WILLIAM ROBERT PRINCEW.R. Prince

Table of Contents

State of New York Department of Agriculture

Eighteenth Annual Report Vol. 3 Part II

THE PLUMS OF NEW YORK

BY U. P. HEDRICK

ASSISTED BY

R. WELLINGTON O. M. TAYLOR W. H. ALDERMAN M. J. DORSEY

Report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station for the Year 1910

II

ALBANY

J. B. LYON COMPANY, STATE PRINTERS 1911

State of New York Department of Agriculture

Eighteenth Annual Report Vol. 3 Part II


NEW YORK AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION,

Geneva, N. Y., December 31, 1910.

To the Honorable Board of Control of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station:

Gentlemen:I have the honor to transmit herewith Part II of the report of this institution for the year 1910, to be known as The Plums of New York. This constitutes the third in the series of fruit publications that is being prepared under your authority.

The data embodied in the volume are the result of long-continued studies and observations at this institution as well as throughout the State, to which has been added a large amount of information that commercial plum-growers have very kindly furnished. The attempt has been made to produce a monograph including all the cultivated plums, and it is hoped that the result will be recognized as a worthy advance in the literature of this class of fruits.

W. H. JORDAN,

Director.



PREFACE

The Plums of New York is the third monograph of the fruits of this region published by the New York Agricultural Experiment Station. The aims of these books have been stated in full in The Grapes of New York, but it is considered best to re-state some of these briefly and to indicate some features in which the book on plums differs from the one on grapes.

Broadly speaking, the aim has been to make The Plums of New York a record of our present knowledge of cultivated plums. The book has been written for New York but its contents are so general in character that the work applies to the whole country and more or less to the world. The first chapter is a historical account and a botanical classification of plums; the second, a discussion of the present status of plum-growing in America; while the third and fourth are devoted to varieties of plums. The first and last two of these chapters contain the synonymy and bibliography of the species and varieties of plums. In the foot-notes running through the book biographical sketches are given of the persons who have contributed most to plum culture in America; here may be found also matters pertaining to plums not properly included in the text but necessary for its best understanding. Important varieties, so considered from various standpoints, with the bark and the flowers of several species, are illustrated in colors.

The Plums of New York is a horticultural and not a botanical work. But in a study of the fruit from a horticultural standpoint one must of necessity consider botanical relationships. It is hoped that in this enforced systematic study of plums, however, something has been added to the botanical knowledge of this fruit. In classifying the varieties and species, to show their characters and relationships, the author has chosen to dispose of the groups in accordance with his own views though the arrangement adopted is, for most part, scarcely more than a modification of existing classifications.

Attention must be called to the indefiniteness of species and varieties of plums due chiefly to. the extreme responsiveness of the plants to environment. On each side of the specific or varietal types there are wide ranges of variation. Since the relationships between types are often very close it is impossible to avoid some confusion in characters, for outliers of the types cannot but overlap. It might be well said that these outliers are connecting links and that groups so connected should be combined, but this would make specific division of the genus and varietal division of the species almost impossible. The groups must, therefore, be separated along more or less arbitrary lines. But such arbitrary separation does not prevent natural groups, if nature be broadly interpreted.

The chief value of the work in hand lies in its discussion of varieties. In the descriptions the aim has been to give as tersely as possible an idea of all of the characters of the plums described. With very few exceptions the technical descriptions of varieties are original and were made by those who have taken active part in the preparation of this book. Nearly all of the varieties having full descriptions grow on the Station grounds but whenever possible specimens of each variety from different localities have been compared with those growing here.

A special effort has been made to give as exactly as possible the regions in which the species and varieties of plums grow. Such an effort is made under the belief that this knowledge is of great value in the study of the factors which govern the distribution of wild and domesticated plants. If the boundaries of the regions in which a few scores of varieties of the several fruits grow can be accurately established valuable generalizations can be drawn regarding life zones and plant distribution.

The reader should know what considerations have governed the selection of varieties for color-plates and full descriptions. These are:

(1) The known value of the variety for the commercial or amateur grower.

(2) The probable value of new varieties. (3) To furnish data for the plum-breeder; to show combinations of species or varieties, or new characters, or the range in variation. (4) Some sorts have been described because of historical value to better show what the trend of plum evolution has been. (5) To indicate the relationships of species and varieties. The varieties are divided into three groups according to their importance as gauged from the standpoints given above.

In botanical nomenclature the code adopted by the American botanists in Philadelphia in 1904 and modified by the International Botanical Congress at Vienna in 1905, has been used. For horticultural names, lacking a better code, the revised rules of the American Pomological Society have been followed, though in a few cases we have not seen fit to follow the rules of this society, as the changes required by their strict observance would have brought much confusion. Only those who have to work with a great number of varieties of fruit can know the chaotic conditions of our pomological nomenclature. One of the aims of the work in hand is to set straight in some degree the great confusion in plum names.

All synonyms of varieties have been given so far as they could be determined but it did not seem worth while to give all of the references to be found even in standard plum literature. Fewer of these are listed for the leading varieties than in the books on apples or grapes which have preceded, only such being given as have been found of use by the writers or thought of possible use to future plum students. On the other hand some references have been given for all varieties, a task not attempted in The Grapes of New York.

As in the preceding books the color-plates have been given much attention. Work and expense have not been spared to make the plates the best possible with the present knowledge of color-printing. Yet the illustrations are not exact reproductions. The colors are, at best, only approximations; for it is impossible by mechanical processes to reproduce Nature's delicate tints and shades. The camera does not take colors as the human eye sees them; and the maker of the copper plate can not quite reproduce all that the camera has taken. The colors then depend on the judgment of the printer, who by selecting and mingling colored inks, reproduces as nearly as his materials permit, the shades in his eye and mind; but no two persons see exactly the same colors in any object; so his conception may differ much from that of the horticulturist or artist who saw the original plum, as do theirs from each other. Still it is hoped that the color-plates will be of great service in illustrating the text. All of the plums from which the plates were made came from the Station grounds; the illustrations, with a few exceptions which are noted, are of life size, as grown under the conditions existing at this place, and as far as possible all are from specimens of average size and color.

Acknowledgments are due in particular to the plum-growers of New York who have furnished much information for The Plums of New York; to numerous institutions in all parts of the United States who have loaned botanical specimens; to Professor Charles Sprague Sargent for advice, information and the use of the Arnold Arboretum library and herbarium; to W. F. Wight of the United States Department of Agriculture, who has given most valuable assistance in describing the species of plums and in giving their range; to the Station Editor, F. H. Hall, who has had charge of the proof-reading; to Zeese-Wilkinson and Company, New York City, for their care and skill in making the color-plates; and to the J. B. Lyon Company, Albany, New York, for their careful work in the mechanical construction of the book.

U. P. HEDRICK, Horticulturist, New York Agricultural Experiment Station.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

Preface.................................................v

Index to Illustrations................ix

Chapter I.Edible Plums.................................. i

Chapter II.Plum Culture............................... 100

Chapter III.Leading Varieties of Plums.............136

Chapter IV.Minor Varieties of Plums................... 391

Bibliography, References and Abbreviations................ 573

Index. . ,.......................,....................... 581



INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS

Portrait of William Robert Prince..................Frontispiece

Abundance..............................................136

Agen........................................................138

America......................................................142

Ames......................................................... 144

Apple....................................................... 146

Arch Duke.................................................. 148

Arctic....................................................... 150

Arkansas.................................................... 152

Autumn Compote............................................. 154

Bavay......................................................156

Belle........................................................158

Black Bullace...............................................162

Bradshaw....................................................166

BURBANK.....................................................170

Chabot......................................................172

Cheney......................................................176

Climax....................................................... 178

De Caradeuc................................................ 188

De Soto..................................................... 190

Diamond..................................................... 192

Downing..................................................... 194

Drap d'Or................................................... 194

Duane....................................................... 196

Englebert................................................... 204

Field........................................................ 208

Forest Garden...............................................210

Forest Rose.................................................210

Freestone...................................................212

French...................................................... 214

Georgeson................................................... 218

German Prune...............................................220

Giant........................................................222

Golden......................................................224

Golden Beauty.............................................. 226

Golden Drop................................................ 228

Goliath...................................................... 232

Grand Duke..............................,.................. 234

Gueii........................................................ 236

Hale........................................................ 238

Hammer...................................................... 238

Hand........................................................ 240

Hawkeye..................................................... 242

Hudson...................................................... 244

Hungarian................................................... 246

Ickworth.................................................... 248

Imperial Gage...............................................252

Italian Prune...............................................254

Jefferson....................................................256

Juicy........................................................258

Late Orleans................................................266

Lombard.....................................................268

Maquoketa.................................................. 272

Marianna.................................................... 274

McLaughlin................................................. 276

MIDDLEBURG.................................................. 278

Monarch..................................................... 286

Newman..................................................... 292

New Ulm.................................................... 294

October..................................................... 298

Oren........................................................300

OULLINS......................................................304

Pacific....................................................... 306

Pearl........................................................310

Peters....................................................... 312

Pond......................................................... 314

Pottawattamie............................................... 316

Prunus americana, blossoms of............................ 56

Prunus americana, Bark of................................ 6

Prunus cerasifera, blossoms of............................46

Prunus cerasifera, bark of................................ 6

Prunus domestica, blossoms of............................. 12

Prunus domestica, bark of................................ 6

Prunus hortulana, blossoms of........................... 64

Prunus hortulana, Bark of............................... 6

Prunus hortulana mineri, blossoms of................... 68

Prunus hortulana mineri, bark of....................... 6

Prunus insititia, blossoms of.............................. 34

Prunus insititia, Bark of.................................. 6

Prunus munsoniana, blossoms of.......................... 88

Prunus munsoniana, Bark of.............................. 6

Prunus nigra, blossoms of................................. 70

Prunus nigra, bark of..................................... 6

Prunus triflora, blossoms of.............................. 50

Prunus triflora, bark of.................................. 6

Quackenboss................................................. 320

Robinson.................................................... 330

Satsuma...................................................... 338

Shipper....................................................... 342

Shiro........................................................ 344

Shropshire................................................... 344

Smith Orleans...............................................348

Spaulding....................................................350

Sugar........................................................354

Surprise..................................................... 356

Tennant..................................................... 358

Tragedy..................................................... 360

Victoria.....................................................364

Voronesh....................................................366

Washington..................................................368

Wayland..................................................... 370

White Bullace.............................................. 374

Wickson...................................................... 376

Wild Goose.................................................. 378

Wolf........................................................ 380

Wood........................................................382

World Beater...............................................384

Yellow Egg.................................................386


THE PLUMS OF NEW YORK



CHAPTER II

PLUM CULTURE

Ten states produced over 82 per ct. of the plum crop of the United States in 1899. The census of 1900 shows that in the preceding year the total crop in the country was 8,764,032 bushels of which California, Oregon, New York, Washington, Michigan, Iowa, Texas, Arkansas, Ohio and Kansas, named in order of yield, produced 7,429,248 bushels. All other states yielded 1,334,784 bushels. Of these ten states, three, California, Oregon and Washington, holding first, second and fourth places in production, use by far the greater parts of their crops for prunes. Four others, Iowa, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas, grow the native and Triflora varieties almost exclusively. New York with a crop of 313,668 bushels in 1899, Michigan with 213,682 bushels the same year and Ohio with 81,435 bushels, grew the main crop of Domesticas for the states in which plums are not made into prunes.

At the end of the Nineteenth Century the plum ranked third in commercial value among orchard products, being surpassed by the apple and the peach. The increase in number of trees and bushels of fruit for the whole country for the decade ending with 1899 was remarkable, being for trees 334.9 per ct. and for bushels of fruit 243.1 per ct. These great increases were due to very large planting of plums for prunes on the Pacific Coast and to the widespread distribution during these ten years of native and Triflora varieties. It is very doubtful if the percentage of increase has been nearly so great during the present decade. It is likely that the development of rapid transportation and refrigerator service between the great plum-growing region of the far West and the markets of the East has caused a decrease in trees and production in the eastern states.

Plum-growing, as with the growing of all fruits, is confined to localities geologically, climatically and commercially adapted to the industry. If we take New York as an example we find that plums are grown largely only in ten of the sixty-one counties, according to the census of 1900. These with the number of trees in each are as follows: Niagara 184,133, Ontario 92,917, Seneca 59,205, Monroe 57,246, Schuyler 48/336, Orleans 41,985, Yates 32,742, Albany 32,373, Erie 30,281, Wayne 30,047. Over 62 per ct. of all the trees in the State are in these counties and probably they produce more than 90 per ct. of the plums sent to market.

A canvass of the acreage of four hundred plum-growers in New York shows that the following in order named are the leading commercial varieties: Bradshaw, including Niagara, which is identical, Reine Claude including its several near variations, Italian Prune, German Prune, Lombard, Shropshire, Grand Duke, Washington and Gueii. Abundance and Burbank are as widely distributed as any of these, chiefly owing to the zeal with which nurserymen have sold these varieties, but are seldom grown exclusively in commercial plantations, and their popularity is now on the wane as is also the case with Red June which has been largely planted. Varieties of native plums are hardly grown in New York though now and then they are found in home collections and there are a few small commercial plantations of them.

The fruit of the native and Triflora plums is so inferior to that of the Domestica sorts for market and domestic purposes, that varieties of these are not likely to take the place of the Domestica plums. Producers and purchasers are now familiar with the possibilities of the natives and of the Orientals and have not been greatly attracted by them in New York. It is true, however, that the natives have been chiefly represented by Wild Goose and the Trifloras by Abundance and Burbank -scarcely the best that these groups of plums can produce. It is true, too, that the varieties have been greatly over-praised and that they now suffer from the reaction. Yet the Domesticas command the market and their reliableness in the orchard gives them a popularity in this region which other plums cannot for a long while trench upon.

This brings us to a discussion of the conditions under which plums are now grown in North America and more particularly in New York. Of these, climate, with this fruit, should be first discussed, outranking all others in importance.

CLIMATE

Climatic conditions determine the culture of the plum not only for a region but for a locality; not only as to whether it is possible to grow plums at all but as to whether this fruit can be grown with reasonable prospects of commercial success in competition with other localities. The constituents of climate which are important in plum-growing are temperature, rainfall and air currents, the last two being largely dependent upon the first. The relationship existing between plums and these factors of climate are fairly well known for they have received attention from the very beginning of plum culture.

There are four phases of temperature that need to be considered in order to get a clear insight into the climatic conditions which govern production of fruit crops. These are, the daily, monthly and annual changes in temperature and the extreme in temperature. Of these the daily and annual changes are of little importance. All plants are very adaptable to daily variations in climate and are little affected by them. Annual variations are shown by statements of the annual mean temperatures but such statements are of small value to fruit-growers as they may be the result of averaging very divergent temperatures or temperatures very close together. The monthly mean, however, is a very fair criterion of climate for fruit-growing, especially when given with the amount and distribution of rainfall.

But far more important than any of the above phases are the extremes in temperature and more particularly of cold. A plant can not be grown profitably where the temperature, even occasionally, falls below the point where winter-killing results to tree or bud, or where the blossom is injured by frost. Extremes of heat are disastrous usually only when long continued. For each fruit, too, there must be a total amount of heat available to carry it from the setting of the fruit to maturity, in which respect varieties of any fruit may differ materially. Of the injurious effects and of the necessary amounts of heat, however, we know but little.

These general considerations of temperature lead us to their application to the plum and especially to a discussion of the most important of the several factors --hardiness.

Hardiness to cold, a matter of prime importance with all fruits, is especially so with the plum because of the many different species, each with its own capacity for withstanding cold. As the different species are taken from their natural habitat to other regions, there to become acclimatized, and as new forms originate by hybridization, the matter becomes more complicated and more important. Waugh has investigated the hardiness of plums and we publish a table given by him showing the hardiness of representative varieties of the species most generally cultivated. We have taken the liberty of adding a few plums not given in the original table and have also made some changes in the nomenclature of the groups.

Table Showing the Hardiness op Representative Varieties of Plums at Various Places.

hhardy; hhhalf-hardy; ttender.

OhioIndianaIllinoisKansasColoradoNebraskaW. New York IIVermontOntarioMaineWisconsinIowaMinnesota

Americana Plums: De So to...................h h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h hh h h

Hawkeye..................

Woli......................

Domestica Plums: Lombard................h h hh h hh h th h hhh h hh h hh h hh h hhh hh hhh h hhh hh hhh h hhhh t t

Reine Claude..............

Bradshaw.................

Arctic.....................hhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Hortulana Plums: Moreman..................hhhhhhhhh?hhht

Golden Beauty.............? hh hh hh hh h? ?h hh? h? ?? ?hh hhh hht t

Wayland..................

Insititia Plums: Damsons..................hhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Munsoniana Plums: Pottawattamie.............hhhhhhhhhhthhh

Newman..................hhhh??h?tthhtt

Robinson..................hhhh??h?ttthht

Nisrra Plums...................hhhhhhhhhhhhh

The Simon Plum................hhhhhhhhhhhhhtttt

Triflora Plums: Abundance.................hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhht

Burbank..................hhhhhhhhhhhhhhht

Satsuma...................hhhhhhthhhhhhhtthht

Kelsey....................t?thhttttttttt

A few general statements in addition to the above table will help to make plain the comparative hardiness of the different groups of cultivated plums. The Nigras may be rated as the hardiest of the plums to be considered though the Americanas are but slightly less hardy. The plums of these species are the hardiest of our tree-fruits and are able to resist nearly as much cold as any other cultivated plant. The Insititias, as represented by the Damsons, at least, come next hardiest after the above species, with varieties of Domestica, as Arctic, Lombard and Voronesh, nearly as hardy. So far as resistance to cold is concerned the Domestica plums as a class are less hardy than the apple, ranking in this respect with the pear. Of the Domesticas the Reine Claude plums are as tender to cold as any though some consider Bradshaw as more tender. Between these last sorts and the hardiest varieties there is a great range in capacity to endure cold, as would be expected with so large a number of varieties originating in widely separated climates. The Triflora plums vary more in hardiness than any other of the cultivated species. Speaking very generally they are less hardy than the Domesticas, the hardiest sorts, Burbank and Abundance, being somewhat hardier than the peach, while the tenderest varieties, of which Kelsey is probably most tender, are distinctly less hardy than the peach. Of the remaining plums, the Hortulana, Munsoniana and Watsoni groups, there are great diversities in opinion as to hardiness. Probably all of the varieties in these last groups are as hardy as the peach with a few sorts in each more hardy than the peach. It is to be expected from the more northern range of the wild prototypes that the Hortulana and Watsoni plums are somewhat hardier than Prunus munsoniana.

The rainfall is of comparatively small concern to plum-growers in America, since, with now and then an exception, in eastern America it is sufficient under proper cultivation, and on the Pacific Coast the crop is largely grown under irrigation. Summarized statements of annual rainfall are of little or no importance since almost all depends upon the distribution of the amount throughout the year and upon the manner in which it falls. Monthly and seasonal "means" of precipitation, as in the case of temperature, may be of considerable importance in determining the desirability of a locality for plums.

Air currents are of local or regional occurrence and though not often the determinant of profitable culture of plums have sometimes been important factors in choosing a location to grow this fruit. The occurrence, direction, moisture condition and temperature are the attributes of air currents usually considered. The failure of many plums to grow in the prairie region of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Plains is no doubt due in some measure to winter winds. The problem of varietal adaptation is more or less complicated in any region by the nature of the air currents.

An extremity of any of the constituents of what we call "weather" endangers the plum crop at blossoming time. In New York stresses of weather are probably the predominating causes of the non-setting of fruit on plum trees which bear an abundance of blossoms. This is well shown in a study of the relations of weather to the setting of fruit made by the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in which it is held that several phases of weather at blossoming time cause the loss of plum crops.1 Thus late frosts, wet weather, low temperature, strong winds and wide daily ranges in temperature were factors in the loss of fruit crops in all of the failures during a period of twenty-five years. Quite as significant was the fact that in all of the years during this period when there was sunshine and warm, dry weather during blossoming time there were good crops of fruit.

Locations for growing the different varieties of plums are selected with reference to general and local climate. As regards general climate, latitude, altitude and proximity to large bodies of water are the chief determining characters; as regards local climate, the lay of the land has most to do as a determinant. Again, varieties are selected with reference to time of blooming, that they may escape in some degree injurious cli-matal agencies. Lastly, varieties are selected having greater capacity, from one cause or another, to withstand injurious weather. With all varieties it is found that cultural treatment to induce strong vitality helps a tree to withstand stresses of harmful weather at blossoming time.

The above considerations show that the blossoming dates of plums should be known for the proper culture of this fruit. In the following table averages of the blooming dates of varieties of plums for the eight years just past, 1902 to 1909, inclusive, are given.

In making use of these dates, consideration must be given to the environment of the orchards at Geneva. The latitude of the Smith Astronomical Observatory, a quarter of a mile from the Station orchards is 420 52' 46.2" ; the altitude of the orchards is from five hundred to five hundred and twenty-five feet above the sea level; the soil is a stiff and rather cold clay; the orchards lie about a mile west of Seneca Lake, a body of water forty miles in length and from one to three and one-half miles in width and more than six hundred feet deep. The lake has frozen over but a few times since the region was settled, over a hundred years ago, and has a very beneficial influence on the adjacent country in lessening the cold of winter and the heat of summer, and in preventing early blooming.

The dates are those of full bloom. They were taken from trees grown under normal conditions as to pruning, distance apart, and as to all other factors which might influence the blooming period.

An inspection of the table shows that there is a variation of several days between the time of full bloom of the different varieties of the same species. These differences can be taken advantage of in selecting sorts to avoid injury from frost. The same table shows the ripening season of the plums growing on the Station grounds. Now and then the late and very late plums given in the table may be caught by fall frosts in the colder parts of New York or in regions having a similar climate.

Table Showing Blooming Dates and Season of Ripening.

The " blooming date " is that of full bloom.

Under season of ripening "very early" is from July 15 to August 10; "early," August 10 to August 20; "mid-season," August 20 to September 10; "late," September 10 to September 20; "very late," September 20 to October 1.

P. americana:

De Soto.....

Hawkeye New Ulm

Ocheeda.....

Oren........

Rollingstone.

Stoddard___

Surprise.

Wolf........

Wood.......

Wyant......

P. cerasifera;

De Caradeuc......

Golden Cherry

P. domestica;

Agen.............

Altham..........

American.........

Arch Duke.......

Autumn Compote..

Arctic............

Bavay...........

Bejonniers........

Belgian Purple

Belle.............

Bradshaw.......,

Bryanston........

Blooming date

May

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Season of ripening

Very early

Early

Mid-season

Late

Very late

Table Showing Blooming Dates and Season op RipeningContinued

P. domestica:

Chambourcy......

Champion........

Cling Stem.......

Clyman..........

Czar.............

Dawson..........

Diamond.........

Doretts..........

Duane...........

Early Rivers......

Early Orleans.....

Early Royal......

Early Tours.......

Empire...........

Englebert........

Esjum Erik.......

Field.............

Freeman.........

Furst............

German Prune....

Giant............

G. No. 4..........

Golden Drop......

Golden Gage......

Goliath...........

Grand Duke......

Gueii............

Guthrie Late......

Hand............

Harriet...........

Hector...........

Hudson..........

Hungarian........

Ickworth.........

Imperial Epineuse.

Imperial Gage.....

Italian Prune.....

Jefferson.........

Kirke............

Lafayette.........

Large English.....

Late Orleans......

Late Muscatelle. ..

Lombard.........

Lucombe.........

Middleburg.......

Miller No. 1.......

Miller Superb.....

Missouri Green Gage

Morocco.........

Mottled Prune. . .

Blooming date

May 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Season of ripening

Very early

Early

Mid-

Late

Very late


Table Showing Blooming Dates and Season of RipeningContinued.

Blooming date

May

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24'

Season of ripening

Very early

Early

Mid-season

Late

Very late

P. domestica:

Newark.........

Nicholas.........

Ottoman Seedling

Oullins..........

Pacific..........

Palatine.........

Paul Early......

Pearl...........

Peters...........

Pond.......*___

Purple Gage.....

Quackenboss.....

Red Date........

Sannois.........

Saunders........

Sheldrake........

Shipper.........

Smith Orleans....

Spaulding.......

Stanton.........

St. Catherine.....

Sugar...........

Tennant.........

Tobias Gage.....

Tragedy.........

Transparent.....

Ungarish........

Union...........

Uryany.........

Victoria.........

Voronesh........

Warner.........

Washington......

Wyzerka........

Yellow Egg......

Yellow Gage.....

York State Prune,

P. hortulana:

Golden Beauty....

Wayland........

World Beater___

Hybrids:

America.........

Ames...........

Apple........

Bartlett.....

Climax..........

Downing........


Table Showing Blooming Dates and Season of RipeningContinued.

Blooming date

May

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 2,

Season of ripening

Very early

Earl'

Mid-season

Late

Very late

Hybrids: Golden. .. Hammer. Japex.... Juicy.... Marianna. Milton. . . Shiro.... Sophie. .. Wickson..

P. insititia:

Black Bullace.....

Crittenden........

Freestone.........

French...........

Frogmore.........

King of Damsons..

Late Mirabelle.....

Mirabelle.........

Reine des Mirabelle! Shropshire........

Sweet Damson....

White Bullace.....

P. hortulana mineri; Forest Garden. . . Maquoketa......

P. munsoniana;

Arkansas........

Newman........

Poole Pride......

Pottawattamie..,

Robinson........

Wild Goose......

P. nigra:

Cheney.......

P. triflora:

Abundance. ..

Burbank.....

Chabot.......

Engre........

Earliest of All.

Georgeson....

Hale.........

- Long Fruit. . .

Maru........

Ogon........


THE POLLINATION OF PLUMS

One of the discouragements in plum-growing is the uncertainty which attends the setting of the fruit in some varieties even though the trees bear an abundance of blossoms. Blooming, the prelude of fruiting, had little significance to the fruit-grower until the discovery was made that many varieties of several fruits were unable to fertilize themselves and that failures of fruit crops were often due to the planting of infertile varieties. Investigations as to the self-sterility of pears, plums and grapes have shown blossoming-time to be one of the most important life periods of these fruits. The knowledge obtained by workers in this field has to some degree modified the planting of all orchard-fruits and of none more than of the plums. Indeed, it is held by many that it is hardly safe to plant any excepting the Domestica and Insititia plums without provision for cross-pollination.

A variety is in need of cross-pollination when the pollen from its own blossoms does not fecundate the ovules of the variety. There is a delicate and complicated procession during the process of fruit formation and the life of the fruit may be jeopardized by any one of a number of external or internal influences. These deleterious influences are most often unfavorable weather or defects in the reproductive organs of the plants themselves. Of the latter, in the plum there are several rather common ones which cause self-sterility, as impotency of pollen, insufficiency of pollen, defective pistils and difference in the time between the maturity of the pollen and the receptiveness of the stigmas.

It is held that the main cause of the infertility in plums is impotency of pollen on the pistils of the same variety. The pollen may be produced in abundance, be perfect as regards appearance, and potent on the pistils of other varieties but wholly fail to fecundate the ovaries of the variety from which it came. The most marked examples of such impotency are to be found in the native plums though the Triflora sorts are generally accredited with being largely self-sterile and the Domesticas somewhat so. The proof offered to show the impotency of plums is for most part the records of fruit setting under covered blossoms. In this method of testing the impotency of pollen there are several sources of error and the figures given by experimenters probably greatly exaggerate the infertility of plums, but since the experience of plum-growers generally affirms the results in some measure it is well to hold that the native plums at least should be so planted as to secure cross-pollination. It is doubtful if the Domestica and Triflora plums are self-sterile and yet the question is an open one as regards some varieties of these species.

There is great difference in the quantity of pollen produced by the several groups of plums but it is very doubtful if insufficiency of pollen is a factor of any considerable importance in the self-sterility of this fruit. Yet the matter is worth attention because of its bearing upon the selection of pollinizers. Of the several botanic groups, speaking somewhat generally, the Americanas and Nigras bear most pollen; the Munsoniana plums are abundant pollen bearers; the Trifloras seldom show a shortage but bear rather less than the others named; the Domesticas produce pollen abundantly ; while the hybrid groups are the most capricious of all the plums in this respect, some varieties bearing much and others but little pollen. Probably the amount of pollen which the flowers of any tree produce is somewhat modified by the climate in which the tree is growing, by the weather and by the vigor of the tree.

Waugh (2) and Goff (3) have shown that self-sterile plums often have abnormal pistils or pistils too weak for the development of fruits. Not infrequently flowers of the plum are without pistils, as occasionally, but less rarely, occurs with the stamens and petals. These abnormalities cannot be very general causes of self-sterility in plums, however, as varieties, or even trees, cannot often be found which are not fruitful if other varieties are growing near them. It is very doubtful if even so much as fifty per ct. of abnormal flowers, seriously jeopardizes a plum crop, as the trees bear, if they blossom at all, several times as many flowers as they can mature plums. But a high percentage of abnormal flowers nearly always indicates a general weakness in fruit-setting.

Another cause often assigned for the failure of plums to set fruit is the difference in time of maturity of stamens and pistils. It is claimed that when these organs do not mature simultaneously the plums do not set unless pollen is supplied from some other source. The task of taking notes at blossoming time on more than three hundred varieties of plums on the grounds of this Station has given abundant opportunity to observe the comparative degrees of maturity of pistils and stamens in varieties of this fruit. In general the pistils mature first, often three or four days before the stamens. Rarely the pollen is disgorged before the stigmas are receptive. But stigmas remain receptive, weather conditions being favorable, for several days and the pollen from all anthers is not shed at once and is produced with such seeming prodigality as to almost insure the retaining of a sufficient amount to pollinate late-maturing stigmas. In view of these considerations, premature or retarded ripening of either pistils or stamens does not seem of great significance in the setting of fruit

From the statements just made it may be seen that the main cause of the failures to set fruit when trees bloom freely must be ascribed to the failure of pollen to fertilize the pistils of the flowers of the same variety. The solution of the problem of self-sterility in the main, then, is to so plant that varieties will be mutually cross-fertilized. In the selection of varieties for such cross-pollination two factors must be considered, simultaneity of blossoming and sexual affinity.

It is evident, if cross-fertilization is to play an important part in fruit-growing, in planting to secure it kinds must be chosen which come into blossom at the same time as those they are expected to fertilize The table on pages 106 to 109 shows the sorts that bloom together or nearly enough so to make cross-pollination possible. It will be found upon examining the table that, under normal conditions and during the average season, varieties of any one species overlap sufficiently for the above purpose unless it be the very early and very late varieties. Variations due to locality and to season must be expected but within the bounds of New York these will be slight. If the table is used for other regions than New York it must be borne in mind that the farther south, the longer the blossoming season; the farther north, the shorter the season. Properly interpreted the table of dates should be a useful guide as to the simultaneity of blooming.

Varieties of plums seem to have sexual affinities. That is, some varieties will fertilize each other very well and some will not, even though they belong to the same species. There seems to be little definite knowledge as to the sexual affinities of plums and it is not, therefore, possible to lay down exact rules for the selection of pollinizers for individual varieties. In the current discussions of cross-pollination it is probable that the importance of " affinities " is over-rated, and yet the subject is worthy of consideration. Waugh and Kerr have given this subject considerable attention for native and Japanese plums and have recommended a list of pollinizers for the several species. The Domesticas and Insititias, the

above writers hold, are best cross-pollinated by varieties from the same species if cross-pollination is essential.

The subject cannot be closed without the expression of the opinion that the lack of cross-pollination as a cause of the uncertainties in the setting of fruit has been over estimated in the planting of plum orchards. This expression of doubt is made because there are serious disadvantages in the planting of mixed orchards of any fruit and the question as to whether these do not outweigh the advantages must ever be considered.

LOCATIONS AND SOILS FOR PLUMS.

The plum is comparatively easy to suit in the matter of location of orchards, as is shown by the exceedingly wide range of this fruit in New York. Plums are grown with eminent success on the elevated and sloping lands adjoining the Great Lakes, the Central Lakes of western New York and on both banks of the Hudson. Unquestionably there are many other localities than those named about the waterways of the State and also upon the elevated lands in the western interior formed by morainic hills, and upon the slopes of the mountains in eastern New York. Upon any land in the State suited to general farm crops, where the severity of winter is tempered by the lay of the land or proximity to water, and where late spring frosts are infrequent, plums may be grown. The early blooming plums, the Trifloras in particular, require more or less consideration as to the slope of land, a northern exposure to retard blooming-time being best. With other species the direction of the slope makes little difference, though a slope for air and water drainage is always better than a dead level.

The plum is now thriving in New York, and in the country at large, in a great diversity of soils. The chief requisite for the genus in general seems to be good drainage. Given this condition, some sort of plums can be grown on almost any soil found in America not wholly prohibitive of plant growth. Plums can be found which will stand rather more water than any other of the tree-fruits, and since plums can be grafted on several stocks, each having its own adaptation to soils, the adaptability of the genus is still further increased. Yet the several species have somewhat decided soil preferences.

The Domesticas and Insititias, the plums now almost exclusively grown in New York, grow most satisfactorily, all things considered, on rich clay loams. The plum orchards in this State on such soils contain the largest and most productive trees and produce the choicest fruit from the standpoints of size, appearance and quality. Yet there are exceptions in which exceedingly fine Domestica plums are grown on light loams. The Station collection of about two hundred varieties of European plums is on stiff clay, but well drained, and the results are uniformly good. The Americanas and Nigras grow very well on much the same soils as the European sorts, speaking from the experience on the grounds of this Station, for varieties of these species are not generally grown in New York. Beyond question the Triflora plums, next most widely grown in New York after the Domesticas, are giving the best results on light soilsthose most favorable for the peach. The ideal soil for this species is a sandy or gravelly loam but they are growing well on soils having either more sand or more clay than the ideal types. The Hortulana and Munsoniana plums incline to the comparatively light types of soils named as being best for the Trifioras rather than to the heavier lands on which the European plums are most commonly grown.

Plum-growers are well aware of the necessity of good drainage for this fruit but few seem to realize the importance of warmth in a plum soil. The plum, in common with all stone-fruits, grows best, as a rule, on soils having the power to absorb and retain heat, or if the soil have not these properties the location and the cultivation should be such as to provide as far as possible for " bottom heat.'*

STOCKS AND PROPAGATION.

A discussion of stocks naturally follows one of soils, for the two are intimately related. The plum can be successfully grown on various stocks and for this reason the practices of nurserymen are diverse, depending upon the cost of the stocks, the ease with which they may be budded or grafted and the adaptability of the tree to the stocks. Unfortunately there is little experimental data to show which of the several stocks is best for the different plums and since growers seldom know what stocks their plums are growing upon they can give almost no information as to the desirability of propagating on this stock or that. Nurserymen know the stocks best adapted to their purpose and from them we have sought information.

A letter of inquiry sent to representative nurserymen in all parts of the United States as to the relative merits of the several stocks for the different species of plums shows that plum propagators in different regions use somewhat different stocks. In New England and the North Atlantic States, the Myrobalan seems to be almost the universal choice, the exception being a few propagators who claim that the Japanese sorts should be worked on the peach, especially for sandy soils, and a few others who are using Americana stocks for the American species.

In the Atlantic states south of Pennsylvania and in the Gulf states to the Mississippi the preferences are very diverse, with the majority of the nurserymen in this region favoring the peach, Myrobalan following as a close second choice. For light soils it would seem that the peach is always to be preferred for this great region. The opinions expressed by the veteran plum-grower, J. W. Kerr of Denton, Maryland, on this subject are worth printing in full. He says:

"In this locality for all varieties of the Domesticas that unite thoroughly with it, the peach is preferable as a stock. There are, however, a good many varieties of Domesticas that refuse to unite firmly with the peach. For these the Marianna or the Myrobalan gives best results. For all of the Japanese plums the peach has proved most satisfactory, when the trees are propagated by root-grafting on the whole-root plan. Nearly forty years of experimenting and testing stocks of various kinds gives me a decided preference for the peach as a stock for native plums; results doubtless would be different in colder climates and soils than this, but long and critical experience has conclusively demonstrated the superiority of this stock when used as indicated for the Japanese."

In the interior region between the Atlantic and Gulf States and the Mississippi, the Myrobalan is used almost exclusively for the European plums and most largely for the other species. Several nurserymen from this region, however, state that the St. Julien is better than the Myrobalan for the Domesticas and Insititias but object to them because the stocks cannot be obtained as cheaply. The peach is generally recommended for the Triflora sorts and the statement is several times repeated that the Americanas would be preferred for the native species if stocks of this species could be obtained readily.

In the northern states of the Mississippi Valley, all nurserymen agree that plums must be worked on Americana stocks. In this region the hardy natives only are grown.

South of the northern tier in the states of the plains the Myrobalan is used almost exclusively for the European species, most largely for the Trifloras, with the peach second for this species, and Americana stocks for the native species. Stark Brothers of Louisiana, Missouri, large growers of nursery stock in this region, express the opinion that "the right stock for native plums is yet to be found." In Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico the Marianna is mentioned by several nurserymen as desirable, and is, from these statements, rather more commonly used for stocks in these states at present than in any other region.

On the Pacific Coast propagators use Myrobalan and peach in about equal quantities, the first named for heavy soils and the last for the lighter soils. The native plums are not grown in this region. The almond is mentioned as being desirable in California under some conditions. Some plum-growers in the states of the Pacific propagate their own trees from suckers.

The information given by nurserymen shows that by far the greatest number of plums in the country are grown on Myrobalan stocks. In New York this stock is used almost exclusively. In Europe the writer found that the nurserymen hold that this is a dwarfing stock, and that the trees on it are shorter-lived than on some other stocks. In the nurseries in New York, plums in general, but more especially the Europeans, are larger and finer trees at two years, the selling age, grown on Myrobalan roots than trees grown on other stocks. Nurserymen lodge but two complaints against it; these are that in the South it suckers badly and in the cold states of the Great Plains the roots are killed by the winters. Its advantages from the tree-growers' standpoint are: Cheapness of the stock, which is usually imported from France, large handsome trees in the nursery, ease of budding and a good union with nearly all varieties. Some growers complain that certain varieties overgrow this stock making in the end a badly malformed trunk. The Myrobalan plums are very variable, a fact which finds record in nearly all the characters of tree and fruit and this is somewhat against it as a stock. It is for this reason that there are so many "true" and "false" Myrobalans among nurserymen. Many importers hold that this stock is grown in France from cuttings. Such it seems was the old practice but now, if information from France is correct, most of these stocks are grown from seed. Hansen reports that in South Dakota this stock is worthless because it winter-kills. He says "in experiments at this Station a very small per cent, of Myrobalan stocks survived the first winter and these died the ensuing summer." It is likely that this stock would suffer in the coldest parts of New York.

In this region the St. Julien is probably the next most common stock in plum orchards though trees on it are for most part old, as its use is on the decrease. There is a wide-spread opinion among plum-growers that this is a much better stock for Domestica and Insititia plums than any other. On St. Julien stocks varieties of these species, it is claimed, with much to substantiate the claim, produce trees that are longer-lived, thriftier, hardier, deeper feeders, sprout less and are less susceptible to changes in soils. The chief objections to this stock are: It is more expensive, sometimes scarcely obtainable in France; difficult to bud; the young trees do not make as good growth as on the Myrobalan stocks; and the yearlings are much more susceptible to fungi while in the nursery row, though the latter troubles can be remedied wholly or in part by spraying, Hansen, in the reference given above, says that "the St. Julien and European Sloe (Prunus spinosa) both winter-killed" in South Dakota when used as stocks. The St. Julien stock is propagated from layers when properly grown in France but much undesirable stock is now raised from seed. There are fruiting trees of this stock about the nurseries in the neighborhood of this Station which show it to be an Insititia of the Damson type, a type likely to come fairly true to seed yet not sufficiently so as to make seed-grown trees desirable.

The Horse plum was formerly used as a stock by nurserymen a great deal but is now wholly superseded. Indeed, it is so nearly lost to the trade as to make it almost impossible to really know what the plum of this name is. Some describe it as a small-fruited Domestica, others as an Insititia similar to the St. Julien, but the majority of the trees shown by old nurserymen in the nursery region of New York, about the only place in which the stock was used, show it to be a Cerasifera but not Myrobalan. Some of the named varieties of Cerasifera probably sprung from sprouts of this stock. It seems to have had no qualities which would make it worth while to attempt to re-establish the stock.

The testimony of a large number of nurserymen is in favor of the peach as a stock for plums. Budded on the peach, plums of many varieties are grown very successfully on the warm sandy and gravelly soils so well suited to the peach. This stock enables the tree to make a quick growth and come into bearing early, and the roots do not produce sprouts. The budding with the peach is easily done, the young trees make a vigorous growth in the nursery and plums on peach roots can probably be grown at a less cost than on any other stock. Triflora plums in particular make excellent trees worked upon peach stock, the roots are as hardy as the tops and the union is sufficiently congenial to make the resulting tree long-lived. For the Domestica and Insititia plums the peach stock is not so valuable, for with some varieties a good union is not secured and the roots are less hardy than the tops. Among the varieties which nurserymen say will not unite with the peach are: Lombard, Damsons, Yellow Egg and Washington. Peach borers are sometimes troublesome when plums are budded on peach stocks.

Mr. Kerr, in his statement regarding stocks, on page 115, says that it is his practice to whip-graft the plum on "whole-root" peach roots obtaining eventually the plum on its own roots. This method is certainly well adapted to Mr. Kerr's conditions but whether it would do in heavier soils and a colder climate is doubtful. One would suspect that some varieties of Domesticas and Insititias at least would sprout badly.

In the South, more particularly Texas and the Southwest, Marianna stocks find favor, though their use seems to be on the decrease. The advantages of this stock are such as appeal to the nurserymen rather than to the plum-grower. These are that the Marianna readily strikes root from cuttings and the growth in the nursery is all that can be desired. Cuttings strike more easily in the South than in the North, hence its popularity in the first named region.

For the colder parts of the Great Plains and as far east as to include Wisconsin, Americana seedlings are the only stocks that will withstand the winter. In this region Americana stocks are, of course, used only for the native plums and data seem to be lacking as to whether other plums cultivated for their fruit could be grown on this stock or not. The W. et T. Smith Company of Geneva report that they are now using Americana seedlings for native plums for their eastern trade, speaking of them as follows: " We think we get a larger growth and a better root system by using the native (Americana) stocks. We also consider that the Flowering Almonds, Prunus triloba and Prunus pissardi, make a better growth on native stocks." From the last statement one would suspect that it would be feasible to grow other orchard plums than the native species on this stock. As yet Americana seedlings are expensive, and until they cost less their use in competition with the Myrobalan and peach stocks will be almost precluded. The chief fault of the Americana stock is that the trees sucker rather badly.

Besides the plants discussed above various nondescript members of the genus Prunus are used as stocks for cultivated plums under particular circumstances or for particular purposes. Seedlings of Munsoniana plums are supposed to be preeminently adapted for low wet lands. J. W. Kerr believes that seedlings of Prunus hortulana are excellent stocks for native plums as they never sucker. The Sand plum (Prunus angustifolia watsoni) offers possibilities as a stock for dwarfing larger growing species. According to Hansen, who reviews the literature and describes several experiments of his own, the western Sand cherry (Prunus besseyi) dwarfs varieties worked upon it and has the merits of being extremely hardy and of producing trees which bear early and abundantly. As stated in the discussion of Subcordata, stocks of this plum have been used on the Pacific Coast and discarded because it dwarfs trees and suckers badly. According to Wickson, the apricot and almond are sometimes used as stocks for plums in California and in some instances with considerable success.

Lastly, suckers are not uncommonly used by plum-growers for certain varieties. Thus in the western part of New York, the plum-growing region of the East, several varieties as the Reine Claudes and some of the Damsons are propagated from sprouts taken from the base of old trees. This method can be used, of course, only when the trees are grown upon their own roots. The writer was told by plum-growers in Germany and France that most of the plums in gardens and small plantations, constituting the majority of the plums in the two countries, were propagated from suckers. This method has small merit except that it enables a grower to get a few trees cheaply and perhaps gives a better tree of some varieties for a heavy soil. Beyond question it gives trees with a tendency to suckeran undesirable attribute.

In the horticultural literature of the time recommendations for top-working plums are rather frequent. It is true that many varieties of plums grow slowly and make crooked growths, especially in the nursery, but in the attempts at grafting in New York the failures are more conspicuous than the successes. If top-working is decided upon, the earlier in the life of the tree it is done, the better. For the Domesticas at least, the Lombard is probably the best stock. The method of top-working is to graft in early spring or bud in late summer. Grafting ought to be used more often than it is to renew the tops of injured trees, as the difficulties in doing this are not much greater than in the case of apples.


PLUM ORCHARDS AND THEIR CARE.

Plum trees in New York are set from twelve to twenty feet apart. The amount of room given seems to depend mostly upon the custom in the locality, though, as all agree, it should depend upon the soil and the variety. The deduction which plum-growers are drawing from these experiences is that the plum should have more room than is generally given it, therefore, wider plantings are more the rule now than formerly. Little attention has been paid to mixed planting for cross-pollination in this State, as the Domesticas are planted almost exclusively and seem under orchard conditions to be self-fertile.

In this region plum trees are usually planted two years from the bud, the exception being the Japanese which are sometimes set at a year from the bud. Plum trees in the past have been headed at three or four feet above the ground but the tendency now is to head them lowerhalf the above distances, and in orchards so planted there seems to be no inconvenience in tilling with modern implements. In the commercial orchards of the State the heads are formed of four or five main branches and in the case of the Domesticas and Insititias about a central trunk but with the Trifloras the leader is often removed leaving a vase-formed head. After the head is formed the subsequent pruning is simple, consisting of cutting out injured and crossed branches and heading-in long, whip-like growths. The Trifloras receive more pruning than the European varieties, as much of the fruit is borne on the growth of the previous season and it is necessary to keep the bearing wood near the trunk. It is the custom to cut rank growing Trifloras severely but the value of such a procedure is doubtful, as the more such a plum is pruned the more it will need pruning in the years to follow. A better plan seems to be to curtail the food and prune as little as possible, though on rich soils the tree would probably grow out of all bounds unless cut back somewhat year after year.

About the only cultivated native plums to be found in New York, if a few Wild Goose trees here and there are excepted, are on the grounds of this Station. Experience here demonstrates that, prune as you will, certain varieties of the native species will remain crooked, ungainly and unkempt. Pruning some varieties is necessary in order to permit pickers to get into the dense, thorny heads; heading-in such varieties would make their tops wholly impenetrable.

In common with all tree-fruits the best plum orchards are tilled. Such tillage usually consists of plowing in the spring followed by frequent cultivation until the middle of August, at which time a cover-crop of clover, oats or barley is sown. The plum seems to require more water than other tree-fruitsit often thrives in comparatively moist land and fails on sandy soils where the peach would grow luxuriantly. Cultivation to save moisture is very necessary for the plum in the experience of New York growers. Grass and grain have proved ruinous in most orchards where tried, though cultivated crops between young trees to pay for keep until fruiting-time are very generally planted. The claim is made by some, and with a show of reason, that there is less of the brown-rot in tilled orchards than in neglected ones for the reason that the mummied fruits which carry the fungus through the winter are buried by plowing and with shallow cultivation, at least, do not come to light and life.

Plum-growers very generally recognize the several distinct and valuable purposes which cover-crops serve in orchards. They protect the tree from root-killing, from cold, keep the soil from washing, add humus and, with legumes, nitrogen to the soil, modify the physical structure of the soil and hasten seasonal maturity of the tree. There is one other function which is not so often taken into account. Plum orchards in which cover-crops are regularly grown, even though the crop be not a legume, need less fertilizers than those in which no such crop is grown. There are several reasonable suppositions as to why there should be such an effect, but one not usually given sufficient consideration is that cover-crops make available much plant food in the soil. Each plant in the crop collects food from soil and air, most of it otherwise unavailable, and turns it over to the trees.

A discussion of fertilizers naturally follows. Present practices in the use of fertilizers with the plum, as with other fruits, are very diverse. It is impossible to ascertain what considerations have governed the applications of fertilizers in the plum orchards of New York or what the results have been. Too often, it is to be feared, fertilizers have been used as "cure alls" for any or all of the ills to which trees are heirs. Out of the mass of conflicting data as to the effects of fertilizers on plums, the most apparent fact is that much of the fertilizers for this fruit is wasted; this in face of the fact that plums want rich soils. But the plum crop is mostly water, the foliage remains on the ground, the trees grow several years before fruiting, their growing season is from early spring until late fall, the roots go deep and spread far, the trees transpire large amounts of water, hence may thrive on diluted solutions of plant food, and now and then there is an off year in bearing for the trees to recuperate.

It does not follow from the above consideration that plums never need fertilizers, but it does seem plain that they need rather less than truck or farm crops and that applications of plant food must be made with exceedingly great care if fertilizing is to be done without waste. There is a growing disposition on the part of plum-growers to experiment very carefully and know that they are getting the worth of their money before using any considerable quantity of fertilizers for their trees.

Thinning the fruit should be a regular practice with plum-growers, but it is the operation in the growing of this fruit about which growers are most careless both as to whether it is done at all and in the manner of doing. Many growers in New York, realizing the great necessity of thinning certain varieties of Triflora, as Burbank and Abundance, follow the practice very regularly with plums of this group; but the Domesticas are seldom well thinned, though some of them, of which Lombard is a conspicuous example, ought nearly always to have anywhere from one-fifth to half of the fruit removed. Growers of some of the native varieties in regions where these sorts are grown say that under cultivation some kinds of these plums will bear themselves to death if a part of the crop be not removed in most years. Those growers in New York who thin, do the work as soon as possible after the June drop has taken place.

HARVESTING AND MARKETING.

Plum trees in this climate begin to bear when set from three to five years. The Triflora varieties will bear soonest, the Old World varieties next in order, say at four years from setting, and the native sorts, as a rule, come in bearing last. At eight or ten years of age, prolific varieties of the Triflora and Domestica sorts bear in a good year about three bushels of fruit; the Insititia and native varieties, on the Station grounds, at least, do not bear as much, though most of the plums of these two groups bear more regularly than the first named groups.

Plums in this State, and east of the Mississippi generally, are picked and put upon the market just before they reach edible condition; while farther away they must be picked much greener. It is the practice in the East to pick while still somewhat green because the fruit so picked is best handled at this stage of maturity and the brown-rot fungus is likely to destroy much of the crop if left until fully matured. Some of the Triflora sorts, Abundance, Burbank and October, for example, are picked from a week to ten days before ripe and yet develop very good color and flavor. The Domesticas need not be, and are not, picked quite so green. In picking, great diversity exists as to ladders, receptacles, and manner of conveyance from orchard to packing house. These need not be discussed here, nor need the methods of picking be spoken of further than to say that while good growers consider it vital not to bruise the fruit nor destroy the delicate bloom, if such injuries can be avoided, pickers in general are not nearly as observant of these important details as they should be.

The plum crop is sent to market, for most part in New York, in six, eight and ten-pound grape baskets with the preference at present for the smallest of these baskets. Occasionally some fruit is packed in four pound baskets. Rarely, and always to the disadvantage of both producer and consumer, plums go to market in the packages in which the fruit is picked. Indeed, it is seldom advantageous to pack the fruit in the field, it being far better to convey it to the packing house where the preparations for shipping may be more carefully made, as the package and the manner of packing advertise the product. Plums coming to this State from the far "West are often wrapped individually in tissue paper as a help in safe shipping and to add to their attractiveness but the fruit grown in the State is seldom, if ever, so treated, though it is possible that choice specimens could be profitably wrapped. Of the sorting, grading, facing and marking the packages, little need be said except that they are too rarely well done in present methods, though there is a steady improvement in attending to these important matters.

Few plums are stored longer than a week at most in common storage and three weeks or a month is quite the limit for most varieties in cold storage. Late plums and in particular some of the prunes might well be stored longer than is now the custom if proper precautions are taken, as is shown by the experience at this Station where a considerable number of the Domestica and Insititia varieties are annually kept in common storage for a month or longer without unusual precautions. Some of the new varieties offered to growers, as Apple and Occident, are recommended as keeping for several weeks after picking. There is a most marked difference in the keeping qualities of this fruit and it is certain that varieties can now be selected for long keeping and that there is a fine opportunity for breeding sorts that will keep even longer than any we now have.

Marketing, the actual selling, is a business quite by itself, and since it is one which has changed greatly in the past few years and is destined to change even more in the near future, a few observations on the subject are worth putting on record. A well developed local market is undoubtedly the best selling place for the plum producer, as in it the sales are directly to the consumer, eliminating expensive middlemen. The westward spread of manufacturing industries, the workers in which use up the western-grown fruit, is making better local markets for eastern plums, a point worth noting, for many New York plum-growers have ceased planting, indeed have been removing trees, fearing western competition.

By far the greater part of the plum crop now finds its way to consumers through the following costly distributive system: 1st. Local buyers who ship to centers of consumption. 2nd. Transportation companies. 3rd. Commission companies who collect and distribute the crop in consuming centers. 4th. Retailers who parcel out the quantities and the qualities demanded by the consumer. The great defect in* handling the crop is, that there are too many men and too much machinery to do the work cheaply -moreover, the risks of depreciation are great, and the fruit is not handled on a large scale chiefly because of a lack of capital by the grower or local buyer. These defects in the present distribution of plums in New York make the price received by the grower about half that paid by the consumer and the selling of the crop a more or less speculative business. The plum industry, as is the case with all fruits, is greatly hampered by the present marketing systems.

Unfortunately there is yet but a small outlet for surplus plums as manufactured products. As a rule the commercial outlook is best for those fruits of which the surplus can be turned into by-products. The only outlet for the plum in the East is in canning, as this region is unable to compete with the West in the making of prunes and as the several plum products of the Old World are not in demand in the New World. Beyond question there are a number of products, as preserves, jellies from the native plums, glace fruits, plum butter, marmalades and the like, which could be made profitable for the markets and thus a great help in utilizing surplus plums.


DISEASES.

Plums are subject to a considerable number of fungus diseases, several of which are often virulent, the virulence depending on locality, season, weather and variety. Happily for the plum industry, knowledge of plant pathology has made such advancements in recent years that nearly all of the diseases of this fruit are now controlled by preventive or remedial measures.


One of the commonest and most striking of the diseases of the plum is black-knot {Plowrightia morbosa (Schw.) Saccardo) characterized by wart-like excrescences on shoots and branches. In early summer these knots are dark green, soft and velvety, but as the fungus ripens in the fall the color changes to a carbon-like black and the knots become hard and brittle. The disease is usually confined to one side of the twig or branch so that death of the affected part does not ensue at once. Black-knot is an American malady, at one time confined to the eastern part of the continent where in some localities its ravages forced the abandonment of plum-growing. The fungus is now endemic to wild or cultivated plants in practically all the plum-growing regions of the continent, but it is still epidemic only in the East, the South and West being practically free from the disease. Unless especially virulent black-knot is controlled by cutting out the diseased wood. Usually eradication is not possible without several prunings during a season.

Much has been made of the supposed immunity of some varieties of plums to black-knot. In the vicinity of this Station, where the disease is always present and often rampant, the differences in immunity are not very marked in varieties of the same species. The Trifloras are less attacked, however, than any other group of plums, and the Insititias rank next in immunity. No variety of the Domesticas has yet proved to be free from the disease but strong claims are made that Middleburg and Palatine are relatively free.

Next in order of seriousness among the diseases which attack cultivated plums is the brown-rot (Sclerotinia fructigena (Persoon) Schroeter) known also very commonly as the ripe-rot and sometimes as peach-blight. The disease is most conspicuous on the ripe fruits of the various drupes and is popularly supposed to be confined to the fruits alone. Such is not the case, for it also attacks, and very vigorously oftentimes, the flowers and shoots. The presence of the disease on the fruits is known by a dark discoloration of the skin which is afterward partly or wholly covered by pustule-like aggregations of grayish spores. The decayed fruits may fall to the ground, or as is more usual in the case of plums, they hang to the tree and as the juice evaporates become shriveled mummies, each mummy being a storehouse of the fungus from which infection spreads the following season. The twigs, flowers and leaves are known to be suffering from inroads of the parasite when they are blackened as if nipped by frost. In warm, damp weather the rot spreads with great rapidity and fruits touching in clusters or in boxes stored for shipping are well placed to spread the epidemic. Destruction of the mummy-like fruits and all other sources of infection, and spraying with bordeaux mixture are now practiced as preventives, but so far as the crop is concerned with but indifferent success. A better remedy than we now have is eagerly looked for by growers of fruits.

The hosts of this fungus show varying degrees of susceptibility to it, the peach and the sweet cherries being more subject to it than plums. Similarly, among plums some species and varieties are more susceptible than others. Thus the Trifloras and Americanas, the latter especially in the South, are injured more by the brown-rot than other species. The idiosyncrasies of varieties in this regard are best shown in the discussions of the individual sorts.

Several interesting and sometimes destructive diseases of plums are caused by various species of the fungal genus Exoascus. The most common of these, and the most striking and destructive, is plum-pockets {Exoascus pruni Fuckel), which causes prominent deformities of the fruit. These give the disease the common name or less frequently "bladders" and "curl." The fungus attacks the developing fruits at an early stage of their growth and causes the production of a spongy mass in the fleshy tissue which greatly enlarges and distorts the plum. The stone in a diseased plum is but rudimentary or very often not at all developed. Less prominently but quite as frequently, the leaves are attacked, showing as they unfold more or less red or yellow with a very decided curling and arching of the leaf-blade. The disease usually spreads from the leaves to the shoots, the infected shoots with their rosettes of mal-formed leaves giving the tree a most unsightly appearance. Prevention at present consists of removing the diseased parts and spraying with bordeaux mixture when the buds begin to swell. Munsoniana and Hortulana plums seem to be most susceptible to this disease. Atkinson has described several species of Exoascus on the different species of wild plums, some of which are liable to be found on the cultivated varieties of the native plums. They are all very similar to Exoascus pruni, differing chiefly, in the eyes of the layman, in forming smaller pockets. Sturgis records an attack of one of the leaf-curl fungi, distinct from the plum-pockets fungus, on varieties of Triflora in Connecticut, which seemed to him to be of scientific and economic importance.

The leaves of the different species of cultivated plums are attacked by several fungi which produce diseased spots on the foliage, which for most part drop out, causing a shot-hole effect. These diseases pass under such descriptive names as " shot-hole fungus," " leaf-spot," and " leaf-blight." The fungus probably responsible for most of this trouble is best known as the shot-hole fungus {Cylindrosporium padi Karsten). The Domestica and Triflora varieties are very susceptible to this fungus, which, on the foliage of the first, causes spots for most part, while on the latter the spots on the leaves are nearly always followed by holes. Varieties of the native species, especially those of Americana and Nigra, are relatively free from this disease. Another of these shot-hole fungi is Cercospora circumscissa Saccardo (reference) much less common than the former, but still to be considered and especially on the foliage of Americana. All of these diseases of the foliage are prevented to some degree by the proper use of bordeaux mixture, which, on the Triflora plums at least, must be used with great care to avoid injury. Cultivation has a salutary effect as it destroys the diseased leaves which harbor the fungi.

Another disease of plum foliage, occurring rarely on the fruit, is the plum-leaf rust (reference) (Puccinia pruni-spinosae Persoon) which produces so considerable a number of spore cases on the underside of the leaves as to give the foliage a brownish cast and to cause defoliation in severe infections. The fungus is most apparent in the fall and most troublesome in warm, moist climates. Bordeaux is used as a preventive.

Stewart and Rolfs have shown that trunks and branches of plums affected by sunscald in New York are almost invariably infested by a fungus a (Valsa leucostoma Persoon) which in the Old World is known as the " die back " of the peach. The disease manifests itself on plums chiefly by affected areas much depressed at the boundary between the living and the dead bark, these areas usually, not always, having connection with sunscald injuries on the trunk. The disease is accompanied by more or less gumming.

In common with nearly all rosaceous plants, in nearly all countries, the plum is sometimes seriously injured by the powdery mildew (reference) (Podosphaera oxyacanthae DeBary). The affected leaves have a grayish appearance caused by the parts of the fungus which project beyond the leaf tissue; when badly diseased the leaves are more or less arched and curled. Mildew is seldom prevalent enough on plums to require treatment.

The crown gall, (Agrobacterium tumefaciens Smith and Townsend [Listed in the original as its former name of "Bacterium tumefaciens" -A.S.C.]) is a parasite on all of the fruits of the order Rosaceae and is especially common on nursery stock, attacking plums in many soils but rarely, however, to the great injury of the plant. These galls are perennial structures of very varying duration. They are to be found on the roots, usually at the collar of the plant, and vary from the size of a pea to that of a man's fist, forming at maturity, rough, knotty, dark-colored masses. Means of prevention or cure are not established though all agree that soils may be inoculated with the disease from infected stock; hence the necessity of discarding diseased trees at transplanting time.

Smith found in Michigan and Clinton in Connecticut a disease of the fruit called bacterial black spot (Pseudomonas pruni Smith) of the same generic origin as the crown gall but widely different in nature. The writers and the growers who found the infected fruit, saw the disease only on the Triflora plums. It attacks the green fruits which show conspicuous, black-purple, sunken spots sometimes as large as half an inch in diameter. The injuries are usually isolated and quite superficial but nevertheless, spoil the fruit.

The plum in common with other stone-fruits often suffers from an excessive flow of gum, for which trouble the name gummosis is now generally applied. The disease is to be found wherever plums are grown but it is much more destructive on the Pacific than on the Atlantic seaboard. So far as is now known gummosis is secondary to injuries caused by fungi, bacteria, insects, frost, sunscald, and mechanical agencies. The disease is least common in species and varieties having hardwood; on trees on soils favoring the maturity of wood; under conditions where sun and frost are not injurious; and, obviously, in orchards where by good care.the primary causes of gumming are kept out. Stewart has recorded an interesting case of gum-pockets in the fruit, but could assign no cause.

Mechanical injuries from the sun, frost and hail are troubles with which nearly all plum-growers must contend at one time or another. In this region the Reine Claude and Triflora plums suffer much from sunscald but none are wholly immune, though Lombard is possibly most so. These injuries from the elements of weather are often mistaken for diseases, and are so often followed by fungal parasites and insects as to make it difficult to distinguish the primary from the secondary trouble. Low-heading of the trees is the best preventive of these trunk injuries.

Plums are somewhat subject to attacks of the well-known peach scab (Cladosporium carpophilum Thumen) (19). The scab appears in numerous, small, sooty, circular spots of brownish color, often confined to one side of a fruit but in other cases distributed over the whole surface. None of the cultivated species are free from the disease but the Munsoniana, and Hortulana varieties are most susceptible to it.

Pear blight, {Bacillus amylovorus [changed to Erwinia amylovora - A.S.C.] (Burrill) DeToni) commonly thought of as a disease of the pear and apple has been found on various plums, and the yellows of the peach, cause unknown, is often quite destructive to Tri-flora plums.

According to Smith the peach rosette, cause unknown, attacks both wild and cultivated plums in the South and is quickly fatal. The disease was prevalent on the wild Angustifolias, on two varieties of Triflora, Kelsey and Botan, but the observer had not seen rosette on varieties of Domestica.

Waugh describes a trouble which he calls "flyspeck fungus" found on fruits sent from the Southern States, in which small areas are thickly dotted with black spots; also a fruit-spot on plums from Texas caused, as he states, by an undetermined Phoma. Starnes of Georgia describes a malady of the Triflora plums called "wilt," cause unknown, which he states is the most serious obstacle to the culture of this plum in the South. In this peculiar disease the foliage passes directly from a green, healthy state into a wilted and then parched condition, the death warrant being signed when a tree is once affected. In Oregon and Washington the Italian Prune is subject to a leaf-curl which begins in mid-summer and curls the leaves conduplicately without withering but shriveling somewhat. As the season advances the leaves turn yellow and many of them drop. Neither cause nor cure is known. Smith described a plum-blight of native plums in Georgia which " destroys large branches or even whole trees in mid-summer in the course of a few weeks."

INSECTS.

Cultivated plums furnish food for a great number of insects. Many of the destructive insect pests of the several cultivated species of Prunus are known to have come from the wild plants of the genus, but others, and possibly the majority, come from over the seas. No less than forty species of insects may be enumerated as pests of the plum and many more can be counted as occasional parasites on one or another of the species. Of the formidable pests the plum curculio is probably the most troublesome. The plum curculio (Conotrachelus nenuphar Herbst) (26) is a rough, grayish snout-beetle somewhat less than a quarter of an inch in length, an insect so familiar to fruit-growers as hardly to need a description. The female beetle pierces the skin of the young plums and places an egg in the puncture. About this cavity she gouges out a crescent-shaped trench, the puncture and trench making the " star and crescent " of the Ottoman Empire, hence the common name of the beetle, " The Little Turk." The egg-laying process may be repeated in a number of fruits and from each egg a larva hatches within a week and burrows to the stone, making a wormy fruit. Most of the infested plums drop. In years past plum-growers relied upon jarring the beetles from the trees in the early morning, but the treatment was too expensive, and poisoning with an arsenate is now the chief means of combating the pest. Rubbish and vegetation offer hiding places for the insects and hence cultivated orchards are more free from curculio. Thin skinned varieties are damaged most by the insect but there are no "curculio-proof" plums.

A larger snout-beetle than the curculio, the plum gouger (27) (Anihonomus scutellaris LeConte), occasionally does much damage to plums. The work of the gouger may be told from that of the curculio by the absence of the crescent cut about the puncture made for the egg, and from the fact that the larvae of this pest chiefly infest the stone and those of the other insect the flesh of the plum. The remedies are the same for the two insects though the gouger is more easily destroyed.

Among the several borers which are more or less destructive to species of Rosaceae only the peach borer (28) (Sanninoidea exitiosa Say.) may be counted as a troublesome pest of the plum. The larvae of this insect are frequently to be found in both wild and cultivated plum trees and must be combated in nearly all plum orchards east of the Rocky Mountains. The prevention of the work of the borer is best accomplished by thorough cultivation, the use of coverings of tar and poisonous washes and mounding the trees. Destruction is effectively carried out only by digging out the borer with knife or wire. The lesser peach borer (28a) (Sesia pictipes Groteet Robinson) attacks the plum and in New York has been found particularly injurious to the Wickson plums. The flat-headed apple tree borer (29) (Chrysobothris femorata Fabricius) is frequently found in the wood of wild plums and is sometimes a pest of the several cultivated species. It is treated as is the peach borer. The shot-hole borer (30) (Eccoptogaster rugulosus Ratzeburg) a diminutive insect which deposits its eggs in the trunks or large branches of various members of the genus Prunus, may be regarded as an effect rather than a cause of disease, for it seldom injures perfectly healthy plum trees. The peach bark-beetle (31) {Phlceotribus liminaris Harris) is somewhat similar in its work to the shot-hole borer and like it is found for most part only in diseased and decrepit trees.

The plum aphis (32) (Aphis prunifolii Fitch) is sometimes very destructive to varieties of the native plums, especially the Americanas, and occasionally injures or even kills the young trees of the Domestica sorts. It is not a formidable foe in New York, and it is the exception when trees must be treated for it, the treatment being any of the contact solutions used against sucking insects. The cherry aphis (32) (Myzus cerasi Linnaeus) and the green peach aphis (32) (Myzus persiccs Sulzer) are much less common than the plum aphis on plum trees, but are sometimes abundant on foliage of this fruit and are combated in the same way as the more common aphis. Gillette enumerates two other aphids as attacking the plum in Colorado the rusty brown plum louse (33) (Aphis setarice Thomas) and the mealy plum louse (33) (Hyalopterus arundinis Fabricius).

Several scale insects infest the plum. Chief of these is the dreaded San Jose scale (34) (Aspidiotus perniciosus Comstock) known and feared by all fruit-growers in the United States. The lime and sulphur solution is now the most common and probably the most effective spray for this insect. The European fruit lecanium (35) (Lecanium corni Bouche) occasionally does a great deal of damage in New York and now and then destroys the whole crop in an orchard. The winter treatment for San Jose scale is used to control this pest, but usually such treatment is supplemented by a summer spray about July first with such contact sprays as whale oil soap and kerosene emulsion. Of the other scales (36) which feed upon plums and now and then become pestiferous the following may be named: The fruit pulvinaria (Pulvinaria amygdali Cockerell), the mealy bug (Pseudococcus longispinus Targioni), the scurfy scale (Chionaspis furfura Fitch), the West Indian peach scale (Aulacaspis pentagona Tavgiom), the Putnam scale {Aspidiotus ancylus Putnam), the cherry scale (Aspidiotus forbesi Johnson), the walnut scale {Aspidiotus juglans-regia Comstock), Howard's scale (Aspidiotus howardii Cockerell), the European fruit scale (Aspidiotus ostremformis Curtis), the red scale of California {Chrysomphalus aurantii Maskell), the oyster-shell scale {Lepidosaphes ulmi Linnaeus), and the soft scale {Coccus hesperidum Linnaeus).

Wild plums of several species seem to be favorite feeding grounds for the tent caterpillar (37) (Malacosoma americana Fabricius), but cultivated plums are not so often attacked; the spraying with arsenites usually given for the curculio is fatal to this pest as well. The spring canker-worm (38) {Paleacrita vernata Peck) and the fall canker-worm (Alsophila pometaria Harris) are other caterpillars which often do much damage unless checked by destructive measures, of which the best are the arsenical sprays. The larvae of a considerable number of other moths and butterflies are often found on plum foliage but seldom in such numbers as to require systematic destruction.

The eye-spotted bud-moth (39) (Tmetocera ocellana Schiffermuller) is a rather serious pest in plum nurseries where the larvae eat into the young buds at the time they are opening, often destroying the shoots. Sometimes the larvae are found destroying buds on old trees. The arsenical sprays are used to destroy this pest. The peach twig-moth {Anarsia lineatella Zeller) is now and then found in plum twigs but is seldom classed as a plum pest.

The clover mite (40) (Bryobia pratensis Garman) formerly considered a serious pest of the plum only in the far West, is now abundant in plum orchards in New York. It can be controlled by applications of lime and sulphur. The bumble-flower beetle (Euphoria inda Linnaeus) is reported by Goff to be occasionally very injurious to plums in Wisconsin. Remedies seem not to have been tried. The larvae of the cherry slug (Selandria cerasi Peck) is not infrequently found doing damage to plum foliage and occasionally the larvae of one or two other saw-flies feed on the plum. These are all overcome by the use of arsenical sprays. At least one of the curious insects know as " case-bearers et" attacks the plums. The troublesome one is the pistol case-bearer (42) (Coleophora malivorella Riley), which is not often a pest but has sometimes done considerable damage. Attempts to check this insect with the arsenical sprays have usually proved successful. The plum tree is a host-plant of the hop aphis (43) (Phorodon humuli Schrank). So much does this insect feed on the plum that the destruction of plum trees in the vicinity of hop fields is recommended to hop-growers by Riley.



Footnotes

A prune is a dried plum. The requisite for a prune-making plum is that it have a large proportion of solids, particularly sugar. Comparatively few varieties of plums bear sufficient amounts of solids so that they may be successfully cured into a firm, long-keeping product. Only varieties of the Domesticas are used in making prunes, though possibly some of the Insititias might be so used. Prunes are chiefly used in cookery though some of the finer grades from France are sold as confections.

Prunes are either dried in the sun as in California; partially cooked in ovens and the curing completed indoors, as in European countries; or wholly dried in evaporators, as in the Pacific Northwest. Sun-drying is the most economical method where the climate permits. The half cooking does not make so attractive a product but when skillfully done the prunes are possibly more palatable, as the cooked flavor is liked by consumers. Beyond question the best prunes are made, however, all things considered, in well-managed evaporators. In evaporators the changes of curing take place most perfectly and uniformly so that, as a rule, the prune looks better, keeps longer, is not so tough and has a more natural taste of the green fruit.

In prune-making the fruit is allowed to remain on the trees until ripe enough to fall to the ground, as the maximum proportion of solids is thus obtained. After picking, the plums are passed over graders to remove rubbish and to secure uniformity in size, this being essential to obtain evenness in curing, since the small fruits dry more rapidly than large ones. Usually before evaporation begins the fruit is dipped in boiling lye or pricked by needles in a pricking machine to make tender the tough skin and so allow the moisture to escape more readily. The dipping consists of immersing the fruit for a minute or less in a solution of lye in the proportion of 1 pound of concentrated lye to from 10 to 50 gallons of water maintained at the boiling point. The fruit is carried mechanically through the lye vat and a rinser by a modified endless chain, or it may be dipped in wire baskets. After rinsing the plums are ready for curing.

Exposure to the sun in curing varies from five to twelve days, depending upon the heat of the sun and the size and the variety of the plum. Curing in evaporators varies with the fruit and with the make of the machine. In general the temperature in the evaporator is from 1200 to 1400 at the start, increasing to from 1600 to 1800 and decreasing when the prunes are taken out. Too much heat at first causes the cells of the fruit to burst, thereby producing drip and discoloration. Important factors in evaporating in machines are the circulation of air, convenience, cost of fuel and power. The time required for curing ranges from twelve hours for a small plum to forty-eight hours for a large, juicy one. If not cured enough fermentation and molding result; if cured too much the weight is lessened, the quality is injured, the prune is harsh and coarse and has a dried up appearance.

When sufficiently dried the prunes are put in bins or piles to sweat, a process taking from one to three weeks, after which they are graded, processed and packed. In grading, the prunes are separated into sizes indicating the number of prunes required to make a pound, as 30's to 40's, 40's to 50's and so on to the smallest size, 120's to 130's. The processing is done by dipping the prunes in boiling water and glycerine or by steaming or by using some special preparation in the final dipping or by rattling in a revolving cylinder. Processing is reputable if it adds beauty to the color, or kills insects' eggs or sterilizes the prunes. It is disreputable when the aim is to add to the weight. The best prunes are packed in boxes, in which process lining with paper, filling facing, pressing and labeling are important details. A well cured prune is soft and spongy, the pit is loose but does not rattle, the skin is bright, the product is free from drippings or exudation, the flesh is meaty, elastic, and of a bright, lively color.

The custom has been to bleach light colored prunes with sulphur fumes. This process injures the quality and possibly makes the product somewhat poisonous. Sulphuring is now regulated by the Federal Pure Food Law.

If poorly managed or if the plums are not of the best, several difficulties are encountered in curing prunes. Thus, a syrupy liquid sometimes oozes from the prunes, besmearing and making unattractive the final product. Again, the finished prunes may be covered with globules of sugar, rendering them sticky and destroying the lustre. Fruit grown on poor soils, on unhealthy trees or picked green may cure into small prunes of an abnormal shape called " Frogs " or they may ferment and swell up in large soft prunes called " Bloaters."

The plum chiefly used in California in making prunes is the Agen, usually called Petite, a prune curing into a bright amber-colored product. This plum is easily cured, and the prune from it needs little sugar in cooking. In the states north of California the Italian Prune is the favorite, producing a dark red, almost black product, more tart but on the whole rather better flavored than the prune from the preceding variety. Other varieties more or less used are Golden Drop, the product from which is known as the Silver Prune; Reine Claude, which makes a fancy product often used as a confection; Yellow Egg, which sells as the Silver Prune when evaporated; the German Prune, making a product much like the Italian Prune; "Hungarian Prune," from a very large plum and making a fancy product but very difficult to cure; the Tragedy Prune, an early plum of the Italian type; Golden Prune, much like the Silver and possibly better; and the Champion, Willamette, Pacific, Tennant, Steptoe and Dosch, all of the Italian type.


United States Patent Office Report: xxix. 1854. The following description of this distribution is of interest: " The scions of two varieties of prunes, ' Prunier d'Agen/ and ' Prunier Sainte Catherine,' have been imported from France, and distributed principally in the states north of Pennsylvania, and certain districts bordering on the range of the Allegany Mountains, in order to be engrafted upon the common plum. These regions were made choice of in consequence of their being freer from the ravages of the curculio, which is so destructive to the plum tree in other parts as often to cut off the entire crop. It has been estimated that the State of Maine, alone, where this insect is rarely seen, is capable of raising dried prunes sufficient to supply the wants of the whole Union."[- a footnote from p. 31 originally]