"Vitruvius relates that when Caesar attacked the Castle of Larignum, near the Alps, whose gate was commanded by a tower built of this wood, from the top of which the besieged annoyed him with their stones and darts, he commanded his army to surround it with fagots, and set fire to the whole, when, however, all the former were consumed, he was astonished to find the larch tower uninjured. * The wood is also recommended for the decks of vessels, and the masts of ships, as it is little liable either to fly in splinters during an engagement, or to catch fire readily."

Having endeavored to show that the larch is disinclined to burn in Europe, where the Professor admits it to be a resinous tree, we will proceed to discuss its resinous properties in this country.

I have a European Larch tree standing near a walk remote from the house where it is desirable to have a seat, so a few years ago I trimmed it up eight feet, and cut off the top about twenty feet from the ground, thinking this would cause it to extend its upper branches, and make more shade. We had to remove the seat owing to the resin (or Venice turpentine, or Manna of Briancon, all of which are said to be products of the larch tree). This resinous substance exudes some yet, so that we have put a back to the seat, to guard visitors from getting resin on their backs. This tree is fourteen or fifteen inches in diameter, two or three feet from the ground.

Judging from a Norway spruce tree, about the same size, and treated in the same manner, 1 would say that this resinous substance is much more copious in the spruce than in the larch.

I think the Professor may infer that the resin is not found in great quantity in the larch as grown in Europe, from the fact that although laborers are very poorly paid where the Venice turpentine is manufactured, yet the article is quoted at eight to ten times the price of other turpentine.

In the Professor's December article he says: "But should there be found at the heart of these trees resin or turpentine, would it not be like owning a tract of land covered by other person's farm?" "How are we going to get at it or make it useful?"

To get him out of this dilemma, we would advise him to adopt the method practiced in Europe. There the full grown tree, in its native districts, is pierced to the center with an auger. The turpentine is conducted by a tube into a trough, and it requires no other preparation to fit it for sale, than straining through a coarse hair cloth. The annual product of a healthy, full grown tree, is said to be from seven to eight pounds weight. The turpentine flows from May to September. Under these circumstance, of course no land owner in Britain or in this country, would think of extracting turpentine from his. larch trees.

I do not think that any European writer has ever asserted that larch saplings, or any other saplings, are very durable when placed in the ground in an unseasoned state, or even when seasoned, yet I think some men have understood them in this way. It is stated that they are used for sheep-flakes, used to fence in sheep, but as I understand it, these are portable fences, put together in lengths (hurdles), and that they are attached to stakes driven into the ground. We are told that it is used for palings on rustic fences, and lasts a long time, but I see no account of its being used in the ground till it becomes large enough for hop poles.

*Newton's Vitruvius, p. 40.

We are told by all the European writers that it is durable for posts and in all structures where it comes in contact with the ground; also for railroad ties, mill axles, ship building, for lintels, joists, rafters and the main timbers in buildings, but that it is not used for finishing lumber, owing to its being harder to plane than spruce and pine lumber.

European writers tell us that larch timber is not so durable nor so healthy when grown on low moist ground as on high dry ground, and as far as 1 know, this fact has been over and over again stated by most writers who have recommended the larch in this country. For the past few years western tree planters, and especially Illinois tree planters have been exchanging samples of European Larch wood taken from trees eight to sixteen inches in diameter. I have samples before me from Lake, Lec Kane, Bureau, and other counties in this State, grown on sandy land, stiff clayey land, ordinary prairie and low prairie, all healthy except one tree which was planted by A. R. Whitney, about twenty years ago. Mr. Whitney sent a sample of the wood to me, inquiring if I knew the cause of its death. The wood showed that the tree had been diseased for years. I went to Mr. Whitney's and examined the tree and the ground on which it was planted. To use Mr. Whitney's own words, he said that when he received the tree he knew very little about the habits of the European Larch, and it looked so much like the American or Tamarac, that he planted it on the edge of a slough, and our examination proved that the tree stood with its roots in stagnant water.

I am glad, however, to be able to state that Mr. Whitney planted a goodly number of larches, soon after planting the one named above, and put them on higher land. A section of one of these trees, fourteen inches in diameter, was exhibited by him at our Northern Illinois Horticultural meeting, two years ago. He has so much faith in the durability of this timber, that he used them for posts on which he has erected the present year one of the largest, if not the largest, fruit-house in the northwest.

Samuel Edwards tells me he has a European Larch over a foot in diameter, growing finely on quite low land. I think it will become unhealthy before it reaches its full growth, and would strongly advise planters against putting this tree on low, wet ground, and I have used every opportunity to advise planters against this practice. European writers caution against planting where the roots will come in contact with stagnant water, but they seem to agree that some of the finest trees in Britain stand in proximity to running water.

The larch begins to form heart-wood when younger than almost any other coniferous tree, not excepting the red cedar, but of course the more rapidly the tree grows, no matter what the variety may be, the more sapwood will it show as compared with slower growers of the same variety.

Who would expect to find well-ripened wood in trees grown in the nursery a few inches apart, in rows two feet apart, till they were twelve to fifteen feet high, as 6. B. B.'s trees were grown, in what he rightly terms "a perfect thicket?" The Professor's trees, as he made the statement to Mr. Whitney, " were grown on rather low, very rich soil, making an annual growth of four to six feet, and were about as large as his wrist." In either of the above cases, there could scarcely have been over an inch of heart-wood. I think G. B. B. told me, while attending your meeting, that there was about an inch of heart-wood on some of the stakes he took up.

I give below the measurement I have just made of several cross sections of larch wood, with the amount of heart-wood and sap-wood each sample contains:

One section





10 1/4







9 3/4









8 3/4.



6 3/4





The thirteen-inch tree stood in a soil of sandy loam (quite sandy); it had been transplanted several times while young; it increased its diameter ten inches during the last twelve years. The nine and three-quarter inch tree grew on a stiff clay soil (a white oak knoll); it increased its diameter only eight inches during the past twelve years. The eight and three-quarter inch tree grew on prairie soil; it was planted at one year old, and stood twelve years after planting.

The above show more sap-wood than any other samples I have of the same age (only excepting the nine and three-quarter inch tree). The increase of growth is a fair average of all the samples on hand. I have some that show a larger growth than any of these, and none other that show bo poor growth as the nine and three-quarter inch tree.

If any one will produce any other species of tree that will show as much growth of such hard and durable wood, of the same age, that will grow in this climate, I will commence its propagation on a large scale, and will be willing to give him a reasonable percentage on the gross sales, to pay him for the right of discovery.

I know no other tree of its value for the purposes named, and the same claims are set up for it in Britain, where it has been planted in forest by millions for more than a century, and has proved that no other tree can be grown that will produce so much valuable wood to the acre.

It is about time that our oldest tree planters should begin to understand the various uses to which the different kinds of timber is adapted. I listened to a discussion last winter in which yourself, G. B. B. and the Professor participated, or were all present at least, when most of the above points were brought out. One of your members, a gentleman of extended experience in forest culture, contended that the larch is the most profitable to plant, therefore we should plant the larch to the exclusion of all other trees; in this I entirely disagree with him; there are many uses to which the larch is not at all adapted, the purposes for which lumber is wanted are innumerable, and most of our forest trees have some uses for which they are better adapted than any other kind.

Some claim that the larch is never unhealthy, and never attacked by insects; this is not so. There is no tree, or anything else that has life, but that is liable to disease, and to the attacks of insects, and to die from causes beyond our comprehension and beyond our control. I believe the larch to be as free from disease as any other tree in the west, as free from insects, and better adapted to the purposes for which it is recommended, than any other tree of which I have any knowledge, and I am inclined to believe that when the Professor cuts down and examines his larch tree twelve inches in diameter, and saws and planes a piece of the wood, he will no longer com-, pare it to the cotton-wood.