This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Allow me to differ with your correspondent, Margid Digram, in the September number of the. Gardener's Monthly, page 274. His plan of digging up green trees and pulling them over with a rope, looks well enough on paper, but it is not practical for large tracts of land. First, it will cost from two to fifty times more than the land is worth to rid it at once of stumps, and when this is done, the diverging roots of many kinds of timber are often much more in the way of the plow than the stump. The Poplar, Beech, Elm, and White and Black Walnut, are especially troublesome to plow any way near their stumps. The common Gray Ash, also extends its roots very near the top of the ground, but they are so brittle that a team will often break them two or three inches in diameter. Another objection to his method is the serious injury to the ground thus hastily brought into cultivation.
It neither works so lively, or produces so well. The better way and the one universally followed, is to "shrub" out the underbrush, and "deaden" the larger trees that are not valuable. That is in the month of August, cut down all the small brush up to three or four inches in diameter, and girdle the remainder of the larger trees that are not worth saving. In six years it will be ready to burn quite well, but will do all the better for laying two years longer; at which time, fire in a dry time will often run all over the ground, and the work of "clearing" amounts to but little. Dead stumps are easily burned out, and those terrible roots that have "whacked" so many shins, are all rotton, and the plow meets with comparatively little obstruction. This gradual change from shade to sunshine, with the heavy enriching the ground receives from decaying vegetable matter, eminently fits it for heavy crops of Corn and Wheat, and just the place to grow your nice thrifty nursery stuff. I commenced work of this kind in 1826, some fifty-two years ago, in central Indiana. I have helped clear a large farm for my father, and then one for myself, have been in many a "smoke, " and I know, whereof I testify.