fertilize for a time and to regulate irrigation so that the trees will have enough to be thrifty without undertaking excessive growth. Such soil as you describe is sometimes very rich at the beginning in available plant food, and fertilization should be delayed until this excess has been appropriated by the tree.
Budding or Grafting in Orange Orchard.
I have land now ready to be planted to oranges, but it is impossible for me to buy the necessary budded stock now or even later this year. Would you advise me to plant the "sour stock" as it comes from the nursery and have it budded or crown-budded later? Are there any real objections to this method, and, if so, what are they?
It is perfectly feasible to plant sour-stock seedlings and to graft them afterward to whatever variety of oranges you desire to grow, but it is undoubtedly better to pay a pretty good price for budded trees of the kind you desire rather than incur the delay and the irregular growth of young trees budded or grafted in the field. There is also danger of an irregular stand from accidental injuries to new growth started in the field without the protection which it finds in the nursery row.
How late in the fall can budding of orange trees be done - plants that are two years old - and what advantage, if any, is late budding? What shall I do with some old trees that were budded about two months ago and are still green but not sprouted yet? The budding was done on young shoots.
Late budding of the orange can be done as late as the bark will slip well; usually, however, not quite so late as this. Such buds are preferred because in the experience of most people they make stronger growth than those put in in the spring. Such buds are not expected to grow until the lowest temperatures of the winter are over. The buds which you speak of as green but still dormant are doing just what they ought to do. They will start when they get ready.
Under-pruning of Orange Trees.
My Washington Navels have a very heavy crop on the lower limbs, as is usual. These branches are so low down that many of the oranges lie on the ground, and it takes a good deal of time to prop them up so that they will not touch the ground. What would be the result of pruning off these low branches, after the fruit is off? Will the same amount of fruit be produced by the fruit growing on the limbs higher up?
Certainly, raise the branches of the orange trees by removing the lowest branches or parts of branches which reach to the ground. A little later others will sag down and this under-pruning will have to be continuous. It would be better to do this than to undertake any radical removal of the lower branches. The progressive removal as becomes necessary will not appreciably reduce the fruiting and will be in many ways desirable.
Keeping Citrus Trees Low.
My tangerines last fall shot up like lemon trees - a dozen to twenty shoots two or three feet high. The trees are eight years old and are loaded with bloom and some of the shoots have buds and bloom clear to the top. Some shoots have no bloom. What should I do with these shoots? Cut them back like lemons or let them remain?
You must shorten the shoots if you desire to have a low tree. This will cause their branching and it will be necessary, therefore, to remove some of the shoots entirely, either now or later, in order that the tree will not become too compact.
Dying Back of Fruit Trees.
I have a few orange and lemon trees that are starting to die. One tree has died on the top. What kind of spray shall I use?
The dying back of a tree at the top indicates that the trouble is in the roots, and it is usually due to standing water in the soil, resulting either from excessive application of water or because the soil is too retentive to distribute an amount of water which might not be excessive on a lighter soil which would allow of its freer movement. Dig down near the tree and see if you have not a muddy subsoil. The same trouble would result if the subsoil is too dry, and that also you can ascertain by digging. If you find moisture ample, and yet not excessive, the injury to the root might be due to the presence of alkali, or to excessive use of fertilizers. The cause of the trouble has to be determined by local examination and cannot be prescribed on the basis of a description of the plant. It cannot be cured by spraying unless specific parasite is found which can be killed by it.
Young Trees Dropping Fruit.
I have a few citrus fruit trees about three years old. They have made a good growth and are between seven and eight feet high with a good shaped top or head. I did not expect any fruit last year and did not have any. This spring they blossomed irregularly at blooming time, but quite an amount of fruit set and grew as large as marbles, some of it the size of a walnut, but lately it has about all fallen off the trees.
There is always more or less dropping from fruit trees. Some years large numbers of oranges drop. There may be many causes, and the trouble has thus far not been found preventable. When the foliage is good and the growth satisfactory, the young tree is certainly not in need of anything. It is rather more likely that fruit is dropped by the young trees owing to their excessive vegetative vigor, for it is a general fact that fruit trees which are growing very fast are less certain in fruit-setting. It is, of course, possible that you have been forcing such action by too free use of water. You will do well to let your trees go along so long as they appear thrifty and satisfactory, and expect better fruiting when they become older.
Is not a single leader in an orange tree more desirable than the much-forked tree so commonly seen! Can a single-leader tree be made from the nursery trees which have already formed their heads, by cutting off the heads below so that only a straight stick without any branches is left?
An orange tree with a central leader would not be at all satisfactory if it were carried very high. Of course, a central stem can be to advantage taken higher than it is often done, but we would not think of growing an orange tree with a central stem to the apex. The laterals would droop, crowd down upon each other badly, open the center to sunburn, and encourage also a growth of central suckers and occasion an amount of pruning altogether beyond what is necessary with a properly branched tree without a central stem.
I wish to know a way to cure citrons at home. I have a fine tree that has borne very fine-looking fruit for the past two years.
An outline for the preparation of candied citron is as follows: The fruit, before assuming a yellow color, and also when bright yellow, is picked and placed in barrels filled with brine, and left for at least a month. The brine is renewed several times, and the fruit allowed to remain in it until required for use, often for a period of four or five months. When the citrons are to be candied they are taken from the barrels and boiled in fresh water to soften them. They are then cut into halves, the seed and pulp are removed, and the fruit is again immersed in cold water, soon becoming of a greenish color. After this it is placed in large earthen jars, covered with hot syrup, and allowed to stand about three weeks. During this time the strength of the syrup is gradually increased. The fruit is then put into boilers with crystallized sugar dissolved in a small quantity of water, and cooked; then allowed to cool, and boiled again until it will take up no more sugar. It is then dried and packed in wooden boxes.
Crops Between Orange Trees.
What crop can I plant between rows of young orange trees to utilize the ground as well as pay a little something?
It depends not alone upon what will grow, but upon what can be profitably sold or used on the place, and unless sure of that, it is usually better not to undertake planting between young trees but rather to cultivate well, irrigate intelligently, and trust for the reward in a better growth and later productiveness of the trees. It is clear, California experience that planting between trees except to things which are demonstrated to be profitable should not be undertaken, and where one does not need immediate returns is, as a rule, undesirable. The growth of a strip of alfalfa, if one is careful not to submerge the trees by over-irrigation, would be the best thing one could undertake for the purpose of improving the soil by increasing the humus content, reducing the amount of reflected heat from a clean surface, and is otherwise desirable wherever moisture is available for it. You could also grow cow peas for the good of the land if not for other profit. You can, of course, grow small fruits and vegetables for home use if you will cultivate well. Common field crops, with scant cultivation, will generally cause you to lose more from the bad condition in which they leave the soil than you can gain from the use or sale of the crop.
Navels and Valencias.
Navel trees are being budded to Valencias in southern California, because of the higher price received for the late-ripening Valencias. Are the orchards in central and northern California being planted in Navels, and is there any difference in soil or climate requirements of Navels and Valencias?
There is no particular difference in the soil requirements of Valencia and Navel oranges. They are both budded on the same root. The desirability of Navel oranges in the upper citrus districts arises from the fact that the policy of those districts at the present time is to produce an early orange. This they could not accomplish by growing the Valencia. The great advantage of the Valencia in southern California, on the other hand, lies in the very fact that it is late and that it can be marketed in midsummer and early autumn when there are no Navels available from anywhere.
What about planting the seed from St. Michael's oranges or of grapefruit for a seed-bed to be budded to Valencias?
Good plump St. Michael's seeds would be all right if you desire to use sweet seedling stock. Grapefruit seedlings are good and quite widely used, though the general preference is for sour-stock seedlings.
Acres of Oranges to a Man.
In your opinion, is it possible for one man, of average strength, to take perfect care of a twenty-acre citrus orchard? Are the services of a man who takes the entire responsibility of an orchard (citrus) worth more than those of a common ranch hand?
It depends upon the man, upon the age of the trees, upon the kind of soil he has to handle, upon the irrigation arrangements and upon what you mean by "perfect care." If you contract the picking and hauling of fruit, the fumigation and allow extra help when conditions require that something must be done quickly, whatever it may be, a man with good legs and arms, and a good head full of special knowledge to make them go, can handle twenty acres and if he does it right you ought to pay him twice as much as an ordinary ranch hand.
Roots for Orange Trees.
What are the conditions most favorable to orange trees budded upon sour stock; also upon sweet stock and trifoliata?
The sour stock is believed to be more hardy against trying conditions of soil moisture - both excess and deficiency, and diseases incident thereto. The sweet stock is a free growing and satisfactory stock and most of the older orchards are upon this root, but it is held to be less resistant of soil troubles than the sour stock, and therefore propagators are now largely using the latter. The trifoliata has been promoted as more likely to induce dormancy of the top growth during cold weather, because of its own deciduous habit. It has also been advocated as likely to induce earlier maturity in the fruit and thus minister to early marketing. The objection urged against it has been a claimed dwarfing of the tree worked upon it.
I wish to bud some Maltese blood orange trees to pomelos and lemons. Will they make good stock for them, and, if so, is it necessary to cut below the original bud?
It is possible to bud as you propose, and it is not necessary to go back to the old stock. Work in above the forks.
No Citrus Fruits on Lemon Roots.
Would it be any advantage to bud the Washington Navel on grapefruit and lemon roots?
The grapefruit or pomelo is a good root for the orange, and some propagators prefer it. The lemon root is not used at present, because of its effect in causing a coarse growth of tree and fruit and because it is more subject to disease than the orange root. In fact, we grow nearly all lemons on orange roots.
My first attempt at budding, I cut 20 buds and immediately inserted in stock of Mexican sour orange "Amataca." I left bands on them for ten days at which time about half seemed to have "stuck," but after a few days the bark curled away and the buds dried up and died. I then tried again, but left the bands on for thirteen days and lightly tied strings around below the bud to prevent the bark from curling, and also put grafting wax in the cut and over the bud. These appeared fresh and green at time of taking off the bands, but three weeks later I found them rotted. The grafting wax used was made of beeswax, resin, olive oil and a small amount of lard to soften it. Do you think that the action of the lard on the buds would cause them to rot?
Consider first whether the buds which you use are sufficiently developed; that is, a sufficient amount of hardness and maturity attained by the twig from which you took these buds. Second, use a waxed band, drawing it quite tightly around the bark, above and below the bud, covering the bud itself without too much pressure for several days, then loosening the band somewhat, but carefully replacing over all but the bud point. It is necessary to exclude the air sufficiently, but not wholly. The use of a soft fat like olive oil or lard is not desirable. If you use oil at all for the purpose of softening, linseed oil, as used by painters, is safer because of its disposition to dry without so much penetration. Having used olive oil and lard together you had too much soft fatty material.
Budding Orange Seedlings in the Orchard.
What are the objections or advantages of planting sour stock seedlings where one wishes the trees and one or two years later bud into the branches instead of budding the young stock low on the trunk?
Planting the seedling and at some future time cutting back the branches and grafting in the head above the forks is an expensive operation and loses time in getting fruit. You will get very irregular trees and be disappointed in the amount of re-working you will have to do. Suckers must be always watched for; that has to be done anyway, but a sucker from a wild stock is worse in effects if you happen to overlook it. Avoid all such trouble by planting good clean trees budded in nursery rows. You may have to do rebudding later, if you want to change varieties, and that is trouble enough. Do not rush at the beginning into all the difficulties there are.
Grapefruit and Nuts.
Peaches, pears and plums predominate in this section, but would not grapefruit, almonds and English walnuts be just as profitable? What is your idea about English walnuts on black walnut root?
You can expect grapefruit to succeed under conditions which favor the orange. Therefore, if oranges are doing well in your district, grapefruit might also be expected to succeed on the same soils and with the same treatment. Planting of almonds should proceed upon a demonstration that the immediate location is suited to almonds, because they are very early to start and very subject to spring frost and should not be planted unless you can find bearing trees which have demonstrated their acceptance of the situation by regular and profitable crops. English walnuts are less subject to frosts because they start much later in the season. They need, however, deep, rich land which will be sure not to dry out during the summer. English walnuts are a perfect success upon the California black walnut root.
Soil and Situation for Oranges.
Is it absolutely essential that orange trees be planted on a southern slope, or will they thrive as well on any slope? What is the minimum depth of soil required for orange trees? How can I tell whether the soil is good for oranges?
Orange trees are grown successfully on all slopes, although in particular localities certain exposures may be decidedly best, as must be learned by local observation. How shallow a soil will suit orange trees depends upon how water and fertilizer are applied; on a shallow soil more fertilizer and more frequent use of water in smaller quantities. Any soil which has grown good grain crops may be used for orange growing if the moisture supply is never too scant and any excess is currently disposed of by good drainage. There can be no arbitrary rule either for exposure, depth or texture of soils, because oranges are being successfully grown on medium loam to heavy clay loam, providing the moisture supply is kept right.
Transplanting Orange Trees.
Can you transplant trees two years old with safety to another location in same grove, same soil; etc.?
Yes; and you can move them a greater distance, if you like. Take up the trees with a good ball of earth, transplanting in the spring when the ground has become well warmed, just about at the time when new growth begins to appear on the tree. The top of the tree should he cut back somewhat and the leaves should be removed if they show a disposition to wilt. You should also whitewash or otherwise protect the bark from sunburn if the foliage should be removed.
Protecting Young Citrus Trees.
Is it necessary to have young orange trees covered or leave them uncovered during the winter months?
It is desirable to cover with burlaps or bale with cornstalks, straw or some other coarse litter, all young trees which are being planted in untried places; and even where old trees are safe, young trees which go into the frost period with new growth of immature wood should be thus protected. Do not use too much stuff nor bundle too tightly.
Not Orange on the Osage.
Can the Navel orange be grafted on the osage orange? I understand it is done in Florida, and would like to know if it has been tried in California.
It cannot. It has not been done in Florida nor anywhere else. The osage orange is not an orange at all. The tree is not a member of the citrus family.
No Pollenizer for Navels.
I read that the flowers of the Navel orange are entirely lacking in pollen, or only poorly supplied. If this is true, what variety of orange would you plant in a Navel grove - to supply pollen at the proper time?
We would not plant any other orange near the Navel for the sake of supplying it with pollen. Pollen is only needed to make seeds, and by the same process to make the fruit set, and Navels do not make seeds, except rarely, nor do they seem to need pollen to make the fruit set.
Water and Frost.
From how many acres could I keep off a freeze of oranges with 1000 gallons per minute? The water is at 65 degrees.
The amount of water will prevent frost over as large an area as you can cover with the water, so as to thoroughly wet the surface, but the presence of water will only be effective through about four degrees of temperature and only for a short time. If, then, the temperature should fall below 27 degrees and should remain at that point for an hour or two, it is doubtful if the water would save your fruit. Water is only of limited value in the prevention of frost, and of no value at all when the temperature falls too low.
What to Do with Frosted Oranges.
What is the best plan of treatment for frosted orange trees? The crop will be a total loss. It does not show any tendency to fall off the trees, however. Should it be picked off, thrown on the ground and plowed under? Should this be done right away or later?
Unsound fruit should be removed as soon as its injury can be conveniently detected and worked into the soil by cultivation; never, however, being allowed to collect in masses, which is productive of decay and which may be injurious to roots. If trees are injured sufficiently to lose most of their leaves, the fruit should also be removed if it shows a disposition to hang on. This will be a contribution to the strength of the tree and its ability to clothe itself with new foliage.
Pruning Frosted Citrus Trees.
How shall I prune two-year-old orange orchard, also nursery stock buds that are badly injured by frost; how much to prune and at what time?
As soon as you can see how far injury has gone down the branch or stem, cut below it, so that a new shoot may push out from sound wood, and heal the cut as soon as possible. This applies to growths of all ages. In the case of buds, if you can only save a single node you may get a bud started there and make a tree of that. In the case of trees, large or small, it is always desirable to cut above the forkings of the main branches, if possible, and when this much of the tree remains sound, a new tree can be formed very quickly. If the main stem is injured, bark cracked, etc., cut below the ground and put scions in the bark without splitting the root crown; wax well or otherwise cover exposed wood to prevent checking. If this is successfully done, root-rot may be prevented and the wound covered with new bark while the strong new stems are developing above.
Is it best to prune out orange trees by removing occasional branches so as to permit free air passage through the trees? Some are advocating doing so; but as I remember, the trees in southern California are allowed to grow quite dense, so that we could see into the foliage but very little.
It is a matter of judgment, with a present tendency toward a more open tree than was formerly prescribed. Trees should be more thrifty and should bear more fruit deeper in the foliage-wall if more air and light are admitted. But this can be had without opening the tree so that free sight of its interior is possible. We believe thinning of the growth to admit more light and air is good, but we should not intentionally cut enough to make holes in the tree.
Would you advise planting of pecans in commercial orchards here? Walnuts in their proper location constitute some of California's best improvements. After visiting some bearing paper-shell pecans here in Fresno county, I believe a pecan orchard of choice variety would be more desirable than a walnut orchard.
Pecans do well on moist rich land in the interior valleys where there are sharper temperature changes than in the coast valleys, except perhaps near the upper coast. Such planting as you propose seems promising on lands having moisture enough to carry the nuts to full ripening.
Please give information about growing filberts.
Filberts have been largely a disappointment in California and no product of any amount has ever been made. Good nuts have been produced in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range. Theoretically, the places where the wild hazel grows would best suit the filbert, and so far this seems to be justified by the little that has actually been done, but there is very little to say about it beyond that. It requires much more experience to lift the nut out of the experimental state.
Early Bearing of Walnuts.
Please inform me if young walnut trees grafted on black walnut stock will produce fruit within 18 months after being planted.
It is true that the French varieties of English walnuts have produced fruit the second summer of their growth. This does not mean, however, that you can count upon a crop the second year. These are usually grafts in nursery rows, and one would have to wait longer, as a rule, for trees planted out in orchards with a chance to make a freer wood growth. This is rather fortunate, because it is better to have a larger tree than to have the growth diverted into bearing a small amount of fruit while the tree is very young. We do not know any advantage in getting nuts the second year except it be to see if you really have secured the variety you desire to produce later.
Handling Walnut Seedlings.
What is the best time to transplant seedlings of the black walnut?
Transplant during the dormant season (as shown by absence of leaves) when the soil is in good condition. Handle them just as you would an apple tree, for instance.
How to Start English Walnuts.
In starting English walnuts, shall we get nursery stock grafted on California black, or shall we start our black walnut seedlings in nursery plats, or plant the nuts where the tree is wanted, and graft them at two or three years? What is the advantage, if any, of the long stock from grafting high, over the grafted root?
If we had the money to invest and were sure of the soil conditions, etc., we should buy grafted trees of the variety we desired, just as we would of any other kind of fruit. If we were shy of money and long on time, we would start seedlings in nursery, plant out seedlings, and graft later, because it is easier to graft when the seedling is two or three years in place. We count the planting of nuts in place troublesome and of no compensating advantage. The chief advantage known to us of grafting high and getting a black walnut trunk is the hardier bark of the black walnut.
I am planning to plant walnuts on rather heavy soil. I have been told to put the nut six inches below the surface, but think that too deep, as soil is rather heavy.
In a heavy soil we should not plant these nuts more than three inches below the surface, but should cover the surface with a mulch of rotten straw to prevent drying out.
Pruning Grafted Walnuts.
Should English walnut trees be pruned? I have along the roadside English walnuts grafted on the California black, and they have grown to very large size and the fruit seems to be mostly on the outside of the trees.
English walnuts are not usually pruned much, though it is often desirable, and of course trees can be improved by removing undesirable branches and especially where too many branches have started from grafts, it is desirable that some be removed. They should be cleanly sawed off and the wound covered with wax or thick paint to prevent the wood from decaying.
When is the best time to remove large limbs from walnut trees?
This work with walnuts or other deciduous fruit trees should be done late in the winter, about the time the buds are swelling; never mind the bleeding, it does no harm, and the healing-growth over the wound is more rapid while the sap is pushing.
In cleft grafting walnuts is it necessary to use scions with only a leaf bud, or with staminate or pistillate buds? Is cutting the pith of the scion or stock fatal to the tree?
In grafting walnuts it is usual to take shoots bearing wood buds, and not the spurs which carry the fruit blossoms, although a part of the graft containing also a wood bud can be used, retaining the latter. Cutting into the pith of the scion or of the stock is not fatal, but it is avoided because it makes a split or wound which is very hard to heal. For this reason it is better to cut at one side of the pith in the stock, and to cut the scion so that the slope is chiefly in the wood at one side of the pith and not cutting a double wedge in a way to bring the pith in the center.
Grafting Nuts on Oaks.
I have 10 to 15 acres of black oak trees which I wish to graft over to chestnuts. Can grafting be done successfully?
Some success has been secured in grafting the chestnut on the chestnut oak, but not, so far as we have heard, on the black oak. But grafts on the chestnut oak are not permanently thrifty and productive, though they have been reported as growing for some time. The same is true of English walnut grafts on some of the native oaks.
Grafting Walnut Seedlings.
Would it be proper to graft one-year California black walnut seedlings that must also be transplanted?
As the seedlings must be moved, plant in orchard and graft as two or three-year-olds, according to the size which they attain.
Pruning the Walnut.
What is the proper time for pruning the walnut? Is it bad for the tree to prune during the active season? I have recently acquired a long-neglected grove in which many large limbs will have to be removed in order to allow proper methods of cultivation to be practiced, and I am in doubt as to the wisdom of doing this during the rise of sap.
The best time to remove large limbs to secure rapid growth of bark from the sides of the cut, is just at the time the sap is rising. There will be some outflow of sap, but of no particular loss to the tree. As soon as the large wounds have dried sufficiently, the exposed surface should be painted to prevent cracking of the wood.
Eastern or California Black Walnuts?
I am told that the Eastern black walnut is a more suitable root for the low lands in California than the California black. Is this true?
There has been no demonstration that the Eastern black walnut is more suitable to low moist lands than the California black walnut. Our grandest California black walnut trees are situated on low moist lands. Walnut Grove is on the edge of the Sacramento river with immense trees growing almost on the water's edge. Walnut Creek in Contra Costa county is also named from large walnut trees on the creek bank land. We have very few Eastern black walnut trees in California and although they do show appreciation of moist land, they are not in any respect better than the Californian.
Ripening of Walnuts.
I send you two walnuts. I am in doubt if they will mature.
The nuts are well grown, the kernel fully formed in every respect. Whether they will attain perfect maturity must be determined by an observation of the fact and cannot be theoretically predicated. Where trees are in such an ever-growing climate as you seem to have, they must apparently take a suggestion that the time has arrived for maturity from the drying of the soil. The roots should know that it is time for them to stop working so that the foliage may yellow and the nuts mature. It is possible that stopping cultivation a little earlier in the season may be necessary to accomplish this purpose.
Cutting Below Dead Wood.
I have some seedling English walnut trees which are two years old, but they are not coming out in bud this year. They are about three feet high, and from the top down to about 10 inches of the ground the limbs are dark brown, and below that they are a nice green. I cut the top off of one of them to see what is the matter that they do not leaf out, and I found that there is a round hole right down through the center of the tree down to the green part. The hole is about three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. The pith of the limbs has been eaten away by some kind of a worm from the inside. Would it be better to cut the tree down to the green part, or let them alone?
It is the work of a borer. Cut down to live wood and paint over the wound or wax it. Protect the pith until the bark grows over it or you will have decay inside. If buds do not start on the trunk, take a sucker from below to make a tree of. You could put a bud in the trunk, but it is not very easy to do it.
Walnuts in Alfalfa.
Will the walnut trees be injured in any way by irrigating them at the same time and manner as the alfalfa - that is, by flooding the land between the checks? Will the walnuts make as good a growth when planted in the alfalfa, and the ground cultivated two or three feet around the tree, as though the alfalfa was entirely removed? Is it advisable to plant the trees on the checks rather than between the checks?
Walnut trees will do well, providing you do not irrigate the alfalfa sufficiently to waterlog the trees; providing also that you do use water enough so that the trees will not be robbed of moisture by the alfalfa. This method of growing trees will be, of course, safer and probably more satisfactory if your soil is deep and loamy, as it should be to get the best results with both alfalfa and walnuts. It would be better to have the trees stand so that the water does not come into direct contact with the bark, although walnut trees are irrigated by surrounding them with check levees. Planting walnut trees in an old stand of alfalfa is harder on the tree than to start alfalfa after the trees have taken hold, because the alfalfa roots like to hang on to their advantage. In planting in an old field, we should plow strips, say, five feet wide and keep it cultivated rather than to try to start the trees in pot-holes, although with extra care they might go that way.
Walnuts in the Hills.
Will walnuts grow well in the foothill country; elevation about 600 feet, soil rich, does not crack in summer and seems to have small stones in it?
Walnuts will do well providing the soil or subsoil is retentive enough. If you have water available for irrigation in case the trees should need it, they would do well, but if the soil is gravelly way down and likely to dry out deeply and you have no water available an opposite result might be expected. It is a fact that on some of the uplands of the coast mountains there is a lack of moisture late in the season which interferes with the success of some fruit trees.
To Increase Bearing of Walnuts.
We have a walnut orchard which does not bear enough nuts. The trees are all fine, even trees, 10 and 12 years old, and we are told that the crop was light this year because the trees were growing so vigorously and put most of their energy into the new wood. Is there any special fertilizer which will make the trees bear more and not prompt such heavy growth?
If your adviser is right that the trees are not bearing because of excessive growth, it would be better not to apply any fertilizer during the coming year, but allow the trees to assume more steady habit and possibly even to encourage them to do so by using less cultivation and water. If you wish to experiment with some of the trees, give them an application of five pounds of superphosphate and two pounds of potash to each tree, properly distributed over the land which it occupies. You certainly should not use any form of nitrogen.
Temperature and Moisture for the English Walnut.
What amount of freezing and drouth can English walnuts stand? Under what conditions is irrigation necessary?
The walnut tree will endure hard freezing, providing it comes when the tree is dormant, because they are successfully grown in some parts of the Eastern States, though not to a large extent; but the walnut tree is subject to injury from lighter frosts, providing they follow temperatures which have induced activity in the tree. On the Pacific Coast the walnut is successfully grown as far north as the State of Washington, but even in California there are elevations where frosts are likely to occur when the tree is active, and these may be destructive to its profit, although they may not injure the tree. You are not safe in planting walnuts to any extent except in places where you can find trees bearing satisfactorily. Planting elsewhere is, of course, an enterprising experimental thing to do, but very risky as a line of investment. Irrigation is required if the annual rainfall, coupled with the retentiveness of the soil and good cultivation, do not give moisture enough to carry the tree well into the autumn, maintaining activity in the leaves some little time after the fruit is gathered.
Walnuts from Seed.
There is a reliable nursery company selling seedling Franquette walnut trees on a positive guarantee that they will come true to type. Are orchards of this kind satisfactory?
Walnuts do come truer to the seed than almonds and other fruits and the Franquette has a good reputation for remembering its ancestry. Until recently practically all the commercial walnut product of California was grown on seedling trees. But these facts hardly justify one in trusting to seedlings in plantings now made. The way to get a walnut of the highest type is to take a bud or graft from a tree which is bearing that type.
What is the advantage of a high-grafted walnut? I am about ready to plant 10 acres to nuts and do not know whether to purchase Franquette grafted high on California Black or not.
The advantage of grafting English walnut high on California Black walnut consists in securing a main trunk for the tree, which is less liable to sunburn and probably hardier otherwise than is the stem of the English walnut, and the present disposition toward higher grafting or budding seems therefore justified and desirable.
Grafting and Budding the Mulberry.
What is the most approved manner of grafting mulberry trees? Am told that they are very difficult to successfully graft.
Most propagators find the mulberry difficult by ordinary top and cleft grafting methods. A flute or ring graft or bud does well on small seedlings - that is, removing a ring or cylinder of the bark from the stock and putting in its place a cylinder from the variety desired, cut to fit accurately. For large trees this would have to be done on young shoots forced out by cutting back the main branches, but when this is done ordinary shield budding in these new shoots would give good results. Cut back the trees now and bud in the new shoots in July or August.
Hardiness of Hybrid Berries.
How much cold will Phenomenal, Himalaya and Mammoth blackberries stand in winter? Is it safe to plant where the temperature goes below 32 degrees?
These berries are hardy to zero at least, for they are grown in northern parts of this coast where they get such a touch once in a while. They have also endured low temperatures in the central continental plateau States and eastward. Whether they can endure the lowest temperatures of the winter-killing regions of the northern border cannot be determined in California, for we do not have the conditions for such tests. The berries are very hardy while dormant, and probably their value in colder regions would depend rather more upon their disposition to remain dormant than upon what they can endure when in that condition.
Shall the old wood be cut away in pruning Himalayas?
All the old wood which has borne fruit should be cut out in the fall and new shoots reduced to three or four from each root, and these three or four shoots should be shortened to a length of ten or twelve feet and be trained to a trellis or fence, or some other suitable support. Vines which are allowed to grow riotously as they will, are apt to be deficient in fruit bearing.
Strawberries with Perfect Flowers.
Has Longworth Prolific an imperfect bloom? I have Longworths in bearing which apparently are perfect. Is there another strain of Longworth that are not self-fertilizing?
The Longworth Prolific strawberry has both staminate and pistillate elements. Possibly some other variety, because of its resemblance to Longworth and the popularity of it, may have been wrongly given its name. Most of the varieties which are largely grown in California are perfect in blossom, though some of the newer varieties need association with pollinizers.
Should the new shoots of Loganberry vines, which come out in the spring, be left or cut away? If cut, will more shoots put out in the fall and be sufficient for the next year's crop?