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.
"It is also an excellent system to employ crates for preparing trees intended for removal, even to favorable situations. By using them larger and stronger, large and valuable specimens may be removed without risk of failure; and the system is especially to be recommended for trees which are known to transplant badly.
"In determining the distances which the permanent plants should be placed from each other, no rule can of course be given. As they are ultimately to form a picturesque arrangement, a design will, of course, have been previously decided on, in which their individual characters, as well as effect in combination, will be recognised. Due attention to this will prevent much subsequent vexation. Where several are to form a group, care must be taken that their ultimate appearance will not be that of a clump - the most unpicturesque and artificial of all arrangement, and is that best calculated to destroy the individual character of the trees composing it They should be so placed that their branches shall mingle without destroying each other. A number of trees, though in a great measure detached from each other, will, when viewed from a little distance, seem to mingle together. And the arrangement may be such, that, from whatever position they are seen, a different form of outline shall be presented to the eye. Variety is thus produced; and while each tree preserves its individual character upon a close examination, the distant effect of the whole is that of a picturesque group.
There is no necessity for crowding valuable trees together for the purpose of producing the appearance of a close wood, when seen from a distance.
"We have dwelt above on the advantages produced by a proper and timely application of shelter to trees in exposed places. But highly injurious results may arise from it^ if its removal is not attended to when it in any way obstructs the progress of the trees it was intended to protect It must never be forgotten, that such aids are only valuable in assisting the young trees the sooner to become established, and that it must be wholly, but gradually, removed, as the latter become sufficiently robust to be independent of such assistance.
"In selecting plants for the permanent specimens, some care will be necessary, as much of the ultimate success will depend on the character of those employed. As a general rule, in proportion to the exposure of the situation, should the plants chosen be smaller, always however supposing them to be thoroughly healthy and robust, and such as have not previously been favored by soil or situation to an undue extent. Nothing is gained by employing large plants in exposed places. On the contrary, much time is often lost by the practice, even though they should be in the best possible condition. The larger and taller the plants, the more are they exposed to the untoward circumstances consequent on the situation.* Plants of but a few feet in height, when placed in exposed situations, require the assistance of a stake, or the winds quickly damage them to a great extent; and the utmost care will not wholly preserve them from injury. And when others of eight or ten feet in height, as are sometimes employed, with the intention of producing immediate effect, are placed in similar situations, they frequently prove worse than useless.
Two or three stakes are required to each, to enable them to withstand the influence of the gales; but no amount of available support will prevent them from being disturbed. The action, though slight at first, is every day augmented. They become loosened in the earth. Water - especially if the soil is tenacious - accumulates at the base of the stem and about the roots, chilling and retarding their vegetative powers. During this, rapid evaporation is draining the tissues of the plants, the loss of which their dormant powers can not recruit Death, or an approximation, ensues. The foliage dies, and their appearance is calculated to disfigure rather than to beautify the places they occupy. Nor do matters often assume a more cheerful aspect with those which survive to the following season. Sometimes a feeble attempt at vegetation is perceived, but it too often proves an expiring effort Many will linger on for years, and a few ultimately succeed. But not only would time and labor have both been economised, but the desired result have been more fully arrived at, by adopting the apparently slower means of employing young trees, and taking the necessary precaution to ensure their success.
"There are, of course, many situations, where large trees can not only be planted with perfect safety, but where it will be highly requisite to do so, and where no risk will attend their removal, if ordinary precautions are taken. It is in open and exposed situations that we are endeavoring to show the inexpediency of employing them.
For several years after planting, the soil about the trees should be frequently stirred, all weeds destroyed, and every obstruction to their progress removed: and as those employed for shelter encroach upon the permanent specimens, they should be curtailed, and, when necessary, wholly removed; in fact, their removal should be effected before they encroach. By thus progressively destroying the shelter, sometimes a few branches, and occasionaly a whole tree, as circumstances seem to demand, the change is gradually produced and no injurious check results to the remaining plants. Of course, the shelter from the boundaries of the groups, and from the most exposed situations, will be the last removed. And for the purpose of giving depth and massiness to some of the larger groups, a part of the common trees may be left as a back-ground to the more valuable specimens." And such an arrangement could be provided for to a greater extent by keeping it in view when planting.
"It will frequently be found highly advantageous to include what are ultimately to be detached groups and single trees into one common plantation when young. A greater amount of shelter will be afforded, and each tree, while it assists to protect the other, will participate in the general benefit. And when the whole of the shelter is ultimately removed, the permanent trees will appear in their intended positions and relations.
* So sensible are the Scotch planters of the disadvantage of employing large trees upon their bleak mountain sides, that the neighboring nurserymen find plants beyond two or three feet high as almost dead stock; the sale for such being so limited, that any forest trees beyond that height are generally rooted oat and used as fire-wood.
" The great change of climate which plants experience when removed from the nursery to open and exposed situations, is a principal cause of their frequent failure there. The comparatively dry state of the atmosphere in the latter is not the least prominent source of injury. Wherever vegetation is scanty, there will the atmosphere be deficient in moisture, a subject of great importance when considered in relation to the progress of young trees. And as vegetation not only participates in the benefits, but materially augments the atmospheric moisture, of a district, it follows that, by employing other trees as shelter to those we are most solicitous about, we combine several essentials to success, viz., breaking the force of winds, affording a genial shelter, and condensing and retaining a large amount of moisture.
"What is termed 'dead'shelter, i, e., close hedges, reed fences, and similar expedients, is often employed as temporary protection to young trees in exposed places, but the advantages derived from such, to say nothing of its many inconveniences, and its anything but attractive appearance, is not nearly so great as that arising from the employment of living trees. The former is every day decreasing in efficiency, the latter becoming more valuable.
" With due attention to the several points which have been dwelt on, viz., draining, trenching; shelter, and a proper selection of plants, aided by a thorough system of subsequent management) success will be attained in almost any situation, and under a great diversity of circumstances, Failures in planting oftener arise from an injudicious or imperfect course of treatment, or from a bad selection of plants, than from anything really antagonistic in the soil or situation".