This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I see by recent statements in the Monthly that land-owners in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are still living under the old common law rule, "that there can be no larceny of the freehold or of anything annexed thereto." Ninety years ago Massachusetts, by statute, limited the application of that rule, and at several times since then statues have been passed for the protection of the soil and its products, so that now we are annoyed but little by intruders.
Under existing statues it is provided that: - "Whoever by a trespass, with intent to steal, takes and carries away anything which is parcel of the realty or annexed thereto, the property of another, against his will, shall be guilty of such simple or aggravated larceny as he would be guilty of if such property were personal property." - Gen. Statutes, Chap. 161, §25. By Section 81: - "Whoever wilfully commits a trespass by cutting down or destroying any timber or wood standing or growing on the land of another, or by digging up or carrying away any stone, ore, gravel, clay, sand, turf or mould from such land, or any root, fruit or plant there being, without the license of the owner thereof., shall be punished by imprisonment in the jail not exceeding sixty days or by fine not exceeding fifty dollars.
By Section 83: - " Whoever wilfully enters any orchard, nursery, garden or cranberry meadow and takes away, mutilates or destroys any tree, shrub or vine, or steals, takes and carries away any fruit or flower, without the consent of the owner, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or by imprisonment in the House of Correction not exceeding three months."
By Section 84: - "Whoever wilfully commits a trespass, by entering upon the garden, orchard or other improved land of another, without permission of the owner, and with intent to cut, take, carry away, destroy or injure the trees, grain, grass, hay, fruit or vegetables there being or growing, shall be punished by imprisonment in the jail not exceeding thirty days or by fine not exceeding twenty dollars; and if any of the offences mentioned in this or Section 81 are committed on the Lord's day, or in disguise, or secretly in the night-time, the imprisonment shall not be less than five days, nor the fine less than five dollars."
It will be seen that these sections are applicable to different acts of offence. I have not copied the statute with literal fulness; but the foregoing are correct abstracts of our laws, and they may afford aid to those who desire similar protection in other States.