What to Plant.—Preparation of the Soil.—Influence of Soil, Situation, and Climate on Certain Species. — Dr. John A. Warden's Facts in Connection with Tree-planting. — Congenial Soil of Species.— On Natural and Artificial Grouping.—Dispersion of Species, to What Due.—Base of Successful Forestry.—Combined Species and Obnoxious Exceptions.—On Planting for Shelter-hedge or Screen. — Species Adapted to each Purpose. — On Planting Hillsides. — A Philosophical Suggestion. — The Notching or Pitting Process for the Production of Stock Plants. — Separated Existence of Certain Species, and Care Necessary to their Successful Production.—Nurses.—What they Are.—Uses for which Designed.—Species most Easily Produced or Obtained.—Manner of Planting, and their Utility. — Nurses in Use for Specified Species. — Nurses as a Source of Profit. — On Close Planting and its Resulting Economy. —Rapidity of Growth of Hardy Trees. — Transplanting Seedlings. —Transplanting Trees of Large Size.
When, what, and how to plant is a question which many desire to have answered.
When to plant, though an important question, needs not much consideration. Plant when you get ready, fall or spring; hut be sure to have the soil ready for the reception of your trees before bringing them on the ground; let it be dry enough to crumble; never plant when it is wet and clammy.
The ground should be as well prepared as for a tillage crop, and where at all possible to plough the land, do it as a valuable preparation, because of the advantage it gives to the young plants that are to be introduced.
Another point in having the land well prepared is the great advantage of being able to set treble the number of trees, to say nothing of the great desideratum of more rapid growth as a result of the cultivation they receive, and the sooner, as a consequence, they may be left to themselves.
" Soils of different localities seem to exercise an important influence in deciding the thrift of certain species of trees. The amount of moisture in the soil will often prove more favorable to one species than to another; more elevation and exposure may be congenial to one species and adverse to others."
Dr. John A. Warder, to whom we are indebted for many instructive facts in connection with tree-planting, writes:
" In our northern regions we find the American larch and the arbor-vitae occupy together very often the low, mucky soils of fiats and ponds; near them the hemlock covers broad flats of low and wet land, with elms and black ash, red maples, and other trees of water-loving character. Here, in the higher latitudes, we may expect to find the native spruces and balsams, while at greater elevations, and even on rocky points, with the least moisture and soil, the junipers thrive, and on the thin, sandy lands large areas will be covered with the gray pine on the eastern mountains, while near it, on the sandy flats, the white pine forms our valuable forests, with the red pine grouped together on its favorite localities to the eastward. So with the hard-wooded, deciduous trees, each has its favorite locabty, where it seems best to thrive, though in many places several species may have similar habitats, with the result of a mixed forest. Thus we often find the sugar maples, white ash, hackberry, and some oaks and elms, with wild cherry and tulip trees, grouped together. Again, on more clayey lands, are the white oak and beech more prevalent, and in wet flats the swamp oaks and sweet gums constitute the leading species."
The red and black oaks will be found most abundant on the more sandy soils, and the post, black-jack, and laurel-leaved oaks have their favorite locality on formations of finely siliceous soils. In middle latitudes and northward, on rich lands, the burr oak will prevail. The white elm yields its finest results on humid lands, while the red elm prefers a drier and more porous but rich soil. The walnut is found in its grandest proportions only on the richest river alluvions, but the butternut finds its congenial home among the rocks of the northern valleys. The shellbark hickory prefers clay flats; the pecan, rich river alluvions; while the large shellbark, with the pignut, are most abundant on fertile, rolling uplands. Of these great classes, we observe that nature usually groups certain species more or less exclusively together. " In one region, or on one area, there are pines, chiefly of single species; in another tract the spruces or the firs will prevail; and so, too, among the broad-leaved trees, made up of many genera and species, and apparently mingled rather promiscuously together, the willows and poplars will be more or less grouped by themselves; the oaks will prevail here, the maples and ash there, and the magnolias will prevail on one side. The various species of trees seem to have their preference for this or that locality, and appear more or less abundantly in this or that position. Independently of these results, that seem traceable to the influence of soils and elevation, in connection with latitude, the natural grouping of species, either separately or combined, must often depend upon accidental circumstances. Willows and cotton-woods shed their numerous light seeds at a season when they are floated upon the swollen waters of our streams, and as the floods subside they are stranded upon the emerging sand-bars, where they find a favorable soil, and burst into growth in immense numbers of a single species. The burned pine forests of mountain regions receive the seeds of the aspens that are often sown over wide tracts in the same way; and in clearing of forest-lands the neglected elms furnish innumerable seeds that reproduce an abundant succession of verdure among the stumps of other trees. There are also a great number of self-sown plants of other species from previous years' seeding that may have been kept in abeyance for a greater or less period by the original forest, which now, opened to the air and light, will enter the struggle for life and contest the ground inch by inch with the new seedlings. Hence the mixed character of the second growth of trees, and the ultimate result generally shows which were the fittest and hardiest. Those of most vigorous, thrifty growth, and notably those with broadest foliage, usually prevail by overshadowing those of more tardy progress. It should also always be borne in mind that some trees are obnoxious to the healthful growth of some others, and perhaps this is nowhere more apparent than in the case of broad-leaved trees, and those with needle-shaped leaves, commonly known as evergreens. The overshadowing by the former is destructive of the latter. Successful forestry is based upon their separate planting; or, if placed in the same subdivision of the forest, either for the effect of contrast or because of peculiar adaptation to the soil, each should be massed by itself as much as possible—evergreens with evergreens, and deciduous trees with those of their own class; and in both cases those which are not obnoxious to one another. Observe in combinations of species which of them have a similar or an unequal rate of growth in their infancy, so that the stalwarts shah not smother the weaklings that may be most valuable and desirable in the end. These are important considerations that will require a knowledge of the character of each, and, as this may not always be possessed by the tree-planter, he will be required to exercise constant watchfulness and observation of their behavior.