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they bear not till the next year; but if you graft them in May, they will bear the same year, but late.
419. THE seventh is the girding of the body of the tree about with some pack-thread; for that also in a degree restraineth the sap, and maketh it come up more late and more slowly.
420. THE eighth is the planting of them in a shade, or in a hedge; the cause is, partly the keeping out of the sun, which hasteneth the sap to rise; and partly the robbing of them of nourishment by the stuff in the hedge. These means may be practised upon other, both trees and flowers, mutatis mutandis.
421. MEN have entertained a conceit that sheweth prettily; namely, that if you graft a late-coming fruit upon a stock of a fruit-tree that cometh early, the graft will bear fruit early; as a peach upon a cherry; and contrariwise, if an early-coming fruit upon a stock of a fruit-tree that cometh late, the graft will bear fruit late; as a cherry upon a peach. But these are but imaginations, and untrue. The cause is, for that the cion over-ruleth the stock quite; and the stock is but passive only, and giveth aliment, but no motion to the graft.
Experiments in consort touching the melioration of fruits, trees, and plants.
WE will speak now, how to make fruits, flowers, and roots larger, in more plenty, and sweeter than they use to be; and how to make the trees themselves more tall, more spread, and more hasty and sudden than they use to be. Wherein there is no doubt but the former experiments of acceleration will serve much to these purposes. And again, that these experiments, which we shall now set down, do serve also for acceleration, because both effects proceed from the increase of vigour in the tree; but yet to avoid confusion, and because some of the means are more proper for the one effect, and some for the other, we will handle them apart.
422. It is an assured experience, that a heap of flint or stone, laid about the bottom of a wild tree, as an oak, elm, ash, etc. upon the first planting, doth
make it prosper double as much as without it. The cause is, for that it retaineth the moisture which falleth at any time upon the tree, and suffereth it not to be exhaled by the sun. Again, it keepeth the tree warm from cold blasts and frosts, as it were in a house. It may be also there is somewhat in the keeping of it steady at the first. Query, If laying of straw some height about the body of a tree, will not make the tree forwards. For though the root giveth the sap, yet it is the body that draweth it. But you must note, that if you lay stones about the stalk of lettuce, or other plants that are more soft, it will over-moisten the roots, so as the worms will eat them.
423. A TREE, at the first setting, should not be shaken, until it hath taken root fully: and therefore some have put two little forks about the bottom of their trees to keep them upright; but after a year's rooting, then shaking doth the tree good, by loosening of the earth, and, perhaps, by exercising, as it were, and stirring the sap of the tree.
424. GENERALLY the cutting away of boughs and suckers at the root and body doth make trees grow high; and contrariwise, the polling and cutting of the top maketh them grow spread and bushy. As we see in pollards, etc.
425. Ir is reported, that to make hasty-growing coppice woods, the way is, to take willow, sallow, poplar, alder, of some seven years growth; and to set them, not upright, but aslope, a reasonable depth under the ground; and then instead of one root they will put put forth many, and so carry more shoots upon a stem.
426. WHEN you would have many new roots of fruit-trees, take a low tree and bow it, and lay all his branches aflat upon the ground, and cast earth upon them; and every twig will take root. And this is a very profitable experiment for costly trees, for the boughs will make stocks without charge; such as are apricots, peaches, almonds, cornelians, mulberries, figs, etc. The like is continually practised with vines, roses, musk-roses, etc.
427. FROM May to July you may take off the bark of any bough, being of the bigness of three or four inches, and cover the bare place, somewhat above and below, with loam well tempered with horse-dung, binding it fast down. Then cut off the bough about Allhollontide in the bare place, and set it in the ground; and it will grow to be a fair tree in one year. The cause may be, for that the baring from the bark keepeth the sap from descending towards winter, and so holdeth it in the bough; and it may be also that the loam and horse-dung applied to the bare place do moisten it, and cherish it, and make it more apt to put forth the root. Note, that this may be a general means for keeping up the sap of trees in their boughs; which may serve to other effects.
428. Ir hath been practised in trees that shew fair and bear not, to bore a hole through the heart of the tree, and thereupon it will bear. Which may be, for that the tree before had too much repletion, and was oppressed with its own sap; for repletion is an enemy to generation.
429. IT hath been practised in trees that do not bear, to cleave two or three of the chief roots, and to put into the cleft a small pebble, which may keep it open, and then it will bear. The cause may be, for that a root of a tree may be, as it were, hidebound, no less than the body of the tree; but it will not keep open without somewhat put into it.
430. It is usually practised to set trees that require much sun upon walls against the south; as apricots, peaches, plums, vines, figs, and the like. It hath a double commodity; the one, the heat of the wall by reflection; the other, the taking away of the shade; for when a tree groweth round, the upper boughs over-shadow the lower: but when it is spread upon a wall, the sun cometh alike upon the upper
and lower branches.
431. IT hath also been practised by some, to pull off some leaves from the trees so spread, that the sun may come upon the bough and fruit the better. There
hath been practised also a curiosity, to set a tree upon the north side of a wall, and at a little height to draw it through the wall, and spread it upon the south side: conceiving that the root and lower part of the stock should enjoy the freshness of the shade; and the upper boughs, and fruit, the comfort of the sun. But it sorted not; the cause is, for that the root requireth some comfort from the sun, though under earth, as well as the body: and the lower part of the body more than the upper, as we see in compassing tree below with straw.
432. THE lowness of the bough where the fruit cometh, maketh the fruit greater, and to ripen better; for you shall ever see, in apricots, peaches, or melocotones upon a wall, the greatest fruits towards the bottom. And in France, the grapes that make the wine, grow upon low vines bound to small stakes; and the raised vines in arbours make but verjuice. It is true, that in Italy and other countries where they have hotter sun, they raise them upon elms and trees; but I conceive, that if the French manner of planting low were brought in use there, their wines would be stronger and sweeter. But it is more chargeable in respect of the props. It were good to try whether a tree grafted somewhat near the ground, and the lower boughs only maintained, and the higher continually pruned off, would not make a larger fruit.
433. To have fruit in great plenty, the way is to graft not only upon young stocks, but upon divers boughs of an old tree; for they will bear great numbers of fruit: whereas if you graft but upon one stock, the tree can bear but few.
434. THE digging yearly about the roots of trees, which is a great means both to the acceleration and melioration of fruits, is practised in nothing but in vines which if it were transferred unto other trees and shrubs, as roses, etc. I conceive would advance them likewise.
435. IT hath been known, that a fruit-tree hath been blown up almost by the roots, and set up again, and the next year bear exceedingly. The cause of
this was nothing but the loosening of the earth, which comforteth any tree, and is fit to be practised more than it is in fruit-trees for trees cannot be so fitly removed into new grounds, as flowers and herbs
436. To revive an old tree, the digging of it about the roots, and applying new mould to the roots, is the way. We see also that draught-oxen put into fresh pasture gather new and tender flesh; and in all things better nourishment than hath been used doth help to renew; especially if it be not only better, but changed and differing from the former.
437. If an herb be cut off from the roots in the beginning of winter, and then the earth be trodden and beaten down hard with the foot and spade, the roots will become of very great magnitude in summer. The reason is, for that the moisture being forbidden to come up in the plant, stayeth longer in the root, and so dilateth it. And gardeners use to tread down any loose ground after they have sown onions, or turnips, etc.
438. Ir panicum be laid below and about the bottom of a root, it will cause the root to grow to an excessive bigness. The cause is, for that being itself of a spongy substance, it draweth the moisture of the earth to it, and so feedeth the root. This is of greatest use for onions, turnips, parsnips, and carrots.
439. The shifting of ground is a means to better the tree and fruit; but with this caution, that all things do prosper best when they are advanced to the better: your nursery of stocks ought to be in a more barren ground than the ground is whereunto you remove them. So all graziers prefer their cattle from meaner pastures to better. We see also, that hardness in youth lengtheneth life, because it leaveth a cherishing to the better of the body in age: nay, in exercises, it is good to begin with the hardest, as dancing in thick shoes, etc.
440. IT hath been observed, that hacking of trees in their bark, both downright and across, so as you may make them rather in slices than in continued