Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/17

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
9
METHODS AND PROFIT OF TREE-PLANTING.

birch, four of willow, the cotton-wood, the yellow pine, the red cedar, and two species of fir. Besides these trees there are many shrubs, some of which are tree-like and reach a height of twenty feet. One living where such trees are natives will hardly need to look elsewhere for trees, whether for fuel, timber, or the purposes of art and ornament. But one may also be pretty sure that where these grow other well-known and valuable trees can be successfully cultivated.

And there are some trees which are deserving of more attention than has yet been given them in this country. The willows, for instance, have seldom been cultivated in a large way; and yet there are few trees so easily grown, or which will pay better for cultivation. They adapt themselves to a wide range of soil and climate. They grow on high ground and on gravelly soils not less than by the sides of streams, where we most commonly see them. They are of rapid growth and yield a large return. The osier-willow is specially useful, we know, for the manufacture of baskets, chairs, and other articles of furniture, and we import it to the extent of $5,000,000 annually, when we might produce it easily in almost any part of our country. We hardly think of the willow as a timber-tree or for the production of lumber, but only as yielding a cheap, poor sort of fuel. But in England the wood is greatly prized for many purposes. While it is light it is also tough; it does not break into slivers. Hardly any wood is so good, therefore, for the linings of carts and wagons used in drawing stone or other rough and heavy articles. It makes excellent charcoal, especially for the manufacture of gunpowder. It bears exposure to the weather, and boards made of it are very serviceable for fences. Some species of it are admirable for use as a live fence or hedge. On account of its comparative incombustibility, the willow is eminently useful for the floors of buildings designed to be fireproof. It grows to a large size and furnishes a great amount of lumber. There is a white willow growing in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which, at four feet from the ground, measures twenty-two feet in circumference and extends its branches fifty feet in every direction. Tradition says it was brought from Connecticut in 1807 by a traveler, who used it as a riding-switch. The Hon. Jesse W. Fell, in giving an account of experiments in tree-planting, on an extensive scale, in Illinois, says, "Were I called upon to designate one tree which, more than all others, I would recommend for general planting, I would say unhesitatingly it should be the white willow." Professor Brewer says: "In England, where it is often sixty or seventy feet high in twenty years, there is no wood in greater demand than good willow. It is light, very tough, soft, takes a good finish, will bear more pounding and knocks than any other wood grown there, and hence its use for cricket-bats, for floats to paddle-wheels of steamers, and brake-blocks on cars. It is used extensively for turning, planking coasting-vessels, furniture, ox-yokes, wooden legs, shoe-lasts, etc." Fuller says, "It groweth incredibly fast—it being a by-