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 following actual measurements of tree growths, of known ages, are made, showing circumference in inches, two feet above ground :
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Mulberry*................................ 18 43
Silver Leaf Poplar*
t Spontaneous growth.
1 give no measurements as to height 0f trees, as all this depends on the distance apart they are planted. Isolated they are low headed, close together they run upward, as all well know.
The order of ultimate value, deciduous varieties, while there may be difference of individual opinions, it is safe to arrange : White, burr and chestnut oaks, black and white walnut, white, green and blue ash, black cherry, catalpa, black locust, honey locust, Kentucky coffee tree, elms, hickories, larch, soft maple, hackberry, mulberry, cotton-woods, willows, box elders. For present or near value, cottonwoods - especially the yellow - are almost universally conceded preferable. There are, as shown, two varieties, yellow and white - monilifera and heterophylla. The yellow makes excellent lumber, particularly for inside uses, not exposed to weather. For shingles only pine, cedar or walnut are superior. Both make good fuel, after reasonable drying or seasoning. Old steamboat and mill men prefer half seasoned cottonwood to any other obtainable in this region, claiming they get more steam from it. Also much used in burning brick. No other wood holds nails so well. Recently the white cotton-wood is attracting attention for use in manufacturing paper, the pulp from which is pronounced superior.
This may, some day, become a feature in cottonwood culture.
Evergreens stand in order of value : Red cedar, white, Scotch and Austrian pines.
The order of tree planting, numerically speaking, of deciduous varieties, is, as near as may be : Cottonwoods, box elder, soft maple, elms, ashes, black walnut, honey locust, catalpa, oaks, hickories, Kentucky coffee tree, black locust, larch, sycamore, hackberry, mulberry, black cherry and willows. Two-thirds of the whole are cottonwoods, from the facts: They are more easily obtained ; cost less; are of more rapid and certain growth, and from which realizations are more speedily and certainly secured. And in addition, succeed almost anywhere planted.
Evergreens are planted in order, Scotch pine, red cedar, white and Austrian pine.
Spontaneous growths range in order of value : Oaks - red and black perhaps predominating - hickories - more shag bark than others - black walnut, elms, linden, white ash, mulberry and hackberry, on higher lands. On bottoms, cottonwoods, box elder, willows, sycamore, soft maples green and water ash.
Prices of forest tree seedlings are such as to place them within reach of the very poorest. In fact, as the great bulk planted are of spontaneous origin, they are to be had for mere gathering, in regions where found. When trafficked in, prices range, owing to variety and size, from six inches to four feet, all along, from fifty cents to three dollars per thousand. Nursery grown, range grades higher. Many millions are now planted annually.
Depends much on circumstances, price of land, labor, varieties planted, skill in planting, and many other minor details. Cottonwood seedlings can be furnished in quantity, from fifty cents to one dollar per thousand. Box elder and soft maple, from one to two dollars. Oaks, ash, walnut, hickory, catalpa and chestnut, from five to ten dollars. Robert Douglas & Son, Waukegan, Illinois, are contractors for planting timber on the plains. From a letter on the subject, I quote:
" We plant this section for the railroad company. They pay the actual cost of breaking and cross-plowing the prairie, which costs four dollars an acre. We prepare the land, furnish the trees, plant them four by four feet, and grow them till they are four to six feet high, and shade the ground till they require no further care or cultivation, and are to deliver two thousand trees four to six feet high on each acre, for which we receive thirty dollars per acre. In taking contracts for the future we will charge $5 per acre for breaking and cross-plowing the land, as the cost of getting the teams together, seeing that it is properly done, measuring for the different plowmen, paying them, etc., costs considerable, and actually stands us about $5 per acre.
"Then labor has advanced since three years ago, so that we shall add $5 per acre, thus making, including breaking the raw prairie and everything till the trees are delivered over, $40 per acre, getting the $5 per acre at the time of breaking, $20 per acre when the trees are planted, and $15 per acre when they are delivered over.
"When the trees are delivered over they are to be four to six feet, but most of them are much taller, and two to two and a half inches in diameter at the butt, perfectly free from weeds and not the least particle of danger from fires, as the catalpa leaves are very much like pumpkin leaves, and rot down. They need no pruning, as 100,000, four years planted, ten to fifteen feet high, are now shedding their under branches, or at least they are dead and will soon shed off.
" I was to select land for another plantation when I was out last month, but the land that could have been bought three years ago at $2.80 per acre is now worth $12 to #15 per acre, and on this account we concluded not to purchase. This would not make so much difference as would appear, as the land will keep on increasing in value.
"We think this a reasonable price, taking all the risks and care ourselves, and if any railroad companies or forest planting associations should undertake it, it would certainly cost more. Of course we would take the contract to plant without the further care - that is, $20 an acre for the trees and planting, or $25 if the prairie is unbroken".
This will afford an approximate estimate of cost where all is done by contract. Most planting, however, at present, is done by individuals for individual use, and when done by one's own labor and teams the cost is much less, at least the outlay.