New England Farmer 11: 98 (Oct 10, 1832)
Reciprocal Influence of Stock and Scion
William Prince
Flushing, March 18, 1830.

Dear Sir—You request that I would inform you, if I have from my own experience, ascertained whether the stock of a tree has any influence on the graft so as to affect the quality of the fruit? In my father's time, I had often heard this subject discussed, and was led firmly to believe that the stock had no influence or effect whatsoever on the fruit ingrafted on it, but that some sorts of seedlings grew much faster and made stronger growths than others, and of course gave greater vigor to the graft, but the fruit I supposed would be unchanged. You may judge therefore of my surprise, when I was all at once convinced and satisfied that I had been in an error. Having found that the worm which is so destructive to peach trees, would not touch the almond stock, and that the hard shell almond raised from seed, did not like the original, produce handsome straight stocks, I had a row of young peach trees along the main walk budded to the almond at the surface of the ground, and when grown tall, budded again about five or six feet high to the Old Newington cling-stone, a fruit of a globular form. Passing by this row of trees two years after, when the fruit was ripe, I stopped to gather some, and to my astonishment, I found the fruit to be of an oval form; knowing I had budded them myself, from a bearing tree of the Old Newington, and that the fruit now was oval when they should have been round, it struck me that perhaps the almond stock had caused the alteration; it occurred to me immediately, that there were some peach stocks in the same row where the almond buds had failed, and if there were fruit on them, and they retained their natural form, it would be a convincing proof of the almond stock having altered the form of the fruit. On examining the row, I found several stocks of peaches inoculated the same height as the almonds, with fruit on, which retained their usual round form, when all on the almond stocks were oval, and very much so, that the difference was so plain, you would have thought them a different fruit, but the color and flavor were the same. I went immediately to my brother who lived then at a short distance and told him of it, but he could not think it possible till he went and saw it himself, and was then satisfied of the fact. I have been thus particular, that you may see I can have no doubt on my mind.

The New England Farmer, April 17th, 1829, in an article signed J. W. and dated at Weston, mentions respecting the effect of the stock on the graft, that a red apple becomes of a more brilliant red when grafted on a stock that produces red fruit; a green or yellow apple stock diminishes its beauty, and that he had seen scions taken from one tree and set in pale green and in red apple stocks, and that the apples they produced bore no resemblance to each other on these two trees.

* In France they formerly used to graft the same sort over
and over again three or four times on the same stock.

The farmers on Long Island, in Kings county, have been so well satisfied of the influence of the stock on the graft for some years past, that they procure stocks of the largest green apple to graft with the Newton pippin, so as to have large fair fruit. Life seems too short for experiments that require many years to bring them to perfection, as I observed above thirty years ago to Fisher Ames, who was very curious in fruit. I then stated to him what Mr Knight is now bringing to perfection, that fruit like pigeons, (as the pigeon fanciers say) might be bred to a feather by mixing the farinae and planting the seed, then repeating the same on the new plant, but the time necessary to carry such experiments into effect was enough to discourage any one from attempting it. I shall however, have some experiments tried to ascertain whether the old French method of grafting in and in, will change the form and flavor of fruits, for after what I saw myself as above stated, I am now convinced it will.*

I have now to state to you what I have never met with in any author, that the graft has an influence on the stock and root of the tree. The cherry tree when the thermometer in hard winters falls much below zero, is frequently killed by the severity of the frost. I had some years ago, 1821, a number of cherry trees killed, but the Weeping cherry, a native of Siberia, although budded some height from the ground, remained uninjured; this led me more minutely to examine their roots, and I found invariably, that the roots of all the weeping cherries differed from the roots of other cherry trees, although the stock was the same; the roots of the trees grafted or budded with the weeping cherry being much fuller of fine spreading fibres, and rooting much stronger. Mentioning this fact to a man who keeps a small apple nursery in this place, and on whose veracity I could depend, he told me that the graft of the Siberian crab apple trees, although grafted two feet from the ground, affected the roots, and caused them to become so wiry and hard, and so full of these fine tough fibrous roots, and that they were very different from the roots of other apple trees.

I have now given you all the information I possess on the subject.

Yours respectfully, Wm. Prince