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.
Thinking that a few remarks might be acceptable to some readers, on planting evergreen trees obtained from the forest, I venture to give some of my experience. During the last few years I have devoted much time to the subject; have collected hundreds of thousands, and transplanted a considerable portion of them. I find that, to be successful, the plants should be procured in soil where they can be taken up without loss of roots, and from open grounds, or where the large forest trees do not shade them much; and, above all, never allow the roots to be exposed to the sun or drying wind. Plant carefully in good, well-prepared soil; a partial shade is very beneficial, and for a quantity of small plants the shading process is simple. Plant thickly in beds running east and west, some four or five feet wide; edge up broad boards on the south side of the bed, and forks on the north, with pales reaching from one fork to another; cut green brush from forest trees, which will be nearly or quite in full leaf, lay it across from the boards to the pales pretty thick, just above the tops of the plants. No further care is necessary that summer, except to pull out what few weeds may make their appearance.
Shading pays well in saving plants; for example: last spring I put out in one bed, some eight rods long and five feet wide, about 40,000 plants, principally American Arbor Vitae, and shaded as above, and I can safely say there was not to exceed 200 dead plants in the bed.
Some kinds of large trees may be moved successfully, as the Firs, Arbor Vitae, Larch, Ac., by retaining a portion of earth with the roots, and careful management; otherwise it is useless to spend time and expense with them. There is much imposition practised in some sections by tree peddlers, who collect wild pines and other trees from the rocky hills or sand deposits, consequently without rootlets, expose them to sun and wind, sell to persons who do not understand the habits of them, and, of course, nearly all die.
The White Pine is by some considered very difficult to make grow; my experience is, that when carefully and well managed, it is pretty sure to succeed, although not so well as the Arbor Vitae, which is the most sure of all evergreens.
The Balsam and Spruce will not bear much exposure, although, when properly cared for, will generally do well; they should be the first planted, when a quantity is received. The proper time for planting evergreen trees is just as they commence to grow.