Magazine of Horticulture 7(2): 71 (Feb 1841)

Grafting Pears on the Mountain Ash

At a meeting of the London Horticultural Society, Dr. Lindley read a communication received from R. A. Hornby, Esq., containing some observations on the grafting of pears on the mountain ash. Mr. H. states, that it lately came under his notice, while staying in Switzerland, where he found it to be very generally practised, and with great success, the crops being both abundant and sure, in a climate and site (on the high plateau of the Tanur mountain, with a poor and shallow soil,) where neither pear nor apple would previously fruit, the effect being to retard the blossoms and give vigor to the constitution. Neither the flesh nor flavor of the fruit was said to be at all affected; budding or grafting being alike successful on either old or young stocks by the usual process. Great care must however be taken that none of the young shoots which the stocks may make, during the first season after working, be removed; in the succeeding spring, however, before vegetation commences, all such redundant growth should be cut out closely, and the graft alone be permitted to push in freedom. Its growth will then be luxuriant.

A note on the above communication, by Mr. R. Thompson, under gardener in the Society's orchard, was also read, in which he states that the mountain ash was one among the various kinds of stocks on which the pear was grafted at the Society's garden, on which subject the following observations were made:—

The trees grew very well, but scarcely so vigorously as those on the pear stock, or even on the quince. The fruit was produced at an earlier age of good size; there was no perceptible difference in the flavor, when compared with those produced under similar circumstances, but on the pear stocks, nor was it observed that the blossoms were at all retarded. The trees did not appear as if they would be long-lived, owing to the unequal swelling of the respective species. The pear increased in diameter more rapidly than the mountain ash. Still, as the latter species is much hardier than the quince, and would thrive in almost any soil, it might be advantageously used in some situations.—(Newspaper.)

[M. Floss, in the Transactions of the Prussian Gardening Society, (1829,) has communicated a notice of the plan of grafting on the mountain ash. He states that the trees thrive in a sandy soil, that the fruit keeps better, but is not quite as good flavored as when growing on the wild stock. The pear stock is prevented from increasing in diameter over the ash, by leaving one or two branches on the latter, which takes a portion of the sap from the grafted stock. There does not appear to be any advantage arising from the practice, except the capabilities of the ash thriving on light, sandy soils, where the wild pear stock will not make any growth.—Ed.]