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Next and last, though not least in importance, is the grape. It is probably true, that there has been more improvement made in grape-culture within the last twenty years, than in any other variety upon the list of small fruits, still we have not reached perfection. The Delaware is almost my ideal of a perfect grape for table use; still even that is not perfect. The seed is rather large for the size of the berry, which is itself small. But after making due allowances for its defects, it stands to-day at the head of the list of table grapes for this continent; and I think it superior to any European grape that I ever tasted. Another great advantage is, that it is decidedly a northern fruit. I think that the finest and most perfect specimens of this fruit that I have ever seen, were grown in the Fox river valley in this State. Taking this as our standard for quality, what do we need ? In the first place we need an early grape that shall ripen at least as early as the Janesville, and if earlier all the better, and that shall be as good in quality as the Delaware, with a large berry, and a somewhat more vigorous vine, especially while young. We need a late keeping grape; something equally as good, and that will keep with reasonably good care until the following spring. When we have attained these, we shall be much nearer perfection in small-fruit growing, than we are at present.
It seems to me that here is a splendid opening for a man of the right stamp to make himself a fine reputation, to make some mon
and at the same time to render a service of great value to his fellow men. I am not unaware that there are, and have been, men at work in all of these departments of fruit-growing for years past. But it is evident that the right men are not yet at work, or if they are, they have not yet been at it long enough to perfect it. In strawberry culture there has been but little real improvement made that seems to be permanent, since the introduction of the Wilson. In raspberries we have done a little better, though as I before stated there is still room for improvement. Our list of blackberries is as a general thing entirely unreliable without good winter protection when carried north of forty degrees. We have a number of choice varieties of grapes that thrive and do finely as far north as forty-five degrees, and in favored localities a few degrees farther.
Here then is work for the future. And the man or the men who, by patient and intelligent labor, and steady perseverance, will in
troduce to us the new varieties of small-fruits that will fill these wants, will confer a lasting benefit upon the whole northwest. He will deserve our sincere thanks, and will doubtless receive a handsome pecuniary reward.
H. 1. THOMPSON, ST. FRANCIS.
Observation and experiments in fruit-growing already cover a period of a generation and upwards in the northwest, and it is not an open question at this day that there are climatic conditions prevailing in the northwest which naturally retard, and have, in a measure, discouraged fruit-tree planting. How these adverse conditions of climate may be most successfully counteracted, is a question of moment, alike to fruit-growers and consumers, and it is desirable that the most efficient preventives be ascertained and adopted in the cultivation of fruit generally, The experiments made with standard varieties, originating in the eastern, middle, and southern States, have proved that most of those varieties possess certain peculiar constitutional characteristics in their composition and structure, which render their existence precarious when planted in localities containing different soils, and subjected to climatic conditions entirely the reverse of those to which such varieties were subjected in their origin. The Baldwin, Spitzenburg, and Rhode Island Greening may be cited as instances in question. On the other hand, it has been ascertained by experiments that certain varieties of apple-trees, originating in localities where the various conditions of soil and climate are similar to the conditions prevailing in the locality to which they are removed, do not appear to suffer by removal. In confirmation of this view may be cited the introduction of the Fameuse, from Canada, Red Astrachan, Duchess, Alexander, and the Currant Crab, from northern and northeastern Europe. The determination of these important facts may be considered as the first step toward the discovery of other important facts necessary to the advancement and success of horticulture in the northwest.
Other causes of failure also exist, the most prominent of which are believed to be, frequent and sudden alternation of freezing and thawing when the ground is surcharged with moisture, causing the separation of the bark from the wood-structure of the roots, or the disruption of imperfect formation in the roots in consequence of late and unperfected autumn-wood growth; or, the cellular formation, be the same perfect or imperfect, may be injured by the withdrawal of frost in early winter, mid-winter, or spring, when the earth is devoid of moisture. In this instance, the interstices existing in the soil about the roots, being filled with air, the withdrawal of frost has the same tendency to impair cellular formation as would result if the roots were above ground at the time. Injury may also result from excessive exhalation of moisture, induced by cold, dry winds when the extremities of the roots of the trees are encased in frost, or strong winds may sway small trees, from an upright position, and thereby produce a cavity in the soil at and below the collar of the tree, which is liable to be filled with water by rainfall.. A subsequent lowering of temperature causes congelation and expansion, thereby bursting the bark at or below the collar of the tree. Injuries also result from the premature circulation of sap in the south and southwest portions of the stem of the tree, induced by the absorption of heat from the sun's rays, and the sudden arrest of the circulation and the expansion of the sap, and rupture of the cells in consequence of congelation by subsequent freezing."
Having ascertained and enumerated some of the causes which tend to produce disastrous and often fatal results to vegetable life, the next step leads to a consideration of the most appropriate and effective means to be adopted, as a preventive to the recurrence of the many causes that impair tree or vegetable life and growth; and as a combination of causes seem to produce results tending to impair vegetable life, it is also to be presumed that a combination of preventive measures are required to counteract or obviate the causes that result in injury. The following propositions of preventive means are accordingly submitted:
1. The introduction of varieties originated in soils under climatic conditions similar to those prevailing in the locality in which such varieties are to be planted.
2. The originating of varieties adapted to the conditions of climate, by repeated reproduction from seed.
3. The originating of varieties by hybridzing, using the improved varieties of the Siberian crab, and some of the best, and most promising varieties of apples as parents.
4. Winter mulching.
5. Top grafting. 1
6. Using seedlings grown from acclimatized seeds for root grafts.
7. Amelioration of the severity of climatic influences through individual, corporate, and State efforts in enlarging the forest area, by forest tree-planting, and by the preservation of the natural forests.
8. The protection of orchards and small-fruit grounds by the planting of belts of evergreen trees.
The first means of obviating or counteracting the peculiarities of soil and climate in question is being met by the introduction of the Red Astrachan, Alexander, Duchess, and the testing of numerous other varieties from similar sources. In compliance with the terms of the second proposition, the process of acclimatizing by reproduction is laborious, and considerable time must necessarily elapse before the desired results can be obtained. In promise of its eventual fulfillment, may be cited the production from seed of a number of varieties in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, possessing considerable constitutional vigor and hardiness, which may serve for the reproduction of other varieties possessing still greater inbred constitutional adaptation to the climatic influences with which they must come in contact.
The preventive means specified in the third proposition have promise of fulfillment in the past and present efforts of earnest and emminent horticulturists to obtain by hybridizing varieties of apples, the trees of which shall be as hardy as the crab, and the fruit of which shall partake of the size and flavor of the best varieties of apples now in cultivation.
The means specified in the fourth proposition, by way of mulching, may be fulfilled by the general adoption on the part of orchardists of the cheap labor system of sowing rye, millet, Hungarian grass or buckwheat in the latter part of the month of July, and allowing it to remain on the ground through the winter, and there
by preventing the alternation of freezing and thawing which produces so much injury to the roots of fruit-trees and small-fruits.
The difficulty in complying with the ternis of the fifth proposition, by top grafting, is in determining what varieties will form a perfect union with the hardy stock upon which it is proposed to graft, efforts therefore in this direction should be confined to grafting those varieties, which are known by experiment to be suitable for the purpose intended.
The beneficial results to be derived from the use of seedling roots, grown from the seed of those varieties which have become acclimated, is apparent, if it be conceded that the transmission of inbred qualities is the same in the vegetable, as in the animal kingdom, in which physiologists assume that "like produces like” subject, however, to variation by modifying causes.
As to the seventh proposition, for the purpose of temperature, increasing rain-fall, and of retarding the evaporation of moisture from the soil, and of breaking the force of winds, efforts should be encouraged for the more general planting of trees in the form of forests, and timber-belts upon the boundaries of farms, and at least one line of trees should be planted upon each side of the line of railways, and two lines of trees upon each side of all public highways.
The eighth proposition requires for its fulfillment the enclosing of all orchards not favored by nature with forest protection, with belts of evergreen trees. Hence it is important that such facts as bear upon the supposed benefits to be derived from such protection, should be brought to notice.
It is conceded that cold air in motion has the property of extracting heat in proportion to its velocity. In illustration of this fact, we will suppose that when the mercury is below freezing point, a person emerges from a forest or place where the air is not in motion, and enters a treeless plain or place where the air is in motion at any given velocity, there is apparently a sudden increase of cold; the apparent lowering of the temperature is due to the increased extraction of heat from the physical system, caused by the moving atmosphere. In this instance, there is not only an increased loss of heat by exhaustion, but there is also an accelerated loss of moisture by exhalation from the physical system, proportioned to the degree of temperature and the velocity of the wind, and as vegeta