20 NOVEMBER 1926, Page 15

* * * * It would not have occurred to

me to report the cure of this splendid tree if I had not received from the United States some quaint, but very persuasive, accounts of the new vogue of the tree surgeon and tree doctor. When President Roosevelt launched his campaign of " conservation," which became the " blessed word " of the period, particular attention was drawn to trees, and an English immigrant, who had been a student of the subject, began to find a public for his views on tree surgery. Since then a big business has grown up ; and it is as common a practice in county estates and gardens—especially gardens—to call in the tree doctor as the human doctor. A good deal of the new art and craft is old ; but a good deal is new, especially on the surgical side. Before coming to that it may be useful to record that in the purely medical department the method used for the rejuvena- tion of the old tulip tree is preferred before all others. The most active part of the root is that just underneath the tops of the branch canopy and if you can put the rootlets there in touch with an easily assimilated food and tonic, you may restore health and in the case of fruit trees (which answer very slowly to mulchings and surface manure) you may increase the supply of fruit. The only part of the business of the tree-doctors—and the business is now on a big scale— that is in any degree esoteric is the making-up of the patient's diet, which differs according to the nature of the soil. One prescription contains a great number of ingredients : ammonia, phosphoric acid, potash, dried blood, ammonium sulphate. Probably the garden trees we are fondest of arc apt to suffer most from mal-nutrition, and so to need the doctor most. They grow where we shave the grass close or make hard and trim paths. We do even good, of course, by removing competitors of the roots, but for various reasons including too perfect drainage, the roots are apt to be robbed of a good part of the food that would be restored by fallen leaves and other chance manure.