This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol1", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This is a very important branch of commercial horticulture, and one about which the general public knows but little. It may be divided into two principal groups, viz.: (1) that dealing with forest trees, and (2) ornamental flowering trees and shrubs.
In regard to forest trees it is astonishing what an enormous number of young plants are raised every year in different parts of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Those who are under the impression that British forestry is a dead or dying industry have no idea as to the amount of business done in forest trees, and it is a pity that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the officials of the Board of Agriculture are not better informed as to what is being done in this respect. There are hundreds of capable men, who could not only plant all the waste land in the United Kingdom in a comparatively short time, but who could produce millions of young forest trees annually to fill the gaps that might occur. And yet Mr. Lloyd George, when introducing his famous 1909 Budget, said in reference to the scheme of afforestation: "I am also told that we cannot command the services in this country of a sufficient number of skilled foresters to direct planting. I am advised, and, personally, I am disposed to accept that counsel as the advice of prudence, that the greater haste in this matter will mean the less speed, and that to rush into planting on a huge scale without first of all making the necessary experiments, organizing a trained body of foresters, and taking all other essential steps to ensure success when you advance, would be to court disaster which might discourage all future attempts".
It would be interesting to know whose advice the Chancellor of the Exchequer relied upon when he stated that "we cannot command the services in this country of a sufficient number of skilled foresters to direct planting", but there was no doubt about its misleading character. We wonder what kind of men they are who raise and plant thousands of forest trees annually? Have they no knowledge of the trees they raise, and are they not skilled in planting and growing them? The Chancellor's somewhat misleading statement is calculated to injure the reputation of a large number of skilful and hard-working men who earn a living by carrying out the very duties which the Chancellor was advised were not and could not at present be performed. These men, skilled in the raising, planting, and cultivation of forest trees, may not, of course, be able to pass an examination in Greek and Latin, or in Conic Sections and Trigonometry, nor have they had the disadvantage of a "public-school training"; but they know their business, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer will only start the Government Afforestation Scheme at once, he will find plenty of skilful foresters who will see that the preparation and planting of the 17,000,000 acres of waste ground in the United Kingdom are carried out properly.