This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
At the close of the last College year, September 1st, I was unable to report the result of some experiments which were then incomplete. I now proceed, somewhat at random, to speak of experiments and work of the department for the past year.
Notes of some Timber Trees in the Arboretum. At the Agricultural College is a small arboretum of over two acres, which contains not far from two hundred and seventy-five species of trees and shrubs, all of which are labeled and the plat recorded in a book for the purpose. At this time I merely wish to speak of some of the most prominent trees which we have planted for timber. The oldest of these were started or transplanted to this place in the fall of 1875. The soil is sandy loam and not what one would call strong. It is naturally well drained. An old road once cut the lot in two pieces. At this place the land has been graded down. There is a marked inferiority in the appearance of the trees growing on this ridge where the top soil has has been taken off, showing that trees - even forest trees - are very sensitive to good or bad treatment. For example, where the top soil has been taken off in a strip about a rod wide, some butternuts which had grown three years averaged about twenty-two inches in height, and one and five-eights inches in circumference, while those on each side on good soil averaged about five and one-half feet in height and four inches in circumference.
How Planted, How the Size is Compared. The seeds are planted in rows, one way four feet apart. They are planted as soon as ripe in most cases where the trees are wanted. They are kept well cultivated till autumn. In the table below and in the text it will be seen that I have given the height, circumference six inches from the ground, and the weight of good specimens cut off at the surface of the ground. By weighing them, I get at the bulk of the wood to an approximate degree.
These when examined, had grown three years. The seeds grew only a few rods from where they were planted.
White Ashes - (Fraxinus Americana). By the side of the oaks are three rows of white ashes of the same age, of three years' growth. The seeds of the ash came up evenly and quickly, and grew well. At the end of the first two years they were straight, clean, and without a branch, as will be seen they are large for their age. By the side of these are two rows, which, at the end of one year were transplanted. The size of these is shown in the table. Those transplanted seem to be about one year behind those not moved'.
These will • be seen to be fully as large as the ashes. They girt from 3¾ to 4⅝ inches, and run up as high as 8 feet.
The next come three rows of maples of the same age. One specimen was considerably larger than any of the others. The size is given in the table. The maples are rather uneven in size, and many are quite small.
These come next to the maples. Some of the largest will be seen to have grown very fast for the first three years. The limbs start out about seventeen inches from the ground.
These are rather uneven, most of them came from nuts planted where they were wanted. Some seedlings grew a foot or more in height and blasted and died in August or September. Most of them lived, however. Some were transplanted when one year old.
These were measured when two years old, and have done well. The red squirrels took some of the nuts out of the rows where planted.
These are all small and spindling, and the best of them only about eight inches high.
All of the trees native to the neighborhood grow along the river bottoms. They are small, short and crooked, the largest not exceeding one foot in diameter. We have some seedlings which were once transplanted when three years old.
This is tender, diseased, and will very likely soon die down to the ground.
The seeds of these came from the Department of Agriculture at Washington. Since writing my report the trees have twice borne fruit and prove to be the hardy species or variety. Since they came up and have made their present growth they have passed through two of our hardest winters, when the mercury went 32° and 33° below zero. They were once killed back a little, but at present they seem healthy. The table shows that they have made a rapid growth, although transplanted when they were three years old. I am much pleased with these trees, which have exceeded my expectation. Since making my report I have started more of them.
Species on trial, my interest in the subject is correspondingly on the increase. It is already one of the most interesting fields of the College farm. To enable the readers to compare the figures, I give the following summary in a Table Showing Rapidity of Growth. See table below.
It is believed by many persons that posts set in the ground in a position the reverse from which they stood while growing in the tree, will last much longer than when set in the reverse position.
I have undertaken the following experiment to determine this matter:
I have selected a lot of sticks four feet long and cut the previous winter. Each one of these was cut in two, and all made an even length, about twenty inches. Each piece was split in two, making in all four pieces of one. Half of these pots were set in sandy land and the other.
Removed after one year.
A large average.
Many of this size.
A large average.
In old road.
A large sample.
Moved when three years old.
Moved when three years old.
Moved as a sucker three years ago
Moved after three years old.
Moved after three years old
Moved when one year old.
I set a few small trees which have grown three years since that time. We generally think this tree grows slowly, but these have done well. One of them the past year made a growth with one of its best branches of eight and a half feet.
These beat all of the above in their rate of growth.
I am growing young trees of the Beech, European Larch, White Pine, White Oak, Rock Elm, American Elm, and many other kinds of prominent trees. These are all yet quite young.
We live in a new country still abounding in forests where there is scarcely a passing thought given to the future supply. With the increasing size and the increasing extent and number of half in clay land. In each case one piece is set in a position the reverse of the other.
One lot of posts is placed about 50 feet northwest of the large stone placed on the grounds by the class of 1873, the other lot is set in the northeast part of the plum orchard and west of President's barn. In each case the row is double and runs from east to west. The posts in the north row all set with the end up as they grew in the tree, those at the south and near them are in a reversed position.
Beginning at the east the species set are as follows, in the order below named:
1, beech; 2, red maple; 3, sugar maple: 4, basswood; 5, American elm; 6, bitternut; 7, ironwood; 8, white ash; 9, black ash; 10, red elm; 11, white oak; 12, blue ash; 1$, black cherry.
[We take the above from the Annual Report of Prof. Beal.-Ed. G. M.]