Any one who is at all familiar with the growth of trees in woods or groves somewhat dense, is also aware of the great difference in the external appearance between such trees and those which stand singly in open spaces. In thick woods, trees are found to have tall, slender trunks, with comparatively few branches except at the top, smooth and thin bark, and they are scantily provided with roots, but especially with the small fibres so essentially necessary to insure the growth of the tree when transplanted. Those, on the other hand, which stand isolated, have short thick stems, numerous branches, thick bark, and great abundance of root and small fibres. The latter, accustomed to the full influence of the weather, to cold winds as well as open sunshine have what Sir Henry Steuart has aptly denominated the "protecting properties," well developed; being robust and hardy, they are well calculated to endure the violence of the removal, while trees growing in the midst of a wood sheltered from the tempests by their fellows, and scarcely ever receiving the sun and air freely except at their topmost branches, are too feeble to withstand the change of situation, when removed to an open lawn, even when they are carefully transplanted.
* Lindley, "Theory of Horticulture".
"Of trees in open exposures," says Sir Henry, "we find that their peculiar properties contribute, in a remarkable manner, to their health and prosperity. In the first place, their shortness and greater girth of stem, in contradistinction to others in the interior of woods, are obviously intended to give the former greater strength to resist the winds, and a shorter lever to act upon the roots. Secondly, their larger heads, with spreading branches, in consequence of the free access of light, are as plainly formed for the nourishment as well as the balancing of so large a trunk, and also for furnishing a cover to shield it from the elements. Thirdly, their superior thickness and induration of bark is, in like manner, bestowed for the protection of the sap-vessels, that lie immediately under it, and which, without such defence from cold, could not perform their functions. Fourthly, their greater number and variety of roots are for the double purpose of nourishment and strength; nourishment to support a mass of such magnitude, and strength to contend with the fury of the blast. Such are the obvious purposes for which the unvarying characteristics of trees in open exposures are conferred upon them. Nor are they conferred equally and indiscriminately upon all trees so situated.
They seem, by the economy of nature, to be peculiar adaptations to the circumstances and wants of each individual, uniformly bestowed in the ratio of exposure, greater where that is more conspicuous, and uniformly decreasing, as it becomes less." *
Trees in which the protecting properties are well developed are frequently to be met with on the skirts of woods; but those standing singly here and there, through the cultivated fields and meadows of our farm lands, where the roots have extended themselves freely in the mellow soil, are the finest subjects for removal into the lawn, park, or pleasure ground.
The machine used in removing trees of moderate size is of simple construction, consisting of a pair of strong wheels about five feet high, a stout axle, and a pole about twelve feet long. In transplanting, the wheels and axle are brought close to the trunk of the tree, the pole is firmly lashed to the stem, and when the soil is sufficiently removed and loosened about the roots, the pole, with the tree attached, is drawn down to a horizontal position by the aid of men and a pair of horses. When the tree is thus drawn out of the hole, it is well secured and properly balanced upon the machine, the horses are fastened in front of the mass of roots by gearings attached to the axle, and the whole is transported to the destined location.
In order more effectually to insure the growth of large specimens when transplanted, a mode of preparing beforehand a supply of young roots, is practised by skilful operators. This consists in removing the top soil, partially undermining the tree, and shortening back many of the roots; and afterwards replacing the former soil by rich mould, or soil well manured. This is suffered to remain at least one year, and often three or four years; the tree, stimulated by the fresh supply of food, throws out an abundance of small fibres, which render success, when the time for removal arrives, comparatively certain.
* Steuart, The Planter's Guide," p. 105.
It may be well to remark here, that before large trees are transplanted into their final situations, the latter should be well prepared by trenching, or digging the soil two or three feet deep, intermingling throughout the whole a liberal portion of well decomposed manure, or rich compost. To those who are in the habit of planting trees of any size in unprepared grounds, or that merely prepared by digging one spit deep, and turning in a little surface manure, it is inconceivable how much more rapid is the growth, and how astonishingly luxuriant the appearance of trees when removed into ground properly prepared. It is not too much to affirm, that young trees under favorable circumstances - in soil so prepared - will advance more rapidly, and attain a larger stature in eight years, than those planted in the ordinary way, without deepening the soil, will in twenty - and trees of larger size in proportion; a gain of growth surely worth the trifling expense incurred in the first instance. And the same observation will apply to all planting.