The Gardener’s Magazine 1(1): 71-72 (1826)

Trans. of the Hort. Soc.

63. Description of a Pear Tree, on which the Operation of Reverse Grafting has been performed. In a letter to the Secretary. By Mr. William Balfour, Gardener to Earl Grey, at Howick, in Northumberland. Read Nov. 4, 1823.

The usual defect of horizontally trained trees, viz.: barrenness to some distance on either side of the main stem, led Mr. Balfour to grafting reversely on the under side of the horizontal branches. The scions for this method are inserted in the same manner as in rind grafting; they take freely and bear abundantly. The advantages of the plan are, curing the barrenness in the centre; growing several kinds of pear upon one tree, which for small families is an advantage; as a full grown pear-tree, bearing a moderate crop in many kinds, yields more fruit than can be consumed before that kind begins to decay. All these advantages, however, may be much more readily attained by reversing young side shoots to cover the centre of the tree, or by grafting some of the horizontal shoots where they issue from the main stem in the usual manner. A tree grafted in the reverse manner (fig. 9.) may be curious, but it certainly is not an elegant object.

The Gardener’s Magazine 1(3): 274-275 (July 1826)

Art. XI. Observations on Reverse Grafting. By Mr. William Balfour, Gardener to the Earl Gray, at Howick.

Sir, I Have been favoured by a friend with a sight of your Gardener's Magazine, in which I perceive you have noticed my method of reverse grafting in rather an illiberal manner. From the respect you appear to have for improvement in general, and particularly in gardening, I should have expected that an improvement, however simple, would have been treated by you in a different manner. You go on by saying,—"All these advantages may be much more readily attained by reversing the young side-shoots." I have proved by experience, that reversed side-shoots do not come into bearing, nor are they so easily kept within due bounds as are the shoots from reverse grafts; and, moreover, shoots cannot be made to break from a desired spot, while a graft may be put on wherever you please; and, besides, reverse-training the side-shoots would not alter the kind, which may at some times be desirable. In all horizontal trained trees, young shoots seldom issue from the main stem without amputation. I grant, that trees grafted and trained in the reverse manner cannot be kept in exact uniformity of training;—utility was my object, as also neatness of training, so far as the nature of the thing will admit I must say, that I do not envy the taste of the person who would prefer a tree trained in exact symmetry, bearing leaves only, to one trained somewhat irregular, bearing a crop of fruit; and to keep a tree in regular bearing, a succession of young shoots must be annually laid in.

I am, Sir, &c.
Wm. Balfour. Hawick, April 14. 1826.