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A different mode of engrafting, however, has been taught us by chance, another great instructor, and one from whom, perhaps, we have learnt a still greater number of lessons. A careful husbandman,1 being desirous, for its better protection, to surround his cottage with a palisade, thrust the stakes into growing ivy, in order to prevent them from rotting. Seized by the tenacious grasp of the still living ivy, the stakes borrowed life from the life of another wood, and it was found that the stock of a tree acted in place of earth.

For this method of grafting the surface is made level with a saw, and the stock carefully smoothed with the pruning-knife. This done, there are two modes of proceeding, the first of which consists in grafting between the bark and the wood. The ancients were fearful at first of cutting into the wood, but afterwards they ventured to pierce it to the very middle, and inserted the graft in the pith, taking care to enclose but one, because the pith, they thought, was unable to receive more. An improved method has, however, in more recent times, allowed of as many as six grafts being inserted, it being considered desirable by additional numbers to make a provision for the contingency of some of them not surviving. With this view, an incision is carefully made in the middle of the stock, a thin wedge being inserted to prevent the sides from closing, until the graft, the end of which is first cut to a point, has been let into the fissure. In doing this many precautions are necessary, and more particularly every care should be taken that the stock is that of a tree suitable for the purpose, and that the graft is taken from one that is proper for grafting. The sap,2 too, is variously distributed in the several trees, and does not occupy the same place in all. In the vine and the fig3 the middle of the tree is the driest, and it is in the summit that the generative power resides; hence it is, that from the top the grafts are selected. In the olive, again, the sap lies in the middle of the tree, and the grafts are accordingly taken from thence: the upper part being comparatively dry. The graft takes most easily in a tree, the bark of which is of a similar4 nature to its own, and which, blossoming at the same time as itself, has an affinity with it in the development of the natural juices. On the other hand, the process of uniting is but slow where the dry is brought in contact with the moist, and the hard bark with the soft.

The other points to be observed are the following: the incision must not be made in a knot, as such an inhospitable rigidity will certainly repel the stranger plant; the incision should be made, too, in the part which is most compact, and it must not be much more than three fingers in length, not in a slanting direction, nor yet such as to pierce the tree from side to side. Virgil5 is of opinion, that the grafts should not be taken from the top, and it is universally agreed that it is best to select them from the shoulders of the tree which look towards the north-east;6 from a tree, too, that is a good bearer, and from a young shoot,7 unless, indeed, the graft is intended for an old tree, in which case it should be of a more robust growth. In addition to this, the graft ought to be in a state of impregnation, that is to say, swelling8 with buds, and giving every promise of bearing the same year; it ought, too, to be two years old, and not thinner than the little finger. The graft is inserted at the smaller end, when it is the object of the grower that it should not grow to any considerable length, but spread out on either side. But it is more particularly necessary that the buds upon the graft should be smooth and regular, and there must be nothing upon it at all scabbed or shrivelled. Success may be fully reckoned on if the pith of the graft is brought in contact with the wood and bark of the stock; that being a much better plan than merely uniting them bark to bark. In pointing the graft, the pith ought not to be laid bare; still, however, it should be pared with a small knife, so that the point may assume the form of a fine wedge, not more than three fingers in length, a thing that may be very easily effected by first steeping it in water and then scraping it. The graft, however, must not be pointed while the wind is blowing, and care must be taken that the bark is not rubbed off from either graft or stock. The graft must be thrust into the stock up to the point where the bark begins; care, too, must be taken not to wrench off the bark during the process of insertion, nor must it be thrust back so as to form any folds or wrinkles. It is for this reason that a graft should not be used that is too full of sap, no, by Hercules! no more than one that is dry and parched; for by doing so, in the former case, from the excess of moisture, the bark becomes detached, and in the latter, from want of vitality, it yields no secretions, and consequently will not incorporate with the stock.

It is a point most religiously9 observed, to insert the graft during the moon's increase, and to be careful to push it down with both hands; indeed, it is really the fact, that in this operation, the two hands, acting at the same moment, are of necessity productive of a more modified and better regulated effort. Grafts that have been inserted with a vigorous effort are later in bearing, but last all the longer; when inserted more ten- derly, the contrary is the result. The incision in the stock should not be too open or too large; nor ought it to be too small, for in such case it would either force out the graft or else kill it by compression. But the most necessary precaution of all is to see that the graft is fairly inserted, and that it occupies exactly the middle of the fissure in the stock.

Some10 persons are in the habit of making the place for the fissure in the stock with the knife, keeping the edges of the incision together with bands of osier bound tightly round the stock; they then drive in the wedges, the bands keeping the stock from opening too wide. There are some trees that are grafted in the seed-plot and then transplanted the very same day. If the stock used for grafting is of very considerable thickness, it is the best plan to insert the graft between the bark and the wood; for which purpose a wedge made of bone is best, for fear lest when the bark is loosened the wood should be bruised. In the cherry, the bark is removed before the incision in the stock is made; this, too, is the only tree that is grafted after the winter solstice. When the bark is removed, this tree presents a sort of downy substance, which, if it happens to adhere to the graft, will very speedily destroy it. When once the graft is safely lodged by the aid of the wedge, it is of advantage to drive it home. It is an excellent plan, too, to graft as near the ground as possible, if the conformation of the trunk land knots will admit of it. The graft should not project from the stock more than six fingers in length.

Cato11 recommends a mixture of argil12 or powdered chalk, and cow-dung, to be stirred together till it is of a viscous consistency, and then inserted in the fissure and rubbed all round it. From his writings on the subject it is very evident that at that period it was the practice to engraft only between the wood and the bark, and in no other way; and that the graft was never inserted beyond a couple of fingers in depth.13 He recommends, too, that the pear and the apple should be grafted in spring, as also during fifty days at the time of the summer solstice, and during the time of vintage; but that the olive and the fig should be grafted in spring only, in a thirsting, or in other words, a dry moon: he says also, that it should be done in the afternoon, and not while a south wind is blowing. It is a singular thing, that, not content with protecting the graft in the manner already mentioned, and with sheltering it from showers and frosts by means of turfs and supple bands of split osiers, he recommends that it should be covered with bugloss14 as well—a kind of herb so called—which is to be tied over it and then covered up with straw. At the present day, however, it is thought sufficient to cover the bark with a mixture of mud and chaff, allowing the graft to protrude a couple of fingers in length.

Those who wait for spring to carry on these operations, will find themselves pressed for time; for the buds are then just bursting, except, indeed, in the case of the olive, the buds of which are remarkably long in developing themselves, the tree itself having extremely little sap beneath the bark; this, too, is apt, when in too large quantities, to injure the grafts. As to the pomegranate, too, the fig, and the rest of the trees that are of a dry nature, it is far from beneficial to them to put off the process of grafting till a late period. The pear may be grafted even when in blossom, so that with it the operation may be safely delayed to the month of May even. If grafts of fruit trees have to be carried to any distance, it is considered the best plan, with the view of preserving the juices, to insert them in a turnip; they may also be kept alive by placing them near a stream or a pond, between two hollow tiles covered up at each end with earth. (15.) The grafts of vines, however, are kept in dry holes, in which they are covered over with straw, and then with earth, care being taken to let the tops protrude.15

1 This story is borrowed from Theophrastus, De Caus. B. ii. c. 19. Fee remarks, that it is very doubtful if an operation of so coarse a nature could be productive of such results; and he says, that, at all events, the two woods must have been species of the same genus, or else individuals of the same family. The mode of grafting here described is called by agriculturists in foreign countries, "Pliny's graft."

2 These statements as to the locality of the sap are erroneous.

3 The fig is the only fruit that is not improved by grafting; but then it is not similar to most fruit, being, as Fée says, nothing more than a fleshy floral receptacle.

4 This remark is founded on sound notions of vegetable physiology; but at the same time it is contradictory to what he states in the sequel as to grafting the pear on the plane, the apple on the cornel, &c.

5 Georg. ii. 78.

6 An unnecessary precaution. It is not the situation of the branches so much as the nature of the soil, traversed by the roots, corresponding to them, that would be likely to have an influence on the graft. There is little doubt that Pliny borrowed the present passage from Columella, De Re Rust. v. 11; and De Arbor. 20.

7 This is sound advice.

8 See B. xvi. c. 39, 40, and 41.

9 In reprehending this absurd notion, Fée bestows a passing censure on the superstitions of this nature, contained in the English Vox Stellarum, one of our almanacks; and in the French "Almanach des Bergers," Shepherds' Almanack."

10 This is borrowed by Palladius, in the operations of February, tit. 17, and October, tit. 12.

11 De Re Rust. 40.

12 This is the onguent Saint-Fiacre of the French, and is still used to protect the graft from all contact with the exterior air.

13 "Altitudinem," as Dalechamps suggests, would appear to be a better reading than "latitudinem."

14 See B. xxv. c. 40.

15 Borrowed from Columella, B. iv. c. 29. This method is still employed for young plants; in France it is called "salting" the plants.

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