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.
As we have answered another correspondent, we should prefer spring for transplanting, when the ground is dry and warm and growth about to commence. Where they can bo moved with a ball of earth, it may be done at any convenient time, except the very hottest of mid-summer weather. For a belt of evergreens to shelter a fruit garden, we would advise Norway Spruce, White Pine, Austrian Pine, and Hemlock, one half to be Norway Spruce, the others in equal numbers, or as near that as might be convenient Plant in double and tripple rows, placing the trees in one row opposite spaces in the other, and mixing the sorts so as to produce pleasing contrasts between their various shades. You might plant ten or twelve feet apart, and thin out afterwards, as growth would render it necessary. European Larch, though deciduous, might be mixed in to advantage.
R. Fan W., (Oneida Co.) You may transplant evergreens suc cessfully at any season, if you take balls of earth with them. Otherwise, they grow most readily when the buds have just started in the spring. The white pine is the best for your purpose - it transplants easily, grows fast, and holds its color all seasons. The English Yew is a little tender north of New-York. We are not confident that the Chili Pine will prove entirely hardy with you - but the Deodar will, and is a most graceful tree. There is no more ornamental hardy evergreen for general purposes, than the Norway Spruce.
B. P., (Cayuga.) If you can remove evergreens with balls of earth about the roots, winter is the very best time. If you have to loose the earth from the roots, then wait till the trees begin to start in the spring - for that is much the best time under the latter circumstances.
G. M. T., (Hickory Park, Va.) To make your cedar grow equally fast with the other one, you must remove the soil at the extremity of the roots, and fill it with rich-er soil, mixed with leached ashes. Amos Dean. The Irish Yew is hardy about New York - and does best in a northern, shaded exposure. There is no ornamental evergreen, on the whole so generally satisfactory, so hardy in all parts of the country, and so well adapted to all soils, as the Norway Spruce.
Ibid. Take out one of the leaders of the Norway Spruce. The best time to prune evergreens is at mid-summer, but small limbs may be taken off now. You may prune trees at any time, if you use the shellac solution recommended, in our " Fruit-Trees".
F., (Lancaster, Pa.) The American Yew, is a native of the middle states - grows in several places on the Hudson. It is not properly a tree, like the European species, but a spreading shrub, about 3 or four feet high, the foliage and berries quite ornamental. It loves the shade. You would have succeeded perfectly with the native Rhododendrons if yon had taken the precaution to have made a bed or border for them in a shady place, and brought leaf-mold from the woods to plant them in. They will not grow for any length of time in common garden soil. C (Boston,) The manure of the Lodi Company we found so well adapted to evergreens, Is called by them simply "manure for shrubs".
(J. C S.) Any well-decomposed compost will suit evergreens. Animal manure, especially in a fresh state, should never be employed.
Hedges. If your arbor vita hedge is not well supplied with branches near the ground, peg down, and bring into the earth, a few of the lowermost ones, and, with mulching, they will soon form new, and, as it were, a separate tree, which, by training, will cover all defects.
The mulching for evergreens should be fine chips, spent tan, sawdust, etc. These are among the very best manures for evergreens. If stones are employed for mulching, leaf mould should be occasionally put under them.
(W. B. B., South Carolina.) The evergreen oak, Quercus ieax, suitable to your climate, bears the influence of sea air perfectly, and would be a very profitable tree to plant as well as extremely ornamental - none more so. The Laurustinus, it will interest you to know, may also be included in your list of shrubs to plant within the influence of the sea; it succeeds well in such places, and may be even used at the South as a hedge plant, than which nothing could be more superb. The Araucaria and Cedrus Deodara will also suit you. Ah I if we only had some climates and situations that we know of at the South, we could make such a little earthly paradise as it would be hard to leave.
The lovers of fine Evergreens will long remember the severe tests their favorites were put through the past winter (1855-6), which, for severity, was without a parallel. It may be safely said, that the plant or tree - whichever it may be-that passed safely through such a degree of cold, in any given latitude, may there be considered hardy; but I would not say that every plant destroyed was tender where that destruction took place. Many rare evergreens, when first introduced, are grown rapidly and tenderly, in pits or greenhouses, and, when planted out permanently, the ground is well prepared as regards trenching, adding good composts, Ac. As a consequence, the plants grow rapidly, and, late in the season, the wood is soft, watery, and immature; and, when winter's icy hand is upon them, can we wonder if they wither within his grasp and die 1 Yes, thousands of comparatively hardy plants are lost annually in this way, and, had we not known better, they would be pronounced tender. If people will grow those things vigorously and rapidly, they must protect them until they are of good size, and well established.
Still, it is well, occasionally, to have such a winter as the last, as it tests what aspires to be hardy.