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- The Home Acre - 6/28 -

and white striped beetle deposits its eggs in the bark of the apple-tree near the ground. The larvae when hatched bore their way into the wood, and will soon destroy a small tree. They cannot do their mischief, however, without giving evidence of their presence. Sawdust exudes from the holes by which they entered, and there should be sufficient watchfulness to discover them before they have done much harm. I prefer to cut them out with a sharp, pointed knife, and make sure that they are dead; but a wire thrust into the hole will usually pierce and kill them. Wood-ashes mounded up against the base of the tree are said to be a preventive. In the fall they can be spread, and they at least make one of the best of fertilizers.

The codling-moth, or apple-worm, is another enemy that should be fought resolutely, for it destroys millions of bushels of fruit. In the latitude of New York State this moth begins its depredations about the middle of June. Whatever may be thought of the relation of the apple to the fall of man, this creature certainly leads to the speedy fall of the apple. Who has not seen the ground covered with premature and decaying fruit in July, August, and September? Bach specimen will be found perforated by a worm-hole. The egg has been laid in the calyx of the young apple, where it soon hatches into a small white grub, which burrows into the core, throwing out behind it a brownish powder. After about three weeks of apple diet it eats its way out, shelters itself under the scaly bark of the tree--if allowed to be scaly--or in some other hiding-place, spins a cocoon, and in about three weeks comes out a moth, and is ready to help destroy other apples. This insect probably constitutes one of Nature's methods of preventing trees from overbearing; but like some people we know, it so exaggerates its mission as to become an insufferable nuisance. The remedies recommended are that trees should be scraped free of all scales in the spring, and washed with a solution of soft soap. About the 1st of July, wrap bandages of old cloth, carpet, or rags of any kind around the trunk and larger limbs. The worms will appreciate such excellent cover, and will swarm into these hiding- places to undergo transformation into moths. Therefore the wraps of rags should often be taken down, thrown into scalding water, dried, and replaced. The fruit as it falls should be picked up at once and carried to the pigs, and, when practicable, worm-infested specimens should be taken from the trees before the worm escapes.

The canker-worm in those localities where it is destructive can be guarded against by bands of tar-covered canvas around the trees. The moth cannot fly, but crawls up the tree in the late autumn and during mild spells in winter, but especially throughout the spring until May. When, the evil-disposed moth meets the 'tarry band he finds no thoroughfare, and is either caught or compelled to seek some other arena of mischief.

We have all seen the flaunting, unsightly abodes of the tent caterpillar and the foliage-denuded branches about them. Fortunately these are not stealthy enemies, and the owner can scarcely see his acre at all without being aware of their presence. He has only to look very early in the morning or late in the evening to find them all bunched up in their nests. These should be taken down and destroyed.

Cherry and pear slugs, "small, slimy, dark brown worms," can be destroyed by dusting the trees with dry wood ashes or air-slacked lime.

Field-mice often girdle young trees, especially during the winter, working beneath the snow. Unless heaps of rubbish are left here and there as shelter for these little pests, one or two good cats will keep the acre free of them. Treading the snow compactly around the tree is also practiced.

Do not let the reader be discouraged by this list of the most common enemies, or by hearing of others. After reading some medical works we are led to wonder that the human race does not speedily die out. As a rule, however, with moderate care, most of us are able to say, "I'm pretty well, I thank you," and when ailing we do not straightway despair. In spite of all enemies and drawbacks, fruit is becoming more plentiful every year. If one man can raise it, so can another.

Be hospitable to birds, the best of all insect destroyers. Put up plenty of houses for bluebirds and wrens, and treat the little brown song-sparrow as one of your stanchest friends.

A brief word in regard to the quince, and our present list of fruits is complete.

If the quince is cultivated after the common neglectful method, it would better be relegated to an obscure part of the garden, for, left to itself, it makes a great sprawling bush; properly trained, it becomes a beautiful ornament to the lawn, like the other fruits that I have described. Only a little care, with the judicious use of the pruning-shears, is required to develop it into a miniature and fruitful tree, which can be grown with a natural rounded head or in the form of a pyramid, as the cultivator chooses. It will thrive well on the same soil and under similar treatment accorded to the pear or the apple. Procure from a nursery straight-stemmed plants; set them out about eight feet apart; begin to form the head three feet from the ground, and keep the stem and roots free from all sprouts and suckers. Develop the head just as you would that of an apple-tree, shortening in the branches, and cutting out those that interfere with each other. Half a dozen trees will soon give an ample supply. The orange and the pear shaped are the varieties usually recommended. Rea's Mammoth is also highly spoken of. Remember that the quince equally with the apple is subject to injury from the borer, and the evil should be met as I have already described.

There is a natural wish to have as much grass about the dwelling as possible, for nothing is more beautiful. If there are children, they will assuredly petition for lawn-tennis and croquet grounds. I trust that their wishes may be gratified, for children are worth infinitely more than anything else that can be grown upon the acre. With a little extra care, all the trees of which I have spoken can be grown in the spaces allotted to grass. It is only necessary to keep a circle of space six feet in diameter--the trunk forming the centre--around the tree mellow and free from any vegetable growth whatever. This gives a chance to fertilize and work the ground immediately over the roots. Of course vigorous fruit-trees cannot be grown in a thick sod, while peaches and grapes require the free culture of the garden, as will be shown hereafter. In view, however, of the general wish for grass, I have advised on the supposition that all the ornamental trees, most of the shrubs, and the four fruits named would be grown on the portions of the acre to be kept in lawn. It may be added here that plums also will do well under the same conditions, if given good care.

Grass is a product that can be cultivated as truly as the most delicate and fastidious of fruits, and I had the lawn is mind when I urged the generous initial deep plowing and enriching. Nothing that grows responds more promptly to good treatment than grass; but a fine lawn cannot be created in a season, any more than a fine tree.

We will suppose that the spring plantings of trees have been made with open spaces reserved for the favorite games. Now the ground can be prepared for grass-seed, for it need not be trampled over any more. If certain parts have become packed and hard, they should be dug or plowed deeply again, then harrowed and raked perfectly smooth, and all stones, big or little, taken from the surface. The seed may now be sown, and it should be of thick, fine-growing varieties, such as are employed in Central Park and other pleasure-grounds. Mr. Samuel Parsons, Jr., Superintendent of Central Park, writes me: "The best grass-seeds for ordinary lawns are a mixture of red-top and Kentucky blue-grass in equal parts, with perhaps a small amount of white clover. On very sandy ground I prefer the Kentucky blue-grass, as it is very hardy and vigorous under adverse circumstances." Having sown and raked in the seed very lightly a great advantage will be gained in passing a lawn- roller over the ground. I have succeeded well in getting a good "catch" of grass by sowing the seed with oats, which were cut and cured as hay as soon as the grain was what is termed "in the milk." The strong and quickly growing oats make the ground green in a few days, and shelter the slower maturing grass-roots. Mr. Parsons says, "I prefer to sow the grass-seed alone." As soon as the grass begins to grow with some vigor, cut it often, for this tends to thicken it and produce the velvety effect that is so beautiful. From the very first the lawn will need weeding. The ground contains seeds of strong growing plants, such as dock, plantain, etc., which should be taken out as fast as they appear. To some the dandelion is a weed; but not to me, unless it takes more than its share of space, for I always miss these little earth stars when they are absent. They intensify the sunshine shimmering on the lawn, making one smile involuntarily when seeing them. Moreover, they awaken pleasant memories, for a childhood in which dandelions had no part is a defective experience.

In late autumn the fallen leaves should be raked carefully away, as they tend to smother the grass if permitted to lie until spring. Now comes the chief opportunity of the year, in the form of a liberal top-dressing of manure from the stable. If this is spread evenly and not too thickly in November, and the coarser remains of it are raked off early in April, the results will be astonishing. A deep emerald hue will be imparted to the grass, and the frequent cuttings required will soon produce a turf that yields to the foot like a Persian rug. Any one who has walked over the plain at West Point can understand the value of these regular autumnal top-dressings. If the stable-manure can be composted and left till thoroughly decayed, fine and friable, all the better. If stable-manure can not be obtained, Mr. Parsons recommends Mapes's fertilizer for lawns.



We now approach that part of the acre to which its possessor will probably give his warmest and most frequent thoughts--the garden. If properly made and conducted, it will yield a revenue which the wealth of the Indies could not purchase; for whoever bought in market the flavor of fruit and vegetables raised by one's own hands or under our own eyes? Sentiment does count. A boy is a boy; but it makes a vast difference whether he is our boy or not. A garden may soon become a part of the man himself, and he be a better man for its care. Wholesome are the thoughts and schemes it suggests; healthful are the blood and muscle resulting from its products and labor therein. Even with the purse of a millionaire, the best of the city's markets is no substitute for a garden; for

The Home Acre - 6/28

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