|About the Book|
INTRODUCTIONTHOUGH no book dealing exclusively with tree wounds and diseases has been written, yet references are not wanting, in ancient as well as modern works, to the doctoring of fruit and other trees. In Evelyns Syfoa^ published in 1670, underMoreINTRODUCTIONTHOUGH no book dealing exclusively with tree wounds and diseases has been written, yet references are not wanting, in ancient as well as modern works, to the doctoring of fruit and other trees. In Evelyns Syfoa^ published in 1670, under the heading of Infirmities of Trees, some quaint instructions are given regarding the treatment of canker, hollowness, wind-shock, blasting, and caterpillars. Hollowness, he says, is contracted when by reason of the ignorant or careless lopping of a tree the wet is suffered to fall perpendicularly upon a part, especially the head. In this case, if there be sufficient sound wood, cut it to the quick and close to the body, and cap the hollow part with a tarpaulin or fill it with good stiff loam and fine hay mingled. This is one of the worst of evils, and to which the Elm is mostobnoxious. Again : Cankers, caused by some stroke or galling, are to be cut out to the quick, the scars emplaistered with tar mingled with oil, and over that a thin spreading of loam - or else with clay and horse dung, but best with hogs dung alone.Miller, in his Gardener s Dictionary, published in 1737, and Dicks, in a work bearing the same title which appeared thirty years later, refer to wounds and diseases in forest and fruit trees - while Forsyth and Pontey, who wrote about the beginning of last century, would appear to have followed Evelyn in their methods of dealing with injuries to stem and branch. The Government made a grant of £3000 to Forsyth on condition of his making public the secret of his composition for repairing injuries to the stems of trees. The said composition consisted of fresh cow-dung, old lime, wood ashes, and sand, dusted over with the ashes of burnt bones. Though, perhaps, little can be said in favour of such a dressing, yet his directions for the cutting and scooping out of decayed wood and protecting the wound until covered with fresh bark are worthy of all com-mendation. But earlier than any of these writers, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, we find at least two curious and interesting notes as to the treatment of diseased orchard trees. All this points out that from an early date the subject-matter of this book had received at least some attention.It is only, however, of late years that the systematic treatment of tree wounds and diseases has been adopted, by the filling of hollow trunks, bracing of heavy and diseased branches, and attention to insect and fungoid attacks. But even at the present time these operations are but little understood, and in many instances are carried out in an antiquated and slipshod manner, the result of ignorance as to the most approved methods to be adopted in dealing with the exigencies of each individual case.The study and treatment of tree wounds and diseases is, perhaps, the most interesting and fascinating of any in the whole range of forest science. Why a tree becomes unhealthy or dies off prematurely - why certain species are infested with a particular insect or fungus to, in certain cases, the exclusion of all others - howto account for rusty, meagre, and unhealthy leafage, stagheadedness, bark-shedding, and hollow trunk, are all questions of importance that must forcibly appeal to everyone who is interested in the welfare of park and woodland trees.The sudden and unexpected death of a tree may be due to several causes, such as want of or excessive moisture in the soil, atmospheric impurities, or an escape of gas amongst the soil in which the tree is growing.