Transactions, 2: 8-10 (1822)
IV. On a Mode of training Fruit Trees, described by M. NOISETTE:
GEORGE HENRY NOEHDEN, LL. D. F. L. S. &c. Vice Secretary.
Read September 2, 1817.
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THE art of training fruit trees belongs to modern gardening, and has of late years been much attended to: it was formerly little understood. As the productiveness of the trees is much influenced by this operation, its importance must be admitted, and every improvement which is made in it, must be considered as an acquisition to Horticulture. M. NOISETTE, of Paris, whom we have the satisfaction of counting among our Corresponding Members, has in the Bon Jardinier, for the year 1817,* (of which he is one of the joint editors,) described a mode of training, that may be applied to standard trees. Though it may, perhaps, not be quite new, it will, I think, not be unacceptable to the Society to hear a short report of it. A frame, or stand of a given height, and circumference, is constructed, either round the tree which is to be trained, or by the side of it. If it is to encompass the tree, the circular form is most obvious. The stem then stands in the middle, and the shoots and branches are laid flat on the top or roof, which is horizontal, and covered with cross sticks, or laths, as a trellis. In this manner, for instance, M. NOISETTE trained a cherry tree (see Fig. 1.) The appearance of such a frame, when the tree is in foliage and blossom, or fruit, must be rather interesting: it affords, as M. NOISETTE says, the picture of a well garnished table. He made his frame only 3 feet high: but, I presume, it is optional to make it of greater height, so that it may serve for an arbour, or a like purpose. He seems to have chosen half standards, but there is no reason, why full standards should not be treated in a similar manner. 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. Another example of training is exhibited by an apple tree, also of a low size (see Fig. 2). Here M. NOISETTE has placed the frame by the side of the tree: and it is oblong,, with a slanting roof, or top, having the appearance of a shed. On the roof the branches are laid parallel to one another, which, though the roof is inclined, gives them a horizontal position. The circular frame has the advantage, that you can conveniently lay down all the branches, which cannot well be done with the lateral frame. M. NOISETTE has left part of the apple tree to its natural liberty, training only one side of it, which, under particular circumstances, may be beneficial to the tree, but will not ensure an equal quantity of fruit. Trees, which are trained by M. NOISETTE'S method, are easily protected from the injuries of wind, and weather. If they are of a low size, they are not so much exposed to the influence of either: and it is practicable to cover them, when they are in fruit, or blossom. Besides those frames, M. NOISETTE has also what he terms Oblique Espaliers, (see Fig. 3). in contradistinction to which he calls the former Horizontal. They consist of two sides, joined at an angle of about 50 or 56 degrees: on these sides the trees are trained, namely, one to each side. The branches, therefore, rest upon inclined planes instead of being placed horizontally. That inclination will be instrumental to the increase of fruit, in as much as it bends and moderates the course of the sap, though it s probably not so efficient as, the horizontal position. This sort of espalier, it seems, he chiefly appropriates to peaches and nectarines. The sides, which form the inclined planes, he says, may either be filled up with trellis or lattice work, or with planks. The latter he recommends for cold situations, as being calculated to retain, or reflect, the heat of the sun; but this refinement perhaps is of little use. The espalier may be placed according to the aspect that is desired, either south and north, or east and west; and the same frame may, in this manner, ripen fruit sooner and later, as may be required. Not to lose the space of ground between the two sides of the frame, M. NOISETTE advises to make use of it for growing strawberries, or such vegetables as will bear the shade, For this oblique espalier he has, besides, invented a case or cover (see Fig. 4), which, where it is turned to the trees, has glass lights, so that the trees may be protected, and placed in nearly the same situation, as if they were in a peach-house. And what is more, they may even be forced, by making a hotbed round them, when the cover is put on. These contrivances, which certainly are ingenious, it must be recollected, are of greater importance in France, and on the continent, generally, than they would be in England, where the use of garden walls and forcing-houses is common but to all those who cannot command these advantages, they will appear worthy of attention.