Girdling, Ringing, Binding

The Gardener's Magazine 4(16): 484 (Oct 1828)
RINGING Trees.— I have found a very great economy in ringing, by the use of the common scorer used by woodmen in marking timber trees. (fig. 123.) I ring many of our shrubs and ornamental trees, to throw them early into blossom, and to cause them to produce larger blossoms. I have flowered the tulip tree at seven years from the seed-bed, and I have a very fine set of dwarf fruit trees all circumcised below the surface.—John Brown. Near St. Albans, March 21, 1828.

Downing: Ringing Fruit Trees (1837)
RINGING (incision annulaire, of the French,) is a well known operation, occasionally performed upon fruit trees, both with a view of inducing fruitfulness, and of hastening the maturation of fruits. The practice is one of very ancient origin, but was revived among the moderns by Du Hamel, who published the result of his very successful experiments in the Memoire de l'Academie des Sciences, for 1778. Since that period it has been in a considerable degree resorted to in England, to force the production of blossom buds on sterile fruit trees, and to hasten the period of ripening of fruit already formed, as well as to increase its size. When practised for the former purpose, the operation must be performed in the spring; but when it is intended that the effect shall be produced upon the fruit of the current year's growth, the incision should be made when the branch is in flower.

JCH: Ringing Fruit Trees (1869)
This year the appearance of the three branches above the cut stem was one mass of white blossom, there being only one blossom on any other part of the tree; and there are at this time, besides numbers that I have removed, thirty-six Pears, healthy, and apparently going on to maturity.

Williams: An Account of a Method of hastening the Maturation of Grapes (1808)
I took annular excisions of bark from the trunks of several of my Vines, and that the exposed alburnum might be again covered with new bark by the end of autumn, the removed circles were made rather less than a quarter of an inch in width. Two Vines of the White Frontiniac, in similar states of growth, being trained near to each other on a south wall, were selected for trial; one of these was experimented on (if I may use the term), the other was left in its natural state, to form a standard of comparison. When the circle of bark had been removed about a fortnight, the berries on the experimented tree, began evidently to swell faster than those on the other, and by the beginning of September showed indications of approaching ripeness, while the fruit of the unexperimented tree continued green and small.

Husmann: Ringing Grape Vines (1920)
In the experiments conducted at the Fresno Experiment Vineyard, 12-year-old ringed Panariti grafts on 10 different resistant stocks trained to stakes (vines 8 by 8 feet apart, or 680 to the acre) during 1917 and 1918 gave average annual yields per acre ranging from about 5.8 tons on the poorest stock to 10.35 tons on the best stock, the average on all the stocks being nearly 7 1/2 tons. The check vines with like treatment and care averaged only 2 1/3 tons to the acre. Ringed 5-year-old Panariti grafts on 18 different resistant stocks, with trellis training (vines 8 by 8 feet apart, or 680 to the acre) during 1917 and 1918 averaged annually over 5 tons to the acre, while the check vines averaged only 1.9 tons to the acre.

Knight Experiments (1823)
It was before well known to gardeners, that any thing which checked the growth of a fruit tree, hastened the production of fruit.
     On two orange-trees from St. Michael's, which had never borne fruit, though we had had them many years, we practised decortication, taking off a ring of the bark of half an inch in width. In the following spring, this year, the gardener expressed to me his surprize, that those limbs were literally loaded with blossoms. He had not been in the secret. We pointed out to him the decortication or ringing, or as we say, the "girdling," and it was found, that while every other part of the tree was without blossoms, those which were operated upon were far too greatly covered with them. In this case we committed a mistake. The orange-tree puts forth only once in a year ordinarily in our climate, or under favourable circumstances, twice. Ringing or girdling should only be executed when the sap is in the greatest possible degree of action. These limbs are not healthy, and we fear will not hold their fruit, but the experiment shewed the principle in its clearest light. The general rule is, to girdle when the tree is in its most rapid state of growth, to make the decortication or ring larger or smaller according to the vigour of the plant, but so little in all cases as to enable the tree to close the wound during the same season. We made a similar experiment on a flowering plant, the beautiful Passiflora Alata, and we threw it by this process into flower, at a season in which it never flowers in the ordinary course of nature, that is, in the month of August. Its usual time of flowering with us, is October and April.

Jeffrey: Seeds on horseradish and Lilium candidum (1915)
Physiological sterility is frequently due to entirely different causes than genetical lack of harmony, as for example in the horseradish or the potato (Solanum). In the former it has been found possible to bring about the formation of fertile seed by simply girdling the top of the subterranean storage region of the plant, so as to prevent the undue descent of assimilates. The common white lily, Lilium candidum, presents a similar condition, for here the setting of seed takes place only when the leafy flowering axis is severed from its bulb and kept in water.

Drinkard: Fruit-bud formation and development (1911)
Prof. Macoun: Proc. Soc. Hort. Sci. (1911)
It has been a little theory of mine, not borne out by any actual experiments, that the formation of fruit-buds is due in part to the retardation of the elaborated sap in the upper part of the tree. For instance, we find that ringing a tree will cause the development of fruit buds. We find also that a branch which is partly broken will fruit perhaps two or three years before the other part of the tree. We find that a tree which is top-grafted will fruit sooner than a tree which is not. It strikes me that there may be some relation between the retardation of the elaborated sap by ringing, breaking or grafting and the formation of fruit-buds. It has also been noted by fruit-growers that a dry season is followed by a good crop of fruit the next year.

American Farmer, 5(6):193 (1876)
A correspondent of the American Agriculturist says: "To obtain fruit from barren trees, take coarse, strong twine, and wind it several times about the lower limbs of a tree and tie it as tight as possible. The next spring all the top above the cord will be as white as a sheet, and there will not be one blossom below. A neighbor seeing his trees loaded with pears, used the same method with the same success."

Russell: To obtain Fruit from Barren Trees (1859)
I wish to describe to you a method of making fruit trees bear that I blundered on to. Some fifteen years ago I had a small apple tree that leaned considerably. I drove a stake by it, tied a string to a limb and fastened it to the stake: The next year that limb blossomed full, and not another blossom appeared on the tree, and as Tim Bunker said, "it got me a thinking," and I came to the conclusion that the string was so tight, that it prevented the sap returning to the roots; consequently, it formed fruit buds. Having a couple of pear trees that were large enough to bear but that had never blossomed, I took a coarse twine, wound it several times around the tree above the lower limbs, and tied it as tight as I could. The next Spring all the top above the cord, blossomed as white as a sheet, and there was not one blossom below where the cord was tied. A neighbor seeing my trees loaded with pears, used this method with the same result. I have since tried the experiment on several trees, always with the same result. I think it a much better way than cutting off the roots. In early Summer, say June or July, wind a strong twine several times round the tree, or a single limb, and tie it, the tighter the better, and you will be pleased with the result: the next Winter or Spring the cord may he taken off.

Noehden: Ringing Fruit Trees (1822)
The theory of this mode of pruning consists in suppressing the direct channel of the sap, and substituting for it from three to seven oblique branches, which, at certain distances, one above another, form a sort of forked passage that will only permit the sap to rise and descend slowly, obliging it to stop and form a great number of fruit buds. The experience of more than a century proves the goodness of this theory, when it is put in practice by skilful gardeners.

Noehden: Training Fruit Trees (espalier) (1822)
The essential point is to lay the branches in a horizontal position. For by training them in this way, the current of the sap is forced to assume a direction, in which it cannot move with the same quickness as it would in its natural channel, which is from the root straight upwards: and the diversion favours the process of forming fruit, by inducing, as has elsewhere been intimated, a slower motion of the sap, and thus affording time for the secretion and deposition of its particles.

Sir Francis Bacon: Delaying Roses (1635)
The Seventh is, the Girding of the Body of the Tree about with some Pack-threed; For that also, in a degree, restraineth the Sap, and maketh it come up, more late, and more Slowly.