2 JANUARY 1932, Page 18


Now that the appropriate season has come for winter spraying of our fruit trees, to the end of the destruction not only of fly and moth and fungus, but of the dirty crevices in which some of them are bred, it may be well to sum up some of the more recent discoveries. The various tar-distillate washes have been further fortified to include a wider range of victims, especially the capsid fly that is a peculiar pest in larger apple orchards ; but the more potent the spray the more necessary it is to observe times and seasons. It is now recom- mended not to delay the spraying of the stone fruits, most of which have a gift of earliness, beyond the end of January, though apples may be sprayed a month later. There has just been published—it sounds irrelevant, but is not—a life of Bishop Berkeley ; for though he is principally famous for his spiritual philosophy, it is a proper tribute to his memory to emphasize how much science has extended his almost mystic belief in tar. He found that it was used as a native medicine in the United States ; and was so struck with the influence of his tar-water on his Irish parishioners and his own family, that he believed it to be a panacea, with qualities both mystic-. and scientific. A neighbour of mine has been saved this very week by medicine (not a quack medicine) in which creosote was the principal ingredient. All the fruitgrowers are using tar-distillate washes ; and the German medical chemists are upholding the very views expressed by Bishop Berkeley just about 200 years ago !