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Having now described what we may call the armoury1 of the vine, it remains for us to treat with a particular degree of care of the nature of the vine itself.

The shoots of the vine, as also of certain other trees, the interior of which is naturally of a spongy quality, have certain knots or joints upon the stem that intercept the pith. The intervals between these joints in the branches are short, and more particularly so towards the extremities. The pith, in itself the vivifying spirit of the tree, is always taking an onward direction, so long as the knot, by being open in the centre, allows it a free passage. If, however, the knot should become solidified and deny it a passage, the pith is then thrown downward upon the knot that lies next below it, and making its escape, issues forth there in the shape of a bud, these buds always making their appearance on each side alternately, as already mentioned in the case of the reed and the giant-fennel;2 in other words, here one bud makes its appearance at the bottom of a knot to the right, the next one takes its place on the left, and so on alternately. In the vine this bud is known as the "gem,"3 as soon as the pith has formed there a small round knob; but before it has done this, the concavity that is left upon the surface is merely called the "eye:"4 when situate at the extremity of the shoot, it is known as the " germ."5 It is in the same way, too, that the stock branches, suckers, grapes, leaves, and tendrils of the vine are developed: and it is a very surprising tact, that all that grows on the right6 side of the tree is stronger and stouter than on the left.

Hence it is, that when slips of this tree are planted, it is necessary to cut these knots in the middle, in order to prevent the pith from making its escape. In the same way, too, when planting the fig, suckers are taken, nine inches in length, and after the ground is opened they are planted with the part downwards that grew nearest to the tree, and with a couple of eyes protruding from the earth—in slips of trees, that part is properly called the eye which is to give birth to the: future bud. It is for this reason that, in the seed-plots even the slips that are thus planted sometimes bear the same year the fruit that they would have borne if they had remained upon the tree: this takes place when they have been planted in good seasons and are replete with fecundity, for then they bring to maturity the fruits the conception of which was commenced in another spot. Fig-trees that are thus planted may very easily be transplanted in the third year. As some compensation for the rapidity with which this tree becomes7 old, it has thus received the privilege of coming to maturity8 at a very early period.

The vine throws out a great number of shoots. In the first place, however, none of them are ever used for planting, except those which are useless, and would have been cut away as mere brushwood; while, on the other hand, every part is pruned off that has borne fruit the previous year. In former times, it was the custom to plant the slip with a head at the extremity, consisting of a piece of the hard wood on each side of it, the same, in fact, that is called a mallet shoot9 at the present day. In more recent times, however, the practice has been adopted of pulling it off merely with a heel attached to it, as in the fig;10 and there is no kind of slip that takes with greater certainty. A third method, again, has been added to the former ones, and a more simple one as well, that of taking the slip without any heel at all. These slips are known by the name of arrow-11 shoots, when they are twisted before planting; and the same, when they are neither cut short nor twisted, are called three-budded12 slips. The same sucker very often furnishes several slips of this kind. To plant a stock-shoot13 of the vine is unproductive, and, indeed, no shoots will bear unless they are taken from a part that has borne fruit already. A slip that has but few knots upon it, is looked upon as likely not to bear; while a great number of buds is considered an indication of fruitfulness. Some persons say that no suckers ought to be planted, but those which have already blossomed. It is far from advantageous14 to plant arrow-slips, for after being twisted, they are apt to break in transplanting. The slips when planted should be a foot in length,15 and not less, and they ought to have five or six knots upon them; with the dimensions above stated, they cannot, however, possibly have less than three buds. It is considered the most advantageous plan to plant them out the same day that they are cut; but if it is found necessary to plant them some time after, they should be kept in the way that we have already mentioned;16 particular care being taken not to let them protrude from the earth, lest they should become dried by the action of the sun, or nipped by the wind or frost. When they have been kept too long in a dry place, they must be put in water for several days, for the purpose of restoring their verdancy and freshness.

The spot selected, whether for nursery or vineyard, ought to be exposed to the sun, and of as great extent as possible; the soil being turned up to a depth of three feet with a two-pronged fork. The earth, on being thrown up with the mattock,17 swells naturally,18 and ridges are formed with it four feet in height, intersected by trenches a couple19 of feet in depth. The earth in the trenches is carefully cleansed and raked out,20 so that none of it may be left unbroken, care being taken also to keep it exactly level; if the ridges are unequal, it shows that the ground has been badly dug. At the same time the breadth should be measured of each ridge that lies between the trenches. The slips are planted either in holes or else in elongated furrows, and then covered with very fine earth; but where it is a light soil, the grower will lose his pains should he neglect to place a layer of richer mould beneath. Not less than a couple of slips should be planted together, keeping them exactly on a level with the adjoining earth, which should be pressed down and made compact with the dibble. In the seed-plot there should be intervals left between each two settings a foot and a half in breadth and half a foot in length: when thus planted, it is usual, at the end of two years, to cut the mallet-shoots at the knot nearest the ground, unless there is some good reason for sparing them. When this is done, they throw out eyes, and with these upon them at the end of three years the quicksets are transplanted.

There is another method, also, of planting21 the vine, which a luxurious refinement in these matters has introduced. Four mallet-shoots are tightly fastened together with a cord in tile greenest part, and when thus arranged are passed through the shank-bone of an ox or else a tube of baked earth, after which they are planted in the ground, care being taken to leave a couple of buds protruding: in this way they become impregnated with moisture, and, immediately on being cut, throw out fresh wood. The tube is then broken, upon which the root, thus set at liberty, assumes fresh vigour, and the clusters22 ultimately bear upon them grapes belonging to the four kinds thus planted together.

In consequence of a more recent discovery, another method has been adopted. A mallet-shoot is split down the middle and the pith extracted, after which the two portions are fastened together, every care being taken not to injure the buds. The mallet-shoot is then planted in a mixture of earth and manure, and when it begins to throw out branches it is cut, the ground being repeatedly dug about it. Columella23 assures us that the grapes of this plant will have no stones, but it is a more surprising thing that the slip itself should survive when thus deprived of the pith.24 Still, however, I think I ought not to omit the fact that there are some slips that grow without the ordinary articulations of trees upon them; thus, for instance, five or six very small sprigs of box25 if tied together and put in the ground, will take root. It was formerly made a point to take these sprigs from a box-tree that had not been lopped, as it was fancied that in the last case they would not live; experience, however, has since put an end to that notion.

The culture of the vineyard naturally follows the training of the nursery. There are five26 different kinds of vine: that with the branches running27 along the ground, the vine that stands without support,28 the vine that is propped and requires no cross-piece,29 the vine that is propped and requires a single cross-piece, and the vine that requires a trellis of four compartments.30 The mode of cultivation requisite for the propped vine may be understood as equally adapted to the one that stands by itself and requires no support, for this last method is only employed where there is a scarcity of wood for stays. The stay with the single cross-piece in a straight line is known by the name of "canterius." It is the best of all for the wine, for then the tree throws no shadow, and the grape is ripened continuously by the sun, while, at the same time, it derives more advantage from the action of the wind, and disengages the dew with greater facility: the superfluous leaves and shoots, too, are more easily removed, and the breaking up of the earth and other operations about the tree are effected with greater facility. But, above all, by the adoption of this method, the tree sheds its blossoms more beneficially than under any other circumstances. This cross-piece is generally made of a stake, or a reed, or else of a rope of hair or hemp, as is usually the case in Spain and at Brundisium. When the trellis is employed, wine is produced in greater quantities; this method has its name of "compluviata" from the "compluvium" or square opening in the roofs of our houses; the trellis is divided into four compartments by as many crosspieces. This mode of planting the vine will now be treated of, and it will be found equally applicable to every kind, with the only difference that under this last method the operation is somewhat more complicated.

The vine is planted three different ways; in a soil that has been turned up with the spade-the best of the three; in furrows, which is the next best; and in holes, the least advisable method of all: of the way in which ground is prepared by digging, we have made sufficient mention already. (22.) In preparing the furrows31 for the vine it will be quite sufficient if they are a spade in breadth; but if holes are employed for the purpose, they should be three feet every way. The depth required for every kind of vine is three feet; it should, therefore, be made a point not to transplant any vine that is less than three feet in length, allowing then two buds to be above the ground. It will be necessary, too, to soften the earth by working little furrows at the bottom of the hole, and mixing it up with manure. Where the ground is declivitous, it is requisite that the hole should be deeper, in addition to which it should be artificially elevated on the edge of the lower side. Holes of this nature, which are made a little longer, to receive two vines, are known as "alvei," or beds. The root of the vine should occupy the middle of the hole, and when firmly fixed in the ground it should incline at the top due east; its first support it ought to receive from a reed.32 The vineyard should be bounded by a decuman33 path eighteen feet in width, sufficiently wide, in fact, to allow two carts to pass each other; others, again, should run at right angles to it, ten feet in width, and passing through the middle of each jugerum; or else, if the vineyard is of very considerable extent, cardinal34 paths may be formed instead of them, of the same breadth as the decuman path. At the end, too, of every five of the stays a path should be made to run, or, in other words, there should be one continuous cross-piece to every five stays; each space that is thus included from one end to the other forming a bed.35

Where the soil is dense and hard it must be turned up only with the spade, and nothing but quicksets should be planted there; but where, on the other hand, it is thin and loose, mallet-shoots even may be set either in hole or furrow. Where the ground is declivitous it is a better plan to draw furrows across than to turn up all the soil with the spade, so that the falling away of the earth may be counteracted by the position of the cross-pieces.36 It will be best, too, where the weather is wet or the soil naturally dry, to plant the mallet-shoots in autumn, unless, indeed, there is anything in the nature of the locality to counteract it; for while a dry, hot soil makes it necessary to plant in autumn, in a moist, cold one it may be necessary to defer it until the end of spring even. In a parched soil, too, it would be quite in vain to plant quicksets, and it is far from advantageous to set mallet-shoots in a dry ground, except just after a fall of rain. On the other hand, in moist localities, a vine in leaf even may be transplanted and thrive very well, and that, too, even as late as the summer solstice, in Spain, for example. It is of very considerable advantage that there should be no wind stirring on the day of planting, and, though many persons are desirous that there should be a south wind blowing at the time, Cato37 is of quite a different way of thinking.

In a soil of medium quality, it is best to leave an interval of five38 feet between every two vines; where it is very fertile the distance should be five feet at least, and where it is poor and thin eight at the very most. The Umbri and the Marsi leave intervals between their vines of as much as twenty feet in length, for the purpose of ploughing between them; such a plot of ground as this they call by the name of "porculetum." In a rainy, foggy locality, the plants ought to be set wider apart, but in dry spots nearer to one another. Careful observation has discovered various methods of economizing space; thus, for instance, when a vineyard is planted in shaded ground, a seed-plot is formed there as well; or, in other words, at the same time that the quickset is planted in the place which it is finally to occupy, the mallet-shoot intended for transplanting is set between the vines, as well as between the rows. By adopting this method, each jugerum will produce about sixteen thousand quicksets; and the result is, that two years' fruit is gained thereby, a cutting planted being two years later in bearing than a quickset transplanted. Quicksets, when growing in a vineyard, are cut down at the end of a year, leaving only a single eye above ground; some manure is then placed upon the spot, and a stay driven in close to the plant. In the same manner it is again cut down at the end39 of the second year, and from this it acquires additional strength, and receives nutriment to enable it to endure the onerous task of reproduction. If this is neglected, in its over-haste to bear it will shoot up slim and meagre, like a bulrush, and from not being subjected to such a training, will grow to nothing but wood. In fact, there is no tree that grows with greater eagerness than the vine, and if its strength is not carefully husbanded for the bearing of fruit, it will be sure to grow to nothing but wood.

The best props for supporting the vine are those which we have already mentioned,40 or else stays made of the robur and the olive; if these cannot be procured, then props of juniper, cypress, laburnum, or elder,41 must be employed. If any other wood is used for the purpose, the stakes should be cut at the end each year: reeds tied together in bundles make excellent cross-rails for the vine, and will last as long as five years. Sometimes the shorter stock-branches of the vines are brought together and tied with vine-cuttings, like so many cords: by this method an arcade is formed, known to us by the name of "funetum."

The vine, by the end of the third year, throws out strong and vigorous stock-branches with the greatest rapidity, and these in due time form the tree; after this, it begins to mount the cross-piece. Some persons are in the habit of "blinding" the vine at this period, by removing the eyes with the end of the pruning-knife turned upwards, their object being to increase the length of the branches—a most injurious practice, however; for it is far better to let the tree become habituated to grow of itself, and to prune away the tendrils every now and then when they have reached the cross-rail, so long as it may be deemed proper to add to its strength. There are some persons who forbid the vine to be touched for a whole year after it has been transplanted, and who say that the pruning-knife ought never to be used before it is five years old; and then at that period they are for cutting it down so completely as to leave three buds only. Others, again, cut down the vine within a year even after it has been transplanted, but then they take care to let the stem increase every year by three or four joints, bringing it on a level with the cross-piece by the fourth. These two methods, however, both of them, retard the fruit and render the tree stunted and knotty, as we see the case in all dwarf trees. The best plan is to make the parent stem as robust and vigorous as possible, and then the wood will be sure to be strong and hardy. It is far from safe, too, to take slips from a cicatrized stem; such a practice is erro- neous, and only the result of ignorance. All cuttings of this nature are sure to be the offspring of acts of violence, and not in reality of the tree itself. The vine, while growing, should be possessed of all its natural strength; and we find that when left entirely to itself, it will throw out wood in every part; for there is no portion of it that Nature does not act upon. When the stem has grown sufficiently strong for the purpose, it should at once be trained to the cross-piece; if, how- ever, it is but weak, it should be cut down so as to lie below the hospitable shelter of the cross-piece. Indeed, it is the strength of the stem, and not its age, that ought to decide the matter. It is not advisable42 to attempt to train a vine before the stem has attained the thickness of the thumb; but in the year after it has reached the frame, one or two stock-branches should be preserved, according to the strength developed by the parent tree. The same, too, must be done the succeeding year, if the weakness of the stem demands it; and in the next, two more should be added. Still, however, there should never be more than four branches allowed to grow; in one word, there must be no indulgence shown, and every exuberance in the tree must in all cases be most carefully repressed; for such is the nature of the vine, that it is more eager to bear than it is to live. It should be remembered, too, that all that is subtracted from the wood is so much added to the fruit. The vine, in fact, would much rather produce shoots and ten- drils than fruit, because43 its fruit, after all, is but a transitory possession: hence it is that it luxuriates to its own undoing, and instead of really gaining ground, exhausts itself.

The nature, too, of the soil will afford some very useful suggestions. Where it is thin and hungry, even though the vine should display considerable vigour, it should be pruned down below the cross-piece and kept there, so that all the shoots may be put forth below it. The interval, however, between the top of the vine and the cross-piece ought to be but very small; so much so, indeed, as to leave it hopes, as it were, of reaching it, which, however, it must never be suffered to do; for it should never be allowed to recline thereon and spread and run on at its ease. This mode of culture ought, in fact, to be so nicely managed, that the vine should show an inclination rather to grow in body than to run to wood.

The main branch should have two or three buds left below the cross-piece that give promise of bearing wood, and it should be carefully trained along the rail, and drawn close to it in such a manner as to be supported by it, and not merely hang loosely from it. When this is done, it should be tightly fastened also with a binding three buds off, a method which will greatly contribute to check the too abundant growth of the wood, while stouter shoots will be thrown out below the ligature: it is absolutely forbidden, however, to tie the extremity of the main branch. When all this is done, Nature operates in the following way—the parts that are allowed to fall downward, or those which are held fast by the ligature, give out fruit, those at the bend of the branch more particularly. On the other hand, the portion that lies below the ligature throws out wood; by reason, I suppose, of the interception of the vital spirit and the marrow or pith, previously mentioned:44 the wood, too, that is grown under these circumstances will bear fruit in the following year. In this way there are two kinds of stock branches: the first of which, issuing from the solid stock, gives promise of wood only for this year, and is known as the leaf stock-branch;45 while that which grows beyond the mark made by the ligature is a fruit stock-branch.46 There are other kinds, again, that shoot from the stock-branches when they are a year old, and these are in all cases fruit stock-branches. There is left, also, beneath the cross-piece a shoot that is known as the reserve47 shoot, being always a young stock-branch, with not more than three buds upon it. This is intended to give out wood the next year, in case the vine by over-luxuriance should happen to exhaust itself. Close to it there is another bud left, no bigger than a wart; this is known as the "furunculus,"48 and is kept in readiness in case the reserve shoot should fail.

The vine, if enticed to bear fruit before the seventh year from its being planted as a slip, will pine49 away, become as slim as a bulrush, and die. It is thought equally undesirable, too, to let an old stock-branch range far and wide, and extend as far as the fourth stay from the stem; to such a branch the name of dragon50-branch is given by some, and of juniculus by others; if these are allowed to spread, they will run to wood only, and make male vines, as they are called. When a vine has become quite hard, it is an extremely bad plan to use it for reproduction by layers. When the vine is five years old the stock-branches are twisted, but each is allowed to throw out some new wood; and so from one to another, care being taken to prune away the old wood. It is always the best plan, however, to leave a reserve shoot; but this should always be very near the main stem of the vine, not at a greater distance, in fact, than that already mentioned.51 If, too, the stock branches should throw out too luxuriantly, they must be twisted, the object being that the vine may put forth no more than four secondary branches, or even two only, if it happens to be a single cross-railed vine.

If the vine is to be trained to grow without any stay at all, still it will stand in need, at first, of some support or other, until it has learnt to support itself: in all other respects the mode of proceeding will be the same at first. When pruning, it will be necessary that the thumb-branches52 should be arranged in equal numbers on either side, in order that the fruit may not overload one side of the tree; and we may here remark by the way, that the fruit by its weight is apt to bear down the tree and counteract any tendency to increase in height. The vine, unsupported, when more than three feet in height, begins to bend, but the others do not, until they are five feet high at the least; care should be taken, however, never to let them exceed the height of a man of moderate stature. Growers are in the habit of surrounding the vines that creep along the ground with a low fence53 for them to lean upon; and round this fence they dig a trench by way of precaution, for fear lest the branches in their range should meet one another and so come into collision. The greater part of the world, in fact, gather grapes at their vintage, grown in this fashion, and lying upon the ground—at all events, it is so in Africa, Egypt, and Syria; throughout the whole of Asia, too, and in many parts of Europe as well, this method prevails. In such cases the vine ought to be kept down close to the ground, and the root should be nurtured at the same time and in just the same way as in the case of the vine that grows on the cross-piece. Care, too, should be taken to leave only the young thumb-shoots, together with three buds, where it is a prolific soil, two where it is poor and thin: it is better, too, that the shoots should be numerous than individually long. The influences of soil, of which we have made mention already, will make themselves felt all the more powerfully the nearer the grapes grow to the ground.

It is a very advantageous plan to separate54 the various species of vines and to set them in different compartments—for the mixture of different varieties is apt to deteriorate the flavour not only of the must, but the wine even as well. If, again, for some reason or other, the different kinds must be intermingled, it will be requisite to keep all those together which ripen at exactly the same period. The more fertile and the more level the soil, the higher the cross-pieces must he placed.55 High cross-pieces, too, are best suited to localities that are subject to heavy dews and fogs, but not to those that are exposed to high winds; on the other hand, where the soil is thin, parched, and arid, or exposed to the wind, the cross-pieces should be set lower. The cross-piece should be fastened to the stay with cords tied as tight as possible, while the bindings used for tying the vine should be thin. As to the various species of vines, and the soils and climates requi- site for the growth of each, we have already treated56 of them, when enumerating the several varieties of the vine and the wines which they produce.

With reference to other points connected with the culture of the vine, there are very considerable doubts. Many persons recommend that the vineyard should be turned up with the spade after every dew that falls in the summer. Others, again, forbid this practice when the vine is in bud; for the clothes, they say, of the people coming and going to and fro are apt to catch the buds, and either knock or rub them off; it is for this reason, too, that they are so careful to keep all animals away from the vines, those with long wool in particular, as it is very apt to pull off the buds. Raking, too, they say, is very injurious to the vine while the grape is forming; and it will be quite sufficient, they assure us, if the ground is turned up three times in the year, after the vernal equinox—first, at the rising of the Vergiliæ,57 the second at the rising of the Dog-star, and the third time just as the grape is turning black. Some persons make it a rule that an old vineyard shall have one turning up between the time of vintage and the winter solstice, though others, again, are of opinion that it is quite sufficient to bare the roots and manure them. They turn up the ground again after the ides of April,58 but before the time for germination, or, in other words, the sixth of the ides of May;59 then again before the tree begins to blossom, after it has shed its blossom, and, last of all, when the grape is just on the turn. The most skilful growers say that if the ground is dug up oftener than necessary, the grapes will become so remarkably thin-skinned as to burst. When the ground is turned up, care should be taken to do it before the hot hours of the day; a clayey soil, too, should never be ploughed or dug. The dust that is raised in digging is beneficial60 to the vine, it is said, by protecting it from the heat of the sun and the injurious effects of fogs.

The spring clearing ought to be done, it is universally admitted, within ten days after the ides of May,61 and before the blossoming begins; in addition to which, it should always be done below the cross-piece. As to the second clearing, opinions differ very considerably. Some think it ought to be done when the blossoming is over, others, again, when the grapes are nearly at maturity. This point, however, may be decided by following the advice of Cato on the subject; for we must now pass on to a description of the proper' mode of pruning the vine.

Immediately after62 the vintage, and while the weather is still warm, the work of pruning63 begins; this, however, ought never to be done, for certain physical reasons,64 before the rising of the Eagle, as we shall have occasion to explain in the following Book. Nor should it be done either when the west winds begin to prevail, for even then there is great doubt whether a fault may not be committed by being in too great haste to commence the work. If any return of wintry weather should chance to nip the vines, while still labouring under the wounds recently inflicted on them in pruning, there is little doubt that their buds will become quite benumbed with cold, the wounds will open again, and the eyes, moistened by the juices that distil from the tree, will become frost-bitten by the rigour of the weather. For who is there,65 in fact, that does not know that the buds are rendered brittle by frost? All this, however, depends upon accurate calculations in the management of large grounds, and the blame of precipitation cannot with any justice be laid upon Nature. The earlier the vine is pruned, in suitable weather, the greater is the quantity of wood, while the later the pruning, the more abundant is the fruit. Hence it is that it is most advisable to prune the poor meagre vines first, and to defer pruning the more thriving ones to the very last. In pruning, due care should always be taken to cut in a slanting direction, in order66 that the rain may run off with all the greater facility. The wounds, too, should look down- wards towards the ground, and should be made as lightly as possible, the edge of the knife being well-sharpened for the purpose, so as to make a clean cut each time. Care should be taken, too, to cut always between two buds, and that the eyes are not injured in the operation. It is generally thought that wherever the vine is black, all those parts may be cut off, the healthy parts not being touched; as no useful shoots can be put forth by wood that is bad in itself. If a meagre vine has not good stock-shoots, the best plan is to cut it down to the ground, and then to train new ones. In clearing away the leaves, too, those leaves should not be removed which accompany the clusters, for by so doing the grapes are made to fall off, except where the vine happens to be young. Those leaves are regarded as useless which grow on the sides of the trunk and not from an eye; and so, too, are the bunches which shoot from the hard, strong wood, and are only to be removed by the aid of the knife.

Some persons are of opinion that it is a better plan to fix the stay midway between two vines; and, indeed, by the adoption of this method the roots are cleared with greater facility. It is best, however, where the vine needs but a single cross- rail, due care being taken that the rail is a strong one, and the locality not exposed to high winds. In the case of those vines which require trellissed cross-rails, the stay should be placed as near as possible to the burden it has to support; in order, however, that there may be no impediment thrown in the way of clearing the roots, it may be placed at the distance of one cubit from the stock, but not more. It is generally recommended to clear the roots before the pruning67 is commenced.

Cato68 gives the following general precepts in relation to the culture of the vine:—" Let the vine grow as high as possible, and fasten it firmly, but not too tight. You should treat it in the following manner. Clean the roots of the vine at seedtime, and after pruning it dig about it, and then begin to labour at the ground, by tracing with the plough continuous furrows every way. Plant the young vines in layers as early as possible, and then break up the ground about them. If the vine is old, take care and prune it as little as possible. In preference, bend the vine into the ground for layers, if necessary, and cut it at the end of two years. The proper time for cutting the young vine, is when it has gained sufficient strength. If the vineyard is bald of vines, then draw furrows between them, and plant quicksets there: but let no shadow be thrown on the furrows, and take care and dig them often. If the vineyard is old, sow ocinum69 there, in case the trees are meagre: but take care and sow there nothing that bears seed. Put manure, chaff, and grape-husks about the roots, or, indeed, anything of a similar nature that will give the tree additional strength. As soon as the vine begins to throw out leaves, set about clearing them. Fasten the young trees in more places than one, so that the stem may not break. As soon as it begins to run along the stay, fasten down the young branches lightly, and extend them, in order that they may gain the right position. When the grape begins to be mottled, then tie down the vine. The first season for grafting the vine is the spring, the other when the grape is in blossom; the last period is the best. If it is your wish to transplant an old vine, you will only be able to do so in case it is no thicker than the arm: first, however, you must prune it, taking care not to have more than two buds upon the stem. Then dig it well up by the roots, being careful to trace them, and using every possible precaution not to injure them. Place it in the hole or furrow exactly in the position in which it has stood before, then cover it with earth, which should be well trodden down. You must then prop it up, fasten it, and turn it in the same direction as before; after which, dig about it repeatedly." The ocinum that Cato here recommends to be sown in the vineyards, is a fodder known by that name by the ancients; it thrives in the shade remarkably well, and received its name70 from the rapidity with which it grows.

(23.) We come now to speak of the method of growing vines upon trees,71 a mode that has been condemned72 in the strongest terms by the Saserna's, both father and son, and up- held by Scrofa, these being our most ancient writers on agri- culture next to Cato, and men of remarkable skill. Indeed, Scrofa himself will not admit that it is beneficial anywhere except in Italy. The experience of ages, however, hats sufficiently proved that the wines of the highest quality are only grown upon vines attached to trees, and that even then the choicest wines are produced by the upper part of the tree, the produce of the lower part being more abundant; such being the beneficial results of elevating the vine. It is with a view to this that the trees employed for this purpose are selected. In the first rank of all stands the elm,73 with the exception of the Atinian variety, which is covered with too many leaves; and next comes the black poplar, which is valued for a similar reason, being not so densely covered with leaves. Most people, too, by no means hold the ash and the fig in disesteem, as also the olive, if it is not overshadowed with branches. We have treated at sufficient length already of the planting and culture of these several trees.

They must not be touched with the knife before the end of three years; and then the branches are preserved, on each side in its turn, the pruning being done in alternate years. In the sixth year the vine is united to the tree. In Italy beyond the Padus, in addition to the trees already mentioned, they plant for their vines the cornel, the opulus, the linden, the maple, the ash, the yoke-elm, and the quercus; while in Venetia they grow willows for the purpose, on account of the humidity74 of the soil. The top of the elm is lopped away, and the branches of the middle are regularly arranged in stages; no tree in general being allowed to exceed twenty feet in height. The stories begin to spread out in the tree at eight feet from the ground, in the hilly districts and upon dry soils, and at twelve in champaign and moist localities. The hand75 of the trunk ought to have a southern aspect, and the branches that project from them should be stiff and rigid like so many fingers; at the same time due care should be taken to lop off the thin beardlike twigs, in order to check the growth of all shade. The interval best suited for the trees, if it is the grower's intention to keep the soil turned up with the plough, is forty feet back and front, and twenty at the side; if it is not to be turned up, then twenty feet76 every way will do. A single tree is often made to support as many as ten vines, and the grower is greatly censured who attaches less than three. It is worse than useless to attach the vine before the tree has gained its full strength, as in such case its rapidity of growth would only tend to kill the tree. It is necessary to plant the vine in a trench three feet in depth, leaving an interval of one foot between it and the tree. In this case there is no necessity for using mallet shoots, or for going to any expense in spading or digging; for this method of training on trees has this advantage in particular, that it is beneficial even to the vine that corn should be sown in the same soil; in addition to which, from its height, it is quite able to protect itself, and does not call for the necessity, as in the case of an ordinary vineyard, of enclosing it with walls and hedges or ditches, made at a considerable expense, to protect it from injury by animals.

In the method of training upon trees, reproduction from quicksets or from layers is the only mode employed of all those that have been previously described; the growing by layers being effected two different ways, as already mentioned. The plan, however, of growing from layers in baskets set upon the stages77 of the tree is the most approved one, as it ensures an efficient protection from the ravages of cattle; while, according to another method, a vine or else a stock-branch is bent into the ground near the tree it has previously occupied, or else the nearest one that may be at liberty. It is recommended that all parts of the parent tree that appear above ground should then be scraped, so that it may not throw out wood; while at the same time there are never less than four buds on the part that is put into the ground for the purpose of taking root; there are also two buds left above ground at the head. The vine intended for training on a tree is planted in a furrow four feet long, three broad, and two and a half in depth. At the end of a year the layer is cut to the pith, to enable it to strengthen gradually at the root; after which, the end of the branch is pruned down to within two buds from the ground. At the end of two years the layer is completely separated from the stock, and buried deeper in the ground, that it may not shoot at the place where it has been cut. As to the quicksets, they ought to be removed directly after the vintage.

In more recent times, a plan has been discovered of planting a dragon branch near the tree—that being the name given to an old stock-branch that has become hard and tough in the course of years. For this purpose, it is cut as long as possible, and the bark is taken off from three-fourths of its length, that being the portion which is to be buried in the ground; hence it is, too, that it is called a "barked"78 plant. It is then laid at full length in the furrow, the remaining part protruding from the ground and reclining against the tree. This method is the most speedy one that can be adopted for growing the vine. If the vine is meagre or the soil impoverished, it is usual to keep it cut down as near to the ground as possible, until such time as the root is strengthened. Care, too, should be taken not to plant it covered with dew,79 nor yet while the wind is blowing from the north. The vine itself ought to look towards the north-east, but the young stock-shoots should have a southern aspect.

There should not be too great haste80 in pruning a young vine, but a beginning should be made by giving the wood and foliage a circular form, care being taken not to prune it until it has become quite strong; it should be remembered, too, that the vine, when trained upon a tree, is generally a year later in bearing fruit than when grown on the cross-piece. There are some persons, again, who altogether forbid that a vine should be pruned until such time as it equals the tree in height. At the first pruning it may be cut to within six feet from the ground, below which a shoot must be left, and encouraged to run out by bending the young wood. Upon this shoot, when pruned, there should not be more than three buds left. The branches that take their rise from these buds should be trained in the following year upon the lowermost stages of the tree, and so in each successive year taught to climb to the higher ones. Care, too, should always be taken to leave one hard, woody branch at each stage, as well as one breeding shoot, at liberty to mount as high as it pleases. In addition to these precautions, in all pruning, those shoots should be cut off which have borne fruit the last year, and after the ten- drils81 have been cut away on every side fresh branches should be trained to run along the stages. In Italy the pruning is so managed that the shoots and tendrils of the vines are arranged so as to cover the branches of the tree, while the shoots of the vine in their turn are surrounded with clusters of grapes. In Gallia, on the other hand, the vine is trained to pass from tree to tree. On the Æmilian Way, again, the vine is seen embracing the trunks of the Atinian elms that line the road, while at the same time it carefully avoids their foliage.82

It is a mark of ignorance in some persons to suspend the vine with a cord beneath the branches of the tree, to the great risk of stifling it; for it ought to be merely kept up with a withe of osier, and not tightly laced. Indeed, in those places where the willow abounds, the withes that it affords are preferred, on account of their superior suppleness, while the Sicilians employ for the purpose a grass, which they call "ampelodesmos:"83 throughout the whole of Greece, rushes, cyperus, and sedge84 are similarly employed. When at any time the vine has been liberated from its bonds, it should be allowed to range uncontrolled for some days, and to spread abroad at pleasure, as well as to recline upon the ground which it has been looking down upon the whole year through. For in the same manner that beasts of burden when released from the yoke, and dogs when they have returned from the chase, love to roll themselves on the ground, just so does the vine delight to stretch its loins. The tree itself, too, seems to rejoice, and, thus relieved from the continuous weight which has burdened it, to have all the appearance of now enjoying a free respiration. Indeed, there is no object in all the economy of Nature that does not desire certain alternations for the enjoyment of rest, witness the succession of night and day, for instance. It is for this reason that it is forbidden to prune the vine directly the vintage is over, and while it is still exhausted by the process of reproduction.

Directly the vine has been pruned, it ought to be fastened again to the tree, but in another place; for there is no doubt that it feels very acutely the indentations that are made in it by the holdfasts. In the Gallic method of cultivation they train out two branches at either side, if the trees are forty feet apart, and four if only twenty; where they meet, these branches are fastened together and made to grow in unison; if, too, they are anywhere deficient in number or strength, care is taken to fortify them by the aid of small rods. In a case, however, where the branches are not sufficiently long to meet, they are artificially prolonged by means of a hook, and so united to the tree that desires their company. The branches thus trained to unite they used to prime at the end of the second year. But where the vine is aged, it is a better plan to give them a longer time to reach the adjoining tree, in case they should not have gained the requisive thickness; besides which, it is always good to encourage the growth of the hard wood in the dragon branches.

There is yet another method,85 which occupies a middle place between this mode of propagation and that by layers. It consists of laying the entire vine in the earth, and then splitting the stock asunder by means of wedges; the fibrous portions are then trained out in as many furrows, care being taken to support each of the slender plants by fastening it to a stake, and not to cut away the branches that shoot from the sides. The growers of Novara, not content with the multitude of shoots that run from tree to tree, nor yet with an abundance of branches, encourage the stock-branches to entwine around forks planted in the ground for the purpose; a method, however, which, in addition to the internal defects arising from the soil, imparts a harshness to the wine.

There is another fault, too, that is committed by the people of Varracina,86 near Rome-they only prune their vines every other year; not, indeed, because it is advantageous to the tree, but from a fear lest, from the low prices fetched by their wines, the expense might exceed the profits. At Carseoli they adopt a middle course, by pruning away only the rotten parts of the vine, as well as those which are beginning to wither, and leaving the rest to bear fruit, after thus clearing away all superfluous incumbrances. The only nutriment they give it is this exemption from frequent pruning; but unless the soil should happen to be a very rich one, the vine, under such a method of cultivation, will very soon degenerate to a wild state.

The vine that is thus trained requires the ground to be ploughed very deep, though such is not the case for the sowing there of grain. It is not customary to cut away the leaves in this case, which, of course, is so much labour spared. The trees themselves require pruning at the same period as the vine, and are thinned by clearing away all useless branches, and such parts as would only absorb the nutriment. We have already87 stated that the parts that are lopped should never look north or south: and it will be better still, if they have not a western aspect. The wounds thus made are very susceptible for a considerable time, and heal with the greatest difficulty, if exposed to excesses of cold or heat. The vine when trained on a tree enjoys advantages that are not possessed by the others; for the latter have certain fixed aspects, .while in the former, it is easy to cover up the wounds made in pruning, or to turn them whichever way you please. When trees are pruned at the top, cup-like cavities should be formed88 there, to prevent the water from lodging.

1 "Armamentis." More properly, "rigging," or "tackle." He al- luides to the trees from which the uprights or stays for the vine are cut, or which produce osiers for baskets and bindings required in the vintage.

2 See B. xiii. c. 42, and B. xvi. c. 65.

3 "Gemma." A name now given by botanists to the buds in general.

4 "Oculus." A bud undeveloped is still so called.

5 Germen.

6 This remark is not confirmed by experience.

7 On the contrary, the fig-tree has been known to live to a very great age.

8 See B. xvi. c. 51.

9 This method of planting the vine is still extensively used; especially the low kinds.

10 See c. 13 of this Book.

11 Sagittæ.

12 Trigemmes.

13 "Pampinarius." This assertion has been found to be erroneous.

14 This practice has been condemned by modern cultivators.

15 From Columella, B. iii. c. 19.

16 In c. 24 of this Book.

17 "Marra." Probably a mattock, with several prongs.

18 Occupies more space when thus loosened.

19 As compared with the original level of the ground.

20 Query, if this is the meaning of "extendi"?

21 This method is no longer used.

22 This, Fée remarks, is not the case: the tree might bear four kinds of grapes, but not four kinds on the same bunch.

23 De Arbor. c. 9. This is not the fact.

24 He was little aware, Fée says, that all ligneous plants have a radiating pith, distinct from the central one.

25 See B. xvi. c. 72.

26 Oliver de Serres distinguishes only three—the low, middling, and tall vines.

27 See B. xiv. c. 4.

28 See B. xiv. O. 4.

29 "Jugum." The cross-piece running along the top of the stay at right angles; a rail or trail.

30 "Compluviatæ quadruplici." Four cross-pieces running at right angles to the prop or stay. See B. xvi. c. 68.

31 When these trenches and furrows are employed by the moderns, they are made to run as much as possible from east to west. Most of the rules here mentioned by Pliny are still adopted in France.

32 Fée regards this precept as a puerility.

33 See B. xviii. c. 77.

34 See B. xviii. c. 77. Decuman roads or paths ran from east to west; cardinal roads were those at right angles to them.

35 "Pagina." A set, compartment, or bed.

36 "Transtris." "Ridges," would appear to be the proper reading here; more especially as it agrees with what has been previously said in this Chapter in reference to declivitous ground.

37 De Re Rust. 40.

38 He differs somewhat in these measurements from Columella, B. iv. c. 11.

39 This is condemned by Columella, B. iv. c. 11; but is approved of by Virgil, Cato, and other authors.

40 In c. 34 of this Book.

41 Stays of elder would be utterly worthless, as they would soon rot, and break directly, upon the least strain.

42 This applies solely, Fée observes, to the vine trained on the trail or cross-piece.

43 This certainly appears to be a non seqitur, as applied to the vine.

44 In the present Chapter.

45 Pampinarium.

46 Fructuarium.

47 custos.

48 The pilferer, "or little thief," apparently,

49 This, Fée observes, is not in accordance with the fact.

50 "Draco." Male vines appear to have been a kind that threw out no stock-branches, but ran to wood.

51 Than three buds, as already mentioned in the present Chapter.

52 "Pollices." Branches, so called from the resemblance, being cut off above the first eye. See Columella, De Re Rust. B. iv. c. 24.

53 Small forks of hazel are still used for the purpose, in Berri and the Orleanais.

54 This plan is highly recommended by the modern growers.

55 This, as Fée remarks, is based upon sound reason.

56 In B. xiv. cc. 4 and 5.

57 B xviii. c. 66.

58 13th of April.

59 10th of May.

60 A mere puerility—the dust, in fact, being injurious to the grape, by obstructing the natural action of heat and humidity.

61 15th of May. This clearing of the leaves, though still practised, Fee says, is by no means beneficial; the only result is, that the grapes become of a higher colour, but in no degree riper than they otherwise would have been.

62 The proper period for pruning varies in reality according to the climate.

63 See B. xviii. c 59.

64 See Columella, De Re Rust. B. iv. c. 29.

65 See Columella, De Re Rust. B. iv. c. 29.

66 The real reason, as Fée remarks, is the comparative facility of cutting aslant rather than horizontally; indeed, if the latter were attempted, injury to the wood would be the certain result.

67 The pruning should come first, in every case, Fée says.

68 De Re Rust. C. 33. The advice given by him, though good, is not applicable to all vineyards.

69 A sort of clover, probably. See B. xviii. c. 42, and a few lines below.

70 From the Greek ὠκέως, "quickly"—Varro says.

71 See c. 15 of this Book.

72 It is still practised in Dauphiné and the department of the Basses Alpes. It is very prevalent, also, in the South of Italy.

73 All these trees are still employed for the purpose in Italy.

74 B. xvi. c. 68.

75 Palmæ.

76 From Columella, B. v. c. 7.

77 This method is no longer employed.

78 Rasilis.

79 Columella, B. v. c. 6.

80 Columella, B. v. c. 6.

81 Capreolis.

82 As being too dense and shady.

83 From the Greek, meaning the "vine-band." It was, probably, a kind of rush.

84 Fée thinks that he may mean the Festuca fluitans more particularly, by the name ulva.

85 It is no longer used, and Fée doubts its utility.

86 Hardouin suggests "Tarracina."

87 In c. 16 of this Book.

88 To drain the upper part of the tree.

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