Page:The Oak.djvu/165

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CHAPTER XI.


THE CULTIVATION OF THE OAK, AND THE DISEASES AND INJURIES TO WHICH IT IS SUBJECT.


The oak has been cultivated in all kinds of ways, but by far the best timber is produced in what is called "high forest"—that is, the young trees all start at the same age and planted much closer together than they will be later on, their number being lessened period after period by successive removals until there is left a forest of large trees at equal distances. As it takes from 140 to 200 years to bring such a crop of timber to maturity, we may easily understand that such are rarely met with except as State forests, and the governments of various countries keep them going at various ages: one set of plantations will be ten, another twenty, a third thirty years old, for instance, when a given set is ready to be finally cut over for heavy timber.

There are many difficulties, however, in cultivating pure oak woods, and the custom of mixing other trees is a common one, for the young oaks need much light; and yet, if each plant has the space given it necessary to allow of this light, it grows into a short and spreading tree instead of rising up into a tall, straight one. The