Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 5: Management and Replenishment of the Vineyard

Letter VII – Management of the Vineyard after Planting

Throughout the Summer, after planting, the vineyard will require but little attention. The surface of the ground should be chipped over once or twice, or oftener, if requisite, to keep down the weeds; and early in the Autumn it should be carefully turned over with the spade, or what is preferable, with a two-pronged instrument, of which, as well as of several other useful tools, I shall endeavour to send you a sketch.

In districts not subject to late spring frosts, vines may be pruned as soon as the leaves have all withered, and the wood has ripened; but in colder situations this operation should be deferred to as late a period as the ascending sap, and the other labours of a vineyard, will permit; for it must be borne in mind that (caeteris paribus [all else being equal]) the earlier the vine is pruned, the earlier its spring shoots may be expected; on no account, however, should the pruning be commenced until vegetation is completely suspended, nor deferred until the ascending sap causes them to bleed after the knife. It is proper, in the first instance, to remove the soil to the depth of several inches from the stem of the plant, and to cut close off all roots which may have been produced within that distance of the surface. Then, however vigorous its shoots may have been, to prune the top down to a single bud, leaving it upon the lowest shoot if there be more than one; should the young plant, however, have grown feebly, it may be left altogether unpruned until the next Winter. As soon as the pruning is finished, such blanks as may have occurred through the failure of the cuttings should be filled up with other cuttings, or with rooted plants, which are of course preferable. It very rarely happens that the first year’s growth produces shoots long enough to lay into the vacant spots: I shall therefore defer any description of the process until I come to the treatment during the second Winter.

Before the buds begin to swell it is advisable to stake the young vines: for this purpose stakes should be provided, split from any durable hard wood, averaging not less than 1 ½ inches square in substance, and from 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet long. A very simple ingenious instrument is used to insert them, which answers its purpose so completely, and saves so much labour, that no vineyard should be without one. As it would be difficult to give an idea of it without a sketch, for the present I may mention simply, that it is attached to the workman’s right heel by means of leather straps and thongs. Standing in the row so as to preserve the proper alignment, the vigneron places the stake at the spot for insertion, then grasping it with the instrument which is attached to his heel, a foot or 15 inches from the ground, he throws himself entirely upon that leg, and thus with his weight forces the stake into the ground up to the point at which it was grasped. The stake does not require to be pointed previously, so that when the end in the ground, after the lapse of a number of years, shows symptoms of decay, it is usually drawn out to have its other end inserted in the same manner, and thus to prolong its duration.

As soon as possible afterwards, the vineyard should have its spring dressing, with the two pronged tool above mentioned, or with the spade. In performing this, care should be taken not to wound the stems of the young vines. There is little danger of injuring roots, those near the surface having been removed at the pruning. When the young shoots have grown to a sufficient length to enable them to be gathered together without snapping from the stem at their point of junction with it, they should be carefully attached to the stakes. In situations exposed to blasts of wind, it will be prudent to commence doing this as soon as there are any long enough to be safely secured to the stakes. It is usual, in wine countries, to fasten them with small wisps of rye straw; in this country coarse wiry grass answers equally well. The mode of using grass or straw is much mere expeditious than tying with bark, New Zealand flax, &c. A small bundle of the straw or grass being attached in front, by means of a strap passed rend his waist, the vigneron proceeds to gather up as many of the young shoots as can be conveniently brought to the stake at one spot without danger of breaking of, then passing a small wisp about the thickness of a swan’s quill round them, and twisting the two ends tightly together by a rapid motion in one direction, they are laid together without risk of untwisting by a sudden turn in the opposite, and the shoots secured at the stakes for as long a period as requisite. This operation of tying up the young shoots should be repeated as often as their growth may render it necessary. If it be vigorous, those of neighboring vines may be attached together, bending them along from stake to strake. The Indian or Spanish reed, at this period, proves to be a very useful adjunct to the stakes. It may be fastened to them, near their tops, with strips of bark, but best with twigs of willow, in such manner as to extend them as a light rail along the rows. On no account should any portion of the young shoots be broken off. The greater the number of healthy leaves, and the longer the period for which they continue to be produced upon the plant, the greater will be the extension of the roots, and the consequent enlargement of the stock. But it is often desirable to rub of, soon after they appear, the lateral shoots which are produced at the axillae of the leaves, for the distance of two or three buds up each growing shoot, as, if vigorous, they interfere with the development of the buds for the next season; growing shoots of the vine should never be tied up whilst the leaves are wet from a recent shower or dew, they are much more liable to snap off when thus moist, and the leaves which are unavoidably pressed close together near the bandage are, if wet, liable to become sickly and to drop off. As the shoots which push forth above ground are tied up, those which come from beneath the surface should be removed (unless required to replace the accidental failure of those above), taking care to break them off close to the stem.

Throughout the period of their growth, the soil amongst the vines should be frequently stirred to the depth of two or three inches, and the growth of all weeds prevented by the use of the scuffling hoe. A few small bunches of grapes may be produced during the second season; and although I do not think it desirable that they should be permitted to do so, still, if they are retained, they should be carefully protected from the birds, who, if once allowed to feed upon the grapes of a vineyard with impunity, will become infinitely more troublesome afterwards. In March and April, after the extreme heats have passed, the vineyard should have its second deep digging, to prepare the ground to receive the autumn and winter rains.

At the second pruning, the majority of the vines, in a tolerably fertile soil, will have two or three vigorous shoots. Unless they should be exceedingly luxuriant, all but the one selected to form the commencement of the future stem should be cut close off. Upon this one, which should be the most upright and best formed, one, two, three, or even four eyes may he left, according to the state of the stock. It should be well understood, that during the first three seasons, the object of the cultivator should be chiefly directed to the creation of abundant deeply seated roots, and the consequent enlargement of the stem at its junction with the roots, and that on no account should the stem be extended, so as to form the commencement of the head, until at the surface of the ground the stock has attained a diameter of at least one and a half inches, or nearly the thickness of a man’s wrist. Almost every bearing vineyard I have seen in the colony has been greatly injured by forming the stems of the vines too early, and obtaining crops of fruit before they had become sufficiently well established. Should the vine be exceedingly wild and luxuriant in its growth, a side branch, or spur, with one or two buds upon it to produce fruit, may be left, in addition to the principal shoot which is destined to form the base of the future stem, but with the intention of removing it entirely at the next winter pruning. It is therefore best to avoid leaving this supernumerary branch, unless the extreme luxuriance of the plant points out the evident necessity of distributing its vigor through a greater number of shoots.

I should have observed, that previous to pruning the vines, it will be proper to look them over attentively, that such vacancies as may occur near to a plant of vigorous growth may be supplied by laying it down. In performing this operation with young plants, it is usually better to open a trench down nearly to the lowest (almost invariably the strongest) roots of the plant to be laid, and to continue this trench in such manner that the whole plant may be bent down into it to the depth of eighteen inches, bringing up the end of a healthy branch at the spot the original stem occupied, and another where the vacancy is to be filled up. A luxuriant young vine may in this manner be formed into as many distinct stocks as there are branches, and each will sometimes bear several bunches of fruit the first season. Care should be taken to dispose the branches in such manner that they may be laid in fully eighteen inches deep, and he brought up to the surface from that depth, in a nearly perpendicular position, into the spot they are to occupy. It will frequently be necessary to use a little care to dispose the young shoots to the best advantage, when several belonging to the same vine are laid. By twisting them cautiously in the first instance, they may be rendered more pliable, and the slight cracking of the bark thus produced, favors the protrusion of roots. If half a barrow load of well decomposed manure be added to the soil at the bottom of the trenches in which the branches are laid, their growth will be so much accelerated as in a year or two to leave them very little, if at all, behind their older neighbors. When the rest of the vines are pruned, it is proper to cut off the ends of the laid branches two eyes above ground.

The vines being all pruned, the next part of the vine dresser’s care is to adjust any stakes which may have been misplaced, and to attach firmly to them the stems of such of the young vines as may not be perfectly upright. However short they may be, it is desirable to give them this direction in their growth from the commencement. The first deep spring dressing with the spade, or two-pronged instrument, should then be given. To save unnecessary repetition, I will here observe, that every well managed vineyard should annually have two deep dressings, and two of a mere surface nature; that the two former should be given, the first early in the Autumn, and the second towards the end of the Winter or commencement of Spring, and the two latter as soon as the vines are out of flower, and just before the grapes begin to swell to maturity. Besides these, such occasional use of the scuffling hoe should be given as may be necessary to destroy all weeds, which, when they are permitted to remain, not only injure the growth of the plants, but are supposed frequently to impart a disagreeable flavour to the Wine.

After the first spring dressing is given, the less trampling there is among the vines, until the shoots are sufficiently long to commence tying up, the better. This being the third season, if the vineyard has prospered, a few bunches of grapes may be expected to shew themselves on the majority of the plants. During the period at which they are in flower, usually from four to six weeks from the time the buds unfold themselves, it is not considered proper to move about much amongst them. A sudden shake at this time will often, it is said, cause the blossoms to become abortive. Although I cannot say that I have ever observed damage to be thus produced, it is prudent not to neglect a precaution, respecting the observance of which, experienced vignerons are usually very particular.

After the flowering has passed, the young shoots should be carefully tied up, laying them along the rows, from the summit of one stake to another, and at the same time loosening some of the lower bandages, should the foliage be too much crowded together. As the second spring dressing is performed, which as I have observed above, need only be of a mere surface nature (unless indeed the soil has been set firm by heavy rains), the vines should be examined, and any bunches of fruit (by this time probably the size of large shot or small peas) which hang near the ground, or rest upon it, should have holes excavated under them to prevent their coming in contact with it. All the fruit which continues to touch the ground becomes unfit to make good wine. Sucker shoots should also be carefully removed. The intelligent cultivator will readily comprehend, that although I have specified two deep dressings and two of a surface nature as the number which, under ordinary circumstances, it will be necessary to bestow upon a vineyard, it is desirable to repeat the latter operation as often as may be requisite, to keep the soil during the growth of the fruit perfectly light and porous for a few inches from the surface. It is not desirable to repeat the deep digging during the seasons when extreme heat and deficient moisture are prevalent.

The labors connected with the vintage I think it more convenient to treat of in a subsequent paper, I shall therefore at once proceed to describe the third season’s pruning. Presuming all vacancies to have been filled up, it is desirable to remove, in the first instance, with their season’s growth, the side branches which were left to bear fruit at the last pruning, cutting them close off to the main stem; and of the remaining shoots, to select the stoutest, best formed, and most upright, for the continuation of the main stem. Upon this shoot three or four, and very rarely five buds should be left, and unless the stem below has attained considerable substance, not more than two. If, however, the vine has become very luxuriant, one or two side branches, with two buds each, may be left (to be cut away again next year) for producing fruit; always remembering, however, that it is better that the young vine should become a little wild and over luxuriant in its early growth, through close pruning, than be at all checked by bearing fruit. From eight to twelve buds is the maximum I should assign to a vine at its third pruning, and if not of vigorous growth, a fourth part of that number may suffice.

During the fourth and each succeeding year, the same precautions should be observed to rub off sucker and misplaced shoots, as they appear, to tie up the growing branches as they require it, and besides its regular dressings, to keep the vineyard quite free from weeds, and its surface loose and porous. A considerable quantity of grapes may reasonably be expected this season, which, as many of them will probably be produced near the ground, must assiduously be prevented from touching it by excavating under such branches as may require it. At the fourth pruning, the majority of the vines will be furnished with strong healthy shoots, well placed for the commencement of the head or principal branches; two, three, or four may be selected, observing that no shoot should be left for a permanent branch which diverges from the stem nearer to the ground than nine or ten inches. Although, if requisite, some to bear fruit for a single season, may be let lower, with the intention of cutting them away as soon as they can be replaced by others farther from the ground. Upon each branch, from one to four eyes may be left; and they should be so placed with reference to the stem as to balance themselves upon it. From 12 to 15 or 18 buds is the maximum I should assign at the fourth pruning. The annual dressings being of the same nature as those before described, I may pass at once to the fifth year’s pruning.

Unless it has been subjected to some untoward accident to retard its progress, this year the head of the vine ought to be fully formed. The plant should consist of a stout upright stem, at the height of from 10 or 12 to 16 inches, diverging into three, four, or more principal branches; each of these after the pruning, being furnished with two or three shoots of the preceding season’s growth, pruned to from one to three buds each. As a general rule, the strongest will be those placed the farthest from the main stem: these should be pruned to three eyes, and the weakest, usually the nearest, may be pruned to one. This single bud will probably push very vigorously in the course of the ensuing season, and its shoot may be pruned next Winter to three eyes; whilst the best placed shoot of the longer branch (all the others on the same principal branch being cut entirely away) should be pruned to one. To return to the fifth year’s pruning, the shoots of the last season’s growth selected to remain, should be so placed upon the principal branches as to occupy, as nearly as possible, the outer circumference of the circle described by the head, and at moderate distances from each other; leaving the inner portion tolerably free from bearing wood. If, in addition to this, the branches are so placed as to balance each other upon the main stem, the young vine may be considered to have taken the most perfect form it can receive for vineyard cultivation in this climate. It is even very possible after the lapse of a few years, providing this form be carefully preserved, the stem be quite upright, and the principal branches do not diverge from the main stem too near the ground, that, in situations not exposed to violent winds, stakes may be altogether dispensed with. From 20 to 25 buds is the maximum I should assign to healthy vines in full bearing, planted in rows four feet apart. Of course, the quantity of bearing wood should vary according to the distance at which they are planted, the soil, the variety of the vine, and the seasons. The skill to suit it to the exact condition of the plant, is in all wine countries justly considered as that which it is most difficult to find in the Vigneron. Very different modes of pruning from the one I have just described are practiced in some of the most celebrated wine districts of Europe. Near Bordeaux, for instance, and on the Rhine, the branches destined to bear fruit for the season, are trained out horizontally. I think it unnecessary, however, to trouble your readers with any particular description of this and various other modes of pruning, practiced in colder countries, because it is quite certain that they are not adapted to this climate. The object in a colder country is to expose every part of the plant to the full influence of the sun’s rays, ours should be, so to form it, that the whole of the fruit may be produced within three feet of the ground, and that it may hang without being crowded, perfectly sheltered by the foliage above from the scorching rays of our summer sun; the growing shoots being so disposed as to protect it, together with the stem and principal branches of the plant, from its over powerful influence. I have seen every bunch of grapes on the north-west side of a trellis scorched up during a hot wind; although the immediate site was exceedingly well sheltered. I may further remark, that the dwarf standard method, such as I have above described, has of late years been strongly recommended for adoption by intelligent practical cultivators in the neighborhood of Bordeaux. Attentive observation, during a number of years, leaves me not the slightest doubt of its advantages over every other method.

In the foregoing account I have not alluded to several operations in the summer treatment of the vine, much practiced in wine districts of celebrity, particularly in the higher latitudes of vine culture. They consist of three: pinching off the tops of the growing shoots, or shortening them with the knife, breaking off all the lateral shoots produced at the axillae of the leaves, and removing a portion of the leaves themselves during the maturation of the crop, to hasten the process. The whole of these are said to be of very questionable benefit, even where they are most strictly practiced, and in this country, if of occasional advantage, it must be considered as an exception to the general rule, that the more healthy leaves the plant develops, the greater its capacity (where the climate is warm enough) to bring a large crop to perfection. For instance, should the branch be without fruit; should it likewise be so placed as to require removal at the next winter’s pruning, it may be very proper to cut it away in the Summer, because its energies are misdirected should it, however be desirable to retain it, it may be sufficient to pinch off the top when it reaches the height of the stake. Again, if the vines are overloaded with fruit, it will be proper to remove a portion, and if the branches are much crowded, to cut away a part of them with it, selecting the weakest and worst placed, that the remainder may have more room to grow. For the same reason, it may often be advisable to cut off that portion of the lateral shoots which sometimes crowd the lower part of the vine amongst the bunches of fruit, that the air and light may be more fully admitted, but never to any greater extent. A very few of the lower leaves also may sometimes be removed, should continued moist weather come on during the maturation of the crop. The necessity of obtaining a free circulation of air to prevent rottenness, is of more importance than the loss of a few leaves to the plant. But, in a dry season, I once made upon a few rows of vines the experiment of exposing the bunches of grapes to the full action of the weather, by stripping off a portion of the lower leaves, and the result was a positive retardation in the ripening of the fruit, to the extent of ten days or a fortnight.

Wherever then the Summer is warm and prolonged, and subject to occasional days of excessive heat, the object should be to encourage thick shade and shelter above, and to have free circulation of air below amongst the bunches. Many varieties of the vine have a tendency here to cast their lower leaves naturally before their fruit is ripe, at all events, to a sufficient extent for the latter object. But some sorts which do not usually do so, the fruit of which is liable to burst and rot early if rains come on when near maturity, do in such case require to have a few of their lower leaves removed, but it should be done with caution.


Letter VIII – Upon the Use of Manures and the Best Modes of Restoring an Exhausted Vineyard

There is no object connected with the cultivation of the vine upon which there is greater diversity of opinion, or in some instances, I might safely add, a greater difference between theory and practice. The theorist alleges, that if manure, especially of animal origin, be employed, the quality of the wine will be destroyed, whereas the practical man says, and truly, that except in a few favored localities, it would be vain to attempt the production, year after year, of an exhausting crop, without returning to the soil, by means off some enriching substance, a portion at least, of that principle of fertility, which a crop of grapes undoubtedly extracts from it. In some famous wine districts, it is unquestionable that manure must be used with great caution, lest the quality of the wine should suffer. But in others, not less celebrated, it is applied in considerable quantities without apparent injury. The wines of the Bordeaux districts appear to be particularly susceptible of injury from this cause; on the other hand, the vineyards of the Rhine are said to be manured highly and frequently, without producing any sensible alteration in the quality of their produce. Whether we are to attribute this diligence to diversity of soil, or to the varieties of the vine cultivated, I am unable to offer an opinion founded upon sufficient data. It has been supposed by some writers, that the aroma or peculiar fragrance, which is found more or less in almost all wines, exists in the first instance chiefly in the skin, or rather in the inner envelope of the berries, which also contains the colouring matter of black grapes. Now I have never heard of vineyard producing red wine of much reputation which could be highly manured without injuring its quality; but I have myself resided in an extensive wine district, the produce of which was all white wine, resembling, in its general character, many of the Rhine wines, and where the practice was to manure the vineyards abundantly, without any apparent injury to the wine. In the manufacture of white wines it is well known the must is separated from the skins previous to fermentation. May not the disagreeable odor, which is said to be the principal evil consequence resulting from the injudicious use of manure in those vineyards, which are susceptible of being injured by it, be deposited chiefly in the skins? and, as a consequence, therefore, may it not be possible to manure vineyards which produce white wines only, with more impunity than those which produce red? in which, I need not add, the skins are fermented to give them their color. I may observe, as another circumstance, which happened within my knowledge, that wine of great body and flavour, combined with the most delicate aroma, was made in this colony from vines of two sorts of muscat, which had been abundantly manured two years previously. To whatever cause these apparent discrepancies may be attributed, the necessity of using some means of renovating the soil is with reason insisted upon, even where the wine is acknowledged to be most susceptible of being injured. And for this purpose, those cultivators who have had most experience, recommend the use of well decomposed animal manure made into a compost, with scrapings of roads and ditches, with vegetable mould, or with rotted surface soil taken from waste places. And they allege that, if such compost be applied in a properly reduced state, and with moderation, there will be no risk of injuring the quality of the most delicately flavoured wines.

As a general rule in the use of manure, we must not lose sight of a law which appears to be of very universal prevalence, although, in climates so favorable as that of New South Wales, it may undoubtedly be to a certain extent modified; and that law is, that the finer qualities of wine are rarely produced from soils which afford any great degree of development either to the vine or its fruit. There are, perhaps, very few vineyards of high reputation in the world, in which the growth of the plants, the size of the bunches and berries, and consequently the produce per acre are not below the average. And, although it by no means follows, that those vineyards which produce the least, yield the best wine, it seems to be certain that very abundant produce in wine is incompatible with the higher qualities.

If I were about to plant a vineyard in land of which the surface to the depth of 12 or 18 inches consisted of soil of moderate fertility, and the substratum of which was not unpropitious to the vine, I should certainly consider the use of manure in the first instance, or, indeed, until the vigour of the vines materially declined, either superfluous or positively injurious.

But, if on the contrary, it should be of such an arid sterile nature as to forbid its being advantageously devoted to any of the ordinary operations of husbandry, I should not hesitate to employ a considerable quantity of manure, the more decomposed the better, at the period of trenching. I should consider the vigor which would by such means be imparted to the vines during their early growth of infinite consequence to the durability and future productiveness of the vineyard; whilst those injurious influences which might possibly affect a vineyard in full bearing, would have time to dissipate themselves before a crop of grapes would be produced.

In soils also, of a nature to produce plants of luxuriant growth, and large crops of wine, of medium or even inferior quality, so long as the fruit continued to be properly matured, I should certainly endeavor to maintain their productiveness by the use of manure; because, any improvement in the quality of the wine which might ensue as a consequence of their less vigorous habit, would scarcely compensate for the loss of quantity. There is a limit, however, to the quantity of grapes which vines, however luxuriant, can bring to proper maturity. The bunches and berries may be large and fully developed; but, at the same time, deficient in those saccharine qualities which are essential to the production of a tolerable beverage; and the latter will certainly happen, be the vine vigorous or not, if it be allowed to bear too much. Now, in highly manured soils of much fertility, in which the vine grows with great luxuriance, it must be pruned so as to bear abundantly, or it will not bear at all. In other words, you have your choice between a large crop of fruit, capable only of making wretched wine, or no crop at all. It is obviously the best plan therefore to refrain from manuring soils in which the vine naturally grows with luxuriance, until their vigor and productiveness, during more than one season, become sensibly diminished, and then to do so with judgment, that the quality of the produce may not be seriously injured. It is more prudent in the first instance, to reduce the quantity of bearing wood at the winter pruning, rather than to be too hasty in the application of manure. So long, therefore, as the vines produce their shoots with moderate vigor, and without any very sensible diminution in the quantity of the wine, any addition to the soil should be forbidden; and when the necessity for its application becomes apparent, it should be done with judgment, bearing in mind that a little manure, given frequently, produces much better effects than a large dose at once, and without risk of injury. No vinedresser should be altogether trusted in this matter; for all that I have ever met with consider the greatest possible productiveness their proper aim, and the quality of the crops as of very secondary importance.

As there are probably some vineyards in the Colony which have become exhausted as well by injudicious management in pruning as by the want of manure, it may be well perhaps to point out to the proprietors of such, that provided the sorts are good, it may be very practicable to bring them into a properly productive state without throwing them completely out of bearing for a single season. The practice I am about to describe is of very general prevalence in the north of France, where it is said to be performed in most vineyards as often as every eighteen or twenty years. An outside row is first grubbed up by the roots, then a sufficient quantity of manure being laid into the bottom of a trench, which should be opened on the site they occupied, the vines of the adjoining row are laid into this trench, every part of the old stem and branches being covered to the depth of full eighteen inches, one healthy shoot only of the last seasons growth from each vine being brought up perpendicularly from the bottom of the trench, into the position the new vine is intended to occupy, and cut of at two or three eyes above the surface of the ground when the trench is filled up. This branch becomes the future stock, and usually produces several bunches (more or less), according to its strength, the first season. It can at all events scarcely fail to grow with great vigor; so much so that the vineyard ought to be in full bearing again, at the farthest, by the third year. It is usually quite practicable, in performing this operation, to make any alteration in the spaces between the vines which may be thought expedient, one vine being capable of being formed into several. I am desirous to impress this last remark upon your readers, because the majority of the old vineyards here are planted at distances far too wide for the purpose, and in restoring an old vineyard, this evil may be remedied with very little extra labour.

After the whole vineyard has been thus treated, it is necessary to put in a row of rooted plants, previously provided for that purpose, in the vacant space left after laying down the last row. I ought perhaps to remark, that in laying down an entire plant into a deep trench, as above described, it is necessary to cut off with a knife all the lateral roots, which would prevent its being placed in a perfectly horizontal position at the bottom of the trench.

When it is considered advisable to change any of the varieties of vines in a vineyard, it can be usually accomplished, with the least loss of time, by the operation commonly known amongst gardeners as the “common cleft grafting,” performed on the root of the plant it is desired to change. To effect this properly, remove the earth from the stock to the depth of six or eight inches, saw off the stock horizontally four to six inches beneath the surface, smooth the surface with the pruning knife, cleave it directly down the middle with a mallet and broad chisel to the depth of two or three inches, keep the cleft open as the chisel is withdrawn with a small wooden wedge inserted in the centre, take a well formed scion of the desired sort, of the length of at least three buds, form the lower end into an acute wedge, insert it in the cleft, on one side, so that the inner bark of the scion may be brought into the closest possible contact with the inner bark of the stock, insert another scion in the same manner in the opposite side of the cleft, withdraw the wedge which kept the cleft open, apply a bandage of bark or other appropriate material, so as to keep the scions firmly in their places, cover the whole with well tempered clay for at least an inch above and below the point of insertion, and return the soil into the excavation in such manner, that one bud only of each scion may be above the surface. Should the diameter of the stock be small, one scion only may be used, but should it be very large, a second cleft may be made, crossing the other at right angles, into which two more scions may be inserted. A strong stock can thus be made to bear a considerable quantity of fruit the first season. The following season all the scions may be removed, save the one which appears best calculated to form the future plant, and this, if vigorous and well formed, may be pruned to the height at which it is proposed to leave the future stem.

The method just described is usually very certain, and a diligent workman will graft from 100 to 150 per day. It is said that the scions are the better for having attached to them a portion of the last year’s wood, sufficiently long to shape into the wedge which is inserted into the cleft.

The methods above described, although more expensive than the operation of grubbing up the old vines and replanting, are nevertheless to be preferred in almost all cases where it is not necessary that the level of the surface should be materially changed, and the soil does not absolutely require to be trenched over to a considerable depth, because at least two years is gained in bringing the vineyard into a state of full productiveness.