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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62


If fruit-culture in New Zealand is to attain the important position amongst colonial industries that our genial climate and fertile soil entitle it to, then the growers must be prepared to vigorously fight the many insect and fungus pests which, unfortunately, in most instances have been imported with the various fruits, and which in several instances, at least, while doing but little injury in more rigorous climes, have here increased with such wonderful rapidity as to become most serious factors in the success or otherwise of fruit-culture.

For years past the more progressive orchardists, especially those who have made their living from the produce of their orchards, have fought the pests with more or less success; but, unfortunately, the great bulk of the orchard-owners have done nothing, or, at best, made but fitful attempts, very often at the wrong time, with unsuitable appliances, materials in wrong proportions, and without persistence.

It has been found that a pamphlet giving in a concise form a list of remedies, how and when to apply them, for the numerous insect and fungus pests attacking fruit and fruit-trees, would be of much assistance to the fruit-growers of the colony.

In combating the many fungus diseases and insect pests of fruit-culture, numerous chemicals and chemical compounds have been from time to time tried, and not a few proprietary remedies are widely advertised for this or that or every distemper that fruit is heir to.

For some of these so-called diseases there is no remedy at present known but the knife, or complete destruction of the infested plant. It is important to understand cases of this character, Dot only that we may avoid wasting time and money in vain efforts to treat them otherwise, but in order that prompt action may be taken, and sources of infection be quickly destroyed, for all fungus diseases may be regarded as infectious. A large class of these diseases, many occasioning heavy annual losses, may be mitigated or entirely overcome by the application of certain remedial or preventive agents in the form of a spray.

And so also in regard to the insect pests. While it is admitted the best of all remedies is the natural enemy—as, for instance, the Vedalia cardinalis as a sure for the Icerya purchasi, or white page 4 cottony-cushion scale, better known in some parts as mimosa blight—yet it would be suicidal policy on the part of fruit-growers to await the appearance or introduction of those enemies, and not in the meantime use such remedies or preventatives as have apparently yielded positive results.