The soft maple, in its wild state, is an uncouth and shaggy tree; when grown closely, in a cultivated grove, it is much improved in appearance and a most useful tree. I have seen numerous patches well shaped and eight and ten feet high at three and four years of age. In Nonoma County, Iowa, maple-trees, seven years old from the seed, were large enough to make three ten-foot rails, and an acre yielded three thousand rails. This timber is always in great demand for manufacturing purposes. Its growth in seven years equals that of the walnut in ten. The seeds ripen in June and should be sown in mellow ground as soon as they fall. Plant one and a half inches deep with drills in rows twenty inches apart. They will come up in six days. Keep the weeds out until the plants get a good start. The first year they will grow eighteen or twenty inches. They should be transplanted the next spring, and set out twenty-seven hundred to the acre. They will grow four to five feet the second year. A soft maple planted in 1861 is now forty-nine inches in circumference four feet from the ground.

The red or soft maple has a wider range of growth than the sugar maple, being found farther north, and grows in the South quite down to the Gulf of Mexico. Its native home is in the low, rich soil in the swamps and along the borders of streams, yet it is frequently met on high lands, but growing less vigorously. In any location it makes a more rapid growth than the sugar maple. The wood is fine-grained and compact, more frequently curly than the sugar maple, but very seldom growing in birds'-eyes. The timber, for solidity and strength, is much inferior to that of the sugar maple, and is of much less value for fuel. It is, however, more valuable as a shade-tree and for planting for forest growth. Its habits being as desirable as the sugar maple and its growth being much more rapid, and an additional beauty found in its foliage, makes it very desirable for transplanting. The additional beauty is the deep scarlet-red color of the twigs and flowers very early in the spring, long before any other flowers appear. The wood of the red maple is suitable for turning and carving, and it is much used for the stocks of shotguns, rifles, etc. It is sometimes confounded with the silver maple, but its wood is harder and finer grained. It grows to the height of sixty or seventy feet, and from two to three feet in diameter. It is hardly probable that it will ever be cultivated for anything but its beauty. The seeds are about half as large as those of the sugar maple, are a deep red, and are ripe about the same time.