How To Select Fruit Trees
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Two of the important questions with the fruit grower today are: Where can I get the kind of fruit trees and select them to my own liking? Orlando Harrison of Worcester county, Maryland, declares there is but one answer to the questions : " Go yourself to the nursery and be convinced whether you are willing or not to place yourself in the hands of the nurseryman. If satisfied, make up your list of varieties so the nurseryman can tell you whether good or bad, or whether he grows these kinds. Many growers want at least ten times too many varieties and often worthless sorts for their locality, simply because they have noticed the variety well advertised. Confine yourself to few.
" Ask the nurseryman to explain his methods of growing from the seed or seedlings to maturity, and you will then not ask for cheap trees. A visit will convince you that no good nurseryman is sparing either money or effort today in producing the very best trees that can be grown. He must be up to date on practical and scientific problems per-Wiling to all nursery and orchard work, and to protect himself and you, you will find he is only too glad to impart this knowledge to his customers. A visit to the nursery will convince you.
"Some nurserymen employ the best scientific men for inspection work and fumigation, and for looking carefully into the matter of spraying with the proper materials and at the proper time. These men are assisted by the state entomologist on both scientific and practical points. A visit to the nursery will convince you if such men would pay you. Some nurserymen employ men well posted on varieties of fruit, but the best of all is the experimental farm on the nursery grounds. Eating the fruit will convince you.
" When you are ready to select a good tree you will leave the whole responsibility to the nursery-man and his men, and the only thing for you to do is to select the grade of tree. Convince your-self that his seed or seedlings are the best. See that the roots are not affected with knots or aphids.
Ask where the buds were cut from and about being true to name. By cutting a tree you can tell whether the heart is affected or not.
"Ask the nurseryman not to dig too early, and use great care in keeping the trees from the sun and wind. Don't be so rigid as to say the peaches must be 8-r6 of an inch caliper, and not less than 5 feet high, and the apples must be three-quarter-inch, and not less than 6 feet high, when some varieties will make twice the growth that others will. Too many orchardists insist that trees must be exact in size and shape. You should remember that trees are not molded, but grown, and as varied in sizes as your corn in the field. It is almost impossible to keep in sizes and varieties.
Many nurseries can show you something worth while any month in the year, if you will make the trip. Yet August and September is the best time to visit them. In January and February you find them grafting, March and April planting and shipping trees and digging shrubs and plants, May and June cultivating trees and picking strawberries, July to September picking peaches and early apples and budding trees in full force, October and November digging and shipping trees and picking apples and pears, December trenching trees and getting them ready for early spring. The nursery-man has a hard business to handle, and a visit to the nursery will convince you the price of fruit trees is far too low."