This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The discussion of the " Choice of soil by trees" is of interest to me, and as facts are desired, I would state that here in Rush county, Ind., the soil is strong limestone, and the water is "hard." The valley, or "bottom" land, along Blue river, contains a large amount of sand and gravel mixed with the soil, and frequently large beds of it lie under the soil and also in the bluffs, and this sand and gravel is largely limestone. The upland is heavy clay with limestone in the form of pebbles in it. Much of the upland is swampy, quite wet, and such soil is black, principally vegetable mould. The beech tree flourishes everywhere except on the very wet land; there we find principally water elm, black ash, soft maple and the large bur oak. In many places there are more beech trees than of any other variety; frequently over two feet in diameter and nearly one hundred feet high. The chestnut is not a native here. However, I have a tree some fifteen years old, five inches in diameter and eighteen feet high, with a well branched head. Many shoots on it grew ten to twelve inches last year, and had nice healthful foliage. It had quite a show of fruit, but all dropped prematurely. But I know of older trees not far away that fruit abundantly.
[The fact that this chestnut tree does not bear fruit is interesting, from the fact that some botanists believe the chestnut tree rarely makes use of its own pollen, and must have pollen from another tree in order to bear at all. It is a fact, that the great mass of white blossoms which give such beauty to a mass of chestnut trees, are male flowers, and that these fall - certainly as a general thing - before the female flowers open. When the female flowers do open they form a few more male flowers at the apex of spike which bears the female flowers at the base. Now the fertilization must take place through the agency of this second crop of male flowers, or else from the first crop of male flowers of some other tree, which have had their early opening retarded. Are there several of these older trees together, or are they isolated and yet fruitful? - Ed. G. M].