THE MAKING OF NURSERY TREES.
Thousands of nursery trees are bought and set out each year. They reach the purchaser as lusty young trees, often higher than a man. They are labeled with their proper names. Few people know what has been the life story of these trees before they left, the nursery and were turned over to the tender mercies of their subsequent, owners. V They have passed through experiences far more thrilling than any that will come to them as they gradually grow' into the stature and the dignity of hearing trees. The life story of an apple tree is representative. Let us inquire into it.
The Grotriny of ,Stocks. In the early days of apple culture in America seeds could not be had in quantities in this country, and nurserymen im ported them from Prance. This is no longer necessary. Cider mills and similar establishments supply the home demand for seeds. These seeds are sown in drills in deep, well prepared soil, and cultivated assiduously throughout the growing season. the fall they are little 1111hr:inched whips, from six t( ) twelve inches high. They are dug and heeled in" with their roots covered with earth, until the leaves sweat off." Then they are sorted as to sizes. tied in bundles, the roots and tops are cut back. and they are stored in cellars with their roots in damp sawdust.
Many nurserymen prefer to buy these little trees rather than to raise them. The rich, deep soil of the prairie states produces most of the supply of apple stocks used by eastern nurserymen. Agents of these men go through the apple stock growing sections. buy the crop mid ship it east during the winter.
lJa]diny. the little trees are to be hudded, they are set in spring about one foot apart in nurser3• rows with room for a horse between the rows, for they must he given careful cultivation. They grow side branches, the roots become thicker and more numerous, and by \iiignst, most of the trees arc ready to bud. This means that they have a diam eter of at least three-eighths of an inch at the base of the stein.
Budding is a critical process, and is usually trusted only to an expert.
lle has assistants that prepare the way for him, and wine after to com plete his work. The first step is the stripping of leaves and the clipping off of twigs for a few inches near the base of the stock.
This is usually done a few days before the budder comes.
It must be understood that these little trees. now two S1111111leYS old, are "seedlings." Nobody knows nor cares what varieties they are. They are to be -born again by the budding process, — their natures changed. All the nurseryman has asked of the seed is that it produce a strong stock that will be a good nurse to the bud and to the treetop that will grow out of that bud.
Just before the budder collies, bud sticks are cut front trees of desired varieties. Suppose a block of a million trees are to be converted into Baldwins. Then leafy bearing well grown buds are cut front Baldwin trees. The terminal buds are too soft to use, but usually there are ten or a dozen good buds to a stick. The leaf stein is clipped off an inch above each bud. It serves a useful purpose later. Next, the buds are cut. A deft stroke almost. severs a thin. oval piece of bark alt inch long with the bud in the middle. Each is left hanging, to the stick by a few fibers. With a bundle of these bud sticks in his capacious pocket, the budder begins his work. Dropping on one knee, he seizes the first little tree. and with two motions of his keen knife makes a T-shaped slit just through the bark, within an inch Or two of the ground. fly a deft turn, the tip of the knife, a6 it finishes the second cut, lifts the edges of the bark on each side of the wound. Clip, and a bud is cut loose from the stick. Taking it by the leaf stein which was left there on purpose for a handle, the budder slips it down under the bark. in its place with the cambiums of the bud and the stock pressed close together the bud is set, and the budder goes on to repeat the simple Opera tion on each tree that is big enough to justify it. This is A boy comes after with a bunch of raffia, or basswood fibre. He binds and ties the wound to keep out gerins of tree diseases aml to hold the bud and stook in con tact while they unite. It takes two or three boys to tie for an expert budder, for he often sets three thousand buds a day. In a week or two the bands are cut. They are tight, and if left on would interfere with subsequent growth in thickness. The buds should have "stuck" by this time. The healing process is going on. The useless bands unwind, and blow away.