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.
We regret to learn that the plates of a new and valuable work on Farm Implements, by John J. Thomas, were destroyed in the great fire at the Harpers'.
We have some half a dozen pages in type, crowded out. This will account for the nonappearance in this number of several interesting articles from correspondents, etc.
Lately I have seen miles of attempts at Osage Orange hedges in Illinois. It seems to me Osage Orange promises little, if any, better than the Honey Locust - Both are by nature trees; both seem to be resolved to be trees or nothing. Hedges can be readily made of either, that will turn cattle for a while, and, except just a little fixing, bogs too. But in a few years the large trees have killed the small ones, and then cattle and hogs go through. Top-pruning may retard this event, but not stop it Root-pruning might help, but for most farmers I doubt its utility. Who has seen an Osage Orange that for ten, five, or even three years, has been kept a good fence! Let us hear! E. Nichols.
Out friends in the West will let us hear. Meantime we will say that, although both the Osage Orange and Honey Locust are trees, they can, by proper treatment, both be made into good hedges. The Thorn is a tree, yet who will say that it cannot be grown into a hedge. Friend Nichols is mistaken, we think.
The Osage Orange is growing in favor as a hedge plant. Though the ends of the shoots are, in New England, liable to be nipped by the winter while the plant is young, it grows more hardy with age and clipping till it becomes quite acclimated. Wherever the peach ripens, the Osage Orange will make a good hedge. The following remarks from the Boston Cultivator are interesting in a practical sense:
Mr. Editor - In a late number of the Cultivator, one of your correspondents requests me to give my mode of cultivating the Osage Orange as a hedge. I commenced in April, 1848, with three pints of seed, sown in drills a foot distant from each other; hoeing and weeding them well. In the Spring of 1849,1 planted 350 yards; dug the trench 18 inches deep, and where the land was poor, spread earth at the bottom that was collected from the wood pile, planted the sets at eight inches apart, and cut them off two inches above the ground. Each plant sent up from two to three shoots, which attained a height of five or six feet that season. The first summer I kept them free from weeds, and made the ground mellow by repeatedly hoeing and digging with the spade, and in the spring of 1850,1 cut them down
In the present year, 1851, they did not require any cultivation. July 10th, the hedge was from seven to eight feet high, when I trained and shortened to three feet six inches. The hedge is now 30 inches in width, and so thick that a small bird cannot fly through it, while the winter does not appear to affect it. I trimmed the 350 yards in three hours, and a boy put the bush in heaps in one hour, ready for burning. I have not discovered any enemies except the mole, and it has never appeared since the first spring. I have now 750 yards growing, all of which assumes a very healthy appearance.
Mr. Wilkinson's objections were, I believe, but not having the No. of the Cultivator at hand, I speak from memory, First: "The impoverishing of the land to 20 or 30 feet on each side of the hedge." Now I have not discovered any injury from mine as yet, and do not apprehend any more, than I should from the common thorn of the same height; but I was told by Mr. Solon Robinson, that "on the prairies of Illinois, where they grow without being trimmed, they impoverish the ground 10 feet on each side of the hedge;" and thorns will do the same if not kept trimmed. I keep my common thorn hedges down to four feet high, with a bank along-side, and the grain and grass is as good within a foot of the hedge, as it is elsewhere. Second objection, "that horses would not approach sufficiently near while ploughing, etc." This we consider their greatest merit; we do not desire hedges, that horses and cattle can at pleasure eat, trample upon, and destroy; we can plough within half the length of the single tree, say about two feet, and that is near enough to approach any hedge with the plough.
Third objection, the expense in trimming; you can perceive by the above, that by taking the hedge in time, it is but a very easy day's work to trim the 750yards; but as a matter of course, when the hedge becomes larger and older, it will require a longer time to perform the same work. I conclude by saying, I like the osage much better than the common thorn, and they form decidedly the cheapest fence that can be made, as those that were planted first in the spring of 1849, are now a good fence, and capable of turning horses and cattle, with the exception of a few that are planted under shade trees, where they are not quite so large and strong. Bryan Jackson. Bloomfiled, Del.
My laltitude is 41° 35' north. The past winter has been one of intense severity. The plant above has been represented as semi-hardy, and some anxiety as to its efficiency as a hedge plant in this latitude, manifested. My hedge is now in its fourth spring, (if spring it can be called,) - quite a proportion of the last season's growth reached four feet in height. Its length is some three hundred feet. Not a plant shows any indica-cation of injury, from any cause whatever, since setting, and a more luxuriant, efficient, and beautiful hedge, I have not yet seen. J a. bee Delano. Fair haven, Mass, April 16, 1852.