For the best plantation of American white ash, of not less than five acres in extent, $600; for the next best, $400. Plantations originally of less than 5,000 trees to the acre, cannot compete for these prizes.
The following directions for tree-planting are condensed from the recommendations given by the trustees of the prize fund. For planting larch and pine, shallow furrows four feet apart should be run one way across the field. Then by planting in the furrows four feet apart each way, 2,720 plants will be required to the acre. On hilly, rocky land which cannot be plowed, it will be only necessary to open with a spade, holes large enough to admit the roots of the plants. The larch must be planted as early in the season as the ground can be worked. No other tree begins to grow so early, and too late planting is a common cause of failure. The Scotch and Cor-sican pines can be planted up to the first of May. The roots should be exposed to the wind and sun as little as possible. Carelessness in this particular is often fatal to the young plants. The trees should be carried to the field in bundles, covered with wet mats, and not be removed till they are required for planting. The roots should be carefully spread out in the holes or furrows prepared for them, and the soil worked among them with the hand, and finally pressed down with the foot. A cloudy or rainy day is especially favorable for this work. All young plantations must be protected from browsing animals, the greatest enemies, next to man, to young trees and the spread of forest growth.
If the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad reclaim the strip of land bordering their line through the " sand-blow," the example would be a benefaction to the State as a demonstration of what may be accomplished under the most unfavorable circumstances. If that desert can be reclaimed, surely all other barrens in Connecticut may be fertilized by forests. This enterprise will require time, faith, patience, and money. For the first four years the young trees may seem to barely struggle between life and death, after which they are likely to grow rapidly. As this scheme will be regarded as chimerical by those who have not investigated the subject, I give below extracts from letters which I have received from practical tree-planters on Cape Cod and elsewhere, embodying interesting facts and practical suggestions.
(Mr. Doane, now eighty-six years of age, is the oldest living sylviculturist in Barnstable County.) I have p'anted one hundred acres in Orleans and seventy in Brewster. The whole plantation in Orleans is about five hundred acres ; in Eastham seven hundred acres; in Wellfleet four hundred ; in Truro six hundred ; in Chatham, Harwich, Dennis, and Yarmouth, about four hundred each; and in Barnstable six hundred acres. In regard to the other towns on Cape Cod I have no definite information, though trees have been planted in many towns on the Cape. I have made a machine for planting the seed, that I have lent to the tree-planters in five of the neighboring towns. The land I have planted with pines was not worth over fifty cents per acre before planting, and I have sold some since covered with young pines, for fourteen dollars per acre. I consider it a good investment.
My experiments in tree-planting have been made on over a hundred acres now covered with trees from one to thirty-five years old, chiefly pitch pine. I am now trying Scotch and Corsican pine, and European larch. My first aim has been to cover my worn-out lands with beauty and verdure, and it has proved a successful and economic experiment. The seed of the pitch pine is worth from one to two dollars a pound, the higher price being in the end the cheapest. Fresh seeds, carefully gathered, are as sure to vegetate as corn, but obtained from seedsmen, they are very unreliable in germinating. European nurserymen take far greater pains in gathering forest tree seeds, and understand the art of curing them better than Americans. I have tried every method of tree planting, transplanting trees from the smallest to those that are two feet high. This is a costly plan, but may be adopted when one wishes to save time, and desires a few trees as a wind break or otherwise. In transplanting trees immediately from my own nursery to the field. my favorite time is just as the buds begin to start in the spring. I have planted seeds both with a planter and by hand. On our light sands a man and boy will plant three acres in a day. Dropping six seeds in a hill, it will take about half a pound of seed to the acre. This is my favorite method, and is more satisfactory in results, though more costly than that of using the plow and planter. When the evergreens are about two feet high I would thin them, leaving one thrifty plant in each hill. I do not trim till they get large, and then cut off only the dead branches.
In our small town about fifteen hundred acres of old waste land have been planted with pitch-pine. The Norway pine has not proved a success with us. Many old fields bought for fifty cents per acre, and planted with pine twenty-five years ago, are now worth from ten to twenty dollars an acre. The pines grow well for twenty-five or thirty years, and when cutoff a second crop springs up immediately, and this crop does better than the first. The pitch-pine takes root and grows on our barren beach sand where no soil is perceptible. Our people are now planting trees every year. I have recently planted twelve acres. Two years ago I cut off a lot planted thirty years since, and the land is now full of young pine trees growing from the seed scattered by the first growth. A man with a two horse team can plant ten acres in a day, and three pounds of seed will do the whole.
Thirty years ago twenty acres of condemned tillage land, worth one dollar per acre, was planted with pitch pine. The present value of this land is fifteen dollars per acre. Prior to 1870, two hundred and twenty-five acres more of the same sort of land was thus planted, the present value of which is eight dollars per acre. About one hundred and fifty acres of sandy land, utterly barren and not worth fifty cents to the acre, have been planted, the present value of which is seven dollars per acre.