" B.," of Baltimore, Md., in September number of your valuable magazine writes: "I have a puzzle which I would be glad if you would unravel for me." I will try to unravel it. The trouble with most tree planters is, they overdo the work; they think they must go to the chip pile for chip dirt, the woods for woods earth or the stable for strong manure to put in the holes, which is all wrong. The tree should be planted with the surface soil taken from the holes. The manures spoken of above might be added afterwards as a mulch and would then do no harm. I sent this spring fifteen evergreens to one of my neighbors. As soon as he received them he sent for an experienced English gardener to plant them. As soon as he saw them he said they must be planted in woods earth. After a day or two spent in gathering the earth the trees were carefully planted and the result was that more than one half of them died. About the same time I sent two men from the nurseries to plant three evergreen hedges, one of them contained 75 American Arbor-Vitae, another 100 Am. Arbor-Vitae and the third 240 Norway Spruce; the Arbor-Vitae were 5 to 6 feet, the Norway Spruce from 3 to 5 feet, planted in sod land 2 1/2 feet apart.

My men simply dug holes sufficiently large to take in the roots, pulverized the soil well so it would settle all around the roots leaving no vacant spaces in the holes. Of the Arbor-Vitae every plant lived and not over two per cent. of the Norway Spruce died.

Another mistake about tree planting is the advice often given in catalogues and elsewhere to prune the roots. This would do no harm if judgment was used, but inexperienced root trimming is usually death to the tree. We have had men come to the nurseries and while their orders were being filled take out their knives and begin cutting away roots very recklessly, and when asked asked why they did this their reply would be that they had seen it advised in catalogues that all bruised and broken roots should be cut off. Consequently no matter how small the bruise or how big the root, off it came, and by the time they got through more than half of the roots would be cut away. My experience is that a bruised or broken root will heal over much sooner below the surface than it will above. Several years ago in ploughing near a peach orchard many roots were broken off, some of them 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Several months later in ploughing the same ground we ploughed one furrow nearer the trees and the same roots were cut again, and I was surprised to find the roots broken by the first ploughing all healed and that they had thrown out hundreds of small roots. Showing conclusively it is not necessary to cut roots smooth in order to have them heal.

I have filled orders out of the trenches where I have had trees trenched out for sale and have had parties write me their trees all died, when I knew they had been received by them in the very best condition, while the cullings in these same trenches all lived; and when I inquired of the parties how they planted them, the reply generally was that they had used the utmost care and put chip dirt or some other drying manure in the holes - of course they died.

Falls Church, Va., September 28, 1887.