This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Samuel Edwards before Eastern Iowa Horticultural Society.
As a general rule, it is far better for inexperienced persons to buy plants than to attempt growing them from seed. The constant watching and care required until woody fiber is formed, will seldom be given except by those who make a business of it.
The soil of seed beds should be composed largely of sand and well rotted leaf mould or soil from the forest. It should be deeply spaded, and well pulverized; it is desirable to have this done in the fall, that the seed may be sown as soon as the surface of the ground thaws in the spring, or even before, if sand is laid by in the cellar for covering to the depth of twice the diameter of the seed. Four feet is a convenient width of seed beds. The seed is sown broadcast at the rate of two-thirds of a pound to the rod in length of bed, for seeds of the size of Norway Spruce, Scotch Pine, and one and one-third of a pound of European Larch - the latter requiring the same treatment as evergreens.
Partial shade must be given. If only a small amount is sown, it is as convenient to have it a foot above the ground. Where there are several beds, it is best to elevate the shade high enough to permit standing erect beneath it. Brush or corn stalks may be used for the shade. If the weather is dry, occasional waterings must be given.
Mice and other small animals are exceedingly fond of the seed; birds devour both seed and young plants, requiring constant watchings; guns, traps and poison are often used to prevent their depredations.
If the plants are not far enough advanced to have woody fiber formed before hot weather, the dampness and heat causes a rotting off at the surface of the ground. By a liberal sowing of dry sand this rotting off is arrested.
At the setting in of winter, cover the beds with an inch of leaves. It is well to give this protection two following winters. Two years seedlings are, if well grown, of size to transplant to beds in rows a foot apart, six inches in the row.
Considering it an invaluable protection from loss by drouth, I always puddle with clay mortar, roots of all evergreens when transplanted. Plants remain two years in these beds, at which time they are removed to the nursery, and put in rows two and a half feet apart, or if intended for ornamental planting, set them wide enough to allow free exposure of limbs; if for the forest, set close to induce rapid upright growth. After two years alternate rows can be removed, and it is advisable to root-prune as often as once in two years, with Harkness & Overman's tree digger.
To avoid injury or loss from drouth, always plant deeper than trees grow; press the dirt very firmly about the roots. Mulching is always advisable; never use any animal manure unless well rotted. Annual mulching is preferred to any cultivation. The losses attributed to severity of winter, recently, but in my opinion occasioned by drouth, would have been prevented by heavy mulching.
Arbor Vitaes, and many of the Junipers, are easily propagated from cuttings six inches long, planted two-thirds their length in the ground; sand at the bottom, press firmly at the bottom, and after treatment shade as advised for seedlings. There is no liability of loss by damping off. Latter part of May or early in June, is the proper time for planting.