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.
THE importance of suitable enclosures for farms and gardens, as well as for ornament and screens, has long exercised the thoughts of cultivators, and the best has not yet ceased to be a problem that many are seeking to solve. In some sections of this immense country, it is a topic of the first consideration, and well deserving attention. The thorn in most portions of America has been abandoned on account of its diseases and the attacks of insects, and various efforts have been made to find a substitute. Good authorities have recommended from time to time the Osage Orange; this comes tolerably near to possessing all the requisites, but we regret to say it, not all. Efforts are still making by various patriotic individuals, and at length our different sections and climates may find the desideratum. We shall endeavor to impart such information as is now possessed, and in doing this must acknowledge our indebtedness for examples of fine hedges to Mr. William Reid, of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, who possesses within his [remarkably well kept nurseries specimens of various descriptions, in the highest keeping and beauty.
An English writer says justly, "As to the beauty of a fine hedge, it is impossible for any one who has not seen it to form an idea; contrasted with a wooden, or even a brick fence, it is like the land of Canaan compared with the deserts of Arabia." The delay in bringing a hedge to perfection should not discourage the provident improver, for it is an everlasting fence, "at least," says Downing, "in any acceptation of the words known to our restless and changing countrymen. When once grown, the small trouble of annual trimming costs not a whit more than the average expense of repairs on a wooden fence, while its freshness and verdure are renewed with every vernal return of the flower and the leaf".
As the hedge grows up, repeated cuttings are necessary, so that a wide bottom may be gained, without which none can be considered either useful or ornamental; for if broad at the top it retains water and snow to the great injury of the plants. Proper management will remedy most of the evils attendant upon the operation, but in America, with its costly labor and the rush of work at trimming time, farmers are still to be found who will twice or thrice a year go over long hedges with proper care and precaution, to procure a permanent and elegant enclosure. Wood for fences is becoming very scarce, and there are prairie lands where no timber can be had for the post and rail or the worm fence, and sections where the land yields no stone for walls; and where ornament is to be considered, hedges are essential.