This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The reference of Mr. Douglas, in the April number of the Monthly, to the Ailanthus as a suitable tree for our Jersey shore, suggests some further observations upon this tree and its adaptation to the more sandy tracts in the southern part of our State.
In regard to the durability of Ailanthus timber, there is much uncertainty. I have been collecting observations upon its use for several years past, and while my own experience and that of friends who have used it, is not in its favor, reliable persons have told me that it was equally enduring as chestnut. Its value as firewood is also disputed. For cabinet work its grain and color favor it, and it is liked by those who have used it.
The great destruction of our pine timber by fires, makes the cultivation or growth of our pitch pine (P. rigida) too hazardous for profit, unless in small, isolated tracts. The necessity of a substitute - of a tree not so exposed to fires as pine - suggested the Ailanthus. I have made several small attempts at sowing seed, but every year they failed to germinate. A very small experiment in planting a few trees was tried in Burlington County two years, but the locality is too sandy and barren to produce trees of any kind.
As regards observations, the Ailanthus has been found growing thriftily at many localities in our southern counties and upon very sandy soils. From what I have seen I feel confident that this tree can be grown profitably upon our poorer, pine-barren lands, and that its more rapid growth and its greater immunity from fires adapt it not only to the very sandy lands of New Jersey, but to some of those of Delaware and Maryland also. The wood is worth quite as much per acre, for fuel, as very much of that now cut from our pine lands. And as a forest covering for lands which are too poor for profitable farming, this tree seems worthy of planting.
[We are very glad to have this suggestive paper, especially because a recent note on the Ailanthus seems to have been misunderstood in some quarters. We give all the information we can get on all subjects, and it makes no difference to us whether that information be in favor of or against any pet notion of our own or of anyone else. It was in this spirit that we gave the paragraph that some one in New York had found Allanthus posts good for nothing. It does not follow that other people may have as bad experience, neither is timber culture to be viewed wholly from the standpoint of fence posts alone. As for the Allanthus, we may say that our impression is that it will prove to be one of the most valuable forest trees we have. But an editor must not be satisfied with impressions. He must have the facts, just as they are, and just what they are. - Ed. G. M].