"The Chinese Method of Dwarfing Trees" in The Genesee Farmer


      ...the tree loses the use of all its old roots, perhaps after the first season, -- for the sap-wood or alburnum in consequence of being uncovered, must soon lose its vitality, and be incapable of transmitting the sap from the roots to the branches.  All below the girdled part, then must become useless.  The tree is reduced to the situation of a cutting, depending for its support entirely on its new roots; and as most of our fruit trees cannot be propagated in this manner, we are not to expect that these roots can act with the same vigor as those which originated from the primitive radicle.  The Chinese method of dwarfing trees will fully illustrate this position.  A branch by girdling and moist earth is induced to put out roots; its is then removed and planted; but it always continues a dwarf, because it never acquires the strength and energy of the original tree.
      I would remark that the case is different with the willow and the Lombardy poplar, cuttings of which root freely and grow vigorously....  1


NOTES

1     "On Fruit Trees Gnawed by Mice" by X in The Genesee Farmer (Rochester), Vol. V, No. 8, Feb. 21, 1835, pg. 63.

     The Chinese method of propagation is what we term layering.  We have not yet come across another specific reference to the inherent weakness of plants made by this method.  It would be interesting to come layered willows and poplars with other plants usually used for penjing/bonsai.



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