This section is from the book "A Few Suggestions On Tree Planting", by C. S. Sargent.
*Carpenter's and Joiner's Assistant. James Newlands. London, 1867.
Less than one third of the willow used in the United States in basket-making is produced here, the remainder being imported from Great Britain, France, and Belgium, at an annual cost of S5,000,000.
The osier proper, the product of Salix viminalis, L.,and its allies, can be grown without trouble in any wet, undrained soil, capable of producing little else of value; but the better sorts of basket-willow are only successfully produced with careful cultivation on rich, well-drained soil. Under such conditions it is a profitable crop, capable of netting at least $150 a year to the acre, and well worth the attention of our farmers. Further experiments, which might be made under the auspices of the county societies, arc, however, required to determine which of the many basket-willows is best adapted to our climate, and to devise some method for protecting this crop against the attacks of many insects which have of late years seriously interfered with its cultivation in various parts of the United States.
In spite of the beauty and great economic value of the white pine, there are many situations in this Slate where its cultivation is almost impossible, and where it should be replaced by its relative the Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris, L.) of the north of Europe. It is many years since this tree was first introduced for ornamental purposes in Massachusetts, where it finds itself perfectly at home, and grows rapidly, soon becoming a large tree on poor soil and in exposed situations. Under such conditions, we usually find the ground covered with a spontaneous growth of the pitch pine, and wherever this tree grows naturally, it is certain that the infinitely more valuable and beautiful Scotch pine will flourish. If Mr. Fay's success with this tree can be taken as a criterion, the whole of Cape Cod, to its eastern extremities, could be covered with sufficiently large tracts of the Scotch pine to render the remaining portions better suited for agricultural purposes; while the product of such plantations in Barnstable and the other eastern counties in the shape of fuel for brick-baking would always find a ready market, taking the place of the imported firewood from the shores of the Bay of Fundy, already nearly stripped of its forest growth to supply the increasing demands of Boston and the other New England seaports.
But fuel is the least valuable use to which the wood of the Scotch pine can be turned. In Europe the lumber from this pine is considered more valuable than that of any other coniferous tree, the larch excepted, and for all economic purposes it is rated far above American white pine.
The nature of these two woods, and the uses to which they are each specially adapted, are so dissimilar that any comparison between them is not particularly interesting. A number of experiments * made at the Royal Woolwich Dockyard have shown that the wood of the Scotch pine will resist a transverse strain.11 greater than that of the white pine; that its resistance to a tensile strain is about twice as great, and its resistance to a vertical strain is .56 greater; while its specific gravity is 541 to 513 for the white pine. All European writers on timber, from Duhamel to Laslett, agree that the wood of the Scotch pine is the most durable of all pine woods.
* Timber and Timber Trees. Laslett. Loudon, 1875.
Newlands says " the lightness and stiffness of the Scotch pine render it •superior to any other kinds of timber for beams, girders, joists, rafters, and, indeed, for framing in general".
From its greater strength, spars, top-masts, and the masts of small vessels which are often subjected to violent and sudden shocks, are made from the Scotch pine, in preference to any other wood, although, on account of its greater lightness, the white pine is preferred for heavy masts and large spars. Since the supply of larch has become entirely inadequate to the demand, the Scotch pine is used in Europe for railroad sleepers more generally than any other tree, enormous quantities even being shipped from the northern ports to India for this purpose.
Although the wood of the white pine is undoubtedly superior to the Scotch for all purposes where a soft, light, easily worked, clear wood is demanded, the latter has qualities so desirable that its cultivation for economic purposes would be of great value in this State, especially when it is remembered, as I have before remarked, that it will grow rapidly in situations where the while pine cannot flourish.
The rapidity of its growth in all situations and its economic value make the Scotch pine the most valuable tree farmers can plant for screens and wind-breaks about their fields and buildings, and for this purpose it is recommended in place of the more generally planted Norway spruce, which, although of rapid growth in its young state, docs not promise, in our climate, at least, to fulfil the hopes which were formed in regard to it. The Scotch pine is being so extensively planted in Europe that it is propagated in immense quantities and at low rates. Plants one foot high can be delivered in any part of this Slate for from $50 to S60 the ten thousand.
There is no tree capable of producing so large an amount of such valuable timber in so short a time as the European larch (Larix Europea D. C.) in countries where its cultivation is possible. A native of high elevations in Northern and Central Europe, and always growing on poor, gravelly, and well-drained soil, it is not surprising that when planted under exactly opposite conditions, as is often the case, it does not become a valuable tree. The rocky, well-drained hillsides so common in Massachusetts arc admirably suited to the cultivation of the larch; and there is but little land within the limits of the State too poor or too exposed to produce a valuable crop of timber, if planted with this tree.