Birch-Tree. There are four species of birch. The common birch-tree may be cultivated upon barren land, where better trees will not thrive; for there is no ground so bad, but this tree will thrive in it. It will grow in moist springy land, or in dry gravel or sand, where there is little surface. So that upon ground that produced nothing but moss, these trees have succeeded so well, as to be fit to cut in ten years after planting, when they have been sold for near ten pounds per acre, standing, and the after produce has been considerably increased. Many woods near London, which were chiefly stocked with these trees, having been of late years grubbed up. the value of these plan tations has advanced in proportion. Persons, therefore, who are possessed of poor land, cannot employ it better than by planting it with these trees, especially as the expense of doing it is not great. Broom-makers are constant customers for birch. Hoop-benders are also great purchasers
The largest trees are often bought by the turners; and the wood is used for making ox-yokes, and other instruments of husbandry. In some of the northern parts of Europe, the wood of this tree is greatly used for making wheels for carriages, being hard, and of long duration.
In France, it is generally used for making wooden shoes, and it is good fuel. In some places, these trees are tapped in the spring, and the sap drawn to make birch wine, which has been recommended for the stone and gravel. Mr. Boyle tells us, he has seen extrordinary medicinal effects of the juice itself. He says the juice may be easily preserved, by pouring a little oil on the top of it, or by distillation, etc. The piercing and bleeding of birch is performed thus: about the beginning of March, cut a slit almost as deep as the pith, under some well-spreading branch; cut it oblique, and not longways, and insert a small stone or chip, to keep the lips of the wound a little open ; lastly, to this orifice fasten a bottle, into which will distil a limpid and clear water, retaining an obscure smack, both of the taste and odour of the tree. The wonder is, that, in the space of twelve or fourteen days, as much juice will be gathered, as will outweigh the whole tree, body and roots.
Larch-Tree. Linnaeus refers this to the genus of pine. The common larch-tree grows naturally upon the Alps and Apennines, and has lately been much propagated in England. One kind of this tree is a native of America. In many places ships are built of this wood, which is said to be durable ; and, therefore, this may be a very proper tree for planting upon the cold barren hills of England; which, beside the profit they would yield to their proprietors, would also conduce to national benefit. The Venice turpentine is extracted from the larch-tree.
Pine. From the wild pine is procured the common turpentine. The leaves and tender tops of pine and fir are used for diet-drinks. .Pitch, tar, rosin, and turpentine, are all made from those trees by very familiar methods, which have already been described under their respective heads.