The gods who mortal beauty chase, Still in a tree did end their race.
WHEN our house was built, and the lawn prepated for their re-ception, we made our first ex-periment in moving good-sized trees in the month of January, when we transplanted two large Norway Maples, given to us by a friend on condition that we would take them away at that time, as otherwise they would be destroyed by some grading that was going on where they stood.
Fortunately, it was an open winter, with no frost in the ground, and there was no difficulty about digging. I personally conducted the procession, and insisted upon having the diggers begin at the outside, and work in toward the trunk, so as to save all the little roots. It was slow and careful work, and it took all day to move two trees. They were too heavy to lift with a ball of earth, as we had no special appliances for the purpose, for the largest one measured six inches through, two feet from the ground, and had a lofty top.
After the trees were carefully uprooted their tops were cut off, until the main stems were only about eight feet high, and the branches that were left running up from them were also cut back to within a few feet of their union with the trunk. Could we have foreseen the mildness of the two succeeding winters we should have been tempted to prune them less severely. I am almost sure that it was unnecessary, but moving them at such an unusual season seemed to make it wise to give them more root than top. It will take about four years for them to get back their original stature after this severe treatment, but they perhaps have escaped risks of drawbacks by the way. Similar trees in this town, transplanted without topping, though they have lived, have shown signs of feebleness, and I am disposed to think that in the end ours will make the finer specimens.
The holes in which they were set were dug six feet in diameter, and nearly five feet deep. A gentle rain was falling when the Maples were set; six or seven cartloads of loam were put around them, and when the roots were fairly covered, and the ground trodden closely about them, water was put into the holes before they were finally filled up.
These two trees, planted on the south side of a gravelly slope, so that the moisture must run away from their roots more than is desirable, have made so heavy a growth in the last two years, that in the middle of summer we have been compelled to cut out many large branches to admit light, and to improve their shape. In addition to their density of growth, they have shot up fresh stems, between seven and eight feet long, in the two seasons they have been fairly growing, for the first summer they did not accomplish much beyond a good crop of leaves. By the end of July we look to see them grow four or five feet more, as they are fairly set, and in fine healthy condition. The ground about them has been kept open and cultivated, and is heavily enriched several times in the course of the summer.
They are so near the house that we use the broad space around them as beds for Geraniums and Heliotropes, which probably detracts a little from the growth of the trees, but at the same time improves their appearance and keeps the earth moist and well stirred up about their roots. When the season is dry they are very thoroughly watered at least twice a week, by leaving the water from the hose running on them from its open mouth for an hour or two at a time.