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.
A correspondent inquires what we know about " the hardy Catalpa." There is but one species of Catalpa that we know of. Some have believed they have a variety that blooms a little earlier than the other, and this may be; it is also said that one variety grows straighter than the other. We can only say there are trees in Pennsylvania, four and five feet round, that have endured winters when the thermometer has indicated 20 below zero, and are as straight as gun-barrels. We do not know in what respects the " hardy " and "straight " Catalpa is hardier or straighter than these, and should be glad to know.
There is one point worth noting. In some situations the Catalpa, in common with the Pawlownia, Chestnut and other trees, dies back the first year, and often the second; or if not dying right down, loses its terminal bud, and this makes the stem a little crooked. If we were growing Catalpa for timber we should let it grow as it will for two or three years, and then cut clean to the ground, a clear straight sprout, ten, fifteen, or even twenty feet high, is the result; and it goes on without dying back after. We have seen Catalpa that made a sprout fifteen feet high and ten inches round, in one season, when cut back in this way.