Walter Nicol.

The planter's kalendar; online

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E D I N B U R G H :

Printed by David Willison^









THE Editor contracts for the Execution of att
Jdnds of Forest and Ornamental Plantation.

He reviews neglected Plantations , and gives Di*
rectiom for their future Management.

Letters addressed to EDWARD SANG., Nurs-
ery and Seedsman, Kirkcaldy, will be
duly attended to.

a 2


*. 105. 1. 3. for stools read shoots
177, 17, tight light
387. 12. moss, mass,
4-39. 9. alternate ultimate


WHEN Mr Nicol publifhed his Gardener^
Kalendar, early in the year 1 8 1O, he announced
his intention alfo to produce a Planter's and
Nurferyman's Kalendar. In order to render
this projected publication more perfect, he
made an extenfive tour through England, in the
courfeof the fummer and autumn of that year;
vifiting many of the principal forefts and planta-
tions, and the moft diftinguifhed feats of the
Nobility and Gentry, in that opulent country,
together with the chief nurferies near the me-
tropolis ; and taking notes of the ftate of the
forefts and plantations, and the different modes
of management purfued by the moft eminent
nurferymen and experienced forefters. It may
fcarcely be neceflary to remark^ that Mr Nicol
was previoufly well acquainted with the prac-
tice in Scotland ; he having many years ago
publifhed the Practical Planter ; a book very
favourably received by the Public, and which
has been frequently reprinted.



Upon his return to Scotland he began this
work. He had made fome progrefs in it,
when he was feized with a fevere illnefs, which
entirely interrupted his labours, and which
ultimately proved fatal in the fpring following.

Having been requefted by Mr Conftable to
complete the undertaking, I carefully examined
the notes and references left by the deceafed ;
and I had the mortification to find, that how-
ever ufeful and important they might and
would have been to himfelf, they were in
many cafes ufelefs to any one elfe. My tafk,
therefore, proved much more ferious than I
had anticipated.

I enjoyed, indeed, fome advantages. Mr
Nicol was a near and an efteemed relation : I
had lived in habits of the greateft intimacy
with him ; and was perfectly well acquainted
with his profeffional opinions and practice.

Still, however, fo much remained undone,
that, had -not the fubjecls treated of been fa-
miliar to myfelf, I fhould have declined inter-
fering. v But, having been perfonally engaged
from my earlSeft days in raifmg trees from
feeds in the nurfery, and attending the plant-
ing, pruning, and future management of them
in the foreft and other fituations, I felt fome



degree of confidence in my own experience ;
and I truft, therefore, that I fliall not be deemed
prefumptuous for having, in thefe circurnftances,
undertaken the finifhing and editing of the
Planter s Kalendar.

Founding on my own practice and experi-
ence, I have, where left entirely to myfelf, felt
it my duty, on one or two occafions, to give
opinions and advices different from thofe deli-
vered by my friend in his Practical Planter, al-
ready mentioned. I allude, in particular, to
what is faid concerning the pruning of Firs and
Larches hi the foreft and the grove ; the man-
ner, in fome inftances, of pruning young hard-
wood trees ; and the rules to be obferved iri
pitting of grounds, according to their nature
and other circumflances. Thefe matters were
occasionally the fubjet of friendly difcuffion
between us. In the following work, I thought
it better at once to ftate my own views, than to
have firft brought forward Mr Nicol's, and then,
in efteft, to have confuted them, which a re-
gard for the truth would have required of me,

I feel that, on other grounds, fome explan-
ation, and perhaps apology, is due to my.bre-
thren x in the nurfery line. It may poflibly be



thought, that I have in fome inftances reveal-*
ed too freely the fecrets of the bufmefs. But*
what is of more confequence, wherever the
fcene of planting is extenfive, I have ftrongly
recommended the eftablifhment of private nurf-
eries ; and I have decidedly advifed \hejbwing
of the larger kinds of tree feeds, fuch as acorns^
chenrats and walnuts, in the fpot where the trees
are deftined to grow, in preference to \keplant*
ing of young trees taken from any nurfery what-
ever. For thefe things I alone am refponfible.
In my. defence, I may appeal to every pa-
triot Briton,- as to the extreme importance of ad-
opting the moil fpeedy and effectual meafures
to increafe the quantity of foreft plantation in
thefe Iflands, in order to meet the extraordinary
expenditure of our native timber which is now
unavoidably taking place, owing to the unpa-
ralleled war which has clofed the ufual fources of
our fupply from the Continent. Now, where
the defigns are extenfive, the planting will cer-
tainly be greatly facilitated and forwarded by the
formation of private nurferies ; and in no other
cafes will fuch nurferies ever be found advan-
tageous. Further ; few, I prefume, would be
found difpofed to difpute the propofition r that



private emolument ought to give way to the
general good. Befides, if individual emolu-
ment is really to be thus leffened^ I cannot be
fuppofed deftitute of a fellow-feeling on the
fubjed: ; my own livelihood, and that of a nu-
merous family, depending on the public nurfery

But, after all, I have very little dread that
either my own bufinefs, or that of my neigh*
bours, will be hurt by the means alluded to.
On the contrary, I am inclined to think, that
if numerous private nurferies were eftablifhed,
they would tend to make the fpirit for planting
become more and more general, greatly to the
advantage of thofe concerned in the bufinefs of
public nurferies-

The plan adopted in the following work, as
now completed by me, differs but little from
that fketched out by the late Mr Nicol, and
publifhed at the end of the Gardener's Ka-

In the Introduction, I have endeavoured to
enforce the momentoufly important dodlrine
above hinted at, of laying a foundation for the
future fupply of native timber, not only for
domeftic and agricultural purpofes, but for the



BRITISH NAVY, that laft and glorious palla*
dium of the liberties of Europe.

The proper fixations and foils for a Nurfery
are then treated of; and, in fucceffion, the
foils and filiations beft calculated for Foreft
and Grove plantations, and for Woods and

The different kinds of Foreft Trees are next
characterized ; and this part of the work is
clofed with a fhort view of the advantages tb
be derived from planting.

The Kalendar follows ; and, in it, for every
month in the year, the work to be particularly
attended to during each month, is diftinftly ftat-
ed, under the refpe&ive heads of Nurfery, Fo-
reft Plantation, Ornamental Plantation, Copfes,
and Fences.

In order to illuffrate fome things more per-
fectly, three engravings are given. In the firft,
I have exhibited the general appearance of two
properly pruned grove trees, the one thirty,
and the other ten years of age, and of one
that is improperly pruned. In plate fecond, the
baneful confequences of bad pruning are exem-
plified in two planks, figured from nature. In
the third plate, the various implements more



particularly alluded o in the courfe of the trea-
tife are reprefented.

In an Appendix, I have given full inftruc-
tions for the formation and management of
Ofier plantations ; and have defcribed the dif-
ferent fpeeies of willows beft fuited to this pur-
pofe. I have added fome tabular views, which
I judged might prove both entertaining and

Although, in a few inftances, the practice
recommended in this treatife may be more im-
mediately calculated for the climate of Scotland,
I have conftantly kept in view the poilibllity of
the book being confulted by Englifli or Iriih
planters and improvers; and I flatter myfelf,
that, if it be, they will have no caufe to re-

Being a Scotfman, I take it for granted that
I may infenfibly have fallen into Scotictfms^ as
they are called, in attempting to write Eng-
lifli. I have fometimes alfo intentionally em-
ployed expreffive Scots terms ; and where I
iuppofed thefe might be unintelligible to my
Southern readers, I have taken care to explain
their meaning. As to the general ftyle of the
book, (for which I confider myfelf anfwerable,-



having in a great meafure moulded Mr Nicolas
obfervations into my own ftyle) ; if I have
fucceeded in being tolerably plain and perfpi-
cuous, and not very ungrammatical, this is all
I have aimed at, and all, in my opinion, that
ought to be required of a practical man.


1st April, 1812.




PREFACE i - - * - v


INTRODUCTION. Importance of ensuring a future
supply of Navy Timber - 1

Section I. Situations and Soils for a Nursery - 19
II. Situations for Forest and Grove Plant-
ations, &c.

1. Forests - 28

2. Groves 40
III. Situations for Woods and Coppices.

1. Woods 4$

2. Coppices - 47
IV. Soils best adapted to the different kinds

of Forest Trees 49

V. Kinds of Trees fitted for Forests, Groves,
Woods, &c. with their Properties and
Uses 70

Deciduous - 72

Evergreen 106

Value of Timber, and short View of
the Advantages to be derived from
Planting - -. - 119






Nursery - - * - 127

Ornamental Plantations - - - 138

Forest Plantations - 155

Woods and Copses - 188

Fences - - 202


Nursery ,- - 225

Ornamental Plantations - "*- - 255

Forest Plantations - 265

Woods and Copses 271

Fences - - 273


Nursery - 281

Ornamental Plantations - 291

Forest Plantations - 295

Woods and Copses 301

Fences - - - 308


Nursery - - - - 310

Ornamental Plantations - - - 341

Forest Plantations - 344*

Woods anjd Copses - - - - 357

Fences ... 360


Nursery - 369

Ornamental Plantations - - - 377

Forest Plantations - 382

Woods and Copses - - 400

Fences - 412





Nursery - -

Ornamental Plantations 42S

Forest Plantations

Woods and Copses




Ornamental Plantations - 4-37

Forest Plantations

Woods and Copses - ***



Nursery -

Ornamental Plantations

Forest Plantations - 456

Woods and Copses

Fences 46Q


Nursery - - 465

Qrnamental Plantations - 470

Forest Plantations - 4-77

Woods and Copses - 489

Fences 490


Nursery - - 49S

Ornamental Plantations - - 509

Forest Plantations - - - 61*

Woods and Copses - - - 5 IS

Fences r





Nursery - - - - 519

Ornamental Plantations - - ~ ' 525

Forest Plantations - 528

Woods and Copses - 53 1

Fences - - - - 532


Nursery 535

Ornamental Plantations 537

Forest Plantations - 538

Woods and Copses - - 540

Fences - - - -



f. On the Formation and Management of Osier

Plantations, &c. - 54,5

II. Account of some remarkable Trees in Scot-
land 563

III. Amount of Waste Lands in Scotland - 574*

IV. Tables showing the Number of Trees which

may be planted on a Scots and on an Eng-
lish Acre, at certain Distances 575
V. Prices of Timber and Oak Bark at Leith,

for several Years - - - 576

INDEX - 577




[The Binder is requested to place each Plate fronting
its Explanation.]



FIG. 1. Represents a tree in a grove or thick plantation
of thirty years of age, which has been regu-
larly and properly pruned from infancy on-

FIG. 2. Represents a tree of the same age, on the skirti
of a plantation, which has been neglected in
the pruning from infancy onwards ; and which
now being pruned in a way too frequently
practised, is Isft in a state highly injurious to
its health, and destructive of the soundness of
its timber: For it is manifest, that before
the bole can be enlarged sufficiently to cover
the stumps of branches left, many years must
elapse j these stumps must become rotten ;
and consequently the timber will be useless,
and probably the plant itself may be killed.

r JFiG. 3. Represents a grove, or an ordinary plantation
hardwood tree,' of ten years of age, clothed
with a sufficient number of branches to secure
the extension and enlargement of the bole.




FIG. 1. Represents a board or plank from an ash tree
which grew on the estate of Balgrigey, in
Fifeshire, and which had been pruned many
years ago. The cuts, in this case, had been
made several inches from the bole ; and the
branches being very large, the stumps left
had become rotten. The enlargement of the
trunk, however, had not been stopped, for
the new wood had covered over all the haggled
parts, in some places to several inches thick :
Yet the fffects of the previous exposure to
the action of the weather, by injudicious
pruning, is strikingly marked by the decayed
state of the parts connected with the branches
which had been amputated.

FIG. 2. Represents another board of ash wood from a
tree which grew at the same place. This
tree had been long neglected in the pruning :
but at last it had been pruned, when the
plant was nearly the size of the part of the
plank represented by the dark colour. The
branches had been cut off in a careless man-
ner, somewhat in the manner represented at
Fig. 2. in Plate I. After these had become
rotten, and had dropt off, or been broken off,
the new wood had by degrees covered the
blemished parts on the trunk ; but not until
they had been the means of introducing a
quantity of moisture sufficient completely to
destroy the interior of the tree. Both these
planks were cut up from trees felled in au-
tumn 1811, and were sketched from nature
by my ingenious friend Mr Skinner of Kirk-?


FIG. 1. Represents the Diamond-pointed Dibble, de-
scribed, together with its uses, at p. 351.

FIG. 2* The Hand Mattock, alluded to, p. 192 & 392.
The helve is 3 feet 6 inches long ; the mouth
is 5 inches broad, and is made sharp; the
length from it to the eye, or helve, is 16 inches ;
and it is used to pare off the sward, heath, or
other brush that may happen to be in the
way, previous to easing the soil with the o-
ther end. The small end tapers from the
eye, and terminates in a point, and is 17
inches long : It is used for opening the soil,
instead of pitting; and in hilly or stony
ground, it is a very useful tool.

FIG. 3. The West Indian Hoe 9 recommended for deep
hoeing, p. 340.

FIG. 4. The Planter. The helve is 16 inches long, the
mouth is 4| inches broad, and the length of
the head is 14 inches. This instrument is
used in planting hilly ground previously pre-
pared by the hand-mattock. The person
who performs the work carries the plants
in a close apron ; digs out the earth suffi-
ciently to hold the jfoots of the plant; and
sets and firms it, without help from another :
It is only useful when small plants are used,
and in hilly or rocky situations.

FIG. 5. The Nurseryman's Mouse Trap. This trap ifr
described in p. 247,




JT ERHAPS at no period of the hiftory of this
country has a fpirit fof planting more prevailed
among private individuals, than within thefe lafl
thirty years. Surely at no period of our hiftory
was ever fuch a fpirit more defirable ; whether we
confider the decreafe of trees in our national fo-
refts, the high price of timber in all parts of the
country, or the difficulty of obtaining foreign
fupplies of that article. The extenfive fcale on
which plantations in this country, particularly in
Scotland, have lately been conducted, certainly
reflects very high honour on the landholders of
the prefent age. It is not now, therefore, fo ne-
ceflfary for us to call loudly on the proprietors of
land, efpecially in the northern part of the king-
dom, to plant, (as has uniformly been done by

A late


late writers on this fubjedl), as to take proper care
of that which is already planted. The bufmefs
of planting is now eflablifhed on a broad bads,
and has become more or fefs the care of every
great landholder in the kingdom ; and as there
appears to be a onvition of its propriety, and a
due fenfe of the returns to be ultimately derived
from it, in the mind of every thinking man con-
cerned, there need be little fear of the zeal for
planting being slackened. It were well, however,,
that as much anxiety were difplayed in fome other
parts of management, the properly thinning out
and cultivating plantations, and the reclaiming o
neglected woods and copfes.

A ferious conviction of the immenfe lofs which
the country has already fuftained, by the negledt
of its plantations and woods, strikingly visible in
every part of it, has led us to turn our whole mind
to this fubject ; and fuch lofs 1 cannot certainly be
a matter of indifference to any well difpofed mem-
ber of the community. While we regret the paft,
let us welcome a dawn of hope in regard to the
future management for the better ; fince we fee
an example fet, by fome of the great proprietors
of land, in various districts of the country ; and
an indication of others being difpofed to follow ;
as in many recent improvements in agriculture.
Although precept upon precept (many of them
good) have been laid down, by writers on this



fiibject* fpr the laft forty years ; yet it may truly
be faid, that, with a very few exceptions, all fuch
precepts have remained unheeded. A few pro-
prietors of wood have at length thrown off the
trammels of prejudice, and, in introducing their
improved modes of management, have not fcru-
pled to cut, not only what their fathers, but what
themfelves have planted ! finners, of confequence,
in the eyes of thoufands ; but, in the eyes of com*
mon fenfe, no more fo than he who hoes out, to
a proper diftance, an acre of carrots or turnips.

While fuch management is commendable in the
highefl degree, in fo far as refpe&s the thinning
Of the trees in plantations, to proper diftances ;
we have little reafon to fear that it will ever lead
to the premature felling of timber. The recent,
high price of that article has, no doubt, in feve-
ral parts of the country, had this effect, efpecial-
ly in fo far as regards ^r-timber ; but it is ques-
tionable whether a much more than ordinary cut-
ting of young improveable hard timber has taken
place, either in England or Scotland. Of timber
come to maturity, a very great quantity has doubt-
lefs been cut of late years. The demand .occa-
fioned by the extraordinary increafe in machinery,
both in our manufactories and in hufbandry, may
be afligned as the chief caufe.

With refpecl: to Oak woods and copfes, the

Very high price of oak-bark, for the laft fever*

A 2 years,


years, has unqueflionably led to many premature
falls, and has rendered fome proprietors lefs care-
ful of reserves or timber -stands, than might have
been prudent. This is the more to be regretted*
that, by a certain mode of management, # differ-
ent indeed from the common, an equal return of
bark might, hi moft cafes, have been obtained,
and the timberlings at the fame time fpared to>
grow to maturity, in due time, for the future in-
creafe of our trade, or the defence of our mores*

It is a very important, and, in our opinion, a
demonftrable faft, that even in the natural woods
fcattered over many parts of the Scots Highlands,
there might be reared, with much expedition, an
immenfe fupply of capital (hip-timber-

With refpeft to a proper fupply of timber for
the Britifh Navy, and the neglect of the Royal'
Forefts, there has been a continued hire and cry
for the last forty years ^ yet Government, till of
late, feems to have paid littl'e or no attention to>
the matter. Whether this indifference on the part
of Government has or has not had the good ef-
fect of making individuals turn their minds to the
fubjecl, and plant on their private properties, is
a point which remains doubtful with many. One
thing, however, we are very certain of, that,
within the period above mentioned, there have


* Described in a subsequent part of this volume, undes?
the head Woods and Copses for 'May.


teen very many more timber-trees planted in Bri-
tain, than there were in the days of EVELYN, or
in confequence of his remonftrances to the Govern-
tnent of his time.

Faftiion, no doubt, has great weight ; and au
improved tafte with regard to the embellifhment
of eftates, has, fortunately enough, led to much
planting in the vicinity of refidences ; but fome-
thing more than fafhion has brought about the
widely-extended fyftem of planting on many e-
flates, particularly in the North. We are willing,
too, to allow every thing on the fcore of patriot-
ifm j but, furely, a uise foresight a juft calcula-
tion of the ultimate refults has, with 'perfect pro-
priety, had a.fignal iliare in .the matter. We may
remark, alfo, that by an improved fyftem in the
manner of planting, in the choice of kinds, and
fizes of the plants, the expenfe may now be juft-
ly eftimated at one half lefs than it was thirty years
ago ; a circuinftance which, of courfe, has had
confiderable influence in the encouragement of
planting. The great attention paid to agricultu-
ral improvements, has likewife proved very fa-
vourable to the increafe of planting; it having
been clearly perceived, that, by fubdividing ex-
tended tracts of country, by means of fcreen-
plantations, (generally denominated stripes or
'belts), and by trees in mafles of various lhapes
dimenfions, the interefts of hufbandry rnuft


be very much promoted by the protection thus
afforded to the corn lands ; and when the rearing
of flock became a matter of the utmoft import-
ance, the fheltering of their paflures could not be

In regard to the prefent fcarcity, and high price
of timber, both of home and foreign growth, it
certainly is a mofl ferious confideration. We
have got into a difficulty, with which we mud
undoubtedly flruggle for a time ; but we are fully
convinced, from a very minute examination of
the quantity of growing timber in England, and
in Scotland in particular, made within the lafl
fifteen months, that, in the fpace of fifty years
from this date, we mail poffefs an internal fup-
ply, equal to all our wants ; certainly in a much
fhorter period, for all purpofes, excepting thpfe of
large ship-building.

When this is faid, let it not be for a moment
inferred, that we think the extent of planting
may or ought therefore to be curtailed. Far from
it. The aftonifhing increafe of our trade, of our
manufactures, and of our agriculture, and the
inceflant demands of that Navy, to which, under
Providence, thefe owe their profperity, and we
our liberty and fecurity, powerfully forbid it.
Far from relaxing, we would willingly fee the re-
folution adopted, of importing 720 timber , except-
pg from our own colonies, fo as to render the



i)ufinefs of planting and cultivating timber at home
as necefiary and as permanent as that of agricul-
ture ; of which, in truth, k certainly is ,a irioft
important branch. There is, and long will be,
an ample fufficiency of wafte land within the Bri-
tifh Iflands, for all the purpofes of planting, ex-
clufive of what may be moft advantageoufly ap-
propriated to the raifing of grain, and the rearing
of flock.

The letter of the late LORD MELVILLE, to
Mr PERCEVAL, on the fubject of Naval Timber,
,publifhed in July 1810, is fo much in point here,
and contains fo much important matter, on this

Online LibraryWalter NicolThe planter's kalendar; → online text (page 1 of 30)