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Walter Nicol.

The practical planter, or, A treatise on forest planting : comprehending the culture and management of planted and natural timber, in every stage of its growth : also on the culture and management of hedge fences, and the construction of stone walls, etc. online

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Online LibraryWalter NicolThe practical planter, or, A treatise on forest planting : comprehending the culture and management of planted and natural timber, in every stage of its growth : also on the culture and management of hedge fences, and the construction of stone walls, etc. → online text (page 1 of 15)
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tlB*

OF THE

imivr

OF




THE



PRACTICAL PLANTER,

OR,

A TREATISE

ON

FOREST PLANTING:

COMPREHENDING THE

CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT

OF

PLANTED AND NATURAL TIMBER,

IN EVERY STAGE OF ITS GROWTH :

ALSO ON THE

CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT OF HEDGE FENCES,

AND THE

CONSTRUCTION OF STONE WALLS, SCc.



Second <Diricm:

CORRECTED AND IMPROVED.



BY WALTER NICOL,

1 1

Author of " The Forcing, Fruit, and Kitchen Gardener;" an " Essay on Gardening," drawn up by
Desire, and for Consideration of the Board of Agriculture ; and Member of the Nat, Hist. Society
Edinburgh.



LONDON :

PRINTED BY C. WHITTINGHAM,

Dion Street, Fetter Lant;

FOR J. SCATCHERD, AVE-MARIA-LANE ; AND H; D. SY-

MONDS, PATERNOSTER-ROW.

_-
1803.



INTRODUCTORY VIEW



OF THE



SUBJECTS.



T T 7HOEVER shall give himself the trou-
ble to look over the contents of this
work, will perceive that the SUBJECT, taken
in the general, is far from being unimpor-
tant. Perhaps no RURAL TOPIC is, at the
present time, more worthy of attention ; whe-
ther considered in a private, or in a national
point of view. I shall not, therefore, apo-
logize for presuming to solicit the Reader's
attention to what, perhaps, lie may be much
interested in ; because, according to the com-
mon phrase, there have already been so
many books written on the subject* On the



IV INTRODUCTORY VIEW.

contrary, I conceive it the duty of every one
who has got a mite to offer ^ of useful informa-
tion, to do so cheerfully, and without re-
straint.

Whether information, useful, new, or in-
teresting, shall be found by perusal of the
following sheets, is a question to be solved
by the Reader only. Nor shall I make any
protestations of the matter, the practice, and
the merit being all my own ; or that I have
gathered them from Millar, from Evelyn,
from Hanbury, or even from Marshall;
whom I view with an eye of sincere regard
and esteem. I wish to detract from the me-
rit of none ; nor do I wish to assume that
which may not be thought my due.

In t\\e first general head, the subject em-
braces, and dwells on the different situations
adapted for the rearing of FOREST TIMBER.
The importance of rearing ship timber in
maritime districts, and in those through
which navigable rivers, canals, &c. pass,
is particularly pointed out ; and a sketch



INTRODUCTORY VIEW. V

given of the kinds most proper to be reared
in such situations. The most rational means
of producing artificial shelter, in the rearing
of young timber in bleak exposures, and BY

THE MARGIN OF THE DEEP, is set forth ;

and the propriety of planting waste lands so
situated, pointed out.

The subject turns, in the second general
head, on the various SOILS adapted to forest
trees. Here a view is taken of the different
kinds of soils ; and their composition, tex-
ture, admixture, kinds of upper strata, sub-
strata, &c. remarked ; the soils most parti-
cularly fitted for the different kinds of trees,
with those on which they will thrive compa-
ratively, is then shewn : and also a general
view of the value, as timber, of each parti-
cular tree ; with the effect the soil, in which
they grow, has on that value. The use to
which the particular kinds are generally ap-
propriated, is likewise detailed.

The third general head contains the me-
thod of nursing seedling forest trees for EX-



VI INTRODUCTORY VIEW,

TENSIVE DESIGNS. Here, I first premise,
that it is no saving for any gentleman to rear
his own nursery from seed ; although he may
profit, in a double point of view, by nursing
seedlings in this particular case. I after-
wards endeavour to investigate and solve the
very commonly-agitated question, Whether
trees should be nursed on SOIL and in SITU-
ATIONS corresponding with those on which
they are ultimately to be planted ?

, x

I then point out the soil, situation, man-
ner of preparing, and otherwise improving
a nursery fit for the purpose in view ; toge-
ther with the rotation of crops, when occu-
pied, as advised, in the double capacity of
kitchen and nursery ground. After which, I
proceed to state the most simple method of
culture for each kind, with the season of
planting, training, &c.

PLANTING, and the management of new
plantations, constitutes the fourth general
division ; in which I am particular through-
out On clearing, draining, ploughing, har-



INTRODUCTORY VIEW. Vli

rowing, pitting, and otherwise preparing
the ground respecting the age and size of
the different kinds to be planted, according
to soil, situation, locality, &c. ; in which I
endeavour to place in a just light, the ab-
surdity of planting with too large plants,
and the unnecessary expence incurred there-
by ; with a proof that young will surpass the
old plants, in any situation, within the se-
venth year.

The DISTANCE at which young timber
trees should be planted, according to situa-
tion, soil, the size and extent of the planta-
tion, is then remarked, and an attempt made
to illustrate these important points. After
which, I proceed to the mixture of the dif-
ferent kinds, their relative, situations, those
esteemed fittest nurses, &c. Here the pro-
priety of planting in mixture, and in groupes,
is considered. The relative situation of the
plants, whether in respect to each other, or
in respect to the locality in the site to be
planted, is stated : also, the supposed antipa-
thy between trees is investigated ; and the



viii INTRODUCTORY VIEW.

propriety of planting nurse-plants, with the
kinds most valuable for that purpose, illus-
trated.

I next proceed to remark the proper season
and manner of performing the important
operation of planting ; stating the most effec-
tual and simple methods for insuring success,
according to existing circumstances. The
method of sowing acorns among planted tim-
ber trees, by which, I presume, the best oak-
lings are reared, is shewn ; and the most
rational mode of culture, whether by the
hoe, or by otherwise destroying noxious
weeds or plants, until the trees be no longer
subject to injury.

The consideration of Training, Pruning,
Thinning ; the treatment of Wounds, Bruises,
&c. come next under view. Here I endea-
vour to set forth, in the most plain and ra-
tional manner, the methods of TRAINING
TIMBER FOR USEFUL PURPOSES; for straight-
timber, for crooked-timber in naval archi-
tecture ; for manufactures ; for machinery ;



INTRODUCTORY VIEW, IX

for the purposes of husbandry ; for fuel : Of
THINNING the Plantation in every stage,
according to local circumstances; and of the
necessary care of all wounds and bruises, whe-
ther occasioned by the operation of pruning,
or by incidental casualties.

The fifth general head comprehends the
planting of HEDGE-ROW AND DETACHED
TREES ; wherein is considered the propriety
of planting such in pasture fields, in corn
lands, by the sides of public roads, in parks,
or in lawns. I also dwell on the method of
nursing and preparing them for removal ;
training, transplanting, and pruning them
for use, for beauty. Some observations on
the barbarity of polling, &c. I wish not to
pass unnoticed,

In the sixth general division, I endeavour
to point out the advantages, and the disad-
vantages proceeding from the care, or from
the neglect of old plantations. The necessary
caution in proceeding to prune and thin those
neglected, overrun, or maltreated, according
to the present state or local situation of the



X INTRODUCTORY VIEW.

plantation, is pointed out ; and also, the evil
consequences proceeding from the rash per-
formance of that duty, whether in respect of
the injury done by injudicious pruning, or by
the bad effects of prevailing winds.

I then proceed to treat of the manner of
thinning and pruning MIXED PLANTATIONS
under ten years old ; from ten to twenty years
old ; from twenty to forty years old ; of fifty
years old and upwards ; plantations of Scotch
jfr, of all ages ; and HEPGE-ROW TIMBER
which has been neglected or maltreated :
endeavouring to point out the most speedy
and effectual methods of RECLAIMING AND

TURNING THEM TO PROFIT.

The subject, in the seventh general divi-
sion, turns on the manner of cutting and
thinning natural woods and copses. Here are
set forth the methods of cutting in hags ; of
manufacturing the barks of oak and birch ;
of speedily REDUCING COPSES OF OAK INTO
TIMBER GROVES, for NAVAL and other pur-
poses ; of producing, in natural woods, re-
gular crops of underwood, at the same time



INTRODUCTORY VIEW. x

RETAINING AND TRAINING TO PROFIT

the timber-stands ; and, of dressing up old
timbers frequently found in natural woods,
so as to make them become more valuable
in the character of SHIP TIMBER, particu-
larly for ribs and knees.

In the eighth general head, I point out
the good effects of SUBDIVIDING BARREN,
STERILE TRACTS, whether of corn or pas-
ture lands, by belts, stripes, &c. of tree
plantations ; and also endeavour to shew
the advantages such lands might derive from
being properly thus subdivided ; and how
much the climate might thereby be improved^
at the expense of, perhaps, little valuable
land. Some considerations, worthy the atten-
tion of every improver, are then stated.

In the ninth general head, a cursory view
is taken of THE VALUE OF FOREST TIMBER
to the individual, and to the nation at large.
To this subject, the attention of the landed
interest, of the true PATRIOT, and the lover
of his country, is particularly requested.



Xll INTRODUCTORY VIEW.

In the tenth and last general head, I en-
deavour to set forth, not only the importance
of properly fencing in plantations, but a few
rational methods of rearing new, and of
training, reclaiming, or otherwise improving
eld fences, so as to make them continue du-
rable. The methods of building and coping
stone walls, and of building mud and turf
walls, are also exemplified; with some re-
marks concerning a certain district lying be-
tween the river Spey and the Murray Frith ;
which, however, are applicable to the far
greater part of Scotland.



CONTENTS.



PACF

INTRODUCTORY VIEW ..., iii



CHAP. I.

THE VARIOUS SITUATIONS WHEREON FOREST TIM-
BER MAY BE ADVANTAGEOUSLY CULTIVATED ...... 7

SECT. I. High Bleak Mountains, Inland Situ-
ations , ib.

II. Low Sheltered, Inland Situations 13

III. Banks or Vicinage of Navigable Rivers,

Canals, &c 17

IV. Maritime Situations 26

CHAP. II.

S THE SOILS ADAPTED TO THE DIFFERENT KINDS
OF FOREST TREES 32

SECT. I. Those best adapted to the Deciduous

Kinds ib.

II. Those best adapted to the Evergreen

and Resinous Kinds 50

CHAP. III.

I NURSING SEEDLINGS FOR EXTENSIVE DESIGNS .... 58

SECT. I. Situation and Soil of the Nursery ib.

II, Culture ,.66



XIV CONTENTS.

CHAP. IF.

PACE
ON PLANTING, AND THE MANAGEMENT OF NEW

PLANTATIONS 79

SECT. I. On Preparing the Ground, Pitting, &c. ib.
II. On the proper Age and Size of the
different Kinds to be planted, ac-
cording to Situation and Soil 97

III. On the Distance at which the Trees
should be planted, according to Si-
tuation, Soil, the Size and Extent
of the Plantation, &c 105

IV. On the Mixture of the different Kinds,
their relative Situations, most pro-
per Nurses, &c 109

V. On Planting; the proper Season, and
Manner of performing that Opera-
tion 122

VI. On sowing Acorns among planted Fo-
rest Trees 135

VII. Culture 140

VIII. On Pruning 149

IX. On Thinning 164

. X. Treatment of Wounds, Bruises, and

other Casualties 172

CHAP. V.

ON PLANTING HEDGE-ROW AND DETACHED TREES,

POLLARDS, &C 189

SECT. I. Preliminary Considerations ..,., ib.






CONTENTS. XV

VACS

SECT. II. On the proper Kinds for Hedge-row
and Detached Trees ; Nursing, and
preparing them for Removal 193

III. The Manner of Planting ; future

Care, &c 201

CHAP. VI.

ON THINNING AND PRUNING OF OLD PLANTATIONS

WHICH HAVE BEEN NEGLECTED 207

SECT. I. The Advantages derived from timely
and judicious Thinning ; and the
Disadvantages proceeding from Neg-
lect ib.

II. The necessary Caution to be observed
in respect of gradual Thinning, ac-
cording to the State or local Situation
of the Plantation 21O

III. Manner of Thinning and Pruning neg-
lected Plantations 215

CHAP. VII.

MANNER OF CUTTING AND THINNING NATURAL
WOODS 228

SECT. I. Cutting in Hags for the Sake of the

Bark, Fuel,&c ib.

II. Reducing Natural Oak Woods into

Timber Groves 237

III. Cutting with the double View of rear-
ing Timber and Underwood 240

IV. Dressing of old Timbers, standing ir-
regular or detached, in Natural
Woods . . 212



XVI CONTENTS.

CHAP. VIII.

PACE
ON SUBDIVIDING LARGE TRACTS BY BELTS, STRIPES,

&c 244,

SECT. I. The Advantages arising therefrom, in
respect of Shelter, and improving
the Climate ib.

II. The Direction, Position, Breadth, and
Extent of the Belts, Stripes, &c. ac-
cording to local Circumstances, con-
sidered 249

CHAP. IX.

THE VALUE OF FOREST TIMBER' CONSIDERED, BOTH

IN A PRIVATE AND NATIONAL POINT OP VIEW. ... 254

CHAP. X.

ON VARIOUS MODES OF FENCING 265

PREAMBLE ib.

SECT. I. Quick Hedge and Ditch ; with Top

Dyke, Dead Hedge, &c 270

SECT. II. Plashing and Cutting of Old Hedges .. 287

SECT. III. Of Stone Walls 294

SECT, IV. Mud, and Turf Walls, &c. ., . 300






THE



PRACTICAL PLANTER.



CHAP. I.



THE VARIOUS SITUATIONS WHEREON FOREST TIMBER
MAY BE ADVANTAGEOUSLY CULTIVATED.



SECTION I.

High, Eleaky Mountainous, Inland Situations.

THAT shelter is, in a great measure, essen-
tial to the welfare of all newly planted
trees, will readily be admitted by every one
conversant on the subject of planting; no-
thing being more prejudicial, till the plant is
established in its new situation, than wind-
waving; which, by loosening the old, and
frequently breaking the new fibres, contri-
butes to stint the whole tree in growth.
Hence, the situation, now under view,
B



8 THE PRACTICAL PLANTER.

would appear to be the most difficult on
which young timber may be reared; yet,
by strictly attending to three points-, success
may be equally sure, though slower, in this,
as in any other. These are, first, to choose
kinds which will ultimately become valua-
ble ; secondly, to plant thickly, and with
small plants", and thirdly, to plant a mass of
considerable extent and width together.

Experience shows, that planting improper
kinds, large plants, thin, and in small quan-
tities together, is spending much time and
money in vain. But, by planting as above
described, two grand points are obtained ;
first, an artificial shelter is, in some measure,
produced, and the plants are inured to their
situation from infancy.

On very high, bleak mountains, which are
intended to be covered from the base to the
summit, and where success in rearing timber
may be doubtful, the most effectual mode of
producing artificial shelter, is to divide the
mountain into so many zones or belts, ac-
cording to conveniency ; planting that near-
est the base first, and so on until the summit
i* gained.



SITUATIONS. 9

The propriety of this method will appear
manifest, when it is considered, that the gust
or current of wind is generally much stronger
on the summit than on any other part of the
mountain. When two mountains, or steeps,
nearly approach each other, and form a hol-
low or dell between them, the wind, in that
case, passes as if through a funnel, and per-
haps with greater force than over the sum*-
mit. If there is a choice, occasioned by the
wind continuing to blow more one way than
another, that part of the zone most opposed
should be first planted.

If the zone shall be so extended that it
cannot be all planted in one, or even in two
or three seasons, so much the better for the
purpose; for it would be imprudent to begin
with the second zone till the trees of the first
were a few years in the ground, and begin-
ning to afford shelter to those of the next.
Being divided in length, and part being
planted year by year, answers a two-fold pur-
pose > as the trees are rising in succession to
one another in all directions. The breadth
of the zones, in this case, should not be
less than a hundred yards; but they may be



10 THE PRACTICAL PLANTER,

made as much more in breadth, as con-
veniency, and the desire of having the ori-
ginal design speedily accomplished, may
determine.

In other bleak, but less hilly, or elevated
situations, and where the intended mass of
planting may be greater than can be accom-
plished in one or two seasons, artificial shelter
may also be produced to each portion, except
the first; which, the better to answer this
purpose, should be situated either in the cen-
tre or the quarter of the field most exposed to
the wind 9 as determined by observation of
from what point , and with what effect it gene-
rally blows. The first portion to be planted, in
this case, should be of considerable extent,
that is, of several acres ; and its form may be
determined by existing circumstances ; pro-
vided, however, that no part be less than a
hundred yards across.

Thus might many bleak and mountainous
districts be covered with useful timber, and
become a source of wealth to the proprietor,
and of benefit to the nation, which at present
lie waste in a great measure ; perhaps afford-
ing only a sorry maintenance to a few soli-



SITUATIONS. *1

tary sheep, and unhospitable habitations to
the roe and the goat.

Success, however, depends much on the
choice of the kinds of trees. This choice
must be regulated, in some measure, by the
quality and quantity of soil ; of which see
farther in the next chapter. It would be
vain . to expect every timber tree to flourish
here in a superlative degree ; nevertheless,
there are, and those both noble, graceful, and
useful trees, that will.

The native Pine, in such situations, and
even where the soil is scanty, is found in the
highest perfection, and of greatest durability.
Indeed, in others, but for variety, it is not
worth the trouble of planting : its use as a
nurse, is far out-done by the Larch. This
most complaisant of the ligneous tribes,
which conforms to almost every soil and si-
tuation, is found even to luxuriate, beyond
any other tree, on the most bleak and moun-
tainous scites.

The Mountain-ash, or Sorb, would exu-
berate here, and assist in nursing the Oak,
the Beech, the Elm, the Ash, the Sycamore,
the Birch, the Hornbeam, &c. which mav



1* THE PRACTICAL PLANTER.

all, in prudence, and with a reasonable hope
of success, be planted. The Oak, where the
soil is richest and deepest, at the bottom, or
in the wavy hollows of the mountain, in
greatest quantity ; but a few may be inter-
spersed every where; the Beech and Elm
in all parts with freedom; and the Ash, Sy-
camore, and Birch, also in all parts in mo-
derate quantities; depending most, however,
on the Larch and Beech for a crop of timber ;
and on the Larch and Mountain-ash, as;
purses.



SITUATIONS. 13



SECTION II.

Low, Sheltered, INLAND Situations.

THE subject in view here, being opposed
to that of the preceding section, it would
appear that the difficulty of rearing timber
from the want of shelter as therein stated,
is at first sight obviated. If the soil is
congenial, it is so in a great measure. But
this consideration has led many into error,
who have been tempted, by the favourable-
ness of situation, to plant improper kinds, at
improper distances, and of insufficient quan-
tity, to become valuable timber. Others
have erred by adhering to the opposite ex-
treme. A medium is adviseable.

It will be allowed, as it is presumed, that
much of the future form and strength of a
tree, and consequently of its usefulness, de-
pends on its treatment in the earlier period
of its existence the first ten years of its life.
Consequently, constraint and restraint are
equally inadmissible. By too thick planting,
and want of timely thinning, trees may be



14- THE PRACTICAL PLANTER.

constrained in growth; and by pruning, in
shape. By too thin planting, and in masses
too small, they may be restrained in growth,
and are with difficulty pruned into shape.
Trees of more than a yard in height, in the
latter case, are most objectionable, being the
more liable to be stinted.

Too many instances are to be found of
trees, in good soil and situation, being stint-
ed, hide-bound, crooked, and mere bushes,
by being set at perhaps eight or ten feet
apart, and planted in the eighth or tenth year
of their age, which, had they been set at half
the distance, and planted at half the age,
would, in half the time, have been thrice the
size, clean, and vigorous.

On the other hand are to be found those,
which by being, in soil and situation as here
defined, planted at perhaps a yard apart, and
neglected in respect of thinning, are mere
maypoles, drawn up weak and slender, and
which will with difficulty bear exposure to a
freer air, an article essential to their matura-
tion as useful timber.

In respect of the kinds admissible here,
since in point of situation all the timber tribe



SITUATIONS. 15

\viil succeed if the soil is favourable, much
must depend on circumstances. Demand,
probable demand, locality of situation, and
the fancy of the proprietor, are points of the
first consideration. Next are those of, whe-
iher on the same estate, in the same district,
and with the same favourable and local ad-
vantages, there are other situations of an op-
posite nature, and which are also to be ap-,
propriated to the raising of forest timber.

Admitting this case, the following might,
perhaps, with greatest propriety be planted
here : The Oak, Larch, Elm, Beech, Horse-
chesnut, Walnut, Lime, Spruce, and Silver
Firs. Reserving for the more unsheltered
situation, the Ash, Birch, Sycamore, Horn-
beam, Mountain-sorb, and Scotch Fir, with
a mixture of Larch ; as here their timber
would be more valuable than in the other si-
tuation.

In an inland district, and where convey-
ance to distant parts is attended with dif-
ficulty, prudence would seem to dictate the
planting of such lands only as are not tilla-
ble by the plough, in masses ; and belts,
stripes, &c. for the sake of shelter to the a-



16 THE PRACTICAL PLANTER.

rable and pasture lands ; since on most es-
tates there is sufficient ground, of this de-
scription, for the produce of timber to serve
the vicinage and their own purposes. If,
however, there is, or the probability of, an
extensive manufactory being established with-
in a convenient distance, the case is altered,
and respect must be had thereto in the
choice of the kinds to be planted. Those
used by the mill-wright, the house-carpen-
ter, the turner, and the cooper ought to be
preferred.



SITUATIONS. 17



SECTION III.

Banks or Vicinage of Navigable Rwers t Canals, Kc.

UNDER this head is comprehended all
that is desirable for the Planter's purpose,
If the scite is favourable, and the soil con-
genial, and if there are steeps untillable
by the plough, which accompany the river,
&c. in an extensive range, to what other pur-
pose can they be appropriated with such ad-
vantage? Rich, and thrice happy may the
owner of this tract esteem himself! Here
is a ready conveyance for the commodity,
and a ready conveyance will ever make a
ready market. Of whatever nature his soil
be, he also has it in his power to avail him-
self, by cultivating the kinds best adapted to
it. The limited demand of a narrow neigh-
bourhood, and for certain kinds, make no
part of his cares.

He has a nobler object in view ! Pror
viding a supply of timber for keeping in re-
pair the present, and erecting other wooden
walls. The natural, the most invulnerable



18 THE PRACTICAL PLANTER.

bulwark of his native land, is an object worthy
of the true patriot.

It may, perhaps, be unnecessary to inform
him, that for this purpose the Oak, the
Larch, the Elm, and the Beech, should be
objects of his peculiar care. They are all
used in ship-building, and the two first
named are of greatest importance.

Mr. Marshall justly observes,* "It is a for-
tunate circumstance for this country, that the
two trees which are most likely to furnish
its navy with an internal supply of timber,
should delight in soils and situations of op-
posite natures ; and every judicious planter
will endeavour to assign to each its natural
station.'* Meaning plainly the Oak and the
Larch ; for above he says, " The Oak, in
shallow barren soils, and in bleak exposed
situations, cannot be raised with profit, as


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryWalter NicolThe practical planter, or, A treatise on forest planting : comprehending the culture and management of planted and natural timber, in every stage of its growth : also on the culture and management of hedge fences, and the construction of stone walls, etc. → online text (page 1 of 15)