To revert once more to planting. Many of our hardy shrubs will exist in any soil, but a quick and thrifty growth is what our customers want and expect, and when planting a group or bed of shrubs the soil should be dug a foot deep, not making small holes for each plant, but the whole space dug deeply, and to it add plenty of animal manure. Don't believe for a moment that shrubs don't like manure. It is just what will make them jump and grow.
When singly on the lawn, let it be either a shrub, tree or any of the evergreens; it is not depth that is needed. The hole to receive the shrub or tree need be only sufficient to let the plant down to the same depth it stood in the nursery; an inch or so lower won't hurt many of the shrubs, but with the trees and the evergreens this is very particular. When the ground is settled round them let it be just about as high on the stem as it was before moving.
It is width of hole you want, and if a stiff clay, not only should width of excavation be large enough to enable you to spread the roots out without any bending or crowding, but every foot in diameter you go beyond this and fill in with good soil will much assist the growth and thriftiness of your tree.
It matters not whether it is fall or spring, there is only one way to plant a shrub or tree, and that is to give its roots plenty of room in width, putting on sufficient soil to cover the roots, and by shaking the tree or shrub see that the soil is well distributed among the roots. Firm the soil with your feet and then give it a thorough soaking. After the water has soaked in, wetting root and fiber, fill in with more soil to the grade of your bed or border. This first watering is worth ten on the surface. If planting has been done in the spring and we have a very dry summer, the shrub will need a soaking every week, and if the surface is covered with a mulch of two inches of stable manure, it will add tenfold to the benefits of the watering.
As I cannot afford a separate chapter on our evergreens, so-called, or more properly our coniferous trees, I would say that the time of transplanting them differs much from the deciduous shrubs and trees.
Evergreen conifers, such as the pines and spruces, and all of them, are best moved in the spring just as the young growths start, which is often the middle or end of May. This is a month later than the shrub planting time. The next best time is the last week in August or first week in September. After the middle of September don't attempt to move evergreens.
There is often a great disappointment in planting spruce, pines, etc. It is not the fault of the plants, although in some cases it is often too crudely done. It is in most cases the fault of the nurseryman. Our American nur-serymen plant Norway spruces or Australian pines from six to ten inches high and without even transplanting let some of them grow to four, five or six feet, and then sell them.
Whether they expect them to grow I don't know. They sell them and thus their chief object is attained. I saw this summer, every few days, several hundred nice, symmetrical Australian pines, three to four feet. They looked well when planted this spring, but our summer has killed ninety per cent. These fine little trees had never been transplanted in the nursery since they were ten inches high. And how many of their working roots had been saved when dug and sold, think you? Scarcely any.
There is, I am glad to say, a school of young nurserymen coming to the front who are alive to this crude and almost dishonest way of growing evergreens, and soon in every part of the land you will be able to buy a pine or thuya or abies or spruce and plant it with the same confidence that we plant the geranium in the beds, because every two years they have had a move in the nursery.
A local "Farmer-fruit-grower-nurseryman," a long title but a correct one, said the public would not pay 25 cents for a transplanted Norway spruce when they could get one that looked as good for 10 cents. He is entirely wrong. We are all looking for the transplanted tree that won't disappoint us and our customers. I find the men of wealth, or even moderate means, anxious to pay for the best. It is quite different from their canna or geranium beds, which they know are for one short season. Their trees and shrubs are for the permanent improvement of their grounds.
The evergreens like good rotten animal manure just as much as the deciduous shrubs, but unless well rotted don't put it in contact with the roots when planting. A little experience of mine of twenty-five years ago will be instructive. On both sides of a Norway spruce hedge, as near as I could get to the stems, I forked in at least two inches of rotten stable manure. It was done in May. The trees made a fine growth and in attempting to lightly fork up the surface the following spring I found on both sides at least three feet from the stem, that the roots were just a mat close to the surface, and you might as well have tried to fork up a wire spring mattress.
Syringa Villosa, the Tree Lilac.
You should acquaint yourself with the many varieties of flowering shrubs and their habits, heights and time of flowering, so that they can be arranged properly. The tallest growing should be in the background, etc. Some of them make fine groups or beds when planted of just one kind. This is decidedly true of the favorite Hydrangea paniculata, which makes a fine bed of a dozen or more plants, or even a single specimen on a lawn.