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Title: Science and Practice in Farm Cultivation
Author: Buckman, James
Language: English
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  SCIENCE AND PRACTICE

  IN

  FARM CULTIVATION.

  BY

  JAMES BUCKMAN, F.L.S., F.G.S.

  LATE PROFESSOR OF GEOLOGY AND RURAL ECONOMY AT THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL
  COLLEGE.

  LONDON:
  ROBERT HARDWICKE, 192, PICCADILLY.
  1865.


  COX AND WYMAN,
  ORIENTAL, CLASSICAL, AND GENERAL PRINTERS,
  GREAT QUEEN STREET, LONDON, W.C.


  TO

  JOHN CHALMERS MORTON, ESQ.,

  _The talented Editor of the_ “AGRICULTURAL GAZETTE,”

  MANY OF THE FACTS AND OPINIONS ALREADY DETAILED
  IN WHICH INFLUENTIAL JOURNAL
  ARE HERE BUT REPEATED,

  THIS WORK

  IS DEDICATED

  AS A SMALL TOKEN OF ADMIRATION AND RESPECT,

  BY HIS FAITHFUL FRIEND,

  THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS.


PART I.

HOW TO GROW GOOD ROOTS.

  CHAPTER                                                        PAGE

        I. On the Origin of Root Crops                              1
       II. On the Origin of Sorts of Roots                          9
      III. On Trueness of Sorts in Roots                           13
       IV. On Degenerate Roots                                     18
        V. Effects of Growing Seed from Degenerate Roots           23
       VI. On the Adulteration of Seed, more particularly of
           Turnips                                                 29
      VII. On the Art and Mystery of Turnip-seed Adulteration      37
     VIII. General Conclusions                                     49


PART II.

HOW TO GROW GOOD GRASSES.

       IX. On the Nature of Meadows and Pastures                   51
        X. On the Species of Meadow Grasses                        56
       XI. On Meadow Plants other than Grasses                     73
      XII. On the Weeds of Pastures                                78
     XIII. On the Irrigated Meadow                                 87
      XIV. On the Laying Down of Permanent Pastures                92
       XV. On the Management of Permanent Pastures                 98
      XVI. On the Management of Lawns                             102


PART III.

HOW TO GROW GOOD CLOVERS.

     XVII. On the Nature and Properties of the Clover Family of
           Plants                                                 109
    XVIII. On the Farm Species of Clovers                         113
      XIX. On the Varieties of Red Clovers                        121
       XX. On the Clover Allies                                   125
      XXI. On Clover Sickness                                     137
     XXII. On the Weeds of Clovers                                148
    XXIII. On the Parasites of Clovers                            156


PART IV.

HOW TO GROW GOOD CORN.

     XXIV. Nature of Corn                                         161
      XXV. Wheat: its Origin and Acclimatization                  163
     XXVI. The Wild Oat as the Origin of the Cultivated Varieties 168
    XXVII. On the supposed Origin of Barley and Rye               176
   XXVIII. Epiphytical Parasites (Vegetable Blights) of Corn
           Crops                                                  180
     XXIX. Insects (Animal Blights) affecting Corn Crops          192
      XXX. Science in the Cultivation of Corn                     204
     XXXI. On Harvesting Corn                                     213


PART V.

HOW TO GROW GOOD FENCES.

    XXXII. On the Nature of Fences                                217
   XXXIII. On the Plants for “Live” Fences                        220
    XXXIV. On the Hearing and Planting of Hedges                  227
     XXXV. Weeds of Hedge-row Fences                              234
    XXXVI. On Hedge-row Timber                                    239
   XXXVII. On the Vermin of Fences                                246
  XXXVIII. On the Management of Hedge-row Fences                  254
    XXXIX. Covenants with regard to Fences, &c.                   259


PART VI.

HOW TO GROW GOOD TIMBER.

       XL. On the Value of Timber for Ornament and Profit         265
      XLI. On the Kinds of Timber best adapted for different
           Situations                                             274
     XLII. On the British Oak                                     278
    XLIII. On the Chestnut and Walnut                             291
     XLIV. On the Elm                                             296
      XLV. On the Ash, Beech, and other White-wooded Trees        302
     XLVI. On Soft-wooded Forest Trees                            313


PART VII.

HOW TO GROW GOOD ORCHARDS.

    XLVII. On the Apple and Pear as Orchard Fruits                319
   XLVIII. On the Production and Choice of Fruit Trees            328
     XLIX. On the Gathering and Storing of Fruit                  338
        L. On Cider-making and Management                         345
       LI. On the Uses and Economy of Cider and Perry             351

  POSTSCRIPT                                                      357



THE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE

OF

ROOT CULTIVATION.



CHAPTER I.

ON THE ORIGIN OF ROOT CROPS.


Few people who have studied the matter attentively but have arrived at
the conclusion that those plants which we cultivate for their roots were
not naturally endowed with the root portion of their structure either of
the size or form which would now be considered as essential for a
perfect crop plant. Thus the parsnip, carrot, turnip, beet, &c., as we
find them in nature, have nowhere the large, fleshy, smooth appearance
which belongs to their cultivated forms; and hence all the varieties of
these that we meet with in cultivation must be considered as
_derivatives_ from original wild forms, obtained by _cultivative
processes_; that is, collecting their seed, planting it in a prepared
bed, stimulating the growth of the plants with manures, thinning,
regulating, weeding, and such other acts as constitute farming or
gardening, as the case may be.

Hence, then, it is concluded that such plants as are grown for their
roots have a peculiar aptitude for laying on tissue, and thus increasing
the bulk of their “descending axis,” that is, that portion of their
structure which grows downwards—root. Besides this, they are remarkable
for their capability of producing varieties—a fact which, united with a
constancy in the maintenance of an induced form, renders it exceedingly
easy to bring out new sorts which will maintain their characteristics
under great diversities of climate, soil, and treatment.

The facility with which different sorts of roots may be procured
can readily be understood from the many varieties, not only of
_turnip_—which may perhaps be considered as an original species—but also
of swede, which is a hybrid of the turnip and rape plant. Of the former
we have more than thirty sorts grown by the farmer, and as many
peculiar to the garden; whilst there are probably more than twenty
well-recognized sorts of swedes. Of beets, with mangel-wurzel, we have
almost as great a variety; so also of carrots. Of parsnips we have fewer
varieties, to which may now be added the new form called the Student
parsnip, the growth of which is so interesting that we shall here give a
short history of its production, as an illustration of the origin of
root crops.

In 1847 we collected some wild parsnip seed from the top of the
Cotteswolds, where this is among the most frequent of weeds. This seed,
after having been kept carefully during the winter, was sown in a
prepared bed, in the spring of 1848, in drills about eighteen inches
apart. As the plants grew they were duly thinned out, leaving for the
crop, as far as it could be done, the specimens that had leaves with
the broadest divisions, lightest colour, and fewest hairs. As cultivated
parsnips offer a curious contrast with the wild specimens in these
respects, we place the following notes, side by side, on the root-leaves
of plants of the same period of growth.

      1st. WILD PARSNIP.            |     2nd. STUDENT PARSNIP.
                            Ft. in. |                          Ft. in.
  Whole length from the             | Whole length from the
  base of the petiole to            | base of the petiole to
  the apex of the leaf       0   8  | the tip of the leaf       2   0
  Breadth of leaflets        0   0¾ | Breadth of leaflets       3   0¼
  Length of ditto            0   1  | Length of leaflets        0   6½
  Petiole and leaflets,             | Petiole and leaflets
  hairy. Colour, dark               | without hair. Colour,
  green.                            | light green.

[Illustration: _Figures 1 and 2._—Roots of Wild Parsnips. Natural size.]

We have before remarked that neither in size nor form are the wild roots
at all comparable with the cultivated ones. Our figures 1 and 2 were
taken from fine roots of the wild parsnip of the first year’s growth;
that is to say, just at the same time as a crop parsnip would be at its
best. They were purposely taken from specimens obtained from the same
district as the seed with which our experiments were commenced.

Our first crop of roots from the wild seed presented great diversities
in shape, being for the most part even more forked than the originals,
but still with a general tendency to fleshiness. Of these the best
shaped were reserved for seeding; and having been kept the greater part
of the winter in sand, some six of the best were planted in another plot
for seed. The seed, then, of 1849 was sown in the spring of 1850, in a
freshly-prepared bed, the plants being treated as before, the results
showing a decided improvement, with tendencies in some examples in the
following directions:—

     1st. The round-topped long-root, having a resemblance to the
     Guernsey parsnip. (_Panais long_ of the French.)

     2nd. The hollow-crowned long-root. “Hollow-headed” of the gardener.
     (_Panais Lisbonais_ type.)

     3rd. The short, thick turnip-shaped root. “Turnip-rooted” of the
     gardener. (_Panais rond_ form.)

These three forms were all of them much mis-shapen, with forked roots,
that is, _fingers and toes_; but still each of them offered
opportunities of procuring three original varieties from this new
source.

As an example of progress, we offer the following engraving of a
specimen of our Round-topped parsnip of 1852. Fig. 3.

This it will be seen has strong, fleshy forks, and a tendency to form
divided tap-roots; otherwise the shape is greatly improved, and the skin
is tolerably smooth.

At this time our stock was for the most part fleshy and soft on boiling;
the flavour, too, though much stronger than that of the usual esculent
parsnip, was rather agreeable than otherwise.

This matter of flavour is a subject of interest, as most lovers of the
parsnip, as a garden esculent, had got to complain of this root becoming
more and more tasteless. That this was so our own experience most fully
confirms; we have now, however, mended this root very materially in this
respect.

Our experiments were only carried on with examples of the Hollow-crowned
form, which following out from year to year, we at length obtained so
perfect in form, clean in outline, delicate in skin, and unexceptionable
in flavour, that we were induced to cause its seed to be distributed
through the medium of the trade.

[Illustration: _Fig. 3._—Round-topped Parsnip, five generations from
wild root.]

In 1881 we sowed a parcel of seed in our own garden obtained from the
Messrs. Sutton, after having received from them the following notes upon
the growth of the roots in their grounds:—

     We are happy to tell you that in lifting some of each of all the
     varieties of parsnips in our trial-ground, your “Student” was
     decidedly the best shape, varying in length, but always clean and
     straight.

[Illustration: _Fig. 4._—Student Parsnip of 1861. Two-thirds of natural
size.]

The engraving (Fig. 4) is taken from our garden stock of 1861, as being
a common shape of this new variety. It is not quite so long and slender
as the usual Long-horned parsnip, but its clean unbranched outline and
solidity of structure recommend it as a good variety, whilst its flavour
has been highly extolled by the lover of this, to some, favorite root.
In size it is scarcely large enough for a field crop, but though not at
present recommenced for the farm, its history may well serve to explain
the origin of crop plants, as derived from the cultivation and
improvement of wild species.[1]

[1] It may here be noted that the Student parsnip took the first prize
for this root at the International Show at the Horticultural Society’s
Gardens in 1862.



CHAPTER II.

ON THE ORIGIN OF SORTS OF ROOTS.


As crop plants are derived from wild ones, as the effect of cultivation,
it follows as a matter of course that these will be varied, both in form
and constitution, according to the circumstances under which they have
been produced. Thus we may expect that any attempts to ennoble a wild
root in different countries would not, even if successful, be sure to
bring about the same results. Much depends even upon the individual root
with which our trial may be started, and more upon the judgment employed
in selecting the stock from which the experiments are to be continued.

That position and soil may make a great difference may be inferred from
the fact that the attempts to improve the wild parsnip and carrot have
met with varied success. De Candolle is reported to have tried to
improve the carrot with success, whilst with the parsnip he utterly
failed; whilst Professor Lindley, in Morton’s “Cyclopædia of
Agriculture,” tells us that M. Ponsard has ascertained that “the wild
parsnip becomes improved immediately when cultivated, and that
experiments in improving its quality promise well:” how well, indeed,
may be seen from the foregoing chapter. But still, we utterly failed
with the wild carrot. Having collected seeds of the _Daucus Carota_ (the
common wild carrot) from some fine specimens growing on the road-side
between Cirencester and Cheltenham, they were subjected to experiment at
the same time as the parsnip, but with little, if any, favourable
result. Upon this plant Professor Lindley observes as follows:—

     That the hard-rooted wild carrot is really the parent of our
     cultivated varieties, remarkable as they are for the succulence and
     tenderness of their roots, has been experimentally proved by M.
     Vilmorin, who succeeded in obtaining by cultivation perfectly
     tender, eatable roots, from seeds saved from plants only three or
     four generations off the wild species.

Still, a modern French naturalist of great experience, M. Decaisne,
tells us that he has tried to ennoble the wild carrot, and has not
succeeded; and from this he draws the conclusion that our cultivated
forms were created specially for the use of man. As we should suppose
that very few botanists agree to this theory, we shall let the facts we
have already brought forward stand in maintenance of its opposite,
namely, that cultivated forms are derived from wild species often
apparently very different; but at the same time it may be well to state,
that in all probability some of the discrepancies of experimenters may
have arisen from some confusion in the species operated upon.

In 1860 we gathered some seed of the _Daucus maritima_ (sea-side carrot)
at Bognor, which, on being sown in a prepared plot the following spring,
certainly resulted in fairly succulent roots, which on being cooked were
pronounced by our party of four to be excellent. While on this subject,
it may be mentioned as not a little remarkable, that so many of our
garden esculents should be derived from sea-side plants. Thus, probably
carrot, but certainly celery, sea-kale, asparagus, and cabbage. This
would seem to point to the fact that cultivation requires a complete
change of the circumstances necessary to maintain a wild condition; and
hence cultivated plants can only be kept up by the labours of a
cultivator.

Now, as regards the sea-side carrot, we are after all inclined to the
belief that it is the parent of the cultivated varieties, whilst, on the
other hand, we view the _Daucus Carota_ (the wild inland carrot) as a
probable descendant from the cultivated or garden stock; and if this be
so, the _Daucus maritima_ is the original species from which both the
wild and cultivated races have descended. Bentham, indeed, carries this
view a little further, the following remarks tending to throw doubts
upon the carrot in any form as being a true native. Under the heading of
_Daucus Carota_ he says:—

     Probably an original native of the sea-coasts of modern Europe, but
     of very ancient cultivation, and sows itself most readily, soon
     degenerating to the wild form, with a slender root, and _now_ most
     abundant in fields, pastures, waste places, &c., throughout Europe
     and Russian Asia; common in Britain, especially near the sea.
     _Flowers the whole summer and autumn._ A decidedly maritime
     variety, with the leaves somewhat fleshy, with shorter segments,
     more or less thickened peduncles, more spreading umbels, and more
     flattened prickles to the fruits, is often considered as a distinct
     species.

Seeing then that crop plants are derivatives from a wild stock, we can
readily understand how the varying circumstances attendant upon the
development of the former should tend to the production of varieties,
and this merely as the result of the treatment of the fairly derived
legitimate seed. If, again, we take these variations for the purpose of
obtaining hybrids, we need not wonder at the infinite variety of sorts
which can be brought about, but rather that any sort could be maintained
in that trueness of character or in that state of permanency which we
sometimes find to be the case.



CHAPTER III.

ON TRUENESS OF SORT IN ROOT CROPS.


The importance of trueness and purity of seed arises from the evenness
of growth of a good genuine strain; while if this quality be wanting we
have some parts of our crop growing well, whilst others get on but
poorly. Thus a free-growing plant beside one over which it has got the
advantage, maintains it for the most part through the whole period of
growth. Again, some sorts are of value for being early, others for
lateness of growth, and some kinds are better fitted for early than late
sowing; if, therefore, we have a mixture in these respects, we may at
least expect a partial failure; for whichever is _best_ for our purpose,
if mixed will be accompanied by those which are not so good. A want of
trueness to sort may arise principally from the following causes:—

1st. Want of selection in seeding bulbs.

2nd. Hybridization.

3rd. A mixture of seeds.

1st. The propriety of selecting the specimens from which seed is to be
grown is admitted by all: by the seedsman, who always advertises his
turnip and swede seed, for example, as being “from selected bulbs;” and
by the farmer, as this announcement is only made to induce him to buy.
It is not only important that the roots should be selected, but that
they should be stored and then planted in a fresh soil; for as these
latter are among the _cultivative processes_ by which sorts have been
obtained, so should they be repeated in order to ensure a continuance of
the induced condition. Seeding upon the same soil and in the same bed in
which the seed is sown is hardly the way to keep up a form induced by
cultivation, as this is exactly what would be done by the plants in a
state of wildness.

In selecting roots for seeding, care should be taken to choose
good-shaped examples, in which a clean unbranched bulb, not too large,
with a small tap-root and a small top, confined to a single central bud;
a branched root and a many-headed top being true signs of degeneracy.
And no less so is neckiness in swedes and mangels, as well as a coarse
corrugated skin in roots of all kinds.

Taking such points as these into consideration, how absurd must appear
most of the huge mis-shapen roots to which prizes are usually awarded at
shows, where the specimens are chosen for size, and trimmed up with the
knife, to make them look more presentable. As an evidence of the
mistaken principles upon which prizes are awarded to bundles of roots,
let any one seed such examples, and we will venture to assert that such
seed would produce a large proportion of degenerate examples, without
affording so good a crop as would seed, from middle-sized but
well-shapen specimens.

2nd. Some of the forms of roots, and more especially those belonging to
the _Brassicaceæ_, such as turnips and swedes, seem to have a wonderful
facility for hybridizing; and this not only to the extent of one sort of
turnip with another, but sports may be caused by the fertilization of
the turnip with rape and its congeners. Indeed, the hybrid with turnip
and rape is doubtless the origin of the Swedish turnip; but there is
reason to believe that mixtures may accidentally be made with such wild
plants as charlocks and mustards, the growth of which in the vicinity of
a seeding crop tends to the production of degeneracy. Seeding-patches,
then, and the ground about them, cannot be kept too clean.

Again, if trueness be aimed at, there should be no mixture of sorts in
seeding examples; all of the same kind should be selected for
seeding-plots, as even one or two of a wrong sort may result in a very
mixed sample, as it would seem that sometimes strange plants exert more
than ordinary influence.

Of course, the putting seeding-patches of different sorts side by side
is to be reprehended. If more than one sort be seeded in a season, it is
advisable to place the patches as remote from each other as possible.
And we would here remark, that, for seeding, the roots should, as a
rule, be farther apart than when grown for bulbs, both in rows and in
sets; as, if too close, the stems grow up thin instead of robust, and a
smaller seed, with a tendency to the growth of smaller roots, will be
the result.

3rd. Mixtures of seeds should be avoided for the reason assigned, that
“sorts” do not usually grow evenly; and when one sees (as is by no means
infrequent) a patch of swedes overshadowed by a mixture of some large
early turnip,—the Tankard, for example, our crop of swedes will
certainly suffer for it, even supposing the turnip to be as useful as
the swede, which is seldom the case.

Mixtures, again, do not come up at the same time; sorts may differ in
this respect, but especially do old and new seeds vary as to their
germinating powers: two-year-old seeds taking four or five days more to
come up than a new sample; thus giving a greater chance for the ravages
of the flea-beetle than where the seed all comes up quickly.

Now, as a practical application of these remarks, we here quote from an
article in the _Agricultural Gazette_ of May 24th, 1862.

     Who among seedsmen does not profess to offer the seeds of swedes
     and turnips from _selected bulbs_? And though it is quite true that
     the practice is not so universal as is the profession of it, yet
     the general assumption of its being so on the part of seed growers
     and sellers is an admission that it would be for the advantage of
     the buyer of seeds were the roots from which seeds are to be grown
     carefully selected. And on the other hand, let the observant
     agriculturist take a journey on any of our great lines of railway
     (in early summer), and he will be struck with the many patches of
     bright yellow flowers which he will not fail to notice on either
     hand. In nine cases out of ten, these are fields or portions of
     fields of turnips, either the Swedish or common kinds, which, from
     the abundance of keep, it has been thought would be more profitable
     to seed than to eat off, especially as they have so rapidly grown
     out of the way. Are these patches of selected bulbs? We happen to
     know, from a more than ordinarily careful examination, that not one
     _per cent._ of seeding-patches are from selected roots; but they
     are seeded just as they grew, and we do not know of a single
     instance where in such seeding the objectionable roots have been
     removed; but we do know of plenty of cases where the worst part of
     a field has been saved for seed, doubtless as the most profitable
     way of dealing with it under the circumstances wrought out by the
     spring of 1862.

     Of course, this will all come into the market, and too much of it,
     under a stereotyped declaration of ‘_from selected bulbs_.’ That
     all the seed grown in 1862 will be sown in 1863 is simply
     impossible; but no matter, it will find a market somehow, some
     time. With such facts as these before us, who can wonder that any
     plant should become degenerate? Let some of the seed of this year
     be watched, and we will answer for its evil results; and if these
     be facts, it then behoves the farmer to look well to pedigree in
     the matter of his seed.

     But even here, his forethought must not end; for however select the
     parent may be, there is still something in ‘bringing up;’ for,
     however good the _sort_ of turnip, we shall not grow its seed in
     perfection by selection merely, but we should _transplant_
     well-chosen roots, and so put them in a new scene, away from
     subjects which might contaminate them. This is indeed to bring them
     up in a _good school_, for which their seed will amply repay the
     trouble and expense.



CHAPTER IV.

ON DEGENERATE ROOTS.


If the reader revert to page 6, Fig. 3, he will see that the progress
from a wild to a better root-form is marked by a more fleshy, but still
a much forked, or finger-and-toed example. Now as it is held that a
clear unbranched outline is essential to a well-formed root crop of
every kind, whenever a crop becomes fingered-and-toed, it is looked upon
as a disease. It must be understood that we are here speaking of
finger-and-toe as distinct from anbury, which latter is a decidedly
diseased condition, whether caused by insects or resulting, as some
affirm, from a defect in the soil.

The difference in the two states may be briefly summed up as follows:—

        FINGER-AND-TOE.            |           ANBURY.
                                   |
  Root simply branched or forked,  | Root infested with irregular
  with tapering fleshy rootlets;   | nodular protuberances, or with
  occurs in turnips, parsnips,     | tumours suspended by roots,
  carrots, and mangold. (See       | having very much the aspect of
  figs. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,    | rows of ginger; occurs in
  10.)                             | turnips alone. (See fig. 12.)

The example of a root at page 6 is a good form of a parsnip progressing
from wildness to a better cultivated form. We now offer an engraving
(fig. 5) of a hollow-crowned crop parsnip, fingered-and-toed, and
evidently of a very objectionable form, as it will be seen on
comparison how nearly alike are figs. 3 and 5.

[Illustration: _Fig. 5._—Finger-and-toed degenerate Parsnip. Half nat.
size.]

Now, as every degenerate crop of parsnips will be found to offer a large
proportion of such roots as fig. 5, we seem bound to conclude that,
inasmuch as our fig. 3 _represents a root in progress towards
ennobling_, so fig. 5 is that of a root declining to its level,—in other
words, degenerating; seed, therefore, that produces such roots can only
come from a poor stock.

Our next fig. (6) is of a parsnip that had prematurely flowered. Sending
up flowered stems the first year, in the case of a biennial, can only be
looked upon as an instance of degeneracy. Plants that “run,” as it is
termed, being comparatively useless, the best use, indeed, that can be
made of them being that of pulling them up and giving them to the pigs.

Now this propensity is always accompanied with forked roots, more
especially in carrots, which roots are even more degenerate than those
represented in figs. 3 and 5, as those were fleshy and succulent; but
when the roots of runners are examined, they are always found to be
tough and woody, and, in fact, they very nearly resemble the wild
examples.

[Illustration: _Fig. 6._ Carrot of First Year run to Seed. Half nat.
size.]

Fig. 7 is taken from a carrot that has run, and its rough, woody,
nodular, forked root is fully apparent.

[Illustration: _Fig. 7._ Forked Carrot run to seed. Half nat. size.]

[Illustration: _Fig. 8._ Forked Belgian Carrot. Half nat. size.]

Fig. 8, from a specimen of White Belgian carrot, forked as it is, is yet
not uncommon; still, here the divided roots are succulent. This differs
from the annual or run-to-seed roots, as this is a real biennial; but
its other mark of degeneracy, besides that of finger-and-toe, was in its
possessing a top (removed for experiment before the drawing was made) of
many buds or heads. Now a _multiheaded_ root, whether in turnips,
carrots, parsnip, or mangel, is another sign of degeneracy, especially
in the carrot or mangel, as the wild examples are remarkable for this
condition; and in ennobling these roots, one of the difficulties is to
get rid of this propensity. Hence, at root shows all forked examples of
bulbs, multiheaded and necky examples, should be rejected; they are,
however, sometimes made so fat with manuring that they pass muster for
size, which indeed seems to be the great quality required at shows:
which is a serious mistake, as being no sort of criterion of the state
of a field of roots, unless it be an adverse one: as a 10 lb. malformed
root, with its huge top, will require more ground to grow than will half
a dozen roots averaging 2 lbs. each; whilst the latter are certain to be
better and will keep longer.



CHAPTER V.

EFFECTS OF GROWING SEED FROM DEGENERATE ROOTS.


That the seed of malformed roots would be likely to produce a poor crop
was a subject admitted by all; but neither the form nor extent of the
mischief resulting therefrom had been stated upon the authority of exact
experiment. In order, therefore, to arrive at direct evidence upon a
point upon which so much of practical importance depends, we carefully
carried out the following experiments.

[Illustration: _Fig. 9._ A Malformed or Degenerate Parsnip. Two-thirds
of nat. size.]

On the 26th of March, 1860, we selected two roots from a store, namely,
one of a Student parsnip from our own stock and one of a Skirving’s
swede. Before committing these to the ground for the growth of seed, we
made careful portraits of the two roots, of which that of the parsnip
will be found in fig. 9, that of the swede in fig. 10.

[Illustration: _Fig. 10._ A Malformed or Degenerate Swede. Two-thirds of
nat. size.]

Now had we been going to grow the best of seed, we should of course have
selected the best-shaped roots for our purpose; but in this case, as
will be seen, the most viciously formed examples were chosen.

Both of the examples whose portraits we have here given, were planted in
our private garden (where, it is right to say, they were the only
seeding specimens), in due time their seed ripened, which was carefully
collected and stored.

Early in April, 1861, these seeds were sown in our experimental plots,
_without manure_, in the following order:—

  Plot _a._ Seed obtained from the malformed parsnip, fig. 9.

       _b._ Seed of Student parsnip of the same year as that of
            plot _a_.

       _c._ Seed of malformed swede.

The plot _b_ was sown by way of comparison, and we can only regret that
no plot of good swede seed was sown with the same object, and we must,
therefore, compare with a piece of swedes in an adjoining field.

The following are the tabulated results:—

  TABLE OF RESULTS OF EXPERIMENTS.

                                          lb. oz.
  Plot _a_. 75 roots, forming the crop }
  from seed of the malformed           }   7   4
  parsnip (fig. 8) weighed in all      }

  Plot _b_. 63 roots forming the crop  }  14   0
  from seed of good Student parsnips   }

  Plot _c_. 70 roots of swedes from    }
  seed of malformed plant (fig. 10.)   }  19   8

            70 roots from a row in the }
  field, at a distance of about 30     }  35   0
  yards                                }

The roots from plot _a_ may be described as small, though not so much
fingered-and-toed as we had expected; still there was only about half
the crop when compared with plot _b_, which latter, indeed, was only
small in weight, which may be accounted for from being grown without
manure. During their progress of growth the difference was very
perceptible—the small leaves of _a_ contrasting most unfavourably with
the broader, brighter coloured ones of _b_.

As regards the swedes, they were indeed a very poor crop, presenting all
the evils of degeneracy—neckiness, for which it will be seen that their
parent was distinguished—want of a bulboid form; none of the 70 roots
being better than a thin tap-root, and these were forked, shapeless, and
fingered-and-toed in endless variety. Their spindle-shaped roots were
quite remarkable, and they were the rule, although in good seed, however
bad the soil, they would have been the exception. Those in the field
hard by were bulboid, and averaged half a pound each—no great weight, as
the land in which they were grown is only second-rate. They, however,
were grown with manure, to which, of course, much of the difference is
due, and yet not so much as may fairly be imputed to the difference in
seed. From these experiments we conclude:—

     1st. That a degenerate stock will, as a rule, result from the
     employment of degenerate or badly-grown seed.

     2nd. That besides ugly, malformed roots, degenerated seed does not
     produce nearly the weight of crop of good seed, under the same
     circumstances of growth.

     3rd. That by means of selection we may produce roots that are
     well-shaped, and have the capabilities of affording the best crop.

     4th. That by designedly selecting malformed degenerate roots for
     seeding, we may produce a seed that will result in as great or
     greater degeneracy.

“That these are important conclusions”—we quote from the _Agricultural
Gazette_—“few will be disposed to deny. They have most interesting
bearings on the subject of vegetable physiology, and consequently should
be studied by the farmer.”

It is a practice much to be desired, that not only should a proper
choice be made of seeding examples, but that there be a change of
situation, and, if possible, a time of storage before being planted for
seed. These are all cultivative processes, and to the care with which
they are carried out must we look for permanence in our derivative
root-crops.

It cannot be too strongly urged, that, as an efficient sort of root has
only been arrived at as the result of great care—that is, by successful
breeding,—so every care must be taken for its maintenance. Defect in
seed results in defect in the produce of that seed; and downward
tendencies of this kind are common results of even most careful
cultivation. With carelessness in this respect we must not be surprised
at rapid degeneracy.



CHAPTER VI.

ON THE ADULTERATION OF SEEDS, MORE PARTICULARLY OF TURNIPS.


In order to make the experiments which illustrate this chapter tell
their tale to the fullest extent, we would set out with the two
following postulates:—

     1st. All well-grown, well-preserved new seeds should be _capable_
     of germinating to the extent of at least 90 per cent.

     2nd. Seeds in general, and more especially turnip seeds, as usually
     delivered to the farmer, are generally _incapable_ of germinating
     to the extent of from 25 to 30 per cent., and very frequently even
     more.

We shall hereafter see, that this want of germinating power is too often
the result of mixing charlock, Indian rape, and the like, by way of
adulteration, which latter are killed to prevent “their telling tales.”
But to our experiments:—

A number of tin cases were made of the following proportions: Length, 15
inches; width, 10 inches; depth, 4 inches. These, which were well
perforated at the bottom, were divided across into ten equal parts, each
of which was filled to within an inch of the rim, with a mixture of fine
mould and silver sand. In these, seeds of different sorts of turnips
were sown, and the whole was put into a bed of sand in our
forcing-house. We could, however, see no difference in the results, nor
could we trace any in the germinal or cotyledon leaves of swedes,
turnips, or charlock. But, of course, samples of turnip-seed could not
be tested as to freedom from charlock by this experiment, because
charlock is killed before being mixed with the turnip.

Now, seeing that we could get no trustworthy results by this kind of
experiment, it struck us that our germination-pans might be used to test
the germinating power, not only of the samples we had obtained for a
different purpose, but of others also. We first, then, counted a hundred
of each of the following sorts of seeds, and carefully dibbled them in a
fresh mixture of soil, in September, 1860; the results, which were as
carefully noted from day to day, are shortly given in the following
table:—

TABLE 1.—_Germination of Ten Sorts of Turnips._

  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  |   |                                     | Came up |No. of|         |
  |No.|       Name, Copy of Label.          |per cent.| Days.|         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  | 1 | Mousetail, 1859                     |    96   |  10  |         |
  | 2 | Pomeranian, or White Globe, 1859    |    86   |  11  |         |
  | 3 | Nimble Green Round, 1859            |    96   |   7  |         |
  | 4 | Lincolnshire new Red Globe, 1860    |    90   |   9  |         |
  | 5 | Yellow Tankard, 1859                |    92   |   9  |         |
  | 6 | Smart’s Mousetail, 1860             |    98   |   7  |         |
  | 7 | Green-topped Stone, 1860            |    84   |   8  |         |
  | 8 | Sutton’s Imperial Green Globe, 1860 |    98   |   9  |         |
  | 9 | Green-topped Scotch, 1860           |    90   |   9  |         |
  |10 | Early Six-weeks, 1860               |    90   |  10  |         |
  |   | Came up                            =|    92   |      |         |
  |   | Failed                             =|     8   |      |         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+

We would remark upon these results, that the temperature of the house
was kept at between 60° and 70°, and the greater part of the seeds came
up in four days; the numbers for the days, then, have reference to the
time occupied before all that would germinate came up. Now this table is
not a little instructive, as showing that samples of turnip-seed can be
got in which only a very few of the seeds fail to germinate; but as
experience had taught us that these samples by no means represented the
usual market condition of turnip-seeds, in order to test this we begged
to be allowed permission to take samples direct from the bags of a
retail seedsman as they were exposed in his shop, and the following
results will speak for themselves.

It should, however, be here premised that the samples were not grown by
the seedsman, but were said to be just as received from the wholesale
dealers.

TABLE 2.—_Germination of Ten Sorts of Turnip Seeds from Market Samples._

  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  |   |                                     | Came up |No. of|         |
  |No.|           Copy of Label.            |per cent.| Days.|         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  | 1 | Norfolk Green round                 |    76   |   9  |}        |
  | 2 | White Globe                         |    78   |  15  |}        |
  | 3 | Early Grey-topped Stone             |    80   |  10  |}        |
  | 4 | Red Tankard, or Pudding             |    62   |  11  |}Taken   |
  | 5 | Orange Jelly                        |    52   |  15  |}from the|
  | 6 | Norfolk Round Red                   |    80   |  10  |}bags by |
  | 7 | Purple-topped yellow Scotch         |    76   |  11  |}the     |
  | 8 | White Dutch                         |    64   |  12  |}Author. |
  | 9 | Early Green top                     |    64   |  13  |}        |
  |10 | Yellow Tankard Pudding              |    48   |  12  |}        |
  |   | Came up                            =|    68   |      |         |
  |   | Failed                             =|    32   |      |         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+

Eight samples of swedes from the same source are in the next table
associated with a sample of Skirving’s swede, grown in our own garden
(8), of the following table, and another of turnip (9), grown on a
neighbouring farm. We may remark upon the last-named sample, that we had
observed the growth of this seed, which was from a very poor crop, half
of which had decayed on the ground with the early frost of 1860, and the
rest, without transplanting or selection of any kind, was allowed to
seed. Now, as this whole crop was so degenerated that it ought never to
have been seeded at all, we were anxious to get some of the seed from
the bulk, in order to test from its growth this year whether it will not
bring forth a degenerate progeny. Its germinating qualities will be seen
from the table, and yet it is by no means the worst sample, which seems
to show that the others are not naturally bad, but so by mixture.

TABLE 3.—_Germination of Swedes, &c., from Market Samples, &c._

  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  |   |                                     | Came up |No. of|         |
  |No.|           Copy of Label.            |per cent.| Days.|         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  | 1 | Ashcroft’s improved Purple Top      |    58   |  12  |}        |
  | 2 | New Bangholm                        |    96   |  10  |}        |
  | 3 | Skirving’s Liverpool                |    62   |  16  |}        |
  | 4 | Green Top                           |    78   |  10  |}Taken   |
  | 5 | Marshall’s improved Purple Top      |    90   |  10  |}from the|
  | 6 | Hewer’s Improved White              |    68   |  17  |}bags by |
  | 7 | Green Major                         |    86   |  10  |}the     |
  | 8 | Skirving’s Swede (own grown)        |    96   |  10  |}Author. |
  | 9 | Green Top Turnip, neighbour’s farm  |    78   |   6  |}        |
  |10 | Fosterton Hybrid Turnip             |    64   |  10  |}        |
  |   | Came up                            =|    77·6 |      |         |
  |   | Failed                             =|    22·4 |      |         |
  |   | Failed of seedsman’s specimens     =|    24·8 |      |         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+

Now, as “0 0 0” seed is supplied to customers under the designation here
given, for the purpose of mixing, it is of little consequence whether it
be used by the wholesale house or the retail dealer; if, however, it be
employed by both, we should, indeed, get a bad sample.

As regards the seedsman’s samples in the Tables 2 and 3, we are quite
unable to give exact details of their history, but we have reason to
believe that the stock whence they were taken was purchased in the
ordinary course of business from different “wholesale houses,” as,
though the tradesman whence the samples came combines the business of
“nurseryman” with that of seedsman, we happen to know that he is not a
grower of seeds, at least of turnip seeds. The average, then, of
eighteen samples of turnips and swedes from this source is that 28 _per
cent._ are non-germinating seeds. The next samples are from people in a
large way of business, who are not mere retailers, but to whom we must
accord all the immunities of the trade as seed-growers, wholesale and
retail seed-merchants, &c.

Before giving the tables with the results as regards these samples, it
is necessary to state that they were not sent to us direct, but were
forwarded through a farmer to whom they were sent in the ordinary small
packet samples.

We would further remark, that as all that would germinate took so few
days about it, being an average of six days, whilst those of Table 1,
being seeds partly of 1859 and partly of 1860, occupied nine days, and
those of Table 2, whose date we do not know, eleven days; in all
probability the seeds in question were tolerably new, most probably of
the last seed season.

TABLE 4.—_Germination of Ten Samples of Turnips._

  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  |   |                                     | Came up |No. of|         |
  |No.|           Copy of Label.            |per cent.| Days.|         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  | 1 | Green Globe                         |    62   |   8  |}        |
  | 2 | Dale’s Hybrid                       |    84   |   4  |}        |
  | 3 | Red Globe                           |    90   |   6  |}Turnips |
  | 4 | Orange Jelly                        |   100   |   4  |}from    |
  | 5 | White round, or Norfolk             |    42   |   5  |}sample  |
  | 6 | Green Tankard                       |    50   |   6  |}papers  |
  | 7 | Scarisbrick (_sic_)                 |    88   |  11  |}communi-|
  | 8 | White Globe                         |    74   |   4  |}cated.  |
  | 9 | Golden Yellow                       |    82   |   4  |}        |
  |10 | Green round                         |    30   |   6  |}        |
  |   | Came up                            =|    70·2 |      |         |
  |   | Failed                             =|    29·8 |      |         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+

The specimens in next table were obtained in like manner as those of
Table 4.

TABLE 5.—_Germination of Samples of Common and Swede Turnips._

  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  |   |                                     | Came up |No. of|         |
  |No.|       Name. Copy of Label.          |per cent.| Days.|         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+
  | 1 | White Stone or Stubble              |    46   |   6  |}        |
  | 2 | Red Tankard                         |    60   |   5  |}Swedes &|
  | 3 | White Tankard                       |    60   |   4  |}Turnips |
  | 4 | Yellow Tankard                      |    88   |   5  |}from    |
  | 5 | Green Top Yellow Scotch             |    84   |   6  |}sample  |
  | 6 | Purple Top  ditto                   |    62   |   8  |}papers  |
  | 7 | Tankard-shaped Swede                |    74   |   7  |}communi-|
  | 8 | White-fleshed  ditto                |    84   |   8  |}cated.  |
  | 9 | Skirving’s Improved Purple Top ditto|    64   |   8  |}        |
  |10 | Lawhead Green Top                   |    80   |   7  |}        |
  |   | Came up                            =|    70·2 |      |         |
  |   | Failed                             =|    29·8 |      |         |
  +---+-------------------------------------+---------+------+---------+

Of these samples we see that within a fraction of 30 per cent. is the
average of non-germinating seeds, and this is only so low on account of
two or three unusually good samples, the general range being from 20 to
30 per cent. of non-germinating seeds for the last twenty samples.

If we compare No. 5, Table 2, with No. 4, Table 4, we see a difference
in the Orange Jelly Turnip; in the former little more than half came up,
in the latter every seed. This is of importance, as showing what genuine
seed may be, the latter being doubtless as unmixed as the former was
mixed.

Now as regards the charge of mixing, we are not going to make it without
some evidence. In looking over the tables we have now given, it will be
seen that genuine seed has but a small per-centage of non-germinating
seeds—say from 5 to 10 per cent.; but not only the examples herein
referred to, with hosts of separate ones which have fallen under our
notice, show a general amount of dead seeds, of from 20 to 30 per cent.
For these figures compare Table 1 with Tables 2, 3, 4, and 5. In those
of the first lot the samples were sent direct to us from a seedsman, and
their behaviour shows us clearly enough that good seeds are to be
obtained, but the other tables are as clear that from _some_ seedsmen,
at any rate, though inferior samples, they are as good as are actually
sold.

That seeds are mixed we have, then, good internal evidence; but we are
also in possession of facts more conclusive upon this important point,
and we shall in this next chapter endeavour to enlighten our readers as
to the art and mystery (especially) of turnip-seed adulteration.

Confining our present remarks to turnip seeds, we assert that if farmers
will try the germinating powers from the _bulk_ of the seed which may be
sent to them, they will find pretty nearly one-third to be rubbish. It
is of no use to try from samples, except in comparison with bulk; and if
all the farmers of Great Britain did this, and would communicate the
results, what an extraordinary tale would be unfolded, more especially
if the evidence be completed by notes on the purity or otherwise of the
crop grown from such seeds!



CHAPTER VII.

ON THE ART AND MYSTERY OF TURNIP-SEED ADULTERATION.


It has already been shown that turnip-seed is largely adulterated; it
remains now to point out the nature of the admixtures, which may be
summed up under the following heads:—

     1st. Old seeds are mixed with new.

     2nd. Charlock, “Indian rape,” and other seeds of the _Brassicaceæ_,
     are mixed with genuine seed.

1st.—The crops of seeds vary so much in their produce per acre, in one
year, as compared with another, that in most years there is a
superabundance of some kinds and a scarcity of others.

Now, as most seeds are of comparatively little use except for sowing,
the surplus stock can only be disposed of at extremely low prices.
Accordingly some wholesale seedsmen buy large quantities in the “glut
season,” as it is termed, and store them until the same articles fail in
crop. For instance, swede and turnip seeds, 1857 crop, could be bought
everywhere at from 15 to 20 shillings per bushel; but owing to the
destruction of the roots in the winter of 1859, seedsmen in 1860 had to
pay the growers 50s. per bushel. Now, in 1860 there were wholesale
houses selling those seeds which they had by them for the same price.
Such people can, it is true, warrant their seeds to be genuine, as they
well know how much turnip-seeds deteriorate by keeping; the mixing of
this with good seed is still a species of adulteration; and if not mixed
at all, we can then only say that the evil is so much the greater.

As an evidence of the amount of deterioration caused to turnip-seeds by
keeping, we here re-produce the table of trials of ten sorts of good
seeds made in September, 1860, in contrast with experiments from the
same sample, in the same month of the present year (1862), premising
that the samples were kept in what we should consider a dry but not too
warm a temperature.

TABLE 6.—_Germination of Ten Sorts of Turnips._

  +---+-------------------------------------+--------+--------+
  |   |                                     |Came up |Came up |
  |No.|       Name. Copy of Label.          | 1860.  | 1862.  |
  |   |                                     |Percent.|Percent.|
  +---+-------------------------------------+--------+--------+
  | 1 | Mousetail, 1859                     |   96   |   46   |
  | 2 | Pomeranian or White Globe, 1859     |   86   |   44   |
  | 3 | Nimble Green Round, 1859            |   96   |   94   |
  | 4 | Lincolnshire New Red Globe, 1860    |   90   |   58   |
  | 5 | Yellow Tankard, 1859                |   92   |   62   |
  | 6 | Smart’s Mousetail, 1860             |   98   |   92   |
  | 7 | Green-topped Stone, 1860            |   84   |   88   |
  | 8 | Sutton’s Imperial Green Globe, 1860 |   98   |   80   |
  | 9 | Green-topped Scotch, 1860           |   90   |   86   |
  |10 | Early Six-weeks, 1860               |   90   |   70   |
  |   | Came up (average)                  =|   92   |   72   |
  |   | Failed                             =|    8   |   28   |
  +---+-------------------------------------+--------+--------+

These figures are interesting as showing that though the different sorts
are not affected equally, yet the seed of 1859 failed on the average to
the extent of 38·8 per cent., as against 24·6 for the seed of 1860, and
28 as the average of the whole samples. Such is the great difference
between two and three year old seeds.

2nd.—Even the above _genuine seeds_ (!) are not unfrequently mixed, and
we may now examine the nature of some of these mixtures. Charlock and
Indian rape are all _prepared_ for this purpose: that is to say, they
are rendered incapable of germinating before mixture—“Dead men tell no
tales.” Now rubbish, so prepared, is well known in the trade as 000
seed. Under this denomination all seedsmen know it, and it can be
procured by the trade at about 7s. per bushel.

With respect to this 000 seed, we direct attention to the following
letter addressed to a most respectable firm.

     SOUTHAMPTON, _April 27, 1860_.

     GENTLEMEN,—Being in possession of a new and improved method of
     killing seeds without the use of any chemicals, so that the seed
     when in a 000 state has not that unpleasant smell it has when
     killed by the old method, and does not look perished if it be
     crushed. A man by the new process may kill ten or twelve quarters
     per day, and the apparatus is so constructed that it is impossible
     for a single seed to leave it alive; and one great advantage is,
     that if you want a sack of 000 seed in a hurry you may kill a sack
     of rape or turnip, or any seed, and have it fit for use in an hour.
     Seed in the process of killing increases in measure and weight, and
     when you send it out to be killed, of course, the seed-killers keep
     the extra weight and measure. If you think it worth your attention,
     I will send you a small working model, so that you may kill a few
     pounds of kale or cauliflower, or any small seeds in a few minutes,
     and instructions for making a large one on receipt of a Post-office
     order for £2.

     Yours truly,

     ——

To this the Messrs. Sutton append the following remarks:—

     The writer of the above being unknown to us, we had the curiosity
     to call at the address given, and ascertained that it was no
     “hoax,” but was assured by the “inventor” that he had supplied
     several tradesmen with the apparatus, and that he was _formerly_ in
     the seed trade himself. We may add, that we have since heard from
     the same individual at another sea-port town to which he has
     removed.

Having got possession of this circular, and being desirous of becoming
acquainted with so notable an invention, we lost no time in setting on
foot a negotiation for the possession of the secret, and having traced
the inventor in his removal from Southampton to Gosport, we then had
letters addressed to him upon the subject, and, if promises had been of
any avail, we might possibly at this time have been in possession of a
very improved and expeditious method of making 000 seeds, only that we
have learnt the undesirable nature of pay beforehand.

Our next inquiry was for a sample of 000 seed itself; but, although it
is well known in the trade, we have hitherto failed in procuring it. We
had hoped that our seedsmen might have been able to procure some through
some of their friends. The result was, that we made application to a
most respectable London firm, receiving the following reply:—

     LONDON, _February 27, 1861_.

     SIR,—In reply to your favour received this morning, we take leave
     to say that we shall have pleasure in complying with your request
     for a sample of 000 turnips, if we can obtain it. But we do not
     keep it ourselves, nor do we know the parties who prepare it, it
     being something of a trade secret. We will, however, apply to some
     of our friends here to let us have a small quantity, but doubt if
     they will let us have it, as it is a matter they are rather chary
     respecting, and _although perfectly well known and understood in
     the trade, they do not care to have it known beyond_, and our
     asking for a small quantity will be sure to lead to the question,
     “What do we want it for?” We could obtain a large quantity without
     hesitation.

     We remain, &c.,

     ——

The sentence we have placed in italics will be quite sufficient to show
how well the matter of 000 seeds is understood in the trade, and how
easy it is to get bushels of it, no questions being asked, while a small
quantity, required only for investigation, may be refused.

It appears, then, that the machinery exists by which any one in the seed
trade may quietly and easily commit enormous frauds. And it is plain
that the very notoriety of this machinery, together with the condition
of many of the samples of seed which we have examined (see Chap. VI.)
prove that this machinery actually is employed by many seedsmen to the
great injury of their customers.

We cannot, then, be doing wrong in urging any one to make trial of the
seeds he is about to buy before he sows them, or even before he
purchases them. Where the experience of a number of years already
exists, the character of the seedsman is a guarantee for the good
quality of his goods, and experience of this kind is indeed a more
perfect carrying out of the system of preliminary trial or experiment,
which we recommend especially to all new customers.



CHAPTER VIII.

ON THE INJURIES CAUSED BY INSECTS.


Root-crops are especially liable to injury from the depredations of
insects. Thus the turnip may have its seed more or less destroyed by
weevils. Immediately the seed appears above the ground, commences the
attack by the turnip flea-beetles. The bulb is pierced by beetles,
ending in those excrescences called “turnip-warbles;” and there is
reason to think that even the root-fibrils are in some soils made the
depositories of the eggs of insects, which give rise to extraordinary
malformations.

Carrots and parsnips are liable to have the best-grown root made useless
by its being pierced and eaten by the larvæ or grubs of a small fly,
known as the _Psila rosæ_.

Even the mangel-wurzel, which has been so strenuously recommended as a
substitute for the turnip on account of its freedom from insect attacks,
and connected with which Curtis only describes a single insect, a
leaf-miner, called _Anthomyia Betæ_, upon which he remarks that “these
insects will seldom cause any loss to the mangel-wurzel crops should
they ever abound to any extent.” In spite, however, of this, we find
that the increased growth of this crop has caused a corresponding
increase in the insect, to such an extent that, during the last two
seasons, many crops have entirely failed from its depredations; as
witness the following communication to the _Agricultural Gazette_ for
August 23rd, 1862:—

     My mangel crop was drilled the 17th May, and came up most
     favourably. On Monday, the 2nd June, I asked my bailiff what was
     the matter with it; he said, “Oh, it was a sharp frost last night;”
     but on examination I found that instead of frost the leaves had
     within them a maggot, which had caused the plant to brown and die
     off. The late rains and growing weather have enabled the plant
     somewhat to revive, and also fresh plants to come up (for I had
     drilled 7 lb. per acre), but found to-day several leaves with
     maggots in them. My man told me “a quantity had eaten themselves
     out of the leaf and dropped;” and that he saw “a vast number of
     sparrows picking up those maggots.” I send you herewith some plants
     I brought up from the farm. My idea is that the seed was damp and
     bred the maggots, or that the leaves had been “struck with a fly,”
     and then the maggot followed. You will please let me have your
     ideas upon these points.—S. S.

The maggot, or larvæ, here described is that of a fly called the
_Anthomyia (Pegomyia) betæ_, mangel-wurzel fly. An allied species will
sometimes be found on the common dock-leaves, mining their galleries
between the dermal cells of the leaves.

We have for some time observed the increase of this pest, and we are
prepared to state that now we seldom see a crop that is not greatly
injured by its attacks. Mr. Curtis thinks that the best method to
destroy them is to employ boys to crush the leaves between the thumb and
fingers at the part where the larvæ can be seen; and with this we fear
we must for the present be content, unless we could devise some means to
take the fly before its eggs are laid in the leaves.

We need not here dwell at length upon the natural history of those pests
of the turnip—the _Haltica nemorum_ (striped flea-beetle), and _H.
concinna_ (black flea-beetle), as the nature of their ravages are
tolerably well known. Thus much, however, may be said; namely:—

     _a._ These insects are called fleas because they have the power of
     hopping on being disturbed, much after the manner of a flea.

     _b._ They have some five or six broods each year; the earlier ones
     probably being bred on charlocks and other weeds of the same
     natural order as the turnip; and hence, then, charlocks are pests,
     not only as being weeds, but as breeding-places for one of our most
     mischievous insects.

     _c._ They migrate from their weed-haunts to the first crop of
     turnips, where much of their mischief may be prevented by simply
     dusting over the young plants with any fine powder, road-dirt
     answering the purpose as well as anything else.

Various devices have been employed for keeping away and killing these
little creatures. We have used a contrivance for catching them, which
may be described as follows:—

Some thin board (or boards), making a surface of about 4 feet long by 2
feet wide, is furnished at one end with a pair of light wheels of just
sufficient diameter to lift the board about 2 or 3 inches above the
plants. To the other end may be attached two crooked handles in such a
manner that the machine can be wheeled flatly over the plants, or if
four wheels be employed, one at each corner, a single handle can be used
either to push or pull the implement. When used, it should have its
underside painted over with tar or any handy viscid substance.

This should be used on bright days, the operator pushing it over the
rows of turnips, so as, if possible, not to throw his shadow before. The
middle of the day will be best, not only for this reason, but also
because these creatures feed more actively at that time.

Now, our experience in the use of this simple contrivance on small
experimental plots convinces us that a small boy could easily keep under
the enemy in a good-sized field.

But now comes a very important question for consideration. Cannot we do
more than kill a few of these creatures? cannot we adopt such plans as
will render our _crops_ tolerably safe from their depredations? We think
so, and to this end advise the following method of proceeding:—

Let each turnip-grower prepare for the enemy by sowing from the eighth
to a quarter of an acre of turnips in a sunny part of the farm as early
as the first week in April. These patches would quickly attract all the
turnip flea-beetles from the wild _cruciferæ_ on which the first broods
seem to depend, and in this small compass they can be killed in detail
with the simple contrivance just described, so that when the real crop
comes up there will be none, or at least only a few, beetles to emigrate
to it; whereas, as we now manage, by the time the crop of turnips is
sown, enough of the creatures are too often bred to render it necessary
to sow two or three times before we can secure a crop.

_Anbury_ is an affection to which only the different sorts of turnips
are liable, in which case it differs from finger-and-toe, with which it
has been very much confounded, as this latter occurs in all kinds of
roots; namely, turnips, carrots, mangel-wurzel, &c., as well as both the
common and Swedish turnips.

[Illustration: _Fig. 11_ (Fig. 8 repeated). Finger-and-toe Carrot. Half
natural size.]

As a sample of an extreme case of finger-and-toe—_digitate_ root,—we
repeat the following figure of a Belgian carrot, in which it will be
seen that the forks gradually taper to the extremities; in fact, the
whole, instead of being a succulent fleshy tap or _fusiform_ root, in
which case it could readily be stored, is divided in fingers-and-toes,
which are liable to break off, and this renders the product next to
useless. Now, this affection may occur in any soil, as it is the result
of a degeneracy in the stock of the plant; but in the affection now to
be described the case is wholly different, as here the bulk of the swede
(fig. 12) is affected with rough, cancerous knobs, whilst the rootlets
support irregular knobs of a like kind, which have more the aspect of
suspended rows of ginger than fingers-and-toes.

Roots so affected soon rot, and have a fœtid odour, so that they are not
only useless themselves, but communicate canker and decay to the whole
store. In the putrid mass will be found maggots and flies and beetles of
different kinds; but as yet naturalists are not agreed as to whether the
nodules of disease are caused by insects, or whether these creatures are
merely attracted by the fœtid matter. We are, however, inclined to the
belief that some insects are connected with the diseased appearance in
the first place, whilst others afterwards step in to fatten upon the
decaying matter, induced by the first lot; but still it must be
confessed that the subject requires much more attention than it has yet
received, in order to settle these important questions.

Still it may be observed that one point has been universally admitted;
namely, that anbury only occurs to any extent in sandy soils, where
there is an absence of lime, a good dressing of which mineral is the
best safeguard against this affection. Still, in soils that are liable
to anbury, we should not recommend the continuance of turnip-growing, or
at least not so frequently in the rotation as has hitherto been the
case, and more especially as the soils which produce anbury to the
greatest extent are just those best adapted for parsnips and carrots,
which, if not wholly, may occasionally be very profitably grown in the
place of the turnip.

[Illustration: _Fig. 12._ Swede affected with Anbury. Nat. size.]

Having given a few notes on the more prominent forms of insect attacks
to which root crops are liable, we would now close this chapter, as
details of all the insect pests would occupy more space than we can here
allot to the subject; but to those who would inquire further upon this
fertile theme, we would advise the perusal of “Farm Insects,” by J.
Curtis, Esq., F.L.S., &c.


GENERAL CONCLUSIONS.

To render our subject as complete as possible, we direct attention to
the following practical conclusions, to which our whole argument upon
the science of root-growing points:—

     First.—Cultivated roots are improved wild ones, only to be obtained
     by gardening on the small, or farming on the large scale; this
     gardening or farming being carried on by certain operations at
     certain seasons which we have comprehended under the term of
     cultivation processes.

     Second.—The difference in sort of roots is caused either by
     cross-breeding as the result of accident or design, or of the
     education of some particular propensity which has been acted upon
     by the intelligent seed-grower.

     Third.—The maintenance of sorts in purity depends upon careful
     selection of the right variety for the seeding examples.

     Fourth.—The preservation of a good outline or shape of root can
     only be maintained by selecting those of good _form_ to seed from;
     for, as running to seed, multiform top, forkiness, “finger-and-toe”
     in roots, is evidence of wild growth, so, then, cultivated plants
     assuming this form are considered as degenerate, and seed from such
     roots produces a malformed and poor crop.

     Fifth.—The difficulties of getting good seed—whether of trueness to
     sort, from carefully selected bulbs, or free from adulteration
     either of old with new seed, or a mixture of charlock and others of
     the same family—are very great. Where, however, good seed can be
     depended upon, it is much cheaper, though at a considerable
     increase of first seeds cost, as not only quality but the quantity
     of live so considerably depends upon the truth and honesty of the
     seedsman.

     Sixth.—Injuries from insect attacks, though serious as affecting
     the yield, are yet not due to the seed; and anbury, if it be due to
     insects, only occurs in the turnip-crops, and then in particular
     soils. The true insect attacks to be averted by simultaneous
     action.

     In fine.—_Good seed, of a true sort,—care in growth,—and a
     watchfulness of enemies, includes the_ SCIENCE _and_ PRACTICE _of
     Root Cultivation._



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     =SCIENCE AND PRACTICE=

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     JAMES BUCKMAN, F.L.S., F.G.S.

     No. 2.

     =HOW TO GROW GOOD GRASSES.=

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     ROBERT HARDWICKE, 192, PICCADILLY.

     1863.


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HOW TO GROW GOOD GRASSES.



CHAPTER IX.

ON THE NATURE OF MEADOWS AND PASTURES.


The terms “meadow” and “pasture” are usually employed together, as
though they were really distinct things; yet few people think of them as
different,—the fact being, that when a field is occupied with grass, it
may be called a _meadow_, in contradistinction to that land under the
plough, or _arable_: this yields meadow-hay if mowed for that purpose,
or _pasturage_ when fed off or depastured by our flocks or herds.

The meadow, then, as being fixed, is termed “permanent pasture.”
Pasture-herbage, however, is grown in the shifting crops of arable
cultivation; in which case it gets the term of “artificial pasture.” Hay
from the first of these is called “meadow-hay,” whilst the mixture of
grasses, clovers, &c., gets the name of “artificial grass,” or “hay,” as
the case may be.

As regards permanent pasture, this may be _old_ or _new_,—some meadows
having been in green herbage even for centuries, whilst others, though
sufficiently old, yet show traces of having been once arable in the more
or less high-backed ridges left by ancient ploughing. Viewed in this
way, original pasture is not so extensive as may be supposed; indeed,
there is scarcely such a thing at all, as all pastures are the result of
something like cultivation,—as, left to themselves, that is, to Nature,
they would soon resume the aspect of jungle, moor, or marsh, according
to soil and situation.

Meadows and pastures may, then, for our present purpose, be conveniently
tabulated as follows:—

A. PERMANENT PASTURES.

     1. _Moors and uplands_, unenclosed or but partially fenced in.

     2. _Commons_, unenclosed land, usually about villages, conferring
     the right of cattle and goose grazing.

     3. _River flats_ and lowlands, liable to floods.

     4. _Irrigated Meadow_, in which the water is controllable.

     5. _Meadows_, or permanent grass enclosures.

B. ARTIFICIAL PASTURES.

     6. _Seeds_, shifting crops of some grasses, clovers, saintfoin,
     &c., used either mixed or separately.

1. Moors, uplands, and downs (such as Dartmoor and Salisbury Plain) are
more or less wild according to their elevation and the geological
formation on which they occur. They consist of large tracts of land
either without fences at all, or only those of the most inefficient
kind, rather boundary-lines than otherwise. They are never used for
haymaking, nor are they cultivated beyond depasturing. These are dotted
with patches of rough grass, thorns, briers, and shrubs or stunted
trees where the surface is much broken, and the animals they are made to
carry are few; but on the more rounded and smooth lines of the downs is
a finer herbage, kept so not only from the nature of the case, but from
the fact that such a position favours the more thickly stocking it with
that close-grazing animal the sheep.

These pasturages, though very extensive, are yet being encroached upon
by a higher cultivation, and the hayfields one occasionally meets with
around the squatter’s cabin even in the wild mountainous parts of Wales
sufficiently testify to the greater productiveness of which the most
unfavourable districts are capable.

2. The village common is sometimes extensive; it, too, as the former, is
only grazed. Many of them have of late years been enclosed. Where much
depastured—and they usually carry as much stock as they can bear—there
is a remarkable absence of plants other than grasses. Indeed,
grass-herbage, and usually of the best species, will prevail, unless in
places where there may be stagnant water, in which cases a little
drainage would produce a large public benefit; but as what is
everybody’s business is done by no one, the common is too often left
much wilder, and thus made poorer than it need be.

3. The river flats here meant are, for the most part, large fields
partaking of the nature of common; that is, certain farmers and others
have the privilege of grazing during the autumn; but it is _aimed up_
early in spring, for the purpose of taking a crop of hay. Such lands
would be impoverished by such constant haymaking; but the winter floods
leave behind them a deposit of silt and fluviatile materials, and
perhaps beside act as a solvent; so that their fertility is wonderfully
maintained.

Many such wide stretches of meadow occur on the banks of the Severn, as
in the neighbourhood of Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Worcester, &c., where
they get the name of _Ham_. It is much to be regretted that these hams
are not made the most of, for the same reason as applies with respect to
common, for the want of some efficient officer to direct improvements;
and so from the water here and there stagnating good herbage is ruined,
and from the floods not being controllable, even hay is lost with the
summer freshets. But where such land is vested in single enterprising
proprietors, not only is drainage insured, but embankments are made to
keep out the waters when not required, as so much met with on the banks
of the Thames; and such fields are at once an evidence of the
capabilities of river flats, and the great importance of individual
enterprise.

4. The last case approaches very nearly to that of _irrigated_ meadows;
but these latter are mostly situate on small streams, which can be
directed to flow through, not over them, at any time: they offer a most
important means of augmenting our pasturage in certain districts, and
will therefore receive a chapter to themselves.

5. Permanent grass enclosures are of very varied sizes, from hundreds of
acres, forming perhaps a park, to the small meadow of the homestead;
they may be seldom or never used for haymaking, but most of them are
aimed up for hay once, twice, or thrice in four or five years. These
form the greater part of the grass-lands of our country, and are indeed
nowhere greener or more productive than in the British Isles; still, as
we are an advocate for their cultivation—which, if it does not quite
realize the position of making two blades of grass grow where one grew
before, may at least do much in this direction—we shall reserve further
remarks upon this subject until we have particularly analyzed the
contents of a meadow.

6. As shifting crops, grasses, and other fodder plants may be made
exceedingly useful, these may therefore well occupy a chapter to
themselves.



CHAPTER X.

ON THE SPECIES OF MEADOW-GRASSES.


Although we possess more than a hundred species of native grasses, we
shall rarely find a fourth of them even in a wide range of meadows; and
if we do so, it is rather an argument against than in favour of the
quality of their herbage, as, so few are the best grasses in number,
that it is almost a law for the best meadows to contain the fewest
species of true grasses.

If, then, the good grasses be so few, whatever is not of these must be
inferior, and, indeed, so bad are some grasses that they can only be
considered as weeds. These weed-like forms are known to the farmer from
his observing that the cattle usually refuse to eat them, and hence he
has got to call them “sour grasses,”—a term which, though perhaps meant
to convey the idea that such are objectionable in flavour, yet it is
oftener that they are refused from their want of flavour, or from some
mechanical objection arising from their roughness of growth, some having
sharp serrated cutting edges to their leaves, whilst the spicular awns,
so conspicuous in the beard of barley, cause great irritation by
sticking beneath the tongue and in the gums. Of these, the first are
objectionable for pasture, the last for hay, and should, therefore, not
be found in really good meadows.

The figures and descriptions which follow are given in illustration of
some of the more usual meadow species, which, though not fully or
botanically described, will yet aid the practical farmer in estimating
the species, and their value and significance, which he will commonly
find in his fields.

[Illustration: _Fig. 13._ The Meadow Foxtail.]

The Meadow Foxtail (_Alopecurus pratensis_, fig. 13) is an early species
of the _spicate_ form—_i.e._, the flowers grow close together, into a
more or less dense head. It yields a great quantity of herbage,
especially in moist situations; and is particularly adapted for the
irrigated meadow. It should be distinguished from the _A. geniculatus_
(Kneeling Foxtail), whose spike is only about half the length and size,
as this is particularly a water species, so that if found when a meadow
is dry, it is yet an evidence that water must have lain where it occurs
for a considerable period of the year. Also from the _A. agrestis_
(Slender Foxtail), which has a longer and thinner spike, as this latter
is a weed in poor hungry clays, which is useless except as serving to
indicate that the land wants perhaps both drainage and manure. Here,
then, our first genus presents us with species indicating the varied
conditions of rich meadow, wet places, and poor arable; and it is this
variableness in adaptability that makes the grasses such important
indicators of the nature and condition of soils.

[Illustration: _Fig. 14._ The Catstail Grass.]

The Catstail Grass (_Phleum pratense_, fig. 14) in general form is not
unlike the preceding, but it is much rougher in all its parts, and is
one of the latest instead of one of our earliest species. Its name of
catstail is due to its rough flowers, an enlarged drawing of one of
which is given at _a_. It has also got the name of Timothy Grass, from
one Mr. Timothy Hanson, an American, to whom, probably, is owing its
first introduction as a “self-crop,” large fields of this useful
species, mostly by itself, being grown in Canada and the States as a
fodder plant. It is very useful in the meadow, as supplying a late crop
of stems and leaves; greatly augmenting the amount of herbage in some of
the colder though not poor districts.

We have never seen this grass used as a self-crop in England, but we are
convinced that on some of the rich alluvial flats, as in the lands
reclaimed from the Severn, and warp soils in general, it would yield a
large bulk of good feeding matter, which, though somewhat rough, would
yet mix well with clovers, &c., in chaff-cutting.

[Illustration: _Fig. 15._ The Sweet Vernal Grass.]

The Sweet Vernal Grass (_Anthoxanthum odoratum_, fig. 15) is a very
early species, with a somewhat lax spike of flowers, which usually
become of a bright straw-colour by the time the hayfield is ripe for the
scythe. It does not yield much bulk, but its grateful bitter when fresh,
and the peculiarly sweet hayfield odour which it yields on drying, would
seem to make this grass of importance, from the flavour which it imparts
to the produce of the field; indeed so much so, that much of the value
of natural meadow hay over that of artificial pasture may be traced to
the presence of this grass.

[Illustration: _Fig. 16._ The Crested Dogstail.]

The Crested Dogstail (_Cynosurus cristatus_, fig. 16) has its florets
arranged in front of a series of abortive branches, as represented at
_a_, enlarged. It has a very slender stem, which is hard and wiry when
ripe—a condition which it so universally attains, even in spite of
constant depasturing, that we never recommend its use in mixtures for
permanent pasture, as its stems are particularly innutritious, and its
herbage is so small as to be of little value. It never prevails much in
our best pastures.

[Illustration: _Fig. 17._ Rye Grass, or Ray Grass.]

Rye Grass, or Ray Grass (_Lolium perenne_, fig. 17), has no connection
with the Cereal Rye. It is one of our commonest and most useful species,
both as a plant for the natural meadow or for arable culture, especially
in mixture with clovers, which has the name of “seeds.” It yields good
bulk for the rick, and will so readily grow after cutting or close
depasturing that it commonly affords the greater part of the herbage of
a pasture. From being so valuable, its seed has been much cultivated;
and as it has a tendency to form more or less permanent varieties, so we
find in the market several different sorts; as “Pacey’s, Ruck’s,
Russell’s, Stickney’s, Rye Grass,” &c. It should always form part in any
mixture in laying down permanent pasture, in which case it should be
distinguished from the _Lolium Italicum_, the florets and seeds of
which are awned-pointed, as at _a_. This latter is useful as an annual
self-crop, but seedsmen too often mix it in permanent-pasture
collections, for the reason that it grows faster, and so makes a show
the first year, and so satisfies the customer; but it soon dies out,
while its large growth has kept under the more enduring forms. _b_
represents a bunch of the tumid flowers of the _Lolium temulentum_
(Drunken Darnel), once a pest in cornfields, but now, fortunately, of
rare occurrence, if we are to believe the tales told of its so-called
poisonous seeds.

[Illustration: _Fig. 18._ The Cocksfoot.]

The Cocksfoot (_Dactylis glomerata_, fig. 18), though a large and
somewhat coarse grass, is by no means inferior in quality, its hay being
highly nutritious, whilst its cut or cropped herbage is so quick of
growth that it is capable of yielding a great deal of keep. It sends its
root deep into the soil, so that it can grow well in poor land if dry;
but it never flourishes in very wet situations. It is constant in good
meadows, unless when they are always depastured, as there the constant
treading greatly interferes with it: it is, therefore, by no means so
abundant in sheep pastures; whence has arisen the idea with some farmers
that “too much sheep-grazing wears out the richer grasses.”

We should always recommend cocksfoot as a part of mixtures for permanent
pasture, taking care to well roll the meadow once or twice a year—a
process of great importance—to keep the turf in an even pile, and so
prevent that growing of large clusters or hassocks of one sort, a method
of growth to which the cocksfoot is somewhat prone.

[Illustration: _Fig. 19._ The Rough-stalked Meadow Grass.]

The Rough-stalked Meadow Grass (_Poa trivialis_, fig. 19) is a common
species in moist meadows, where it often forms a considerable portion of
the herbage: it is distinguished from the smooth-stalked by the
long-pointed tongue (_ligule_) to the leaves (_a_), and a stem which is
somewhat rough to the feel, especially when drawn downwards through the
fingers. This grass yields a quantity of herbage, but our experience
leads us to conclude that it does not possess quite so good a quality as
Sinclair and authors who have copied from him would lead us to suppose,
as we have found it wanting in feeding qualities, or what the farmer
calls “proof.” It usually forms a large part of the hay of the irrigated
meadow, which, though often large in quantity, is yet not equal to that
of ordinary good meadows in feeding properties.

The Smooth-stalked Meadow Grass (_Poa pratensis_), distinguished by a
blunt ligule (_b_) and smooth stem, is as abundant in dry situations as
the former is in damp ones. We confess to a great partiality for this
grass, notwithstanding that authors speak slightingly of its value; but
the truth is, that it varies with soil and situation, it being a species
which, when growing on a wild moor, is poor in both quantity and
quality. But we know of no better sign of the improvement of a bad
meadow than the increase of this grass, and its putting on, as it will
do under such circumstances, of its richest green tint.

_Poa nemoralis_ (Wood Meadow Grass) is a more slender form, whose wild
_habitat_ is in woods and shady places, especially on calcareous soils.
This points it out as a useful grass for wood-glades and positions
beneath trees, in which it may very properly be employed.

In laying down permanent pastures we should, then, employ these three
poas as follows:—

     _Poa trivialis_, for low, damp situations and irrigated meadows.

     _Poa pratensis_, for sound dry pastures and uplands.

     _Poa nemoralis_, for rides between woods, wood-glades, and shady
     places.

[Illustration: _Fig. 20._ Meadow Fescue.]

Meadow Fescue (_Festuca pratensis_, fig. 20) may be taken as the type of
the broad-leaved fescues. It is a common and good succulent grass in
rich meadows, and should always be employed in seed mixtures for such
situations, A variety, botanically known as _F. loliacea_, is
unbranched, like the lolium or rye grass. The position of this is on
rich river flats: we have seen it on the banks of the Isis at Oxford,
forming a large part of most excellent herbage.

[Illustration: _Fig. 21._ The Tall Fescue.]

The Tall Fescue (_Festuca elatior_, fig. 21) is a larger and coarser
form of _F. pratensis_, as seed of the latter will become the former by
being sown on some stiff sandy clays. It occurs abundantly on the stiff
alluvial deposits of our estuaries and river flats. It is an exceedingly
coarse grass, with a tendency to grow in large separate bunches; and
hence its presence is destructive to good pastures: it may, however, be
encouraged as a rough growth in its indicated _habitats_.

[Illustration: _Fig. 22._ Sheep’s Fescue.]

Sheep’s Fescue (_Festuca ovina_, fig. 22) may be taken as the type of
the small-leaved fescues. It is a native of our downs, and forms a large
proportion of the sweet down sheep-pastures. It is known by its fine
leaves, which come up immediately after the closest feeding; and if its
quantity equalled its quality, it would be even more valuable than it
is. A larger form, the Hard Fescue (_F. duriuscula_), is common to sound
meadows and the hill valleys. This has much the same properties as the
former, but it is taller, with longer and broader leaves. This should
always be encouraged, and in laying down grass for permanent pasture, it
should be plentifully added to the seed mixture.

The Downy Wild Oat (_Avena pubescens_, fig. 23) is a common grass on
thin calcareous soils. As it is very light in structure, and yields but
little grass, it is not worth much as a first-rate pasture plant,—and
indeed it would scarcely prefer to grow on them.

There is, however, a smaller-flowered species, the _Avena flavescens_
(Yellow Oat-grass), which is better. It, too, occurs on chalky soils;
while the _Avena pratensis_ (Meadow Oat-grass) is found too frequently
in poor clays or on starved moors, in which its rigid leaves and harsh
structure render it little, if any, better than a weed.

[Illustration: _Fig. 23._ The Downy Wild Oat.]

One of the most interesting species of the genus is the _Avena fatua_
(Wild Oat), well known as a weed in stiff arable soils. This is the
parent of the crop oats in cultivation, and there is reason to know that
by degeneracy the crop oat in some districts leaves behind a pest of
wild oats.[2]

[2] See “Natural History of British Meadow and Pasture Grasses,” by the
Author.

The Oat-like Grass (_Arrhenatherum avenaceum_, fig. 24), though a tall,
succulent-looking species, is still too common in poor soils, as its
herbage is bitter and nauseous, and not liked by cattle; and hay from it
is always inferior in quality. It is sometimes recommended by seedsmen,
and usually put with their mixtures; but we should at all times refuse
it.

[Illustration: _Fig. 24._ The Oat-like Grass.]

There is a peculiar form of this which occasionally occurs in sandy
districts, called _A. avenaceum_, variety _bulbosum_ (Onion Couch), the
trivial name of which has been given from the fact that its nodes
thicken below the soil, and present the appearance of small races of
onions. This pest is got out of the land by harrowing and hand-picking;
but as every bulb grows like joints of real couch, it is very difficult
to entirely eradicate it.

[Illustration: _Fig. 25._ The Soft Brome, or Lop Grasses.]

The Soft Brome, or Lop Grasses (_Bromus mollis_, fig. 25), and its
congeners, is an annual grass, and therefore very objectionable,
whether in the meadow or in “seeds,” to both of which, when poor and
neglected, it becomes attached. In both positions it is sometimes mixed
with a kind that droops pretty considerably to one side; from which it
has got the name of “lop.” From the meadow it is soon got rid of by
manuring and depasturing; haymaking, though it cuts off the main stem,
only encourages smaller ones to spring up late, and so the seed is sown.
In “seeds” it is frequently mixed with rye-grass seed, as it too often
occurs that a patch of rye-grass with much lop is seeded, as the most
profitable way to deal with it, as its seeds are heavy and large, and
therefore tell well, either by weight or measure. Our enlarged drawing
of a seed with its envelopes is given to contrast with rye-grass seed,
which is narrower and more pointed.

Within the last few years a species of brome grass, which was formerly
very rare, has become a common weed: we mean the _B. arvensis_, Corn
Brome-grass,—a species with smaller and more numerous heads of flowers
than the one just described. This has spread with the growth of foreign
seeds, and so suddenly has it appeared in some places as to cause
farmers to come to the conclusion that poor cultivation has made the
land spontaneously bring forth “a nasty sort of wild oat,” while others
have even concluded that a cereal crop had been transformed into this
grass.

The _Bromus erectus_ (Upright Brome Grass) is very constant to poor
calcareous soils. This is a perennial species, but very poor indeed in
feeding qualities; however, it looks green in park-glades, and if kept
down by rough stock, it may then be made useful.

[Illustration: _Fig. 26._ The Bent Grass.]

The Bent Grass (_Agrostis stolonifera_, fig. 26) is probably only a
variety of the common marsh species, _A. alba_. Under the name of Fiorin
Grass, this plant has been much extolled for the meadow; but our
experience shows it to vary in value according to the nature of the
position in which it is placed: as thus, in an irrigated meadow it sends
up a large quantity of quite rich pasturage, whilst in poor or dry
districts its herbage is hard and harsh, and not at all relished by
cattle or sheep.

The form we have figured is more particularly agrarian where its
creeping underground stem forms a kind of mischievous couch, and this,
united with a tangled growth derived from shoots rooting above the
ground, renders this one of the most pernicious weeds, especially in
thin soils, on calcareous, brashy, or stony soils.

[Illustration: _Fig. 27._ Woolly Soft Grass.]

Woolly Soft Grass (_Holcus lanatus_, fig. 27), though exceedingly pretty
from its contrast in colour and form with its congeners, is still so
worthless in point of feeding properties as to be little, if any, better
than a weed. It is too abundant in some moist meadows; and where it
forms a very large portion of the herbage, it speaks of poverty as well
as wet, and would lead to the inference that a little draining, less
frequent haymaking, and liberal doses of manure, would have a most
decidedly beneficial effect.

[Illustration: _Fig. 28._ Quaking Grasses.]

Quaking Grasses (_Briza media_, fig. 28, _B. minor_, _a_, and _B.
maxima_, _b_), though certainly amongst our pretty species, are all
useless to the farmer. The common species is well known in all wet or
poor clay meadows, and where very abundant we should usually make our
calculations for something less than a ton of hay to the acre, and this
would generally be late, and offer little _aftermath_. Like the
preceding, its indications are want of draining, manure, and
depasturing. If after the drains begin to act, sheep be folded upon a
quaking-grass meadow, and fed with turnips, hay, pease, or cake, it will
soon be eradicated. _a_, the smaller species, is an annual, and is only
noticed here by way of distinction: its smaller and broader bunches of
whitish, not purple, flowers, and rectilinear branches, will distinguish
it from the common form. It is comparatively rare; but we have had some
fine specimens communicated by H. C. Watson, Esq., from Thames Ditton.
_b_ is a garden specimen, remarkable for its larger flower bunches.

The Hair Grass (_Aira cæspitosa_, fig. 29) is commonly called hassock,
or tussac grass, or bull-pates—names which its massive bunches of
root-leaves clearly indicate the meaning of. Its leaves are so rough,
with serrated edges, that cattle mostly refuse it, unless when very
young. This grass is a never-failing indicator of wet,—so much so, that
if a meadow be drained in which it abounds, the action of the drains is
clearly indicated by its more or less gradual dying out. The quickest
way, then, to subdue this large, coarse weed-grass is to drain, and then
fold sheep upon the drying meadow: these animals tread the tussac grass
into manure, which goes to feed the better species. By this means, not
only this, but other rough or “sour” grasses are more quickly and more
certainly removed than by spudding them out; and this leads us to
remark, in concluding this chapter, that in the meadow there will
usually be found growing together two sets of grasses, which may be
designated as follows:—

     _a._ Grasses more or less nutritious—sweet.

     _b._ Grasses more or less innutritious—sour.

[Illustration: _Fig. 29._ The Hair Tussac Grass.]

In a good meadow, the section _a_ maintain the ascendancy, and so keep
under those of _b_. In a bad meadow, the section _b_ will be master, and
so tyrannize over what would be better.

Perfect cultivation, then, of a meadow—for meadows should be
cultivated—whilst it encourages the growth of _good_ herbage, equally
discourages the progress of the _bad_.



CHAPTER XI.

ON MEADOW PLANTS OTHER THAN GRASSES.


With the grass of the field will usually be found a large proportion of
plants of a very varied, variable, and different kind. Of these, many
are useful as augmenting the mass, and even improving the quality of a
pasture; whilst, as others are altogether objectionable, we shall
presently notice them under the head of “Meadow Weeds.”

Of the more useful adjuncts of the meadow we may tabulate the
following:—

  +----+------------------------+--------------------------+
  |No. |     Trivial Names.     |     Botanical Names.     |
  +----+------------------------+--------------------------+
  | 1  | Red clover             | Trifolium pratense.      |
  | 2  | Zigzag clover          |      „    medium.        |
  | 3  | White or Dutch clover  |      „    repens.        |
  | 4  | Birdsfoot              | Lotus corniculatus.      |
  | 5  | Yellow vetchling       | Lathyrus pratensis.      |
  | 6  | Purple vetchling       |     „    palustris.      |
  | 7  | Saintfoin              | Onobrychis sativa.       |
  | 8  | Burnet                 | Sanguisorba officinalis. |
  | 9  | False burnet           | Poterium Sanguisorba.    |
  |10  | Tormentil              | Tormentilla officinalis. |
  |11  | Yarrow                 | Achillæa millefolia.     |
  |12  | Agrimony               | Agrimonia Eupatoria.     |
  |13  | Plantain               | Plantago lanceolata.     |
  |    |         Some of the smaller Compositæ.            |
  |    |              Ditto          Umbelliferæ.          |
  +----+---------------------------------------------------+

Of these, which are arranged pretty nearly in their order of merit, the
clovers are by far the most important. These, as meadow plants, will
usually be found under the following circumstances:—

     No. 1. Plentiful in good, rich, sound meadows.

     „ 2. Frequent in meadows on light sandy soils.

     „ 3. On thin but good soil, upland meadows.

The clovers, and indeed the clover allies, _Papilionaceæ_, as a whole,
are partial to lime,—so much so, that a dressing of this mineral to some
fields in which clovers are scarcely represented will very quickly cause
an accelerated growth of them; hence road dirt, when made from
calcareous stones, as are the _oolitic_ and mountain limestones, affords
a good vehicle for the admixture of manures or ameliorators, such as
guano, burnt ashes, soot, nitrate of soda, &c.

The following remarks upon these three clovers are from a paper by the
author in the _Bath and West of England Agricultural Journal_, vol. x.,
part 2:—

     1. _Trifolium pratense_—Meadow or Broad-leaved Clover—in its wild
     state is too well known to need any lengthened description. A
     careful examination of field specimens will show that even in the
     wild state this plant is liable to run into numberless variations;
     thus, we may have the leaflets of one plant broad and almost
     obcordate at the extremity, whilst others will be more or less
     ovate and lancet-shaped. In some we may see dense heads of purple
     flowers, varying in shade until almost white, whilst less dense
     heads of flowers and general variations in height, size, and
     luxuriance of the whole plant, are all circumstances in the natural
     history of this species in the wild state, which will prepare us
     duly to understand the nature of the many forms of the plant which
     are found in cultivation. Of these we have, besides others,
     English, French, American, and Dutch sorts, which differ in such
     minor details as a greater or less hairiness, or variations in the
     colour and size of the flowers, leaves, _&c._ The most important
     point connected with the broad-leaved clover is its permanency;
     some sorts scarcely maintaining a plant for two years, whilst
     others are said to be more or less perennial. This, however, is a
     matter which we conceive depends more upon the soil and the kind
     of cultivation than upon the sort; for although all seedsmen supply
     two sorts, namely, _Trifolium pratense_ and _T. pratense perenne_,
     yet they run so much the one into the other, that it is oftentimes
     exceedingly difficult to distinguish them. If, therefore, a farmer
     wants a good strain of broad clover, he should purchase his seed
     from seedsmen possessing judgment and character; for experience has
     taught us that a seed which may be all that is required in one
     district may result in next to a failure in another. Thus,
     clover-seed from the warmer parts of England does not succeed well
     when sown in cold, exposed positions; but that from the latter is
     improved on transmission to the former, whilst good changes are
     effected by the occasional use of foreign seed.

     The sort known in the market as _T. pratense perenne_ is probably
     intermediate between the wild species _T. pratense_ and _T.
     medium_. Our own experiments have shown that, on cultivating _T.
     medium_, which is a sand-lover, in strong land, in three years it
     has been very difficult to distinguish it from some of the
     varieties of _T. pratense_. We incline, therefore, to the opinion
     that as the _T. medium_ holds to sandy soils in the wild state, its
     seed was brought into cultivation with a view to light-soil
     cropping; and from this source has probably been derived the
     so-called _T. pratense perenne_, which variety is certainly more
     perennial in such light soils as would be quite unfit for the true
     _T. pratense_. The latter, indeed, seems to be more permanent in
     soils containing a quantity of lime, while the former, where it can
     be got of a good sort, is certainly best adapted for sandy soils.

     2. _Trifolium medium_—Zigzag Trefoil—is distinguished from the _T.
     pratense_ by its larger, but more lax, head of reddish pink (not
     purple) flowers, which are solitary, on the apex of a stalk, which
     at each joint is bent at a considerable angle; hence its name. Its
     leaflets are elliptical, and not broader at the upper margin. This
     plant is a constant denizen of sands and light soils. In fact, its
     naturally growing in soils unfitted for the broad-leaved clover
     seems to recommend it for cultivation; and though, as before
     pointed out, we more than suspect that the so-called cow-grass
     clover was originally derived from this source, and that the _T.
     medium_ is after all but a variety of the _T. pratense_, it is now
     quite merged as a farm-plant into the broad-clover forms; so that,
     if we are to possess it as a separate plant, it must be again grown
     from the wild seed; and then, if it is to be kept pure, it must not
     be cultivated on clays or limestones, or, if our view be correct,
     it will soon lose its true distinctive character.

     3. _Trifolium repens_—White Dutch Clover—has been long in
     cultivation throughout Europe and America. It is one of our
     commonest native plants, and appears to have become less changed by
     cultivation than most other plants; yet there is reason to think
     that with careful selection a much improved strain may be brought
     about. In pastures an immense accession of Dutch clover is often
     seen to follow some kind or another of top-dressing, especially of
     lime, old mortar, or town rubbish. This is accounted for by the
     fact that this clover is in reality of universal occurrence; and
     its creeping habit of growth, besides seeding, causes it soon to
     make a rapid increase where its conditions of growth are made
     suitable. As an agricultural plant its position is in light soils,
     for which it is usually mixed with other clovers and grasses in
     varied proportions.

4 and 5 are often found scattered in meadows, though not usually in any
abundance in those of the richer kind; still, in laying down land for
permanent pasture, there can be no objection to a small admixture of
their seed.

6, the _Purple Vetchling_, though local in rich river pastures, is yet a
good plant, and might perhaps be advantageously brought out as an
addendum to mixtures designed for good lowland positions.

7, _Saintfoin_, is a good pasture plant for chalks and limestones; and
in laying down land for permanent pastures in such position, should not
usually be omitted. It is also a good species to sow on railway banks,
not alone for the beauty of its flowers, but for the binding effects of
its deeply-diving roots.

8 and 9, the _Burnets_, will be found,—the _true_ in rich damp bottoms
and on river flats, the _false_ on dry, calcareous soils. They are
neither plants that we should care to grow; but in their wild state in
their respective pastures we should, on the other hand, not be inclined
to make war against them as weeds. The same opinion, indeed, might be
briefly expressed as regards Nos. 10, 12, and 13. In fact, the whole
here grouped may be said to possess more or less bitter and astringent
qualities, and so become useful in checking the vapidity which is
sometimes found in purely grass herbage.

11, the _Yarrow_, should be encouraged in most pastures, as it not only
possesses the qualities just mentioned, but its leaves are so small and
its stems and flowers so easily dry when cut, that there is no chance of
its smothering out the grass in growing, or of its retarding the process
of haymaking. It also bears constant nibbling with sheep, which are
remarkably fond of it, without injury, as it rather becomes finer for
being depastured.

12. The larger composite plants, as dandelion, the hawkweeds, blackhead,
&c., are, from their coarseness and the room they take up, highly
objectionable; but the yellow hawkbits, thrincia, and the
before-mentioned yarrow, are by no means objectionable.

13. The above remarks will equally apply to the _Umbelliferæ_. Large
plants like the cow-parsnip and common beaked parsley are objectionable
from their size and want of feeding properties, whilst the small
pimpinella and earth-nut do not offer these objections. Here, however,
it must be confessed that we are bordering on the domains of weeds in
pasture, to which we must devote a separate chapter.



CHAPTER XII.

ON THE WEEDS OF PASTURE.


“Weeds in pasture!” said an old farmer friend; “I thought hay and grass
was all weeds.” This, which is by no means an uncommon notion,
sufficiently explains the want of care in the cultivation of the best
kinds of meadow produce, which can only be effected by the destruction
of what is useless or mischievous.

Now, if we proceed upon the assumption that the best kinds of meadow are
remarkable for the possession of little else than the best kinds of the
true grasses, we shall see that pasturage should, in the main, be
composed of good grass-growth, with only some few other plants which may
be capable of augmenting quantity, by their nutritive matter, giving
flavour, or improving quality.

It follows, then, that all plants having none of these requisites must
be, to all intents and purposes, only _mischievous weeds_; as thus a
large useless plant in a meadow, as in an arable field, must not only
occupy the space that would be better taken up by good plants, but it
appropriates a large quantity of food to the prejudice of the better
crop.

Viewed in this light, then, what a mass of weeds some of our pastures
will be found to contain! In fact, what with useless plants, other than
grasses, and coarse, sour, or useless grasses themselves, we meet with
so-called meadows to which the terms of “barren moor” or waste land
would be especially applicable.

The following table is offered as an attempt at the classification of
the weeds of pasture, the different divisions of which we shall
presently describe in the order of their arrangement.

TABLE OF PASTURE WEEDS.

        1. _Plants which take up space but yield no Produce._

  ----------------------+-----------------------+---------------------
     Trivial Name.      |    Botanical Name.    |       Remarks.
  ----------------------+-----------------------+---------------------
                        |                      {| The leaves of these
  Broad-leaved Plantain.| Plantago media       {| plants grow too close
  Dent-de-lion          | Leontodon taraxacum  {| to the ground to be
  Daisy                 | Bellis perennis      {| eaten off by cattle
                        |                      {| or to cut for hay.
                        |                     { | These plants take up
                        |                     { | much room in growing,
  Cowslip               | Primula veris       { | they are not eaten by
  Primrose              |    „    vulgaris    { | cattle, and, as they
  Green-winged Orchis   | Orchis Morio        { | die before haymaking,
  Early Purple Orchis   |    „   mascula      { | yield little or
                        |                     { | nothing to the rick.

     2. _Plants which take up space, but simply dilute the hay with
                            useless matter._

                        |                      {| All common, especially
  Blunt-leaved Dock     | Rumex obtusifolius   {| in damp meadows, are
  Crisp-leaved Dock     |   „   crispus        {| not usually depastured,
  Marsh Dock            |   „   palustris      {| and have little or no
  Field Sorrel          |   „   acetosa        {| feeding properties
                        |                      {| when made into hay.
  Burdock               | Arctium Lappa         | Common about the
                        |                       | borders of fields.
  Butter Burr           | Petasites vulgaris    | Common near water
                        |                       | courses.
  Cow Parsnip           | Heracleum Sphondylium{| Very common and
  Wild-beaked Parsley   | Anthriscus vulgaris  {| unsightly in
                        |                      {| pastures.
  Ladies’ Smock         | Cardamine pratensis   | In damp places.
  Yellow Rattle         | Rhinanthus crista     | In poor cold clays.
                        | galli                 |
  Larger Hawkweeds, &c. | Hieracium species     | About fields in
                        |                       | upland districts.

     3. _Mechanical Plants, those with Spines, Prickles, Stings, &c._

  Musk Thistle          | Carduus nutans        | Mostly a weed in
                        |                       | “seeds.”
  Welted Thistle        |    „    acanthoides  {|
  Creeping Thistle      |    „    arvensis     {| In hedgerows, borders
  Cotton Thistle        |    „    eriophorus   {| of fields, or the
  Spear Thistle         |    „    lanceolatus  {| open meadows.
  Marsh Plume Thistle   |    „    palustris   { | Damp or marsh
  Meadow Plume Thistle  |    „    pratensis   { | meadows.
  Stemless Thistle      |    „    acaulis      {| Common to poor
  Carline Thistle       | Carlina vulgaris     {| calcareous uplands.
  Common Stinging Nettle| Urtica dioica       { | About the homestead,
  Smaller Stinging      |    „ urens          { | corners of fields,
  Nettle                |                     { | &c.
  Wall Barley           | Hordeum murinum      {| About sandy soils,
                        |                      {| both in the meadow
                        |                      {| and arable.

                   4. _Poisonous Pasture-weeds, &c._

  Meadow Saffron        | Colchicum autumnale   | Usual in calcareous
                        |                       | soils or marls.
  Upright Buttercup     | Ranunculus acris      | In damp meadows.
  Diseased Grasses      | Secale cornutum      {| In places where mist
                        |                      {| and damp prevail.

   5. _Ill-favoured Weeds or Plants which communicate bad flavour to
                                Produce._

  Crow Garlic           | Allium vineale       {| More or less in
  Hogs’ Garlic          |       „   ursinum    {| meadows and corners
                        |                      {| of fields.
  Jack-by-the-Hedge     | Erysimum Alliaria     | About the hedgerow.

               6. _Useless Grasses, or Grass-like Plants._

  Rough Grasses         | Species               | Poor land and wet
                        |                       | places.
  Sedges                | Species              {| In boggy, marshy, or
                        |                      {| wet sandy spots.
  Rushes                | Species              {| In sandy spots on
                        |                      {| clays and poor soils.
  ----------------------+-----------------------+---------------------

1. Taking the broad-leaved plantain as the type of this list, we shall
have no difficulty in estimating the amount of mischief which it does.
Here is a plant, a single specimen of which not unfrequently occupies
nearly a square foot of ground, and as its leaves grow close to the
soil, it effectually prevents the growth of the grass, while few, if
any, leaves are cut with the scythe. The bare patches which result from
the cutting up of plantains from a lawn will sufficiently establish the
first position, whilst, if one occasionally meets with a few of the
leaves cut off in haymaking, it commits the further mischief of being so
long in drying as to retard the process of haymaking, or else to
endanger the safety of the rick. It is on account of this that the
plantain has in some districts got the name of the “Fire Grass.”

These are easily removed by the spud, especially if a little salt be
added to their crowns.

2. Taking it for granted that grasses are for the most part the best
plants for pasturage and hay, it follows that the plants of this list
can only be weeds, from their taking up space and living at the expense
of the wished-for crop, when, after all, the produce is either useless,
or so inferior that the whole product of the field is vitiated by their
presence. The best way to eradicate these and other large-leaved and
tall-stemmed plants is to pull them early in the season—the true theory
being, that by the repeated destruction of the leaves the rootstock
ultimately decays. Close depasturing also keeps them under for the same
reason, as the feet of horses and cattle so damage the leaves as to ruin
the growth and progress of the other parts of the plant, which latter
are requisite for its continuance.

3. Added to the evils just adverted to, this group is injurious from its
adverse mechanical appliances in spinous leaves, stings, and the like.
As regards thistles in pasture, they certainly argue great neglect, as
they may be so readily spudded out, in which the individual is
destroyed, and all hope of its progeny. It is, however, the fact that
these plants are sometimes left to seed that makes the matter of
destruction appear so hopeless, as the winged seeds of thistles may even
find their way to a clean farm from a dirty one, and roadsides and waste
places are constant sources of annoyance from this cause.

So fast has the corn thistle increased in Tasmania, as to make the
people groan under a “plague of thistles,” for which they have invoked
the aid of special State legislation.

The spud should be kept in active operation in the field, so as to
prevent these plants seeding, or indeed at all occupying any space; and
roadsides and waste places should be freed from these pests, either as
part of the duties of some public servant, or else as a matter of
private necessity.

As an illustration of the fecundity of thistles, we append the following
estimate of their seeding powers:—

SEED-DEVELOPMENT OF THISTLES.

  +-------------------+-------------+-----------------------------------+
  |       Name.       | Seeds to a  |           Description.            |
  |                   |single plant.|                                   |
  +-------------------+-------------+-----------------------------------+
  | Musk thistle      |    3,750    | 150 seeds to a single flower-head.|
  | Spear thistle     |   30,000    | 300 seeds to each.                |
  | Corn thistle      |    5,000    | This plant also increases by      |
  |                   |             | creeping underground stems.       |
  | Stemless thistle  |      600    | This is sometimes so thick on the |
  |                   |             | downs that we have seen its flying|
  |                   |             | seeds almost like a snowstorm in  |
  |                   |             | quantity and whiteness.           |
  +-------------------+-------------+-----------------------------------+

Farmers, however, mostly refuse an early summer attack both upon
thistles and nettles, quoting the following rustic rhyme for their
neglect:—

    If thistles be cut in April,
    They appear in a little while;
    If in May,
    They peep out the next day;
    If cut in June,
    They reappear very soon,
    If in July,
    They’ll hardly die;
    If cut in August,
    Die they must.

The truth is, that with spring-time they will bud forth again, but
always in a weakly condition. However, towards August the thistle has
performed all its functions for the year, and so prepared its larger
rootstocks for the future season; so that he would not be altogether so
mad who, in reference to the cutting of thistles and nettles in August
and September, should say—

    Kill a fool’s head of your own;
    They’ll die of themselves if you let them alone.

Beating nettles in the early part of the year with lithe ash sticks is
more effectual than the cleaner cut with the scythe, as the injuries are
not so easily got over.

4. That there are many plants in pastures which if eaten exclusively
would act as poisons we can have but little doubt, but there are a few
which would seem to be dangerous, even when partaken of in grass
mixtures. Of these, the meadow saffron is one of the most powerful.

This plant is abundant on the oolitic rocks of the Cotteswolds, about
which range we constantly hear of mischief from it. We extract the
following from a Cheltenham paper for September, 1844:—

     It is only a few days since a farmer at Eyeford, near
     Stow-on-the-Wold (Gloucestershire), had _ten calves killed by
     eating of the flowers of the colchicum_, and two or three years
     since three cows were destroyed by this plant in flower in the same
     neighbourhood, whilst we frequently hear of many accidents to
     cattle in the spring from eating the leaves, although it is
     sometimes refused by them on account of its bitter and nauseous
     taste. Yet there is no doubt but that accidents would be still more
     frequent were it not that farmers keep their cattle from the
     meadows in which it occurs in any quantity during the spring and
     autumn months.

Pulling the leaves of the meadow saffron or colchicum will destroy it;
but a much more simple remedy is that of a thorough rolling with a
Croskill at the season when the flowers begin to expand, and again when
the broad leaves come up in spring; this so crushes and bruises the
whole plant, that a season or two of such treatment will be enough to
keep it under, if not to destroy it outright.

As regards the buttercups, the most acrid one—viz., the upright tall
species, a constant plant in marshy meadows and wet places—is the only
one to be particular about. Cattle do not usually eat it, but it finds
its way into the hay, and there is reason to think to its prejudice. It
is to be got under by draining and close depasturing, so that by
treading down it shall not seed; but poverty, induced by frequent
haymaking and wet, by keeping under the growth of what is better, gives
greater facility for the success of trash of this as well as of other
kinds.

Ergotised grasses, by which we mean those affected with the black spur,
in the place of the seed, or grain, is a common affection of grasses in
autumn in low-lying or in damp places, or where fields may be enveloped
in mist, as on some of our hill-ranges. This black spur is largest in
the cereal rye, but it occurs in most other species of grasses,
differing according to the size of their seeds.

Ergot of rye is used medicinally, and there is little doubt but that
ergot in other grasses is equally active. Its effects seem to be to
favour abortion; and there is reason to believe that it has caused many
valuable animals to abort. Some few years since the late Earl Ducie
suffered a loss of calves to an extent which he calculated to equal as
much as £1,000 in one year; at that time the grasses, consisting mostly
of the perennial rye-grass, were submitted to our inspection, and they
were much affected by ergot.

Keeping the cattle away from meadows known to present much of this
affected grass is the best remedy; but this will seldom be necessary,
except in unusually wet and warm seasons, which are sure to produce
these fungoid affections.

5. All the plants in this section are known to give a garlic-like
flavour to the dairy produce of the fields in which they grow. The two
first especially render butter unfit for market; so that if abundant
they would take off a large portion of the value of the field. They
occur mostly in patches, and should be pulled out as soon as strong
enough: if this be done year by year, it will be found to diminish in an
increased ratio; and two or three seasons will be enough to rid the
field of so great a pest, and would be well worth doing if it cost
much—which it ought not to do—as these weeds usually occur in otherwise
tolerably good meadows.

The jack-by-the-hedge is usually confined to the vicinity of the fences,
and may be removed by the hand or spud. It is a prolific seeder; so that
on no account should it ever be allowed to ripen its seed.

6. Rough grasses and grass-like weeds are far too common in poor, wild,
and neglected pastures. In their action they come closely to those of
our second section; they are indications of a want of drainage, which
operation well performed soon causes the death of this group, which end
is greatly facilitated by manuring and depasturing as the drains begin
to act.

In concluding this description, it may be well to remark that many more
plants might have been included in the different sections; but enough
has been done to show that a pasture, to be good, must not consist of
any plants which chance, accident, or more commonly neglect, may throw
together. In arable culture one-half the expense is, in one way or
other, connected with weeding, and we are of opinion, that if only one
shilling per acre was spent on the weeding of pasture, it would yield
300 per cent. profit on the outlay.



CHAPTER XIII.

ON THE IRRIGATED MEADOW.


Irrigation, as a means of increasing the amount of pasturage, is so
important a process that it may be well to describe it in this place.

For a perfect irrigated meadow, we should have full command of water
whenever it may be required. This water should be capable of flowing
through, not of pouring over, and standing on the land,—this latter
being flooding. The drainage should be so perfect that the land will be
sound enough for us to walk over in the dry in a few hours after the
water has been turned off.

Where these conditions can be secured, irrigation will be found most
useful, not only in augmenting the supply of grass, but in producing it
so much earlier than in the higher meadows that the farmer hereby gets a
fresh green pasture, of great utility, especially in fattening and
bringing on early lambs. From these circumstances it follows, that
although some land is occupied in the water-conduits, yet the value is
so far increased that meadow at 30_s._ per acre before irrigation has,
under one’s own eye, become worth £5 per acre in four years. There are,
however, some necessary expenses in setting out the work, making
floodgates, &c., the extent of which will of course depend upon the
nature of the ground. In Gloucestershire, on the banks of the Churn,
where irrigation has been successfully carried on for years, there is a
permanent cost of about 6_s._ an acre for keeping the works in order,
and charges of the “drowner,” the name given to the man who overlooks
the works, in some instances of several proprietors or tenants.

A peculiarity in irrigated meadow of the best quality is, the general
absence of coarse grasses on the one hand, and of any plants other than
grasses on the other; hence, then, good succulent and nutritious herbage
is the rule, and anything that can be otherwise described is the rare
exception. Indeed, so much is this the case, that a bit of coarse
grass—such, for instance, as _Aira cæspitosa_ (Tussac Grass)—making
successful growth in any part of the meadow, is at once an evidence of a
stagnation of water at that spot—a condition that a clever drowner at
once looks to when he has discovered it.

As an evidence of the changes which go on as the process succeeds, as
well as of their nature, we give the following as the tabulated result
of the irrigation of half of a meadow whose slope was too great to allow
of the whole being operated upon. From these it will be seen that the
proportionals of different pasture plants before and after irrigation
offer a material change; and it may be added, that in some cases, what
would otherwise be a bad and useless grass, may become succulent and
useful from the beneficial action of water. One of this kind is the
_Agrostis stolonifera_ (Fiorin Grass), which is in arable couch-grass
weed, but in the irrigated meadow it becomes of a fine green colour, is
nutritive in quality, and will bear with any amount of clipping. It may
here, too, be remarked that in cases where only a part of a meadow can
be irrigated, good accrues to the whole, as in depasturing the whole is
ranged over by our cattle and sheep.

We here give the following

TABLE OF CHANGES IN GRASSES AND OTHER PLANTS UNDER IRRIGATION.

  +----------------------+------------------+------+--------+--------+
  |   Trivial Names.     |Botanical Names.  |      | After  | After  |
  |                      |                  |Before|2 Years’|4 Years’|
  |                      |                  |  --- Irrigation. ---   |
  +----------------------+------------------+------+--------+--------+
  |Meadow Foxtail Grass  |Alopecurus        |   1  |    2   |    3   |
  |                      |pratensis         |      |        |        |
  |Field Meadow Grass    |Poa pratensis     |   2  |    3   |    4   |
  |Rough-stalked ditto   | „  trivialis     |   1  |    2   |    1   |
  |Quaking Grass         |Briza media       |   2  |    0   |    0   |
  |Dogstail Grass        |Cynosurus         |   2  |    1   |    0   |
  |                      |cristatus         |      |        |        |
  |Hassock, or Tussac    |Aira cæspitosa    |   1  |    0   |    0   |
  |Grass                 |                  |      |        |        |
  |Marsh Bent            |Agrostis          |   1  |    2   |    3   |
  |                      |stolonifera       |      |        |        |
  |Cocksfoot Grass       |Dactylis glomerata|   1  |    2   |    3   |
  |Yellow Oat-grass      |Avena flavescens  |   2  |    3   |    3   |
  |Soft ditto            |  „   pubescens   |   1  |    1   |    1   |
  |Meadow Barley         |Hordeum pratense  |   1  |    2   |    2   |
  |Perennial Rye-grass   |Lolium perenne    |   2  |    4   |    6   |
  |Meadow Crowfoot, or   |Ranunculus acris  |   1  |    3   |    1   |
  |Buttercup             |                  |      |        |        |
  |Bulbous ditto         |    „     bulbosus|   3  |    1   |    0   |
  |Narrow-leaved Plantain|Plantago          |   3  |    1   |    1   |
  |                      |        lanceolata|      |        |        |
  |Broad-leaved ditto    |    „   asiatica  |   3  |    0   |    0   |
  |Dutch Clover          |Trifolium repens  |   2  |    0   |    0   |
  |Broad Clover          |   „     pratense |   1  |    2   |    2   |
  |Common-beaked Parsley |Anthriscus        |   1  |    2   |    1   |
  |                      |vulgaris          |      |        |        |
  +----------------------+------------------+------+--------+--------+

The general conclusions from this table are, that large and innutritious
herbage is, for the most part, destroyed by irrigation, and its place is
supplied by grasses; hence, then, the increased value conferred by the
regulated action of water is due to an increase in quantity and quality
of the grasses, added to a much more certain, as well as early,
production of these. Of course the districts best adapted to irrigation
will be valleys of denudation, the centres of which are occupied by more
or less copious and rapid streamlets. Some of these valleys in the
Cotteswolds having been scooped out of the oolitic freestones, have left
the spoils of the rock as a gravelly deposit, sometimes on the lias, at
others on the fuller’s earth, and then on the Oxford clays; so that,
stiff as these soils would be by themselves, they now only tend to throw
out the waters by natural drainage, which are again conducted over the
porous gravels through which they flow with great regularity; thus
fertilizing what would otherwise be but a scanty thin-soil herbage, and
to such an extent that early depasturing, haymaking, and later pasturage
(_lattermath_) are the rule year by year.

These circumstances make water-rights of great value, and which, if not
in possession, are secured at a fixed charge per acre; this, however, is
usually included in the expenses, which, as before stated, are covered
by about 6_s._ per acre.

Before concluding this chapter, we must say a few words in reference to
flooded meadows. These will be found on the banks of the larger rivers
or on streams of sufficient importance to be called rivers, as
distinguished from brooks or streamlets. Here the flooding is caused by
the water overflowing the banks, as the result of sudden thaws or an
unusual quantity of rain. Here then the flood is not under control, and
as it may happen at any and all times of the year, the grass may be
spoiled by being covered with silt and drifted materials, or even the
hay may be carried away by the flood.

These river flats, then, have seldom the requisites for carrying on
irrigation, although the waters are of course more abundant than those
supplied by the smaller streams; for even if we could by embanking so
far control the water as to get it over the field when we might wish,
yet alluvial flats like those of much of the Thames and Severn would not
readily drain.

From facts like these it will at once be seen that there is a wide
difference between irrigation and flooding; and we have hence
endeavoured to separate what is too often confounded.



CHAPTER XIV.

ON THE LAYING DOWN OF PERMANENT PASTURE.


If we reflect upon the fact that much of the meadow of Great Britain is
ribbed by the ridge and furrow of former arable culture, we shall
conclude that the laying down of land to permanent pasture is an ancient
no less than a modern process.

Formerly new pastures were made by sowing the collected seeds from a
hayloft, but as in modern farming no one in his senses would let his
grass get ripe enough for seed before cutting, present practice
necessitates the mixing of such seeds as may be considered best in
suitable quantities for our purpose. We shall have, then, in this place
to consider:—

     1. The preparation of the land;

     2. The kinds of seed best adapted for different places; and

     3. The after-treatment of the new meadow.

1. The plan usually adopted in a preparation for grass seeds is that of
sowing our mixture with the barley crop. Now this, in the case of a
tenant who is not sure of his tenure, would obviously recommend itself;
but to a proprietor wanting a quicker and surer result it offers many
objections.

We recommend, after turnips have been fed off on the land, to make the
ground as level as possible, then harrow and roll smooth with an iron or
wooden roller. Upon this surface our mixture should be carefully sown;
then harrow with very light harrows just to cover the seed, and roll
again.

By this plan you start the seeds in good soil instead of in that from
which you have carried off a crop of ripened grass, straw, and seed; but
besides this, your grass will get a stronger constitution than when
grown as seedlings amid taller plants, which draw up the “seeds,” and
thus make them so weak and attenuated as scarcely to be able to
withstand the rigour of winter—a matter of great consequence when our
object is to get a vigorously-growing swarth quickly.

2. We come now to consider the kinds of seeds which should be sown;
these, though few in number, will yet vary according to soil and
situation.

Our remark that few kinds of grasses are required in laying down for
permanent pasture may surprise those who have seen the usual
prescriptions for this purpose; but if we start in our selection by
leaving out coarse grasses,—such, for instance, as _Phalaris
canariensis_ (Reed Canary Grass), for damp meadows; annual forms, or at
least not permanent ones, such as _Lolium Italicum_ (Italian Rye-grass);
and useless varieties, as _Poa nemoralis sempervirens_, _Phleum pratense
majus_, and the like,—we shall be then confined to as few species of
grass as we shall ever find will form the best parts of our best
meadows.

Now, as regards sowing useless or annual species, we should recollect
that the better they come up the more mischief they create, as they take
up the room that the more permanent forms should occupy, and so smother
them out. How often have we seen our friends in ecstasies at the success
of their new pasture, when the smiling face had been suddenly put upon
the matter by the quick-growing Italian rye-grass having taken a
possession, which, however, in a year or two it would most probably
yield; and so it has happened, that while the seedsman has been
advertising a certificate vaunting of success, the pasture is declining,
and the proprietor, looking for the reason for such a result, either
himself concludes, or is led so to do, that as the seeds came up well,
these were not in fault: it must then be the nature of the soil!

In giving such directions for grass mixtures as experience would seem to
warrant, we confess to a great deal of diffidence; for as scarcely two
cases are alike, the difficulty is as great as would be that of a
medical man prescribing for his various patients without seeing them;
indeed, to profess to do so in either case, as a general rule, savours
somewhat of quackery.

The following tables, then, it must be understood, are only meant to
convey some very general notions as to sorts of grasses and other fodder
plants, and their quantities, which we should employ under the specified
conditions of soil; albeit, even the quantities should be variable,
depending upon the quality of the seeds, the season, and the climate in
which they are to be sown:—

      1. _Proposed selection for rich loams in best grass-growing
                              positions._
  ------------------------------+---------------------------+----------
         Botanical Name.        |       Trivial Name.       | Quantity
                                |                           | Per Acre.
  ------------------------------+---------------------------+----------
                                |                           |  lb. oz.
  Lolium perenne                | Perennial Rye             |  10   0
  Poa pratensis                 | Meadow Grass              |   2   0
  Dactylis glomerata            | Cocksfoot                 |   5   0
  Festuca pratensis             | Meadow Fescue             |   3   0
     „    duriuscula            | Hard     „                |   3   0
  Alopecurus pratensis          | Foxtail                   |   2   0
  Phleum pratense               | Catstail                  |   2   0
  Anthoxanthum odoratum         | Sweet Vernal              |   0   8
  Trifolium pratense            | Common Clover             |   4   0
      „     repens              | Dutch    „                |   2   0

    2. _Proposed selection for a poor stiff soil on a clay subsoil._

  Lolium perenne                | Perennial Rye             |  12   0
  Poa pratensis                 | Smooth Meadow Grass       |   3   0
   „  trivialis                 | Rough     „     „         |   2   0
  Festuca loliacea              | Lolium Fescue             |   2   0
     „    duriuscula            | Hard     „                |   2   0
  Phleum pratense               | Catstail                  |   2   0
  Dactylis glomerata            | Cocksfoot                 |   6   0
  Anthoxanthum odoratum         | Sweet Vernal              |   0   8
  Trifolium pratense            | Common Clover             |   6   0
      „     repens              | Dutch    „                |   2   0

     3. _Proposed selection for thin uplands on calcareous soils._

  Lolium perenne                | Perennial Rye             |  12   0
  Poa pratensis                 | Smooth Meadow Grass       |   4   0
  Festuca ovina                 | Sheep’s Fescue            |   2   0
     „    duriuscula            | Hard       „              |   2   0
  Avena flavescens              | Yellow Oat-Grass          |   1   0
    „   pubescens               | Soft       „              |   1   0
  Anthoxanthum odoratum         | Sweet Vernal              |   1   0
  Trifolium pratense            | Common Clover             |   3   0
      „     repens              | Dutch    „                |   5   0
  Achillæa millefolia           | Yarrow                    |   0   8

           4. _Proposed selection for light soils on sands._

  Lolium perenne                | Perennial Rye             | 14   0
  Poa pratensis                 | Smooth Meadow             |  3   0
  Festuca duriuscula            | Hard Fescue               |  3   0
  Avena flavescens              | Soft Oat-Grass            |  1   0
  Anthoxanthum odoratum         | Sweet Vernal              |  0   8
  Trifolium medium              | Zigzag Clover             |  4   0
      „     pratense            | Meadow or Corn Clover     |  2   0
      „     repens              | Dutch Clover              |  5   0
  Lotus corniculatus            | Birdsfoot Trefoil         |  0   8
  Achillæa millefolia           | Yarrow                    |  0   8
  ------------------------------+---------------------------+----------

The above positions may so far be considered to present generic types of
land which would be laid down in permanent pasture in the ordinary
course of farming. Selections for park glades, covert, and the like, are
exceptional, which must be provided for according to circumstances.

We should advise care in the selection of these seeds; the newer and
fresher they are the better, as, perhaps, no seeds suffer more from
keeping than do those of the grasses. And we would further add that, as
a rule, we should prefer to procure our seeds separately and mix them
ourselves: for this we should expect to have more to pay at most houses,
but they will be much better. Of course, in all such strictures about
seeds, we mean them to apply only to those who are not sufficiently
particular to keep from trade tricks, or who do not observe that care in
selection and mixing that would be necessary to ensure the fullest
amount of success; for, as we are well aware that seeds, however old or
worthless, are seldom destroyed, we should expect to have some of them
sold to us if we did not look to the character, position, and judgment
of our seedsman on the one hand, and be prepared to go to such, and so
pay a fair price, on the other.

We will now suppose that the seed has come up regularly, and so must
describe the after-treatment. In the first year it will be all-important
to look after weeds: should these make their appearance, it will be well
to hoe or spud them out at once before they can seed, as then the grass
will not only have a better chance, but little provision will be left
for weed-continuance.

In the following winter, say about January, if the weather will suit, a
slight but even dressing of not over-rotten manure will act as a
protection to the young plants, and provide food for their spring growth
by its gradual decomposition and mixing with the soil.

Towards the latter end of February, or early in March, bush-harrowing
should be employed to break up and disseminate the manure, and then the
roller should be actively used to consolidate the whole; and, if the
grasses have at all thrown out, the croskill will prove a most efficient
implement. In the following May we should stock with sheep just thick
enough to prevent any extent of seeding; and if the next year should
show vacant spaces, which it would be likely to do from failure or
wire-worm (the latter will be less than when corn is grown), we must
re-sow, mixing our seeds with a little mixed guano and soot.

These, then, are some of the simple rules upon which to act in growing a
permanent pasture; and the more rigidly they are kept to at first, the
sooner and the more perfect will our meadow assume the aspect we should
desire for permanency.



CHAPTER XV.

ON THE MANAGEMENT OF PERMANENT PASTURES.


However good our meadows and pastures may be, it is but natural that we
should wish to keep them in good condition, and, if not so good, our
object should be to improve them.

We have already adverted to weeding as a requisite in the improvement of
meadow; we are equally clear upon the subject of draining. On both of
these points, however, we have met with opposition. The farmer who
considers that all is hay that he can get together in a rick, may look
more to mass than quality, though even here we are inclined to think
that if we take hay and pasture together, the more grasses and the less
of rubbish we can get a field to grow, the greater will be our produce
in quantity and quality.

With regard to draining, we are told that it takes the goodness out of
the meadow; but if we have a meadow on clay—we will suppose lias or
Oxford clay,—with only a few inches of a stiff soil at the surface, we
shall find that those few inches are the only available root ground.
Drain, and then we shall soon see that air will follow the water: this
united, air and water will decompose plant-feeding matter never before
reached.

Now, where the mistake has been made is, that from this time the herbage
gets less and less coarse, and perhaps in some seasons would not produce
the weight of hay; but what there is both of hay and grass would be
much improved, and would become capable of carrying better stock.

The following reply[3] of Mr. Bailey Denton to some objectors to
draining in Middlesex is, we think, much to the point on this important
subject:—

     Mr. Denton stated that he had been recently over the estate of Lord
     Northwick, near Harrow, in company with the noble lord and some
     friends and tenants. On that occasion the question of the
     reluctance of hay farmers to drain the land was discussed, and the
     farmers said that as they always had a great deal of custom in
     London for hay, of whatever quality it was, they did not seek so
     much for quality as for quantity, and consequently did not think it
     worth while to drain the land for feeding purposes, although they
     admitted that draining made the herbage sweeter and better for
     cattle. The present system, under which the grass-land of the
     Harrow district had been cultivated for many years, alike
     impoverished the hay farmers and the land; and he was of opinion
     that if drained, the latter would produce grass of a much better
     quality, and equally as much in quantity. He thought a good plan
     would be to feed off part of the land and put the other into hay.

[3] Discussion Royal Agricultural Society, March 21, 1863.

If asked what would be our criteria as to the necessity of draining, we
should say stagnant water at any time.

Plants, however, afford evidence to be depended upon; as thus take the
indications of a few weeds common to wet meadows:—

  Sedges                 }    Show a want of        }
  Rushes                 }    thorough drainage.    }
  Bull-pates and other   } }  _Perhaps_ partial     }
  coarse Grasses           }  or grip drainage      } Full
  Devil’s-bit Scabious     }  may do.               } drainage
  Buttercups (R. acris)    }  _Perhaps_ less        } certainly
  Lousewort              } }  haymaking and more    } required.
  Field Orchids          }    manure is indicated,  }
  Cowslips               }    and draining _may_    }
  Moss                   }    be done without.      }

Now, as regards very wet meadows, it is found that they are seldom if
ever manured; for, just as I was told as regards some of the low lands
on the banks of the Yeo, in Somersetshire, that it did not pay to manure
them; so one might easily imagine that where the land is full of water,
and perhaps of moist _humus_, manure would not tend to the increase of
good grass, though it might to that of thistles and buttercups.

Meadows that are sufficiently sound to yield tolerable hay are too much
worked to this end, and are, we think, getting poorer. The Cheshire
pastures offer a good example of the effects of greed in this matter. A
century ago we feel sure its grass-producing powers were far beyond what
they are now. Grass is gone in hay and bones and cheese, but for
generations the farmer has gone on depasturing to make manure; but as it
will be seen, on reflection, that cattle can only deposit as manure,
matter which they have taken from the field and converted into manurial
substance, they cannot add any new material: so then this method of
restoration must fail at last. Another restoration employed in this
county was that of using their salt as a top-dressing. This, as it
killed all the coarse grass, and so converted it into manure, recovered
the pasture, by, out of bad and rough grass, growing good ones; but this
too would fail in time. Hay, the framework of growing cattle, and
cheese, have gone on converting the phosphates and the bone matted of
the soil into their substances, and it is now found that returning this
in the shape of bones and superphosphates is rapidly effecting an
improvement.

Hence, then, we would recommend less of greed in haymaking. Do not
ripen the grasses too much before cutting. Don’t trust to grazing for
restoring the phosphates and other ingredients of the hay, but bring
them in the shape of manure.

Use heavy rollers in spring to smooth and consolidate the soil; replant
the roots thrown out by worms; mat the turf more thoroughly together;
and crush larger but useless plants.

There is, then, less difference between the cultivation of pasture and
of arable land than would at first be thought.

Drainage, acts of husbandry, amelioration of soil by rubbish of all
kinds where too tenacious, manuring them by farmyard dung, or, failing
this, such artificial manures as bones, superphosphates, guano,
nitrates, soot, &c.,—these are the sheet anchors in the improvement of
our pastures; and by these we should realize the hope of _making two
blades of good grass grow where one did before_.



CHAPTER XVI.

ON THE MANAGEMENT OF LAWNS.


The homes of our fair country are so much beautified by our
nicely-shaven lawns, which nowhere are so green and smooth as in “Merrye
Englande,” that a few words upon their management can hardly be out of
place in a treatise on grasses; we would, therefore, direct attention to
the following questions connected with the maintenance of lawns in a
good condition.

1. Lawns should have grasses which combine the finest possible
leaf-growth with a capability of restoring growth and colour under
constant cutting.

2. Lawns should be entirely free from plants other than grasses, unless
we except the Dutch clover.

3. Lawn grasses should possess the property of intimately weaving one
with the other.

4. After cutting, they should grow as near the same height as possible.

1. _Fine Lawn Grasses._—The annexed engraving (_Festuca ovina_)
represents one of our finest-leaved grasses; it is one, too, that will
even bear the constant nibbling of sheep without losing either its
vitality or its colour. This, and a larger variety called the _F.
duriuscula_, are two forms of this genus well adapted for lawns.

If to these we add the _Lolium perenne_, _Poa pratensis_, and
_Cynosurus cristatus_, we shall have nearly all the useful lawn grasses.
As regards _Poa pratensis_, we should, however, leave it out where we
have borders cut in the turf, as its creeping underground stems are
mischievous, from their habit of getting into the borders with the
flowers. This, of course, would lead us to discourage any couch-like
grass. If, then, we have plots, and the soil of the lawn be sufficiently
moist, we should recommend _Poa trivialis_ to be sought in its stead.

[Illustration: _Fig. 22_ (_bis_). Sheep’s Fescue.]

Something like uniformity of colour is desirable; as, if we see bunches
of the silvery-leaved Soft Grass, or the brown patches of the _Fiorin_,
it is so unsightly that we should feel the necessity of introducing a
new turf where it occurs.

2. _Lawn Weeds._—Plantains, dandelions, and daisies can only be
considered weeds whenever they occur in grass, but especially in the
lawn. They are easily guarded against, if in laying down turf we only
choose clean specimens, or in laying down seeds we obtain pure samples,
and sow them on well-cleaned ground. But however careful we may be, we
shall be sure of a few weeds. These can be kept under by cutting them
out with a knife, taking care to drop a pinch of salt on the crowns that
we leave behind; and then, if we use a little fine lawn-grass seed to
the vacant places, and well roll after the process, we shall certainly
keep them under. This should be done in spring, and not in autumn, as we
shall then be more certain of success, upon the principle before
explained.

If, despite all we do, a few crowns still send up shoots, our mowing
must always be frequent enough to prevent their seeding; and as in the
height of summer, seeding, in the case of all three of the plants, will
take place in a few days, such neglect as our own lawn once got when we
were away for a month’s vacation, in not being mowed sufficiently often,
may take years to remedy.

3. _The Mixture of Grasses_ is secured by constant mowing and rolling,
by which means anything like a wild method of grass-growth is avoided.
When, however, a lawn is left for a long time without such careful
treatment, some of the grasses are sure to stool out and grow bunchy. In
this case, the quickest way of putting the matter to rights will be to
remove the offending tufts, and introduce new turf, taking care to keep
the whole in order by the scythe and the roller.

Talking, however, of these implements of lawn-culture reminds one to
remark that with some the scythe and roller are almost discarded, at
least in summer. Our own lawn is rolled with an iron roller during the
winter and early spring; but when mowing begins, we prefer the new
lawn-mowing machines. We have now used one of Samuelson’s for four
years, and it has not cost us a single sixpence for repairs; a strong
boy can use it, and it possesses the advantages of cutting close and
evenly, collecting not only the cut grass but scattered leaves as it
goes, and, withal, most completely rolling the turf at the same time. We
are, too, not awoke by scythe whetting at four o’clock in the morning,
to secure the dew upon the grass, as the dry part of the day is perhaps
the best for the use of the mowing-machine.

There is, then, no excuse for weeds or bunchy grass with a
mowing-machine, as the whole operation, as here described, is done in
less time than was formerly occupied in the scythe in mowing alone.

4. _Evenness in height_ is a matter of importance for the lawn; for if
we have grasses together, some of which make three inches of growth
while the majority are growing but one inch, the whole look uneven and
ugly.

[Illustration: _Fig. 31._ The Taller Grasses.]

The annexed cut (fig. 31) shows the effects of this, the taller grass
being a root of cocksfoot, which is not only bunchy, but its leaves are
too broad for a good lawn grass, and it grows twice as fast as the
smaller species (_a_); its colour, too, would be so much lighter than
that of the surrounding herbage as to be at once visible, and to strike
one as a great blemish. Here, again, the offending patch should be
removed, and better turf introduced, which operation should be performed
in the autumn if possible, so as to have the full benefit the following
summer.

These points in the cultivation of lawns are more particularly
applicable in the process of laying down lawns with cut turves, which is
the usual practice, and especially when an immediate effect is required.
In this case, then, it cannot be too strongly urged that much trouble
and expense may be saved by choosing the finest turf for our purpose;
and the trouble of picking out an objectionable grass or weed before
laying down will be amply rewarded.

If it be thought desirable to sow grass seeds to get a lawn, we would
propose the following mixture:—

5. _Proposed mixture for lawns, cricket-grounds, bowling-greens, &c._

  ---------------------+---------------------+-----------
     Botanical Name.   |    Trivial Name.    | Quantity
                       |                     | Per Acre.
  ---------------------+---------------------+-----------
                       |                     | lb.  oz.
  Lolium perenne       | Perennial Rye       | 25    0
  Festuca duriuscula   | Hard    Fescue      |  4    0
     „    ovina        | Sheep’s   „         |  2    0
  Poa pratensis        | Smooth Meadow       |  1    8
   „  trivialis        | Rougher  „          |  1    8
  Cynosurus cristatus  | Dogstail            |  7    0
  Trifolium repens[4]  | Dutch Clover        |  8    0
  ---------------------+---------------------+-----------

[4] As some people object to Clover in a lawn, we should add a little
more Sheep’s Fescue in its stead.

These seeds should be sown upon clean, well-pulverized, and
smoothly-rolled ground, and the garden roller should be actively
employed from the time the grass seeds have well come up until they are
fairly established, when, if mown the second year with the machine, its
rolling will be sufficient.

Occasionally there will be bald places in parks, such as some of the
worn spots in Hyde Park, which it would be advisable to provide seed
for, that should have an immediate effect. In this case we should mix a
small quantity of the _Poa annua_ with the above, as it not only effects
the object of making the whole look green very quickly, but so small a
grass scarcely interferes with the growth of the more permanent species,
which would meanwhile be making their position, and so ultimately drive
out the annual.

It now only remains to point out that the constant mowing of lawns,
although it only takes away young grass, must in time have the effect of
impoverishing the lawn. In such case, the grass will not be of so bright
a colour as formerly, and it will become more or less mixed with moss.
In this state of matters the grasses die, and different species of
agarics live upon the decaying roots.

In this condition we find that colour and fertility are restored by a
good sprinkling of soot, which usually operates very beneficially for
four or five years. After this period a little guano, say one part to
three parts of soot, will do better. Another method of restoring
fertility is that of an occasional use of house slops, diluted with five
parts of water; this showered evenly from a watering-pot, engine, or
hydropult, usually has a most beneficial effect.

In concluding this subject of “How to Grow Good Grass,” the author would
wish to impress upon his readers the important fact, that as our country
is so peculiarly adapted for the growth of pasturage, and as this
interesting genus of plants furnishes the best kind of herbage, so then
the grass tribe is deserving of the most careful study of the
home-producer of MEAT, MILK, CHEESE, and BUTTER.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.—Belcher’s Plantain Extractor and Turf Inoculator will be found a
most efficient implement in extracting plantains, and preparing good
turves to fill up the holes. We fancy, too, that it will be found useful
in laying down land for permanent pasture by a system of inoculation,
but await the result of experiments before stating more positively.—_The
Author._

[Illustration: Trifolium repens. White Clover.]



HOW TO GROW GOOD CLOVER.



CHAPTER XVII.

ON THE NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF THE CLOVER FAMILY OF PLANTS.


Clovers are admitted by all to be such important adjuncts to the fodder
plants of the farm as to render a scientific and practical treatise upon
them and their allies a matter not only of interest, but of general
agricultural utility; for, if we except the grasses, perhaps no natural
order of plants is of greater value to the farmer than that to which the
clovers belong; for, though they differ in every point of their
structure, yet in their farm products they offer an interesting
analogy. Thus, whilst in the Graminaceous plants we have cereal or
corn-seed products, and meadow and pasture herbs, in the Leguminous
plants we have a seed-producing group termed pulse, and a herb-growing
green-food or fodder series. On either hand, in both groups, there are
differently-cultivated forms; for, while the grass-cereals are wholly
the result of arable culture, the fodder grasses are for the most part
grown under conditions distinguished by the farmer as pasture. So of
leguminous plants, pulse, such as peas and beans, belongs exclusively to
the arable part of the farm; but the fodder kinds, as clover, either mix
with the grass of the meadow, or are grown by themselves or with
grasses in shifting green crops: indeed, it is by reason of clovers
eking out grass, or being used as pasturage, that they have come to be
designated “artificial grasses.”

The tribe of plants under review forms an exceedingly natural group,
which has been named _Papilionaceæ_, from the fancied resemblance in the
arrangement of its flowers to the form and varied colouring of
butterflies: by others it is designated _Leguminosæ_ from the two-valved
seed-pod, which by the botanist is termed a _legume_,—most perfect
examples of which are seen in the fruits of our more ordinary pea and
bean.

Though the flowers of the group are infinitely varied in size and in
colour, yet they afford most permanent characters in their irregular
petals, which, after all, have the same parts in the variously coloured
and showy sweet-pea as in the most minute clover; so that, once examine
the pea or bean, and the significance of the name of the order depending
upon the flowers, will be easily understood. Again, varied as is the
seed-pod, yet a little examination will show that its type is simple,
there being no structural difference between the straight legume of the
pea and the spirally-twisted one of the lucerne and medicks, or the
many-seeded smooth pod of the common broom and the single-seeded
wrinkled pod of the sainfoin.

The seeds, again, may vary in colour; some, like those of the
scarlet-runner, are curious as affording an infinite variety of
self-colours for their different sorts, from pure white to absolute
black; or these may be so pencilled as to make a _testa_ or
seed-covering as variously mottled as are the eggs of some of our birds.
Yet, whether rounded as in the pea, flat as in the bean, lenticular as
in the lentil, or kidney-shaped as in the clovers, they are all readily
referred to one group by the flat, oval eye (_hilum_ of the botanist),
and the fact of their ready capability of separating into two valves
(_cotyledons_), so observable in our split peas and beans.

But of all the varieties in their parts presented by the pea-flowered
tribe of plants,—if we except the fact that some are larger trees, as
the locust tree, ebony, laburnum, &c., whilst some are among our
smallest plants, as clovers and medicks,—the principal differences will
be found in the foliage. The grass vetchling, for example, is so named
from its leaves being not unlike those of grasses, while the yellow
vetchling, in its mature state, has the whole leaf converted into a
tendril and the appendages at the bases of the leaves (_stipules_) are
so enlarged as to be often mistaken for leaves: in another of the
vetchlings, the everlasting sweet-pea, we find that, as so much of the
leaf is converted into tendrils to enable this handsome plant to climb
over the hedges and thickets, the stem is made four-winged with
leaf-matter, to ensure the due performance of the leaf function. Now
parts called stipules are present in this whole tribe, and, like all
other parts of these plants, they vary in form, size, and markings, and
hence afford important aid in the discrimination of species. Again, the
old furze-bush will have its leaves converted into spines, though the
seedling started with a trifoliate leaf. Points like these, however,
though most interesting to the student of vegetable physiology, are
beyond the scope of the present work.

Like every other point connected with this interesting natural order of
plants, their uses and properties are greatly varied, and perhaps
variable. The Sennas are renowned for their medicinal properties, being
in some kinds aromatic and purgative. A powerful aroma is given off from
the Melilots, similar to that of the well-known sweet vernal grass
(_Anthoxanthum odoratum_), on which account it has been recommended to
mix a little of their seeds with clovers, or to cultivate separate
patches of either the white or the yellow Melilot to place here and
there, sandwich-wise, in the clover hay-rick.

In speaking of this matter of flavour in food for cattle, we may here
mention that the seed of one of this order, which is now being
extensively employed for its flavouring principle, is the Fœnugræc
(_Trigonella fœnum-græcum_), which was formerly used in large quantities
by horse and cattle doctors as an ingredient in drenches or drinks for
horses, cows, and pigs. Latterly, however, it has been still more
largely employed as a flavouring matter in the different kinds of
“Cattle Feeds.”[5]

[5] We have cultivated these seeds in England, and found them to ripen
very well, and if the flavouring of food be correct in principle, the
seeds might readily be ground with feeding stuffs, while the dried plant
could be mixed with hay and straw in chaff.

Now, whether medicinal properties reside as a rule in all of the order,
it would perhaps be difficult to determine; but, as we sometimes find
that certain clover crops are accused of causing “scouring,” there is
perhaps reason to conclude this, but that its amount varies according to
season, soil, and cultivation.



CHAPTER XVIII.

ON THE FARM SPECIES OF CLOVERS.


All the true clovers belong to the genus _Trifolium_, of which the
following may be tabulated as agricultural species:—

     (_Flowers red or purple._)

     1. _Trifolium pratense_—Broad-leaved clover.

     2. _Trifolium medium_—Zigzag, or true “cow-grass” clover.

     3. _Trifolium incarnatum_—Carnation clover.

     (_Flowers pink._)

     4. _Trifolium hybridum_—Alsike clover.

     5. _Trifolium fragiferum_—Strawberry-headed clover.

     (_Flowers white._)

     6. _Trifolium repens_—Dutch clover.

     (_Flowers yellow._)

     7. _Trifolium filiforme_—Suckling clover.

     8. _Trifolium procumbens_—Hop clover.

1. _Trifolium pratense_—Meadow or broad-leaved Clover,—in its wild
state, is too well known to need any lengthened description in order to
its being understood. A careful examination of field specimens, however,
will show that, even in the wild state, this plant is liable to run into
numberless variations; thus, we may have the leaflets of one plant more
or less ovate, whilst those of another may be broad and almost
obcordate. In some we may see dense heads of purple flowers, varying in
shade until almost white, whilst less dense heads of flowers and
general variations in height, size, and luxuriance of the whole plant,
are all circumstances in the natural history of this species in the wild
state which will prepare us duly to understand the nature of the many
forms of the plant which are found in cultivation. Of these we have,
besides others, English, French, American, and Dutch sorts, which differ
in such minor details, as a greater or lesser hairiness, or variations
in the colour and size of the flowers, leaves, &c. The most important
point connected with the broad-leaved clover is its permanency; some
sorts scarcely maintaining a plant for two years, whilst others are said
to be more or less perennial. This, however, is a matter which we
conceive depends more upon the soil and the kind of cultivation than
upon the sort; for, although all seedsmen supply two sorts, namely,
_Trifolium pratense_ and _Trifolium pratense perenne_, yet they run so
much the one into the other, that it is oftentimes exceedingly difficult
to distinguish them.

In order that the reader may see the differences and agreements of the
three sorts,—1, _Trifolium pratense_ (of the meadow); 2, _Trifolium
pratense_ (the arable plant); and 3, _Trifolium pratense perenne_ (also
of the arable),—we give their characters in parallel columns, on p.
115.

CHARACTERS OF CLOVERS.

  +----------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
  |   1. _Trifolium      |    2. _Trifolium     |    3. _Trifolium     |
  |       pratense._     |        pratense._    |  pratense, perenne._ |
  |          ——          |           ——         |           ——         |
  |    From a Natural    |From Messrs. Sulton’s |From Messrs. Sulton’s |
  |       Pasture.       |    Trial Grounds.    |   Trial Grounds.     |
  +----------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
  |_Heads of flowers_    |_Heads of flowers_    |_Heads of flowers_    |
  |dense, proceeding from|dense, with from 70 to|somewhat lax, with    |
  |two leaves by a very  |120 sessile florets.  |from 50 to 100        |
  |short stem, of from 50|                      |florets, proceeding   |
  |to 80 sessile florets |                      |from leaves by an     |
  |of a more or less     |                      |evident stem.         |
  |lilac or pink colour. |                      |                      |
  |                      |                      |                      |
  |_Calyx_ of 5 fine     |_Calyx_, much as 1.   |                      |
  |ciliated teeth—the    |                      |                      |
  |lower of which is the |                      |                      |
  |longest—about half the|                      |                      |
  |length of the flower. |                      |                      |
  |                      |                      |                      |
  |_Corolla_, Standard   |_Corolla_, much as 1. |                      |
  |with a long straight  |                      |                      |
  |tube.                 |                      |                      |
  |                      |                      |                      |
  |_Leaves_ trifoliate,  |_Leaves_ of 3         |_Leaves_ of 3 ovate   |
  |more or less hairy;   |leaflets, more or less|leaflets, with less   |
  |leaflets ovate, either|ovate, with the white |distinct triangular   |
  |broadly lanceolate, or|triangular marking 3  |spot than 2, clothed  |
  |notched at the apex;  |times the size of 1,  |with silky hairs.     |
  |all having a more or  |but less hairy.       |                      |
  |less triangular white |                      |                      |
  |marking in their      |                      |                      |
  |centre.               |                      |                      |
  |                      |                      |                      |
  |_Stem_ solid,         |_Stem_ sometimes      |_Stem_ variable,      |
  |channelled or angular,|fistular, more or less|sometimes fistular    |
  |purple.               |channelled or ribbed, |mostly quite round and|
  |                      |mostly free from      |smooth sometimes; but |
  |                      |hairs, purple upwards.|not generally hairy.  |
  |                      |                      |                      |
  |_Root_ descending, but|_Root_ tapering with  |_Root_ as 2.          |
  |considerably branched.|lateral branches.     |                      |
  |                      |                      |                      |
  |_Whole plant_ more or |_Whole plant_, smooth,|_Whole plant_,        |
  |less  clothed  with   |compared with 1, still|remarkable for its    |
  |silky hairs.          |more or less hairy.   |hairy leaves and      |
  |                      |                      |generally smooth round|
  |                      |                      |stems.                |
  |                      |                      |                      |
  |Height from 5 to 8    |Height 16 inches.     |Height 18 inches.     |
  |inches.               |                      |                      |
  +----------------------+----------------------+----------------------+

Now, although the study of the characters, as here laid down with the
specimens in our hand, may render it tolerably easy to distinguish the
three forms here described, yet it must be confessed that whether we
examine a series of the wilder plants from different positions, or
different samples of the cultivated broad-leaved clovers, we shall find
great variations; the principal of these will be discussed in another
chapter: we may here, then, for the present leave this difficult subject
of how to distinguish cow-grass and broad-leaved or red clover, with the
observation that the common red clover is uniformly in flower two or
three weeks before the other.

2. _Trifolium medium_ (see Plate)—Zigzag Trefoil—gets its English name
from the peculiar bends in its stem, which being at alternate sides,
make up the zigzag outline. The stems are rounded—not channelled,—mostly
of a purple colour, and clothed with short hairs. The leaves are smooth,
with elliptical—not emarginate—leaflets, sometimes, but seldom, with the
white lunulate spot. The calyx is smooth. The heads of flowers are
solitary, on very short footstalks; they are of a bright pinkish red
hue, and not of the lilac colour of the common clover.

[Illustration: Trifolium medium. Zigzag Trefoil.]

In its wild state the zigzag clover will be found in districts
remarkable for the absence of lime, such as the sandstones. In the sandy
deposits accompanying the coal in Wales, as also in Staffordshire, this
is the prevailing form of clover. Hence, then, this species seemed to
recommend itself for sandy lands, in which the common clover does not so
well succeed; and we conceive that, as a consequence, it was brought
into cultivation for this capability of “holding on” to such soils,
which, if they will not grow the other kind, is considered clover sick.
We have reason to think that the _T. medium_ and _T. pratense_ are not
distinct species, but that the difference in their usual habitats has
determined their difference in form, and we think that the _T. pratense
perenne_ of the seedsman is a form intermediate between the two: if
so the position of the three may be expressed as follows:—

  _Trifolium pratense._            _Trifolium medium._
              _Trifolium pratense perenne._

At all events, if this plant was ever distinct in cultivation, it has
merged into broad clover forms; so that, if we are to possess it as a
separate plant, it must again be grown from wild seed, and then, if it
is to be kept pure, it must not be cultivated on clays or limestone, or,
if our view be correct, it will soon lose its true distinctive
characters.

3. _Trifolium incarnatum_—Annual Carnation or Crimson Clover—is a large
species with oblong heads of flowers of a fine carnation colour, hence
its common name of “Carnation Clover.” It is a native of Southern
Europe, and is said to have been found wild at the Lizard, in Cornwall.
As a cultivated plant, it has not long been introduced into England,
where it has been much grown in the southern counties, as there it can
be sown soon enough on the wheat stubbles with only just a simple
harrowing-in, when it has time to make a plant sufficiently strong to
resist winter; this soon makes growth in the spring, giving an early
feed, or it may be mown; in either case it is off the land sufficiently
early to allow of a late sowing of turnips: so that, where the climate
will allow of it, we may snatch an intermediate crop by means of the
carnation clover. It yields a large crop, but its feeding qualities,
according to Dr. Voelcker, are somewhat inferior to those of the
broad-leaved clover. It should be noted that varieties having white
flowers are in the market, and of both red and white there are earlier
and later sorts which may be useful for succession.

4. _Trifolium hybridum_—Alsike Clover—has, perhaps, got its specific
name from possessing appearances and qualities intermediate between the
broad-leaf and the Dutch clovers. This species has been introduced from
Sweden, and its growth, duration, and feeding qualities certainly
entitle it to rank high, and more especially for growth on some of the
stronger soils. In our experience we have not found it to possess such
eminent perennial habits as have been claimed for it. It thins very much
after the second year, and almost disappears in three years, unless it
be renovated by being allowed to seed, when the new plants by no means
attain to the vigour of their parents.

5. _Trifolium fragiferum_—Strawberry-headed Clover—has been named from
the strawberry-like form which its head, of enlarged coloured calyxes,
assumes after flowering; its flowers are pinkish, but otherwise of much
the same size and form as those of the Dutch clover, which latter it
again approaches in its creeping habit and form of its foliage. It is,
however, here mentioned only to point out the difference of its habits
and indications when compared with the Dutch or white clover. The
strawberry trefoil is a native of cold wet pastures, such as bear the
name of “hungry clays;” when present in quantity it is not to be
confounded with Dutch clover, which would indicate a sound fertile soil.

6. _Trifolium repens_—White Dutch Clover—is a plant of very general
cultivation, both at home and in the States, and in both of which
quarters of the globe it maintains its character with great constancy.

Dutch clover is a valuable pasture plant either in meadows or in seeds.
In the former it is much increased by the addition of nitrates, soot,
&c., with guano or superphosphate. As a plant, in seed mixtures, it is
usually sown with other trifoliate plants and rye grasses, but if the
soil be very light the Dutch clover may be increased or wholly used.

7. _Trifolium filiforme_—Small Yellow Clover—is one of the least of our
small yellow-flowered division. It is a common native species occurring
on the waysides, and has been brought into cultivation to only a limited
extent, under the impression that its small herbage is suitable as a
first bite for young stock, and hence the term “suckling clover” has
been applied to it. It is of little value, and does not seem capable of
being greatly improved. This species is often mistaken for the
following, even by pretended botanists, but its lax head of smaller
flowers will well distinguish it.

8. _Trifolium procumbens_ is called by the botanist “Hop Trefoil,” from
the fact that its dried head of persistent flowers[6] exactly resembles
small bunches of hop _strobiles_ (fruiting heads). The foliage is much
like that of _Medicago lupulina_, nonsuch, or black medick, which is the
“hop” of the farmer; but the whole plant of the true hop trefoil dries
up so quickly under the sunshine, and is withal so wanting in succulency
and quality, that it cannot be compared with _M. lupulina_ as a fodder
plant, and hence it is but little cultivated in the present day.

[6] Flowers are so called that remain enveloping the seed while it
ripens, which they do in all the clovers.

There are other clovers which have been recommended for cultivation,
but they are mostly foreign, and do not appear to possess those
qualities which should lead us to prefer them before those in common
use. There are, too, several additional wild clovers, but they possess
no agricultural interest, unless, perhaps, as indicators of soil. The
_Trifolium pratense_ (Hare’s-foot Trefoil) is a pretty, wild species,
native to light sandy soils, the seed of which is sold for growing
“bedding plants.”



CHAPTER XIX.

ON THE VARIETIES OF RED CLOVERS.


The _Trifolium pratense_ of botanical authors is remarkable for the
great number of varieties it assumes, even in its wild growth; but these
are exceeded in the number of cultivated forms: thus in any rich meadow
we may make out several sorts which may be expected to be more or less
permanent, whilst the market samples of seed will offer us several
varieties for the different countries of America, England, France,
Holland, Germany, &c.

The following are some of the more prominent of our native wild
varieties:—

     1. _Trifolium pratense_—Common Red Clover.—Head of pink; flowers,
     somewhat compact; leaves more or less broad; plant smooth[7] in
     proportion to its size, the smaller wild specimens being usually
     very hairy; stem more or less purple.

[7] In this, as well as the generality of forms, the smoother and larger
growth indicates cultivation, manuring will sometimes make the
difference.

     2. _Trifolium pratense_, var. _pallidum_—Pale-flowered Clover.—Head
     of very light pink; flowers large, full, and more rotund than 1,
     and almost double in size and in the number of its flowers; whole
     plant more or less hairy; stem green.

     3. _Trifolium pratense_, var. _album_—White Clover.—Flowers white;
     herbage a very light green; in other respects much the same as the
     last.

     4. _Trifolium pratense perenne_—Perennial Red Clover.—Flowers less
     compact than the common clover, whole plant having stems inclining
     to dark purple; leaves narrower.

     5. _Trifolium pratense perenne_, sub-var. _pallidum_—Pale Perennial
     Clover.—A larger plant than the parent form, and less hairy.

     6. _Trifolium pratense perenne_, sub-var. _album_—White Perennial
     Clover.—Not common, but still, like 3, an albino form, and is,
     perhaps, more delicate in constitution than the coloured sorts.

Now, it appears to us that the descendants of the two types, _Trifolium
pratense_ and _T. medium_ (see Plate) form the basis of the red or
broad-leaved clover on the one hand, and the perennial or cow-grass
clover on the other; whilst the market varieties have, perhaps, been
modified by climate, soil, and probably hybridization with other sorts.
It may, indeed, be that, after all, the plants described in chapter
XVII. as two distinct species are only varieties, for though the common
form of _T. pratense_ grows everywhere on mixed soils, the more sandy
positions, as the sandstones connected with the coal in South Wales,
offer a greater abundance of the _T. medium_; and, from experiments
conducted with seed of this latter obtained from near Swansea,
Glamorgan, and sown on forest marble clay of the Cotteswolds, we
certainly obtained plants differing very much from the typical form of
_T. medium_, and assuming the usual broad-leaved clover variations.

Here, then, is opened up a curious subject for inquiry, which the
history of the seed trade as it relates to clover-seed may tend in some
measure to elucidate. Some few years ago _T. pratense_ and _T. medium_
were advertised as on sale by most seedsmen; in fact, the latter was the
name by which what is now called cow-grass clover was known. Now,
however, it is doubtful if any seedsman would pretend to send out the
_T. medium_; but the label _T. pratense perenne_ has been substituted
for it.

Sinclair’s figure of “Trifolium medium, marl-clover, cow-grass,” in the
“Hortus Gramineus Woburnensis,” facing page 141, is scarcely a true form
of the plant, as its more or less emarginate leaflets incline to the
form of _T. pratense_; and yet, at the time this author wrote, even this
was doubtful. _T. medium_ was difficult to obtain, as he says, “All the
seeds and plants I have had for this (except that from Messrs. Gibbs &
Co., which proved to be the present plant—_T. medium_ of Sinclair) have
turned out only two-year lived plants, or never exceeding three, though
cultivated on various soils.” We have repeatedly written for seed, and
ten years ago were always supplied with samples so labelled; but in no
case did we get it. Latterly seedsmen honestly confess that they have
not the seed, but can send _T. pratense perenne_.

Now, that this latter is merely a variety of the broad-leaved clover
there can be but little doubt; still the fact that it is usually more
perennial in its habit is of importance. We may easily understand why it
should be so, if we consider that the common broad-leaved clover in its
cultivation is so much earlier than the cow-grass form, so that this
enables two cuttings of the former to be made in one season, two crops
of hay being taken very commonly indeed; and as the plant gets well in
flower before it is cut the first time, and seed is saved from the
second crop, a more exhaustive plan for the crop itself or its future
perennial powers could hardly be brought about. The cow-grass clover,
however, is a fortnight and more later, which renders it difficult to
cut two crops; and so its method of growth is not so exhaustive. We know
that the common wild clover is said to last only two years, but with
constant depasturing we see no reason why the same roots should not send
up herbage for five or even ten years.

However theoretical such inquiries may be deemed, yet it must be
confessed that they are of great practical importance; for, if a plant
has a tendency to run into varieties, it makes it daily more difficult
to get its seed true to sort; and if we are liable to have a sample,
part of which may be less hardy or part more tardy in its development,
it follows that much of it may never arrive at maturity, whilst if it
does, as the crop will be uneven, it can never be reckoned upon for so
good a yield.

Much of the variable nature of the sorts which we observe in a
clover-field may be the result of the mixing of seeds from different and
distant localities: if so, it is much to be regretted. But this only
tends to show us how important it is that seed should be grown with
care, to which end, as regards clover-seed, we sadly want some
well-conducted experiments on different varieties, especially of a wild
native plant, with a view to obtain a sample with good, permanent, and
even qualities. In fact, the question of true of sort is altogether
different from that of purity of sample; but that very serious mischief
arises from the want of the latter will be discussed in another
chapter.



CHAPTER XX.

ON THE CLOVER ALLIES.


Besides the clovers proper, there are many native plants of the same
natural order that have been found useful as fodder: these it is now
proposed to comment upon, premising that as we have had them all under
cultivation, we are enabled to discuss their merits from a practical
point of view.

Of these, the following is a list of the genera:—

     I. ULEX.—A spinous shrub.

     II. ANTHYLLIS.—Flowers in a dense head, with white expanded
     calyces.

     III. LOTUS.—Flowers in lax heads; pod straight, many-seeded.

     IV. MEDICAGO.—Flowers various; pod spirally twisted.

     V. MELILOTUS.—Flowers in spikes, drooping to one side; pod
     straight, few-seeded.

     VI. ONOBRYCHIS.—Flowers in spikes, drooping; pod wrinkled,
     one-seeded.

     VII. VICIA.—Flowers single or spicate in the axils of the leaves;
     pod straight, many-seeded.

     VIII. LATHYRUS.—Flowers one or many on long footstalks.


I. ULEX—_Furze_.

A genus of shrubby, spinous, pea-flowered plants, by far too common on
our sandy heaths and wild hilly places, with varieties occupying wet
commons.

We possess, according to authors, some two or three native species; but
we incline to the belief that they are only varieties of the common _U.
Europæus_, of which these seem to be large and dwarf forms. This plant,
under the name of furze or gorse, has been from time to time highly
extolled as a fodder plant, and machines have been invented for bruising
its complicated spines; but although it will doubtless grow where
scarcely anything else can be got to succeed, yet, taking into
consideration the expense attendant upon its growth and utilization, and
the low feeding powers which it possesses, we cannot at all agree in
recommending its general use. It is, however, but right here to say that
articles are from time to time inserted in such journals as the
_Agricultural Gazette_, the authors of which advocate the growth of
furze as an agricultural plant, and highly extol its feeding qualities;
still, as our own experience would lead us to conclude that as even
young stock scarcely hold their own upon this plant, we cannot recommend
it as possessing very valuable properties.


II. ANTHYLLIS—_Ladies’ Fingers_.

The _Anthyllis vulneraria_ is well distinguished in its young state from
its sometimes entire lancet-shaped, at others pinnate leaves, growing
close to the ground. These are usually clothed with long hairs, and it
has expanded downy calyces, when full grown. In its young condition it
has been very much extolled for sheep pasturage, while its hay is said
to be abundant and nutritious, though grown on the very poorest of
soils. That it will grow more upright where sown, one plant drawing up
another, we know from experience, but we have little faith in any very
superior qualities being found in plants that can grow so well under
extremely poor conditions of soil; still it is just possible that its
herbage may improve in quantity and quality by liberal treatment; yet we
must conclude that, as we already possess much better plants for growing
on better soils, we do not think much can be gained by its cultivation.

As a plant for hay it will yield a good cut, but its extreme hairyness
and general want of what the farmer calls “proof” will never allow this
plant to be extensively grown.


III. LOTUS—_Bird’s-foot Trefoil_.

This plant is well known by its loosely-packed heads of bright yellow
flowers, which are succeeded by long slender pods, dark-coloured or even
black when ripe, and not inaptly likened to a crow’s foot; and hence the
name “Crowsfoot” which it commonly bears. We have three species, as
follow:—

1. _Lotus corniculatus_—Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil—is common, especially
in dry meadows, in which its herbage is duly appreciated by sheep and
cattle, if one may judge from the pertinacity with which it is kept
down. It is no bad adjunct to the rick. We are so convinced of its value
as always to recommend its use in the laying down of light land for
permanent pasture, and a little seed sown in old meadows after a
dressing of rubbish—old mortar, town refuse, &c.—will tend greatly to
the improvement of the herbage.

2. _Lotus tenuis_—Slender-leaved Bird’s-foot Trefoil—is, perhaps, only a
variety of the former; it is, however, smaller in all its parts, and,
though a denizen of stiff soils, occurs chiefly in a wild state on the
margins of fields and on hedge-banks. It might be employed under the
same circumstances as the _L. corniculatus_, especially in thin
clay-beds on upland brashes; but it hardly possesses such good
qualities.

3. _Lotus major_—Larger Bird’s-foot Trefoil—is much larger in all its
parts than the other species. It occurs in moist situations, about
bushes in wet land, in ditches, watercourses, and damp places generally.
We have experimented upon the growth of this plant in artificial
meadows, and from the size which it attains quite early in summer, and
the quantity of wholesome keep it is capable of affording, we are
disposed to think well of it as an occasional shifting crop, or it might
be well combined with rye-grass in deep stiff soils.


IV. MEDICAGO—_Medick, &c._

This genus is principally distinguished from _Trifolium_ by its twisted
seed-pods, which in the _Medicago maculata_ (Spotted-leaved Medick) form
quite a spiral coil, ornamented with a double fringe of stiff spines.
This plant is now becoming general as an agrarian weed, having been
greatly spread, owing to its intermixture with foreign seeds of
different kinds.

The agricultural species are:—

_Medicago lupulina_—Yellow Sickle Medick.—“Hop trefoil” of the farmer,
but not of the botanist, who gives this name to the _Trifolium
procumbens_ (which see). From this latter the medick is easily
distinguished by its heads of naked, blackened, incurved seed-vessels.
As an agricultural plant it is of great value, especially in mixtures
called “seeds.” It is a good adjunct to rye-grasses and common clovers,
especially on light soils; but on good strong land which will bear a
full crop of broad-leaved clover it would be mostly smothered out, and,
if not, as we think it is properly held to be less nutritious than
clover, its use is not recommended where first-rate clover crops can be
grown.

We have seen this trefoil grown with sainfoin to great advantage, as it
yields a tolerable crop for the first two years, and then declines, just
as the sainfoin has got possession of the soil.

2. _Medicago sativa_—Lucerne—is a perfectly perennial plant, which,
though not so much grown in England as it deserves, yet scarcely needs
description; however, its purple flowers and smooth twisted seed-pods
serve to distinguish it from the rest of the genus. We have grown this
plant upwards of a foot high by the 1st of May, and taken no less than
three cuttings of a good succulent herbage in one season. These
qualities point out lucerne as an excellent green-food plant, for which
purpose we should always, where practicable, recommend that at least a
patch should be grown near the stable, as there is reason to believe
that its alterative effects upon the horses are of a most salutary kind.
It should be cultivated in drills of from 15 to 18 inches apart; and, if
properly weeded and not let get too old before cutting, it will last for
many years with an occasional dressing of manure.

We once had a patch one half of which was purposely neglected by way of
comparison with the other half, which was well cared for; that portion
left to itself yielded but poor crops, and almost disappeared at the end
of four years, whilst the other portion scarcely began to decline after
ten years. This remark applies with full force to all the green-food
crops of this order. Weeding early, mowing when cut, and an occasional
top-dressing, would increase the durability of all the perennial
species.


V. MELILOTUS—_Melilot_.

These are pea-flowered plants, with ternate leaves, and spikes of
flowers drooping to one side: it is named from _mel_, honey, in allusion
to its flavour, and the genus _Lotus_, by which we may understand it to
be a sweet-scented lotus-like plant. We have two native species,
distinguished thus:—

_Melilotus officinalis_, an annual, with yellow flowers.

_M. leucantha_, a biennial, with white flowers.

Of these we may conclude that the flavour, which is like that of the
_Anthoxanthum odoratum_—sweet vernal grass—is too strong and bitter to
allow of its being recommended for culture alone; but we are inclined to
think that, if grown in small quantity with seeds, or if a separate
patch be cut and arranged sandwich-wise in the seed-rick, the melilots
would give that sweet flavour which seems to be the principal cause of
the superior qualities and sweetness of natural meadow as compared with
artificial grasses.

Seeds have been forwarded to us of what is named “Cabool Clover,” and
another packet labelled “Bokhara Clover,” both of which appear to belong
to the _M. leucantha_, though certainly of a larger form than our native
species, and probably consisting of the _M. leucantha major_. This
latter must be cut young if used as recommended, as it soon gets woody.
A correspondent of the Royal Agricultural Society has recently
recommended the full-grown plant for paper-making; and, if of value for
this purpose, we can affirm from experience that a large yield can be
got from soils of a very inferior quality, as our experiments on its
growth have been made on a very stiff and poor bed of forest marble
clay.


VI. ONOBRYCHIS—_Sainfoin_.

Sainfoin, or “holy fodder” of the French, is distinguished by its
brilliant spike of pink variegated flowers, which droop to one side, its
winged leaves of from six to eight pairs of oval leaflets, which are
entire, that is, undivided at the margin, and its short, rounded,
wrinkled, and spinose seed-vessels. The forms in cultivation are—

_Onobrychis sativa_—Common Sainfoin. _Onobrychis sativa_, var.
_bifera_—Giant Sainfoin. Of these the former has the preference in
England, whilst the latter is much grown in France. Our experiments with
both lead us to conclude, that although the former flowers but once and
the latter twice in the season, the _O. sativa_ still gives the greatest
amount of food, as the second crop of the giant sort is usually poor and
straggling, with but little leaf; while the common sort sends up a thick
growth of leaves after being cut.

The _O. sativa bifera_ is but a variety of the _O. sativa_, as by long
continuance of growth from the same seed in this country it reverts to
the common form; and hence the giant sort should be frequently renewed
from an imported stock. Sainfoin has been much cultivated on calcareous
soils, more especially on the free-stones of the oolite rocks, and on
the chalk, off which formations it is scarcely known, except on some
calcareous sands in the eastern counties. In the limestone and chalk
districts sainfoin is grown as a permanent crop, and formerly lasted six
or eight years. In the eastern counties the little there grown is by way
of a shifting crop, in the same place and manner as common clover. The
permanency of sainfoin is yearly becoming greatly diminished from the
circumstance that its seed is so much mixed with that of the burnet,
_Poterium sanguisorba_, var. _muricata_. To such an extent does this
evil occur, that we have examined samples of sainfoin seed in which
there were at the rate of from twenty to forty thousand of burnet
seed-pods per bushel; and when we consider that these pods have for the
most part two ripened seeds, and those of a plant growing so much more
rapidly than the sainfoin, we can form some notion how the desired crop
is soon smothered and overpowered by the burnet, which at best is but a
rank weed, of no agricultural value; for whatever of good there may be
in our ordinary native salad burnet, which is a smaller and more
succulent plant, this sticky foreign interloper cannot possibly have any
claim to our regard.

The reason why it has gone on so long unchallenged is that the
burnet-seed, though of an entirely different shape from the sainfoin, is
somewhat of the same colour; and then in their growth both plants have
winged leaves, and the difference between the entire leaflets of the
sainfoin and the toothed leaflets of the burnet did not at first strike
the farmer; now, however, the difference is better understood, and
farmers begin to require that the burnet-seed shall be sifted from the
sainfoin. This of course will demand the payment of a better price for
the better sample, as in the process of sifting many of the smaller
sainfoin seeds go through with the burnet; but this will be well worth
a better price, as the larger seeds will undoubtedly tend to produce a
better crop.

If, however, there should be any doubt about pure sainfoin seed, we
should recommend the decorticated seed being used, as in it the burnet
could not possibly escape detection.

As the history of burnet is so important in connection with the sainfoin
crop, it cannot be out of place to introduce the following description
of this weed:—

The _Sanguisorba officinalis_ (false burnet), as a wild plant, never
attains any great size, and as it is a denizen of dry calcareous
pastures and broken ground on limestones, and perfectly harmless in its
properties in this condition, it is scarcely noticeable as a weed;
indeed, it is sometimes recommended for permanent pasture admixture on
calcareous uplands. There is, however, a larger form of the false
burnet, which is now attracting considerable attention, as being by far
too constant an attendant upon sainfoin seed.

This plant is referred by Professor Babington and the Continental
botanists to another species, viz., _Poterium muricatum_, which is by
them distinguished from the _P. sanguisorba_; but is “usually larger in
all its parts” (Bab.), with a larger and more decidedly four-winged
fruit. We, however, agree with Bentham in considering this to be a
variety only, and, in fact, an agrarian form, induced by its seed being
gathered with a crop and treated as a crop plant, so that its larger
form may be easily accounted for; and we are not wanting in evidence to
show that, under cultivation, the _P. sanguisorba_ greatly increases in
size, while, if left to grow wild, the cultivated form relapses into
the wilder state. But we incline to think that the agrarian burnet has
got into agriculture by being introduced with foreign seeds; and as its
introduction seems to have been small at first, it attracted but little
notice; for as the leaves both of the burnet and sainfoin were pinnate,
the difference that the botanist would observe in the leaflets, _i.e._
the former being serrate, and those of the latter having an entire
margin, would hardly attract the attention of the farmer; however, it
soon became so serious a matter that some crops of so-called sainfoin,
in their second or third year, presented as much as 90 per cent. of
burnet, and as the latter grew taller than the sainfoin, it effectually
smothered it out, and in its place supplied a sticky, non-succulent, and
innutritious herbage, that made farmers begin to inquire seriously about
the seed.

Here, however, as the seeds, or rather the fruits, of both plants were
pretty much of the same colour, and both wrinkled, samples of fully half
burnet passed muster in the seed-market; and, though these fruits are so
different in shape and size, yet we were astonished to find that, during
the trial of an action against a seedsman for supplying sainfoin seed
containing a large quantity of burnet when good sainfoin seed was paid
for, the judge, jury, and most of the farmers present confessed their
inability to distinguish them; it becomes, therefore, at this point, a
duty to describe the two.

[Illustration: _Fig. 32._]

Fig. 32 _a_ represents a short wrinkled pea-pod, broad at the back and
thin in front, as seen in the section _b_. In the interior is a single
pulse-seed, which is easily freed from its wrinkled shell.

[Illustration: _Fig. 33._]

Fig. 33 _a_ is a drawing of a fruit of false burnet. The section _b_
shows it to be quadrangular, with a wing at each angle, and to possess
two seeds in each capsule. The capsules are rather muricated (_i.e._
furnished with short excrescences, and not regularly wrinkled, like the
sainfoin). Now the burnet is easily separable from a sample of sainfoin,
as the former readily passes through the sieve; but the objection to
sift it may be well understood when the bulk is diminished by the amount
of the burnet, and also that of the smaller sainfoin seeds, which pass
through at the same time.

The best plan, then, to pursue is to mill the sainfoin seed, in which
case its outer covering is removed, and you simply have a sample of
kidney-shaped pure seed-like enlarged clover-seeds, in which the burnet
may be detected, because it will not mill, but simply gets its wings
broken off, so that the wrinkled two-seeded capsule still remains.

Now the fact of the burnet being a two-seeded capsule is most important
to be noticed, as, from analyses we have made of dirty sainfoin crops,
we have estimated as follows:—

  +-------------------------------+----------+--------+----------+
  |           Crops.              | Sainfoin | Burnet |  Other   |
  |                               |  Plant.  | Plant. |  Weeds.  |
  +-------------------------------+----------+--------+----------+
  |Crop in Berkshire, 3rd year    |    10    |   50   | 40 = 100 |
  |Crop in Cirencester, 3rd year  |     5    |   25   | 70 = 100 |
  +-------------------------------+----------+--------+----------+

Here, then, we have a large proportion of burnet, surely much more than
could be accounted for from the number of capsules, at least we will
hope so; but when we consider that the capsule of the sainfoin is
_single-seeded_ and that of the burnet is _two-seeded_, we may readily
conceive how each capsule of the latter may at least grow a single seed,
but the best sample of the former could hardly be expected to all come
up. Now, as we have as many as 64,000 capsules of burnet in a bushel of
sainfoin seed, that × 2 = 128,000 seeds, and when we consider that the
burnet grows so much faster than the sainfoin, we have two elements for
the success of the former, namely, the certainty of getting its crop,
and the equal certainty of smothering out a large proportional of what
may germinate of the seeds of the sainfoin.

This matter would not be of such importance if the burnet was equal in
point of feeding properties, but it is not so, for whatever quality be
in the smaller and more succulent _P. sanguisorba_ form, the _P.
muricatum_ is, on the contrary, hard and woody, and almost useless.



CHAPTER XXI.

ON CLOVER SICKNESS.


In considering the important question involved in the term “Clover
sickness,” we would first direct attention to the fact that crop clover
is a derivative plant which has been so _forced_ that it is many times
larger and more juicy and succulent than the wild plant from which it
sprung. This _derived_ nature (the propensity, as it were, for
fattening) can only be maintained by a continuance from one generation
to another of those luxuries to which the cultivated family has been
accustomed; hence, then, if seed be brought from a richer soil to a
poorer, or from a warmer to a colder climate, we may expect that its
plants grown amid barley and drawn up during the summer would have but a
poor constitution to withstand the rigours of winter; but can we in such
a case say that the _land_ is clover-sick, that is, sick of growing
clover?

Of course the seed here supposed will grow better in one place than in
another, as, for example, we have traced some American seed of
broad-leaved clover grown by itself in a deep rich soil in the Vale of
Gloucester, where the climate is so much milder as to be a fortnight
before the elevated land of the Cotteswold Hills and producing an
abundant crop; while the same forming part of a mixture of “seeds” with
rye-grass and plantain on the hills, the two latter have taken
possession of the soil, and the clover made no progress at all; whilst
other seed, under precisely the same circumstances, has done remarkably
well.

That there is much reason for these conclusions will be found in the
fact that the more seed we import from warmer climates the more
difficult is it found to make the land produce a plant; still
importation is rapidly on the increase, because warmer climates can
produce seed more certainly and in greater quantity than we can at home.

The difficulty of growing from foreign seed increases in proportion to
the thinness of the soil and the backwardness of the climate, so that
the elevated districts on the stony Cotteswolds just adverted to
present, perhaps, more of the so-called clover-sick land than any other
of like extent.

The seed of clover, then, has become more and more pampered—more the
offspring of large crops from deep alluvial soils under the tropical
summer heat of the south of France and the United States, where it is
grown as a self-crop and not fed merely on what the corn could not carry
away; and so while this enervation, or, if preferred, this civilization,
of plant has gone on, we expect its seed all at once to withstand the
shock of a lower temperature with constant climatal changes and cutting
winds; and if it does not succeed, we say that the land is clover-sick,
when, in truth, it is the seed that sickens under these new and trying
conditions. As well may we say that the Northern States sicken of the
negro, because he there dies out so rapidly, or that the warm south
sickens of humanity, because those who are unacclimated sicken and die
there.

Another circumstance which has contributed to an increased difficulty
in growing clover on thin soils will be found in the farmer discarding
as antiquated the practice of paring and burning, which was formerly the
usual preparation for the turnip crop. In a paper on “Paring and
Burning,” in the 18th volume of the _Journal of the Royal Agricultural
Society_, Professor Voelcker remarks:—

     The ashes produced by paring and burning are especially useful to
     turnips, and also to other green crops, because they contain a
     large proportion of phosphates and potash—constituents which, it is
     well known, favour in a high degree the luxuriant growth of
     root-crops.

Further, the learned professor closes a most able paper with the
following conclusions:—

     Paring and burning, instead of being an antiquated operation, is a
     practice the advantages of which are fully confirmed and explained
     by modern chemical science.

Paring and burning, to judge from our own experience, had the effect of
converting some of the hard limestone brash into lime, in which case it
broke up by the influences of air and rain, and so restored the lime and
alumina which mostly exist together in limestone, the former of which is
quickly lost in thin soils,—so much so, indeed, that not unfrequently
the whole depth of soil, even upon a limestone, will often be curiously
devoid of lime, which is a necessary ingredient in the constitution of a
clover crop.

Again, we should conclude that the operation under discussion, from its
decomposing that dark vegetable matter called _humus_, which is always
found in large quantities on some of the soils which are called
“_dead_,” from their inability to produce crops, and which often cause
astonishment that such black, nice-looking earth should be unproductive.
Now this soil, though it would favour the growth of some species of
peat-loving plants, as Ling, Heath, &c., is not suitable for clover, as
the wild plant is curiously absent from peaty positions.

Professor Voelcker remarks that “the excess of undecomposed organic
matters in soils is decidedly injurious to vegetation. Roots, stems, and
other vegetable matters remain buried in the ground for years without
undergoing decomposition, and if we attentively study the subjoined
analysis of soil in the neighbourhood of Cirencester, well adapted for
burning, we shall see how the _lime_, _alumina_, and _organic matter_
might be beneficially affected by the process:—

ANALYSIS OF SOIL ADAPTED FOR BURNING, BY PROFESSOR VOELCKER.

  Moisture                                             ·93
  Organic matter                                     10·67
  Oxides of iron and alumina                         13·40
  Carbonate of lime with a little sulphate of lime   23·90
  Carbonate of magnesia                               1·10
  Phosphoric acid                                    trace
  Potash                                               ·38
  Soda                                                 ·13
  Insoluble silicious matter                         49·66
                                                    ------
                                                    100·17”

The ashes, however, are obtained by burning a thin slice pared from the
surface of the land, so that they are derived from surface-soil and
vegetable matter, the latter often yielding a sufficient amount of
phosphoric acid with which to procure a crop, and, what is all important
for us to consider is, that this phosphorus, the alkalies, and lime, are
rendered by the burning in a state just fitted for the growth of the
plants that are to be grown upon them; whereas, before the process,
these ingredients were in a measure locked up, so that plants could not
grow for the want of sustenance; not that it was not in the soil, but
that it was insoluble. If, then, clover or any other plant had not
succeeded, it would have been called “clover-sick.”

The following analysis of vegetable ashes from a field in the
neighbourhood of Cirencester will well repay attentive consideration, as
illustrating these points:—

ANALYSIS OF ASHES FROM PARING AND BURNING, BY PROFESSOR VOELCKER.

  Moisture and organic matter          9·12
  Oxides of iron and alumina          14·56
  Carbonate of lime                   17·17
  Sulphate of lime                     1·73
  Magnesia                              ·40
  Chloride of sodium                    ·08
  Chloride of potassium                 ·32
  Potash                               1·44
  Phosphoric acid                      1·84
    Equal to bone earth               (3·98)
  Soluble silica (soluble in potash)   8·70
  Insoluble silicious matter          44·64
                                     ------
                                     100·00

Now, that land so burnt and containing such ingredients would, after the
process, refuse to grow clovers we cannot at all believe; but we do know
that some of the land of a like composition will not grow even a crop of
turnips until prepared as described; and though the taking a subsequent
barley crop off before the clover would not tend to the improvement of
the latter, it will be too often because the barley has taken all the
available manurial matter, so that there is little left for the clover
to feed upon. In such cases we have seen the clover saved by top
dressing. Paring and burning had also a salutary effect upon the clover
crop in the destruction which it wrought to various insect pests, and
more especially the wire-worm, which now makes such increasing inroads
upon our crops of wheat and barley, and so afterwards in the clover; so
that bare patches, often of great extent, will be the consequence in
every crop in the rotation. Now, these bare patches in the clover crop
are often appealed to as evidence of clover-sickness, whilst we do not
at the same time say that land is wheat-sick or barley-sick.

Insects, indeed, are yearly becoming more destructive, not only on
account of the difference in the mode of farming, but greatly from the
determined destruction of birds. The food of birds is in general very
mixed, but at one season of the year, when they are breeding, they are
most industrious destroyers of insects; but it is just at this time that
they are kept from the crops, exactly when insects are working the most
mischief: hence, then, as the exigencies of a small growing family
become more and more pressing, birds are driven to feed their young upon
seeds, fruits, buds, and other vegetable matters, as unsuitable to build
up the constitution of the young bird as bread diet for an infant.

Let, however, our grand birds of prey be encouraged, instead of being
shot by the keeper as vermin, or knocked over by the prowling
bird-stuffer, in order to be perched up in a box for sale to some
Cockney, who would fain be considered as fond of sport because his
“den,” perchance, contains a stuffed owl, hawk, magpie, or some other
_specimen_.

On a recent visit to Dorsetshire, on our own farm, we saw a man employed
to “keep the birds” from a field where several labourers were engaged
barley sowing; and it is quite true that, unless he had been there, the
rooks would have as industriously followed the drill as they do the
plough; but, as we thought, scarcely to pick up barley in the breeding
season, when there was metal more attractive in the recently-hatched
_Elater obscurus_, parent of the wireworm, which were thicker than we
ever saw them before, and, doubtless, the disturbance of the soil
brought these and two or three generations of wireworms to the surface.
Now, we do not hesitate to give as our opinion that this birdkeeper
would have done more good to the barley and the succeeding clover crop
by picking up a hundred or two of these beetles and destroying them than
by blazing away at rooks for a twelvemonth, and this certainly might
have been done in an hour or two.

Still, that some soils do get incapable of growing a clover crop is
pretty certain; and it may, we think, be equally settled that this does
not entirely depend upon their having been exhausted of the ingredients
which analysis demonstrates clover to contain, for we certainly have
seen clover succeed after the burning of so-called clover-sick land; and
though there is reason to think that this result was partially due to
the setting free of a fresh supply of manurial ingredients, we are still
convinced that the burning out of humus or peaty vegetable matter and
the destruction of insects had their share in the induced change.

Still, however much we may suppose that the failure of the clover crop
is influenced by the alteration of its constitution as the result of
cultivation, the presence of choking weeds, or by the presence of
prejudicial ingredients, especially in thin soils, there can be no doubt
that the principal cause of the difficulty will be found in the fact
that the corn crop with which the clover is grown exhausts the soil, in
the most unsparing manner, of the very chemical ingredients which the
clover requires.

Thus, if sheep are folded on a crop of turnips, the whole of this crop
is converted into a manure at once available for the grain crop, by
which it is quickly appropriated and then taken away. Here, then, we may
suppose at starting that the clover is half starved; and, with a
constitution drawn up in the effort of the plants to obtain a glance of
sunshine, and weakened for the want of nourishment, it is expected to
bear our inclement winters.

This argument will be made all the clearer if we place side by side the
result of the analyses of barley and clovers, and especially if we
consider what a quantity of mineral matter is taken in a short time, and
by a crop ripening its straw and seed.

Now, if we look at these figures we shall see how much of the mineral
matter required for the clover has been previously abstracted by the
barley, and if at the same time we reflect that this robbery may, and
too often does, co-exist with the other causes which we have instanced
as tending to clover-sickness, we should no more call land sick of
clover because it will not bear this crop under our exhaustive system of
cultivation than we should call a barren sand wheat-sick for refusing to
grow corn.

ANALYSES OF BARLEY AND CLOVER.

  +----------------------+-----------------++-----------------+
  |                      |    PLAYFAIR     ||       WAY.      |
  |                      +--------+--------++--------+--------+
  |                      | Barley | Barley ||  Red   |  White |
  |                      | Grain. | Straw. || Clover.| Clover.|
  +----------------------+--------+--------++--------+--------+
  |Silica                |  28·97 |  46·30 ||  3·34  |  3·68  |
  |Phosphoric acid       |  35·68 |   3·22 ||  6·35  | 11·53  |
  |Sulphuric acid        |   1·22 |   2·61 ||  4·18  |  7·21  |
  |Carbonic acid         |        |        || 16·93  | 18·03  |
  |Lime                  |   3·06 |   7·59 || 35·39  | 26·41  |
  |Magnesia              |   8·04 |   3·55 || 11·22  |  8·15  |
  |                      |and loss|and loss||        |        |
  |Peroxide of iron      |   1·94?|   4·35?||  0·97  |  1·96  |
  |Potash                |  15·61 |  22·17 || 14·85  | 14·33  |
  |Soda                  |   5·03 |   0·84 ||  1·40  |  3·72  |
  |Chloride of sodium    |   0·45 |   9·37 ||  2·36  |  4·94  |
  |Chloride of potassium |        |        ||  2·96  |        |
  |                      | ------ | ------ || -----  | -----  |
  |                      | 100·00 | 100·00 || 99·95  | 99·96  |
  +----------------------+--------+--------++--------+--------+

We cannot better conclude this chapter than by quoting the following
from Baron Liebig’s _Letters on Modern Agriculture_, so ably translated
by Professor Blyth:—

     The simplest peasant has sense enough to see, and all
     agriculturists agree with him, that clover, turnips, hay, &c.,
     cannot be sold off from a farm without most materially damaging the
     cultivation of the corn. Every one willingly admits that the sale
     and exportation of clover, turnips, &c., exercise a detrimental
     influence on the growing of corn. “Above all, let us take care to
     have plenty of fodder; the corn crop will then take care of
     itself.” But that the _exportation of corn_ may possibly exercise
     an injurious influence on the cultivation of clover or turnips;
     that it is, above all, indispensable to restore to the soil the
     mineral constituents of the corn, to enable the clover or turnip
     crop to “take care of itself;” in other words, that in order to
     grow clover, turnip, &c., we must manure the land—this is a notion
     utterly incomprehensible, nay absolutely impossible, for most
     agriculturists. For, is not the clover grown for the sake of
     manure? What advantage, then, would there be if it were necessary
     to manure again to produce the clover? _This clover the farmer
     expects to grow for nothing._

     The mutual relations existing in the order of nature between the
     two classes of plants are, however, as clear as daylight. The
     mineral constituents of the clover, turnips, &c., and of the corn,
     form the conditions for the production of the clover, turnips, &c.,
     and of the corn, and they are in their elements quite identical.
     The clovers, &c., require for their growth a certain amount of
     phosphoric acid, potash, lime, magnesia,—so does the corn. The
     mineral constituents contained in the clover are the same as those
     in the corn, _plus_ a certain excess of potash, lime, and sulphuric
     acid. The clover draws these constituents from the soil; the cereal
     plant receives them,—we may so represent it from the clover. In
     selling his clover, therefore, the farmer removes from his land the
     conditions for the production of corn. If, on the other hand, he
     sells his corn, there will be no clover crop in the following year;
     _for in his corn he has sold some of the most essential conditions
     for the production of a clover crop_.—pp. 183-5.

This discussion, then, upon the so-called clover-sickness leads us to
adopt the following propositions:—

First. That the larger induced plant of our cultivated clovers has not,
as a rule, that perennial constitution of the smaller wild species.

Second. Even its induced habit is much deteriorated by transportation
under adverse climatal circumstances.

Third. The seed itself is often full of weeds, which, by gaining the
mastery, kill out the young clover plant.

Fourth. This effect is enhanced by growing clover with barley, in which,
if not smothered, it must become weakened.

Fifth. We ought not to expect to grow clover where we have taken away
the necessary substances for its growth in the corn crop.



CHAPTER XXII.

ON THE WEEDS OF CLOVERS.


That clover crops are often very full of weeds every farmer must be
fully aware, but few among them have used sufficient penetration to have
discovered the source of most of the weed growth, not only in clovers,
but in other crops: how much, then, may they be expected to be
astonished if told that they cultivate weeds by sowing their seeds as
carefully as they do those of their crops, and that they pay the same
price for weed as for crop seeds!

In the spring of 1859 we published the results of some analyses of the
weed admixtures in several samples of different kinds of clover seeds,
which we annex (table 1, p. 149), adding to them some further results
obtained during the present spring, 1863, by way of comparison.

This presents a formidable array of figures, as it shows how much of
more than mere harmless matter is purchased and sown instead of good
seed; and the fact of the mischief likely to accrue from putting so many
enemies in the place of friends will become all the more plain by a
careful study of the next table (No. 2, p. 150).

Now, in order to make this part of our argument still more complete, we
add another table (No. 3, p. 150), intending to show the number of weed
plants absolutely separated from a single square yard of old seeds
taken from a field on the great oolite rock.

1. TABLE OF WEEDS IN CLOVER SEEDS.

  +-----+--------------------+-----------------+-----------+
  |Date.|       Label.       | Number of Weeds | Average.  |
  |     |                    | per Bushel.     |           |
  +-----+--------------------+-----------------+-----------+
  |1859 | Red Clover         |      66,560     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     140,880     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     245,760     |}  728,333 |
  |     |    Ditto           |     307,200     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |   1,085,440     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |   5,524,160     |}          |
  |     |                    |                 |           |
  |     | Cow-grass Clover   |      40,960     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     102,400     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     307,200     |}  401,066 |
  |     |    Ditto           |     409,600     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     768,000     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     778,240     |}          |
  |     |                    |                 |           |
  |     | White Dutch Clover |     256,000     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |   1,024,000     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |   1,299,840     |}2,768,106 |
  |     |    Ditto           |   1,843,200     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |   4,505,600     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |   7,680,000     |}          |
  |     |                    |                 |           |
  |1863 |    Ditto           |   1,331,200     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     819,200     |}          |
  |     | Alsike Clover      |   1,976,080     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |   1,474,560     |}  820,140 |
  |     | Red Clover         |     614,400     |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |     266,240     |}          |
  |     | Trefoil            |                 |}          |
  |     |    Ditto           |      79,440     |}          |
  +-----+--------------------+-----------------+-----------+

 2. TABLE OF THE NUMBER OF WEEDS SOWN IN CLOVER SEEDS.

  +-------------------+--------+-----+--------+----------+
  |                   | Weeds  |Pints| Weeds  | Weeds to |
  |                   | to     |to an| to an  | a Square |
  |                   | a Pint.|Acre | Acre.  | Yard.    |
  +-------------------+--------+-----+--------+----------+
  |Broad Clover       |  7,840 × 13 = 100,920 |    21    |
  |   Ditto           |  8,400 × 13 = 109,200 |    22    |
  |Cow-grass Clover   | 12,000 × 13 = 156,000 |    32    |
  |   Ditto           |  6,400 × 13 =  83,200 |    17    |
  |White Dutch Clover | 26,560 × 12 = 318,720 |    66    |
  |   Ditto           | 70,400 × 12 = 844,800 |   174    |
  +-------------------+-----------------------+----------+

3. TABLE OF WEEDS IN A SQUARE YARD OF SEEDS.

  +---+---------------------+-----------------------------+------------+
  |No.|   Botanical Name.   |         Trivial Name.       |  Number    |
  |   |                     |                             |    of      |
  |   |                     |                             |Weed-plants.|
  +---+---------------------+-----------------------------+------------+
  |  1| Plantago lanceolata | Narrow-leaved Plantain      |     7      |
  |  2| Ranunculus repens   | Creeping Crowfoot           |     8      |
  |  3| Centaurea scabiosa  | Hard Head                   |     2      |
  |  4| Leontodon taraxacum | Dandelion                   |     2      |
  |  5| Apargia autumnalis  | Autumnal Hawkbit            |     1      |
  |  6| Glechoma hederacea  | Ground Ivy                  |     6      |
  |  7| Prunella vulgaris   | Self Heal                   |     4      |
  |  8| Convolvulus arvensis| Corn Bindweed               |     1      |
  |  9| Æthusa cynapium     | Fool’s Parsley              |     1      |
  | 10| Cerastium arvense   | Mouse-ear                   |     2      |
  | 11| Sherardia arvensis  | Field Madder                |     6      |
  | 12| Triticum repens     | Common Couch                |     2      |
  | 13| Agrostis stolonifera| Creeping Bent               |     4      |
  |                                                       |    --      |
  |Total of weeds in a square yard besides annual grasses.|    46      |
  +-------------------------------------------------------+------------+

These three tables show us not only the fact that the farmer sows weeds
with his crop, but, as will be seen from table 2, quite enough of these
in some cases to stock the land,—how effectually, indeed, may be seen
from table 3, where in arable land we find no less than forty-six plants
other than the crop, and mostly of those species whose seeds will be
traced in dirty samples. To further show that clovers and their mixtures
with grasses called “seeds” have their own peculiar weeds, we subjoin
one other table of the species of weeds observed in three kinds of seed
crops as under:—

1. Old clover and common rye grass (second year).

2. “Old seeds,”—clover, trefoil, common and Italian rye grasses (second
year).

3. New seeds, clover and rye grass (first year).

No. 1 examined on August 31; 2 and 3 on the 24th September, 1859.

4. TABLE OF WEED-PLANTS IN SEEDS.

     The dashes (—) in three columns intimate the occurrence of the
     plants signified in the fields 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

  ---+--------------------------+------------------------+----+----+----
  No.|     Botanical Name.      |      Trivial Name.     |Old.|Old.|New.
     |                          |                        | 1. | 2. | 3.
  ---+--------------------------+------------------------+----+----+----
    1|Knautia arvensis          |Corn Scabious           | —— | .. | ..
    2|Centaurea Jacobea         |Hard Head               | —— | —— | ——
    3|    „     nigra           |Black Head              | —— | .. | ..
    4|Achillea millefolium      |Milfoil                 | —— | .. | ..
    5|Chrysanthemum leucanthemum|Ox-eye                  | —— | .. | ..
    6|Tussilago farfara         |Coltsfoot               | —— | .. | ..
    7|Gnaphalium Germanicum     |Cudweed                 | —— | —— | ——
    8|Anthemis arvensis         |Corn Chamomile          | —— | .. | ..
    9|Bellis perennis           |Daisy                   | .. | —— | ..
   10|Senecio vulgaris          |Groundsel               | —— | —— | ——
   11|Leontodon taraxacum       |Dandelion               | —— | —— | ——
   12|Apargia hispida           |Rough Hawkbit           | —— | .. | ..
   13|   „    autumnalis        |Autumnal ditto          | —— | .. | ..
   14|Sonchus arvensis          |Corn Sowthistle         | —— | —— | ——
   15|Carduus arvensis          |Corn Thistle            | —— | —— | ——
   16|   „    lanceolatus       |Lancet-leaved Thistle   | .. | —— | ..
   17|   „    nutans            |Nodding or Musk Thistle | —— | —— | ——
   18|   „    acanthoides       |Welted Thistle          | .. | .. | ——
   19|Arctium lappa             |Burdock                 | —— | —— | ..
   20|Sinapis arvensis          |Charlock                | .. | —— | ——
   21|Sisymbrium officinale     |Treacle Mustard         | .. | .. | ——
   22|Rumex obtusifolius        |Round-leaved Dock       | —— | —— | ..
   23|  „   crispus             |Curled-leaf Dock        | —— | —— | ——
   24|Veronica serpyllifolia    |Thyme-leaved Speedwell  | —— | —— | ..
   25|    „    agrestis         |Field Speedwell         | .. | —— | ——
   26|    „    Buxbaumii        |Buxbaum’s ditto         | .. | —— | ——
   27|Euphorbia exigua          |Petty Spurge            | —— | —— | ——
   28|Geum urbanum              |Common Avens            | —— | .. | ..
   29|Prunella vulgaris         |Self Heal               | —— | —— | ——
   30|Acinos vulgaris           |Bastard Thyme           | —— | —— | ..
   31|Polygonum aviculare       |Knot Grass              | —— | —— | ——
   32|    „     convolvulus     |Climbing Buckwheat      | .. | .. | ——
   33|Plantago media            |Broad-leaved Plantain   | —— | —— | ——
   34|   „     lanceolata       |Lancet-leaved ditto     | —— | —— | ——
   35|Ranunculus repens         |Creeping Crowfoot       | —— | —— | ——
   36|Geranium molle            |Soft Cranesbill         | —— | —— | ——
   37|    „    Columbinum       |Long-stalked ditto      | .. | —— | ..
   38|Galeopsis Ladanum         |Red Hemp Nettle         | .. | .. | ——
   39|Glechoma hederacea        |Ground Ivy              | —— | —— | ..
   40|Stachys sylvatica         |Hedge Stachys           | —— | .. | ..
   41|Stellaria media           |Chickweed               | .. | —— | ——
   42|Cerastium arvense         |Mouse-ear               | —— | —— | ——
   43|Arenaria serpyllifolia    |Thyme-leaved Sandwort   | —— | —— | ——
   44|Lychnis dioica            |White Campion           | .. | .. | ——
   45|Convolvulus arvensis      |Small Bindweed          | —— | —— | ——
   46|Urtica dioica             |Nettle                  | —— | .. | ..
   47|Petroselinum segetum      |Corn Parsley            | —— | —— | ..
   48|Torilis anthriscus        |Hedge Parsley           | .. | .. | ——
   49|   „    nodosa            |Knotted Parsley         | —— | —— | ..
   50|Anagallis arvensis        |Pimpernel               | —— | —— | ——
   51|Capsella Bursa-pastoris   |Shepherd’s Purse        | —— | —— | ——
   52|Sherardia arvensis        |Field Madder            | —— | —— | ——
   53|Chenopodium polyspermum   |Goosefoot               | —— | .. | ——
   54|Potentilla anserina       |Silver Weed             | —— | .. | ..
   55|Bartsia odontites         |Red Bartsia             | .. | —— | ——
   56|Linaria spuria            |Round-leaved Toad Flax  | .. | .. | ——
   57|   „    elatine           |Fluellen ditto          | .. | .. | ——
   58|Myosotis arvensis         |Corn Forget-me-not      | .. | .. | ——
   59|Lamium amplexicaule       |Henbit                  | .. | .. | ——
   60|Poa annua                 |Annual Meadow-grass     | .. | .. | ——
   61|Agrostis stolonifera      |Creeping Bent           | —— | —— | ..
   62|Bromus mollis             |Lop or Soft Brome-grass | —— | .. | ..
   63|  „      „  var. racemosus|Lop or Smooth Brome-    |    |    |
     |                          |grass                   | .. | —— | ..
   64|Triticum repens           |Couch                   | —— | —— | ..
     |                          |                        +----+----+----
     |                          |                        | 44 | 39 | 38
  ---+--------------------------+------------------------+----+----+----

These three fields are situate on the Agricultural College Farm, the
substrata of which are forest marble and great oolite, and 2 and 3 were
absolutely adjoining each other. How different, then, are the species of
wild plants in fields so close together, when out of a list of
sixty-four species only twenty-four, or a little more than one-third,
are common to all three of the fields examined; and yet we can safely
affirm that the aboriginal flora of any three fields of the district
would scarcely offer half a dozen species in the one field that could
not be found in all; and, indeed, in a field that had lain fallow for
several years not half of the present list would be found.

That these, then, have to a great extent been sown with the seed is
quite certain; but what tends further to strengthen the argument is,
that the _Veronica Buxbaumii_ (Buxbaum’s Speedwell) and the
_Petroselinum segetum_ (Corn Parsley) are not native to the farm; and,
indeed, it is doubtful whether very many of our agrarian weeds are true
natives, as on examination many weeds will only be found in special
crops, and these occur in the same crops all over the world wherever
those crops can be cultivated. Our own country, then, has, doubtless,
imported a large portion of her weed flora from abroad, just as we have
traced in the United States, European (not American) plants, tracking
the settlers from England, Ireland, and Scotland. It is thus that the
European daisy (_Bellis perennis_) has got the name of the “White Man’s
Foot.”

Seeing, then, that the clover seeds are so liable to be dirty, it
becomes an important inquiry as to whether it is possible to get pure
seed; and in reply to this query we should answer, from a long
experience, that though one seldom sees pure clover seed, yet it
sometimes falls in our way, or at least so pure that its weeds are
reduced to a minimum. Such samples may be expected to be high-priced;
but still, how much cheaper than a dirty article!—for, independently of
having only the seed of the crop you wish to cultivate, you are saved
the annoyance which must arise when a weed has taken root, in that then
the clover cannot grow, and you ultimately see the ground occupied by a
spreading noxious plant, or, this dying out, there will be a vacant
spot,—in either case resulting in a loss of nutriment.

But, besides the more natural method of selling dirty seed from weedy
patches, seedsmen are too apt to mix the seed of plantain (_Plantago
lanceolata_) with that of clover; for, as the colours of the seeds are
not unlike, and some people speak favourably of plantain as a
sheep-feed, it is unblushingly mixed and sold with clover seed, though
the plantain at most is only worth about half the price.

Where it occurs naturally amongst clovers, it may be separated to make a
good sample, but only to be ultimately mixed again and sold to
greenhorns with a cheap sample. We have had before us samples of clover
containing plantain as under:—

5. TABLE OF PLANTAIN SEEDS IN CLOVER.

  +--------------------+-----------+------------+
  |                    | Plantain  |            |
  |                    |  Seeds.   |            |
  +--------------------+-----------+------------+
  | White Dutch Clover | 1,024,000 | }          |
  | Red Clover         | 1,085,440 | } In an    |
  |   Ditto            | 1,568,000 | } Imperial |
  |   Ditto            | 2,508,160 | } Bushel.  |
  +--------------------+-----------+------------+

In the instance where we had estimated as many as 1,568,000 plantain
seeds to a bushel of clover seed, the seedsman admitted that he had put
it with the clover at the rate of one pound of plantain to eleven pounds
of clover, under the impression that it was a desirable pasture plant.
Now this we know is often done; but is it not always charged for as
clover in cases where it is used for adulteration?

This matter, then, of dirty seed is clearly one of importance: it,
however, only wants the farmer to become acquainted with the true form
of clover seed to enable him to detect any admixture in this; and then,
if he has this knowledge, so requisite for his well-doing, and steadily
abstains from purchasing the nasty, however cheap, he will soon find
that his seedsman will supply him with a genuine article, which, all
things considered, will be even cheaper than the opposite.



CHAPTER XXIII.

ON THE PARASITES OF CLOVER.


Of the truly parasitic plants affecting the clover crop, we have two
genera—namely, _Cuscuta_ or Dodder, and _Orobanche_ or Broomrape. Both
of these, some few years since, were comparatively rare as farm pests;
but as they are probably more abundant on Continental than on our home
farms, they are greatly increasing from the constant influx of foreign
seeds.


CUSCUTA—_Dodder_.

Of the genus _Cuscuta_ we have two species of agricultural
importance,—_Cuscuta epilinum_, the Flax Dodder, and _C. trifolii_, the
Clover Dodder. In both, the plant itself consists of a mass of pink and
yellowish tendrils, upon which are placed here and there compact bunches
of flowers varying alike in colour. The whole plant, in both species,
being entirely parasitic—that is, it lives wholly on the juices of its
foster-parent,—it has no leaves of its own; still, however, the Dodder
plant is in the first instance produced from seed, each flower being
succeeded by a capsule containing two small wrinkled seeds, which, not
being larger or lighter in the _C. epilinum_ than a linseed, or in the
still smaller seed of the clover, in the case of the _C. trifolii_, the
seed of flax or clover crops affected with dodder will never be entirely
free from it: as an evidence of its large increase, we remember once
seeing a crop of flax grown from Riga seed diminished about
one-twentieth by the dodder; but on the seed so produced being sown in
another field of the same farm, the crop of flax was well-nigh
destroyed.

Our friend Professor Voelcker had some seed of the flax dodder sent to
him for analysis, the reason being that, as his correspondent had
separated a great number of bushels of this weed pest from a single crop
of flax, he was desirous of ascertaining whether it possessed any
feeding properties or the reverse; and on this head it is satisfactory
to learn that it is considered useless, though innocuous.

It was part of this sample with which we experimented on the mode of
growth of dodder, which, although being the dodder of the flax or
linseed plant, yet its natural history will doubtless be that of the
clover dodder;[8] we shall, therefore, describe the progress of our
experiments, and their results.

[8] We are desirous of instituting special experiments on the growth of
clover dodder, but have failed to procure ripe seed, the reason being
that the seed does not ripen after the clover has been cut down for its
first crop.

Having prepared some finely-sifted soil in a garden saucer, we sowed a
small quantity of flax seed with which had been purposely mixed a few of
the seeds of flax dodder; this, on being placed in a hot-house, showed
the progress indicated in the diagram.

[Illustration: A. Seed-covering beneath which _radicle_ or young root is
pushing.

B. Leafless stem or tendril growing upwards, bearing seed-covering on
its apex.

C. Young thread-like plant freed from seed-covering, on the look-out for
a foster-parent.

D. Not finding a foster-parent, droops and dies.]

Our next diagram shows the progress of dodder-growth when the parasite
has germinated sufficiently near to a young flax plant to be attracted
to it. In such case, instead of dying, it seems all at once to be
animated by new vigour. The highly elastic thread, which now represents
the whole dodder plant, goes through the following stages:—

[Illustration: A. The dodder, having just clasped a flax plant, has made
two coils round the stem of the latter.

B. Meanwhile the flax in growing lifts the dodder out of the soil.

C. While the flax is getting still taller, the dodder sends out
rootlets, which pierce and fix themselves into the flax. During this the
dodder sends out buds upwards, which, elongating until new flax plants
are met with, explains not only how the dodder commences a growth quite
independent of the soil, but, by spreading, from plant to plant, thus
increases to an indefinite extent.]

In this way, then, the dodder of flax, commencing from seeds at
different points, spreads in more or less extended patches, which, if
such centre be few, will be distinct; if many, the pest may occupy the
greater part of the crop by spreading, and so becoming confluent.

Such is the method of growth of flax dodder, and we have no doubt but
that the dodder of the clover progresses in like manner; at all events,
we see the latter occupying more or less isolated patches in the
affected crop; and in this case, as in the former, the crop-plant is not
only starved, from having “its verdure sucked out,” but it is borne down
to the ground and ruined.

As regards its destruction, we should be careful to look at our crops in
their early growth, as, if the sickly-looking, wire-like tendril be
observed then, it is easily removed by hand; if, however, it has made
head, the best way would be to make a trench of a foot wide around the
plague-spots, which will prevent its spreading, as the plant must have
contiguous clovers to twist round if it is to extend; and then burn some
straw on the dodder plot, and it will be wasted to death. Probably,
however, the easiest plan is to depasture the crop,—certainly not to
seed it down—in which case it will be impossible for any dodder seeds to
ripen.

But here, as in other cases, the evil will be prevented by sowing pure
seed, whether of flax or of clover; and as the dodder is a small, brown,
roundish little seed, so different from that of either crop, there is no
difficulty in recognizing it where present.


OROBANCHE—_Broomrape_.

The Broomrape is now becoming a very pernicious clover weed, especially
in lighter soils. We have seen it on clover near Stonehenge so thick as
to have positively spoiled the crop; and we should expect from its
bitter, disagreeable flavour, that if cattle did not universally refuse
to eat it, it might prove mischievous to them.

The species which attacks clover is the _Orobanche minor_—Lesser
Broomrape,—which is at once distinguished in a clover field by its
upright brownish spike of dead, dry-looking, lipped flowers; the stem
without true leaves, but clothed with small brown leaf-like processes
(_bracts_ of the botanist), which, with the stem, are clothed with
hairs.

This plant, which is much larger and very different from the clover, is
parasitic on the principal division of the clover root; so that if the
soil be carefully removed from the broomrape, it will be found to swell
at the base, into which the clover root may be detected to be fastened,
and a very odd appearance indeed has the small-stemmed clover united to
so comparatively large a parasite.

The seeds of the broomrape are so small as scarcely to be detected in a
sample of clover seed; indeed, several may be fastened to a seed as
dust, so that whatever care may be used in the selection of seed will
hardly prevent this pest. Any great injury to the clover crop may be
speedily stopped by hand-picking the broomrape; for, although it will
sometimes branch up again, it will be much lessened, and the few
secondary shoots will usually be very weak.

Clovers are attacked by _Epiphytes_—that is, minute fungoid plants
growing upon the leaves; but the natural history of these is too obscure
for a general treatise, nor are they of sufficient interest to the
practical farmer.[9]

[9] To such as may be interested in the study of the “rusts” of Clover,
and some other plants, we would earnestly recommend a perusal of some
most interesting papers on the subject, by M. C. Cooke, Esq.,
beautifully illustrated by Messrs. West & Sowerby, which will be found
in the _Popular Science Review_—a serial which should have a place in
the house of every country gentleman.

[Illustration: Corn.]



HOW TO GROW GOOD CORN.



CHAPTER XXIV.

NATURE OF CORN.


By corn, in its enlarged sense, the farmer means all such crops as are
grown for their seeds; so that all kinds of grain and pulse, such as
peas and beans, belong to the corn crop, as distinguished from roots and
green crops. In America the word “corn” is restricted to maize or Indian
corn, and other crops are called after their respective names. Our
dictionaries define corn as “seeds which grow in ears, not pods;” and it
is to these that the present treatise is meant exclusively to apply,
confining our remarks for the most part to such kinds as are more
commonly cultivated in this country.

Corn, then, may be said to be derived from different species of grasses,
whose seeds are sufficiently large to enable them to be threshed from
the ear and become stored as grain, in which case it differs from the
smaller kinds, whose seeds may be grown for pasturage crops.

Hence, then, grasses afford us two sets, which are differently
used,—one, as affording corn fabled to be the gift of the goddess
Ceres, and so called cereal or corn grasses; the other, not grown for
the sake of the grain, but for herbage, and named meadow and pasture
grasses.

Corn grasses, then, belong exclusively to arable cultivation; and,
indeed, it may be concluded that such have been derived from wild
species, and that continued culture has brought them about, and still
maintains them in all their endless varieties, and also gives us a power
to add to these to an extraordinary extent.

It is this facility for improvement, this capability for forming grain
on the one hand, and running into varieties on the other, which enables
corn to be grown under so wide a range of temperature and in such varied
and variable climates; and it is a knowledge of the laws affecting these
changes, and the modes of action in the growth of corn consequent
thereupon, which will constitute “Science and Practice in Corn
Cultivation,” and should lead to a knowledge of “How to Grow Good Corn.”

In following out this inquiry, we shall, for the most part, confine our
observations to the following crops:—

  1. Wheat,  }
  2. Oats,   } Their Origin, Cultivation, Diseases,
  3. Barley, } Enemies, &c. &c.
  4. Rye,    }



CHAPTER XXV.

WHEAT: ITS ORIGIN AND ACCLIMATIZATION.


It is a popular belief that wheat, in a state fit for food, was a direct
gift to man, and handed down to him unaltered in form, except in so far
as relates to varieties; but if we consider how varied are the details
of this plant, how very different from each other are the more remote
varieties, and yet how easy it is to fill up the links on the one hand,
or to arrive at equally distinct and yet new forms on the other, we can
only conclude that wheat, like most, if not all, our vegetable
esculents, is but a _derivative_ plant obtained from a wild form of
grass, and in very early times brought into cultivation because of the
facilities for change which it was capable of undergoing.

Nowhere is wheat, as such, found wild; for, although its grain has been
cultivated in all parts of the world, its scattered seeds cannot
maintain a position for any length of time; for, as it has been obtained
by cultivation, so its derived status can only be maintained by careful
culture, without which there seems reason to believe that cereal wheat
would indeed become extinct.

Many botanists had arrived at these or kindred views from observation
and reasoning upon the subject, but it was not until a comparatively
recent period that we possessed any direct evidence derived from
experiment: this we now have, and upon it we quote the following from
Mr. Bentham, in the _Cyclopædia of Agriculture_, article “Triticum”:—

     It has never been contended that their original types have become
     extinct, and various, therefore, have been the conjectures as to
     the transformations they may have successively undergone; and as no
     accidental returns towards primitive forms have been observed, we
     have till lately had but little to guide us in these vague
     surmises. Within the last few years, however, the experiments and
     observations of M. Esprit Fabre, of Agde, in the south of France,
     seem to prove a fact which had been more than once suggested, but
     almost always scouted, that our agricultural wheats are cultivated
     varieties of a set of grasses common in the south of Europe, which
     botanists have uniformly regarded as belonging to a different
     genus, named _Ægilops_. The principal character by which the latter
     genus had been distinguished, consisted in the greater fragility of
     the ear, and in the glumes (_i.e._ the chaff-scales) being
     generally terminated by three or four, and the pales by two or
     three points or awns (beards). But M. Fabre has shown how readily
     these characters become modified by cultivation; and, wide as is
     the apparent difference between _Ægilops ovata_ and common wheat,
     he has practically proved their botanical identity; for, from the
     seeds of the _Ægilops_ first sown in 1838, carefully raised in a
     garden soil, and re-sown every year from their produce, he had,
     through successive transformations, by the eighth year (1846)
     obtained crops of real wheat as good as the generality of those
     cultivated in his neighbourhood.

It was the description of the experiments of M. Fabre, in the _Journal
of the Agricultural Society_, which led us to institute independent
inquiries, to which end, having purchased some seeds of _Ægilops ovata_,
we sowed them in our experimental garden at Cirencester, in a prepared
plot of five yards square, on a subsoil of forest marble. From this
seeds were selected to carry on the experiments, whilst the mass of the
plants in the plot were allowed to seed and come up spontaneously, which
it did year after year, and so preserved the original type with which
we started. The preserved seeds were sown in fresh plots year by year,
but—perhaps owing to the coldness of the soil and the general lower
climate of the Cotteswolds—progress was only slow at first; however, in
the warm summer of 1859 our plot of the season had made fresh advances,
which will be best understood by an examination of the accompanying
drawings.

Fig. 3 represents a spikelet of the type of _Ægilops ovata_, introduced
into our garden in 1855. In this some of the pales have double awns,
others single ones. Fig. 4, a spikelet of 1859, modified by cultivation.
In this the awns are single. Fig. 5, a spikelet from an ear of bearded
wheat.

Now, the close affinity of these three forms must strike any one; but we
feel justified in concluding that, had not our experiments been
peremptorily stopped, and the results, as far as possible, spoiled from
the ignorance and jealousy of the new Principal, we should before this
have arrived at results much more satisfactory.

The principles of the observed changes will be understood by stating the
following facts.

_a._ _Ægilops ovata_ has a seed of sufficient size to be called a corn
grain, and which, though not so large as that of wheat, yet rapidly
improves by cultivation, which includes selection.

_b._ The _rachis_ (the part on which the spikelets are placed in the
wild grass) is exceedingly brittle, so that it readily breaks into bits
below each spikelet; this brittleness annually gets less under
cultivation.

_c._ The wild grass has a trailing habit of growth; but uprightness and
a longer culm is at once induced by the closer contact of drilling the
seeds in thick rows.

_d._ The cultivation of _Ægilops_, and especially subjecting it to rich
soil, produces the same kinds of fungoid attacks as are found with
wheats under like circumstances, as thus:—_Puccinia graminis_ (mildew)
of the leaves and culms; _Uredo rubigo_ (red rust) of the chaff-scales;
_Uredo caries_ (smut or bunt) of the grain.

Now, all these circumstances seem to point to a similarity in essential
structure, and a uniformity of habit somewhat remarkable in plants which
at first sight would strike one as being so different; but as these
differences between _Ægilops_ and any variety of wheat are often all
scarcely greater than is to be met with on contrasting two known
varieties of wheat, we may agree in concluding that the evidence
warrants the assumption that wheat, as a cultivated cereal, has been
derived from _Ægilops_.

If, then, we view the wheat plant as a derivative, we shall be at no
loss in understanding how the vast number of varieties have been brought
about—varieties applicable, too, to a wide range of climatal conditions;
and the ease with which new forms can be brought about by hybridization
and selection is a matter of importance, because older varieties, too
often repeated, are apt to degenerate both in quality of grain and
quantity of crop. But when we speak of acclimatizing wheat, we think it
would be excessively difficult to make any existing form grow well in a
climate not congenial to it, though it might be easy to arrive at a new
variety possessing some desired quality. We believe, however, that it is
not difficult to alter a climate to suit a sort, and, in all
probability, this at the present day much-used term of “acclimatization”
simply means no more than making our cultivation and climate accord as
nearly as possible to the habits of the plant or animal to be
entertained under new conditions.

Thus, when we see the finer white wheats growing good crops on farms
where such would have been impossible a few years ago, we are hardly to
conclude that we have at length got this more delicate sort to become
more hardy; but the climate has been ameliorated by draining and better
cultivation.

We distinctly recollect when the lias clays of the Vale of Gloucester
could scarcely be made to grow a good crop of even the hardier sorts of
red wheat, the common cone being the sort generally grown. This was
succeeded by many sorts of red wheat, and now only the best-cultivated
farms produce white wheats. These, however, are facts which will be more
strongly brought out when we consider the subject of cultivation; for
the present we would be content with the expression of a belief that
wheat, as a cereal grain, is derived by cultivation from a wild grass,
and it is due to the effects of cultivation that we have so many sorts,
with such variable adaptability.



CHAPTER XXVI.

THE WILD OAT AS THE ORIGIN OF THE CULTIVATED VARIETIES.


Crop oats, like wheat, have ever been considered as a direct gift from
Ceres, and few, indeed, amongst scientific men were willing to believe
that they were derived from a wild and weed species. Still, the farmer
had long maintained that oats, when cultivated, often left behind them
weed oats; and in some districts of Worcester, Gloucester, and Warwick,
we have known men refuse to grow oats as a crop from their fear of
producing the terrible weed, which, indeed, the wild oat is on all hands
admitted to be.

Now, although we by no means wish to advance the theory of
transmutation, and cannot believe that by any plan barley can be
converted into oats, or oats into barley, we are yet confident that what
has been termed _ennobling_, or the producing of a cultivated plant from
a wild one, is oftentimes comparatively easy, and in none more so than
in the production of crop oats from the wild species, _Avena fatua_.

Professor Lindley, in the article “Avena,” in Morton’s _Cyclopædia of
Agriculture_, suggests that the cultivated oat “is a domesticated
variety of some wild species, and may be not improbably referred to
_Avena strigosa_, bristle-pointed oat;” but our experiments would show
that the _Avena fatua_ is the form from which at least the domestic
sorts in general cultivation seem to have sprung.

The _Avena fatua_ (wild oat) is an annual grass which almost universally
accompanies agrarian circumstances; that is to say, it seldom, if ever,
occurs in a truly wild aboriginal state, and is therefore not found in
uncultivated tracts, but is the common attendant on tillage, and in some
soils is a most common and disagreeable weed in various agricultural
crops, but more especially amid grain, whether of wheat, barley, or
oats. Sometimes it is found with beans, peas, and vetches, and, indeed,
it may be said to be a common weed in some districts in any crop from
which it has not been eradicated by the hoe—an operation almost
impossible in grain, as its growth is so much like that of the crop
itself.

It is a tall grass, rivalling the height of the finest cultivated oat
crop, from some forms of which, and especially those with a lax panicle,
it is at first not easily distinguished; however, a more careful
examination and comparison with the so-called _Avena sativa_ (cultivated
oat) enables us to make out the following differences:—

       _Avena fatua, L._                _Avena fatua_, var. _sativa_.

  The valves of the inner pales,      The valves of the inner pales not
  which adhere to the seeds, thick,   not so coarse as in _A. fatua_,
  and covered with stiff hairs,       and quite devoid of hairs. The
  especially towards the base. The    outer valve with or without an
  external valve has a long stiff     awn, which when present is not so
  awn, which in the ripe seed is      stiff as in the wild plant,
  usually twisted at the lower part,  sometimes twisted at the base,
  and bent at nearly right angles     but seldom bent. Seeds large and
  at about the middle. The grain-     full, forming the grain for which
  seed very small and worthless.      the crop is cultivated.

The experiments about to be detailed were performed with the _Avena
fatua_.

In 1851, a quantity of this plant was noticed by the author on the farm
of C. Lawrence, Esq., near Cirencester. It was mixed with a patch of
mangel-wurzel which had been planted for seed; and from these specimens
sufficient seeds were preserved wherewith to sow one of our experimental
plots.

It should be noticed that the substratum was forest marble, and no doubt
the seeds of the oat were brought with the manure by which the mangold
patch was dressed.

In the spring of 1852 a plot of two and a half yards square was sown
with seed which had been kept during the winter—a fact which should be
carefully noted, as it forms a first and most important link in the
chain of evidence, and constituting what we term a cultivative process,
inasmuch as in wild growth the seeds are sown as soon as they become
ripe.

The seeds of the first crop came up well, and on ripening, towards
autumn, the plants were tall and robust; the grains presented a scarcely
appreciable difference from the wild examples; if any, there may have
been a slight tendency to an increased plumpness of grain.

The seeds of crop No. 1 were again collected and preserved throughout
the winter, and sown in a patch of similar size, but in a different part
of the garden, in the spring of 1853, repeating the process with the
successive crops in 1854 and 1855, with slight alterations from year to
year, though in some examples the following tendencies seemed from the
first to be gaining strength in some few of the specimens:—

1st. A gradual decrease in the quantity of hairs on the pales.

2nd. A more tumid grain, in which the pales were less coarse and the awn
not so strong and rigid, and less black than in the wild example.

3rd. A gradual increased development of kernel or flower.

The seeds of 1855 crop, without selection, were treated in the same
manner during the winter, and were sown in the spring of 1856, the
resulting crop in August of the same year presenting the following
curious circumstances:—

1st. _Avena fatua_ (typical wild oat), with large loose panicles of
flowers,[10] thin hairy florets, with a bent awn twisted at the base.
Five parts of crop.

[10] Some examples of this plant, gathered at Framilode, in the Vale of
Gloucester, in the past autumn, gave as many as 750 seeds to a root,
from which its rate of increase as a weed may be imagined.

2nd. _Avena fatua_, var. _sativa_, with loose panicles of flowers,
florets quite smooth, tumid, with or without straight awns, some few
examples slightly hairy towards the base. This is the potato-oat type.
Six parts of crop.

3rd. _Avena fatua_, var. _sativa_—Panicles more compact, flowers
inclining to one side, grains more tumid than 2nd, quite devoid of
hairs, awn straight. These present the type of the white Tartarian oat.
Twelve parts of crop. Fig. 2. See plate.

Having now procured a crop of separate types of oat from the same seed,
we preserved them distinct, and this year carried on our experiments by
cultivating a patch of each, whilst the plot of 1856 was left with
self-sown seeds, in order that it should again become wild by
degeneracy.

From these experiments, then, we may conclude that different types of
crop oats are derived from the _Avena fatua_, or wild oat; but, besides
this, they open out a subject for inquiry of great practical interest
and importance, which may be clearly stated as follows:—

If by cultivation the wild oat assumes the cultivated form, then by
degeneracy cultivated oats may become wild ones.

Those who know what a detestable weed is the wild oat wherever it
occurs, and how difficult it is to eradicate,[11] will at once see the
cogency of the question involved.

[11] The author once went with a rector of a parish in Gloucestershire
to examine the glebe allotments of the poor people, when, catching sight
of an apparent crop of oats, the landlord threatened to dispossess the
tenant, “because he had carelessly left his crop without gathering.”
However, the matter was explained when it was pointed out that the land
was planted with wheat, which the oats had quite smothered.

Farmers in some districts, and more especially on stiff clay soils, have
ever objected to the cultivation of oats, as they had always maintained
that they left behind a crop of weed oats. This, which was never a
favourite idea with the botanist, who is generally too much inclined to
species-making, seems now to have a basis of truth, for not only is it
confirmed by the experiments described, but observation of an
independent kind points to the same truth.

On examining the produce of shed, or accidentally scattered oat seeds,
the first crop will often present the wild tendency in a partial
reversion to the hairy state, an elongation and thickening of the awn,
and a lessening of the size of the kernel; and this more particularly on
heavy soils. It was, indeed, an observation of this change in oats
scattered on forest marble clay which induced us to try the experiments
above detailed; and as the subsoil of our botanical garden is the same
clay, we are, perhaps, indebted to this cause for arriving so soon at
such signal results.

Again, it is known in farming that some clay lands will never produce
heavy oats; a sample, however good, is sure to degenerate upon such
soils. Hence, then, the foregoing experiments and observations lead to
the following conclusions:—

1st. The wild oat is perhaps not a native of Britain, but derived
through the degeneracy of the cereal crop; and hence its occurrence only
as an agrarian.

2nd. The cereal oat, on the contrary, is the result of the impress of
cultivative processes upon the wild form, and as such liable to lapse
into the wild state with greater or less celerity, according to the
circumstances of soil and situation.

These conclusions are of practical value, as they show the direction in
which experiments should be conducted in order to attain to varieties,
it being a well-known fact that one variety is suitable for one soil,
and another for a different kind of land. And again, as some forms of
plants would seem to have the tendency of wearing out by long
cultivation, so we have the means of applying to the original source of
their production, and thus of commencing a new generation.

They teach us, too, the necessity of avoiding the growth of the oat crop
in some situations, and which in the case before us is not the result of
the “pigheadedness” with which the farmer is often so thoughtlessly
accused, but a conclusion founded in reason; and if we consider how
robust is the growth of the wild oat, and that its support is secured by
robbing the grain crop with which it occurs as a weed—the difficulty of
separating it from the crop where it has gained a footing—and, above
all, that its succession is secured by its seeds universally ripening a
few days before that of the crop with which it is mixed, and the moment
they are ripe they fall and become self-sown,[12]—we can see abundant
reason for wholesome fear as to the introduction of cereal oats in
districts liable to their degeneracy.

[12] The wild forms shed their seeds much more readily than the
cultivated ones, and are, besides, earlier in ripening, and thus much of
our wild seed had dropped before the other forms were fully ripe; and it
much assists experiments in transmutation not to let the seeds with
which they are to be carried on become dead ripe. This is another
cultivative process.

The annexed enlarged figure of a bunch of wild oat seeds will
sufficiently illustrate the changes necessary to produce the cultivated
form.

Under cultivation, which supposes the _selection, saving up, and sowing
in a prepared_ bed of our seed, the wild oat seed gradually becomes
smooth externally, and its awn less coarse, while internally the grain
becomes larger and heavier; so that while the seed of the wild oat would
weigh about 15 lb. per bushel, that of a fine sample of white cultivated
oat sown on our farm this year weighed as much as 48 lb. per bushel.

Now, the proof of this theory consists in the facts—

1st. That heavy oats degenerate by being _cultivated_ in poor soil.

2nd. By _being let go wild_, they sink still lower, and gradually assume
the external hairs, stiff awns, and poor grain of the wild oat.

[Illustration: _Spikelet of the Wild Oat._[13]]

[13] From _Popular Science Review_, vol. i. p. 10.



CHAPTER XXVII.

ON THE SUPPOSED ORIGIN OF BARLEY AND RYE.


The cereal barley is found to offer three important forms, which can be
best explained by the annexed diagramatic arrangement:—

[Illustration:

_Two-rowed—by abortion of four_

_Four-rowed—by abortion of two_

_Six-rowed—by fruition of all_

_the seeds of a spikelet._]

The two-rowed barley has been named _Hordeum distichum_; and as we are
inclined, with Professor Lindley, to the belief that this is the
original from whence the other forms have sprung, we here quote the
learned Professor’s remarks upon this and the probably allied forms:—

     “It is probable,” he says, “that all kinds of barley grown by
     farmers are varieties of one species, of which, the _H. distichum_
     of Linnæus is the type. The spikelets of this genus always standing
     in threes, and the threes being placed back to back, it is evident
     that every ear of barley must consist of six rows of spikelets. If
     the middle spikelet of each set of threes is alone perfect, the
     side spikelets being abortive, we have _H. distichum_, the common
     two-rowed barley, and its many varieties; if the two-tuberal of
     each set is perfect, and the central spikelet imperfect, as
     sometimes happens, then we have four-rowed barley; if, on the other
     hand, all the spikelets are perfect, we have six-rowed barley, or
     _H. hexastichum_; but the cases of four-rowed barley have been
     merely accidental—they may be referred to the six-rowed form; and
     thus we have only two principal kinds of barley—namely, _H.
     distichum_ and _H. hexastichum_.

     “1. _H. distichum._—This is the only kind of barley that has been
     found apparently wild. We have now before us specimens gathered in
     Mesopotamia during Col. Chesney’s expedition to the Euphrates, with
     narrow ears, a little more than an inch long, exclusive of the awn,
     or four and a half inches awns included; and others from the ruins
     of Persepolis, with ears scarcely so large as starved rye. Both are
     straw-colour, but that from Mesopotamia has the glumes much more
     hairy than the other. The plant is also said to inhabit Tartary.
     The report that it grows wild in Sicily seems to have arisen from
     the Mediterranean _Ægilops ovata_ having been mistaken for it. To
     this species belong all the varieties, from one to sixteen,
     formerly mentioned under Barley; as also does No. 20, fig.
     34[14]—the _H. zeocriton_, sprat or battledore barley, an undoubted
     result of domestication, chiefly remarkable for the ears being so
     much broader at the base than the point as to produce a long ovate
     figure.

[14] See Morton’s _Cyclopædia of Agriculture_.

     “2. _H. hexastichum._—We found no record of this having been found
     wild, and presume it and its numerous varieties to be domesticated
     forms of _H. distichum_. The common bere, or winter barley, may be
     taken as the typical form to which Nos. 18, 21, and 22, and figs.
     37 and 38[15] are evidently referable, varying in size, colour, and
     hairiness, more than in any other circumstance deserving botanical
     appreciation.

[15] Ibid.

     “The _H. vulgare_ of Linnæus is a form with the grains in four
     rows, the naked-eared variety of which is again the _H. cœleste_ of
     some writers.

     “Both these forms of barley vary with naked seed, the pales losing
     their adhesion to the grain. But this difference is attended with
     no other peculiarity.

     “3. The _H. trifurcatum_, also known under Dr. Royle’s name of _H.
     ægiceras_, is a very remarkable naked-seeded species, with much the
     appearance of wheat. It is a tall or glaucous six-rowed sort, but
     the rows are not placed in lines with the same exactness as in the
     two former kinds, so that the ears are round like wheat. The pales
     are apparently in a monstrous form, the ends being three-lobed, and
     curved back in the form of horns, which sometimes extend into awns.
     It has been introduced from the Himalaya Mountains within a few
     years, but its economical qualities remain to be determined.”[16]

[16] _Cyclopædia of Agriculture_, vol. ii. p. 68.

We have had opportunities, through the kindness of Professor Lindley,
who contributed seeds, of cultivating all the forms just described; but
our experiments for two years did not elicit anything new upon the
subject: we therefore feel justified in quoting the above entire,
especially as the different forms in our plots afforded sufficient
evidence of an uniformity of origin on the one hand, with every
disposition for forming varieties on the other.

Rye (_Secale cereale_).—For the little that is known of the natural
history and origin of this crop-plant we again quote from the
_Cyclopædia of Agriculture_, which states as follows:—

     “The common rye is a cereal grass, distinguished from wheat by its
     narrow glumes and constantly twin narrow florets, with a membranous
     abortion between them. Otherwise it is little different in
     structure, although the quality of its grain is so inferior.
     According to Karl Koch, it is found undoubtedly wild on the
     mountains of the Crimea, especially all around the village of
     Dshimil, on granite, at the elevation of from 5,000 to 6,000 feet.
     In such places, its ears are not more than 1 to 2½ inches long. Its
     native country explains the reason why it is so much hardier than
     any variety of wheat, the southern origin of which is now
     ascertained.”

We have not seen any of this so-called wild rye; it would, however, be
of great service could some good experiments be made with it, with a
view of noting the changes which take place on cultivation. Indeed, we
have long wished for authentic examples of all our wild, or supposed
wild, cereals, with a view of examining side by side the nature and
amount of the changes which cultivation would most assuredly produce.

Rye, unlike either wheat or barley, is not remarkable for a long list of
varieties—a fact which may, perhaps, be attributed to the more limited
growth of the former than the two latter. Its less extended cultivation
must be attributed to its inferior qualities as food; for, though rye is
in the main a hardier plant than wheat, and therefore could withstand
the evils of a colder climate and colder treatment, yet with the
advanced climate—the acclimatization of a country rather than a
plant—the superior plant, wheat, everywhere prevails; and this cause
also gives rise to the production of finer varieties, which are thus
grown where only coarser ones were possible.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

EPIPHYTICAL PARASITES (VEGETABLE BLIGHTS) OF CORN CROPS.


These forms of parasite are so numerous, that nearly every species of
flowering plant may become the nidus even of several named genera, with
many species, or, at least, varieties of them. We here say attacked,
because the advent of many of their forms passes under the name of
“blight;” a term which at once recognises their injurious tendency.

Whether these epiphytes are the causes of the so-called blighted
conditions, or merely their effects, is a subject upon which no little
discussion has been expended. We do not, however, mean to re-open the
question here; we will only remark, that in all probability this very
wide range of the lower tribes of the vegetable kingdom is very variable
in these respects.

Again: it will be impossible to enter into details of the different
species of epiphytes. We shall hope, therefore, to elucidate their
natural history, in so far as the farmer is concerned, by pointing out
the more general facts connected with the following forms:—

   1. _Uredo segetum_—Smut or dust-brand of wheat, barley, and grasses.

   2. _Uredo caries_ (_Tilletia_)—Bunt                }
                                                      }
   3. _Uredo rubigo_—Red gum or red robin             }
                                                      } of wheat.
   4. _Uredo linearis_     }                          }
                           }—Straw-rust, or “mildew”  }
   5. _Puccinia graminis_  }                          }

   6. _Puccinia fabæ_—Bean-rust.

   7. _Æcidium berberidis_—Barberry-rust.

   8. _Cladosporium herbarum_—Corn-ear mould.

   9. _Botrytis infestans_—Potato-mould and mildew.

  10. _Botrytis_—Turnip-mildew.

  11. _Oïdium erysiphioides_ }
                             } Hop-mildew.
  12. _Erysiphe macularis_   }

  13. _Oïdium abortifaciens_—Ergot of grasses.

1. _Uredo segetum_, Smut or Dust-brand, is common to barley, and not
unfrequent in wheat; in both of which crops it is easily recognised from
the affected ears of corn appearing as though they had been powdered
over from the sweep’s soot-bag. On closely examining these blackened
ears, we find that the whole flower has, as it were, effloresced into a
black powder, which, on being placed under the microscope, is shown to
be composed of myriads of granules, called by the fungologist _spores_,
in which latter are contained still smaller grains, or _sporidia_.

These black spores are all washed away by the time the crop is ripe,
leaving the stalks bare and grainless, so that the sample suffers no
injury from this blight, which, even if present after threshing, would
only tend to a slight discoloration of the sample, which is remediable
by the smutter. Its chief effect, however, consists in causing the loss
of much grain. We have observed it to the extent of as much as an
eighth, but usually the diminution is about equal to the amount of seed
sown; though it is not improbable that the whole crop may in many cases
be greater when the smut is present. Sheep-folding previous to barley,
special manuring for this crop, and other causes of increased fertility,
are constant causes of the increase of the dust-brand.

2. _Uredo caries_—Bunt, Pepper-brand, Smut-balls.—This blight differs
from the preceding in the fact that in the grain no flower is formed,
but its interior becomes filled with a dark powder, which, when viewed
under a high magnifying power, is found to consist of granules, with a
surface which is rough, and not smooth as in the dust-brand.

In most cases, the whole grains of the ear will be so affected; in
others, only a portion of them. They will be gathered in the harvest,
and as the diseased grain is readily crushed, the black powder
materially damages the appearance of the sample. Nor is this all: this
blight has a most disagreeable odour and flavour, both of which are
communicated to the sample, and so, besides diminishing the amount of
produce, it greatly deteriorates it. Its specific name of _caries_ of
course refers to this fact, as also does that of _U. fœtida_, adopted by
Baur, an author to whom we are greatly indebted for information upon
these curious productions.

Before considering the remedy for this evil, it will be well to
distinguish it from the “purples, ear-cockle, or peppercorn” (_vibrio
tritici_)—a name expressive of its animal origin, and frequently
rendered “wheat-eels.” In the purples, the grain is shorter than a
healthy wheat grain, irregular in shape (cockled), and purple
externally; but its interior is filled with what, to the naked eye, is
like very short white cotton-wool. On placing a bit of this woolly
substance with the point of a needle on a slip of glass, just touching
it with water and submitting it to a high magnifying power, the term
“wheat-eel” will at once be seen to be justified; for, if alive,
thousands of eel-like creatures will be seen writhing in the fluid.

The differences of these two affections of wheat may be expressed as
follows:—

             _Bunt._                          _Ear-cockle._

  Grain smooth externally, sometimes  Grain cockled and irregular in
  appearing black from blackened      shape, purple externally, skin
  interior grains showing through     thickened, interior of the grains
  the thin epidermis (bran). These    stuffed with a white cottony
  corns easily crush beneath the      substance, not compressible by
  finger, emitting the black fungi.   the finger; but being opened, and
                                      the interior magnified, exhibits
                                      the living wheat-eels.

As regards the ear-cockle, we incline to the belief that a damp
atmosphere and cold soil are chiefly concerned in its spread, if not in
its production. As we have shown the difference between it and bunt, we
now proceed to offer a few remarks upon the production of the latter,
and its remedies.

Bunt is mainly produced by defective seed. It occurs on all kinds of
soils—sands, clays, and limestones—and is not peculiar to any climate.
Professor Henslow believes the disease to be wholly propagated by the
spores of the fungus adhering to the wheat-seed. He says, “It has been
clearly proved that wheat plants may be easily infected, and the disease
thus propagated, by simply rubbing the seeds before they are sown with
the black powder or spores of the fungus. It is also clearly ascertained
that if seeds thus tainted be thoroughly cleansed, the plants raised
from them will not be infected;” and he deduces from this a proof in
favour of steeping; for he says, “This fact is now so well established,
that the practice of washing or steeping seed wheat in certain
solutions almost universally prevails.”[17]

[17] See an essay on _Diseases of Wheat_, in the _Journal of the Royal
Agricultural Society_ for 1841, by the Rev. Professor Henslow.

Our own experiments, however, recorded in the “Journal of the Royal
Agricultural Society” for 1856, led us to conclude that the success
derived from pickling wheat in different caustic and corrosive solutions
arose from the fact of diseased grain being destroyed in the process;
and we extract the following record of experiments made in 1853, as
explaining this view of the matter.

Four plots of wheat, all from the same sample, were sown in the
following order:—

          1.               2.              3.               4.
  +---------------++---------------++---------------++---------------+
  | Much diseased || Much diseased;||Perfect picked || Perfect picked|
  |    wheat,     ||  treated with ||     seed,     ||   seed, with  |
  |without pickle.||  sulphate of  ||without pickle.||  sulphate of  |
  |               ||    copper.    ||               ||   copper.     |
  +---------------++---------------++---------------++---------------+

The results of these were as under:—

Plot 1. Most of the seed germinated, but the crop was much blighted,
both in straw and grain; in fact, scarcely a perfect ear of the latter.

Plot 2. A small quantity of the seed germinated; the few resulting ears
were free from blight.

Plot 3. Germinated, with a good and clean resulting crop.

Plot 4. The same result as Plot 3.

These experiments seemed to show that the pickling of wheat destroys the
seed, so as to prevent germination when the seed is diseased or
ill-formed; but if perfect seed be always employed, no pickling at all
is necessary, it being strictly true that a diseased progeny must result
from an imperfect stock in plants no less than in animals.

We have said that bunt is not peculiar to any climate; we have, however,
always observed that employing seed from a warm district on a cold one,
or using the finer white wheats in cold, exposed, or ill-drained
situations, is sure to produce a large quantity of this fungus.
Autumn-sown wheat, too, is less liable to the infection than spring
wheat, which we attribute to the fact that many of the weaker plants
will succumb to the cold rain and frost.

3. _Uredo rubigo_ (Red-rust, Red-rag, Red-robin) makes its appearance in
the inside of the chaff-scales, and ultimately in the green epidermis of
the growing grains of wheat. Its first appearance is that of oval
pustules, caused by the raising of the skin, which, ultimately bursting,
shows the orange-coloured spores of the epiphyte. This must not be
confounded with _Cecidomyia tritici_ (wheat-midge), the larvæ of which
are of a bright orange-colour; in the latter, the living moving worms
may be easily detected by any common pocket lens or magnifying glass.
Both these pests, to which we would apply the distinctive terms of
_Uredo rubigo_ (red-rust) and _Cecidomyia tritici_ (red-gum), are
exceedingly common in some seasons, and not unfrequently in the same
crop. Good deep cultivation is the best remedy for the rust; but the
treatment of the fly is a different matter. We would suggest the burning
of smother-heaps on calm days, just as the wheat is bursting into ear,
as smoke is decidedly obnoxious to these small insects, which in some
seasons may be seen in thousands about the bursting wheat.

4 and 5. _Uredo linearis_; _Puccinia graminis_ (Straw-rust and
Mildew).—We refer to these epiphytes under one heading, as there can be
but little doubt that the latter is a more advanced state of the former.
They both occur in oblong patches on the leaves and straw of wheats and
other grasses: in the _uredo_ stage, of a dull red colour; in the
_puccinia_ stage, of a blackish hue. They are both, as, indeed, are all
these fungi, interesting microscopic objects; but our object now is to
describe them popularly. Both will always be found in abundance in cold
poor soils, and more especially if the finer wheats be grown in such
situations. The application of a dressing of salt to the soil is said to
be a preventive. Be this as it may, the disease is said to be rarer in
Cheshire, where salt is so much used by the farmer, than in any other
county, in as far as we have observed.

Here, again, we incline to think that these are morbid affections of the
plant. They are, indeed, viewed as such by Unger, in his “Die Exantheme
Pflanzen,” in which the very title classes them with eruptive diseases
of animals. Berkeley and Henslow, the two great authorities, however, do
not accord with this view: the former remarks in reference to it—“Surely
these plants are too distinctly, too regularly, and too beautifully
organized to be the products of disease like warts or purulent matter in
animals.” As, however, the microscope demonstrates that warts and
eruptive diseases have also their special and curiously formed
organisms, such a mode of reasoning is not conclusive.

Weeds have a great influence in producing mildew, which perhaps may be
accounted for from the fact that weeds are in active growth as the
wheat-stalks decline in vigour; and hence the constant evaporation of
moisture from the weeds to the wheat is continually re-moistening an
ever-drying surface—a most fertile source of mildew and moulds of
several descriptions.

6. _Puccinia fabæ_ (Bean-rust).[18]—The brown pustular rust-looking
spots on the foliage of beans, and, indeed, occasionally on the stems
and pods of beans, are sometimes common to this crop. They are usually
accompanied by a lessening both in quantity and quality of this pulse,
both in the garden and in field culture, but certainly more generally in
the latter. Too gross manuring without well mixing the dung with the
soil would seem to be a constant source of the evil. In fact, highly
nitrogenized manures appear to favour the development of all this class
of epiphytes, just as too much meat might bring about different forms of
rash or eruptions in the animal. Weeds, which are too much permitted in
beans, here aid in perfecting the mischief; hence, then, we may perhaps
take it for granted that the mention of the causes of mischief suggests
the remedy.

[18] This blight is mentioned here on account of its affinity to the
former.

7. _Æcidium berberidis_ (Barberry-rust) is here referred to, from the
opinion prevailing that it is the cause of rust and mildew in wheat. We
can no more believe that the barberry-rust would produce rust in wheat,
than the rust of any other plant would do so; for nearly all plants are
affected with some kind or other of rust. This epiphyte, too, is very
different in structure from wheat-rust. Still, that wheat growing under
a barberry hedge may be more blighted than in the rest of the field is
quite true; and so it is with wheat grown under any kind of hedge. High
fences are known to favour wheat blights; open, exposed, well-cultivated
positions, when not too elevated, and without trees or hedges, being
those in which the best wheats are grown.

8. _Cladosporium herbarum_ (Corn-ear Mould) is a brown-coloured mildew,
mostly occurring on the exterior of the chaff-scales of wheat, but
common to many plants in a state of decadence. It consists of greenish
or blackish tufts, which appear on the outside of the chaff-scales of
wheat under the two following conditions:—

On wet soils, where the ears appear to have been prematurely starved.

On dry sands, where long-continued drought has caused some ears to
wither and die before the seed was fully formed.

In both these cases we see that the plant has been previously injured.
The decay commences under alternations of moisture and drying, and hence
the fungoid attack. Here, then, the conditions necessary for preventing
will be deep cultivation and a due pulverization and mixture of the
soils.

9-12. _Botrytis_, _&c._ (Mildew).—Under this head we include a multitude
of epiphytes, to which the terms mildew, mealdew, mehlthau (Germ.) are
applicable. They appear to the naked eye as patches of white dust or
meal on the leaves and stems of the affected plants. With the microscope
we see that they are beautifully-organized plants, having a kind of
rootlet (mycelium) or spawn entering the tissues of the living plants on
which they grow, and delicate pedicels supporting spores at the
externally visible portion of the plant. The botrytis of the potato and
turnip, the erysiphe or oïdium of the hop, vine, and other plants, are
only different forms of mildew, which in some shape or another will be
found on most plants. That these attack living tissues is quite certain;
but in the case of the potato, the turnip, and the vine, there is reason
to believe that they result, to a very considerable extent, from
diseased action in their tissues. For example: the botrytis of the
potato seems to attack a crop much over-cultivated, on the approach of
wet and cold nights after a prosperous growth in warm sunshine. So, the
oïdium seems to us to be most abundant on renewed growth after a season
of dry weather. Again: mildew in turnips is sure to follow that check
which a long season of dry weather brings after a prosperous and
vigorous growth. All these circumstances at least show how these attacks
are favoured by the conditions which bring disease. So much, indeed, is
this the case, that we found, upon experimenting with some cucumbers in
a warm stove, that as long as we regularly watered the plants and gave
them the requisite air, they kept healthy; but, by neglecting these
conditions for a few days, we obtained mildew with the greatest
certainty.

The remedies against mildew are—to obtain as healthy a growth as
possible, and to maintain this with as great regularity as
circumstances will permit. Of late years, both the mildew of the vine
and the hop have been treated with flowers of sulphur. Dusting the
affected hop-leaves with sulphur certainly arrests the mildew in an
incredibly short time; and we found that by dusting sulphur from a fine
sieve on our cucumber plants, the disease was immediately arrested in
its progress. We therefore look upon this as an invaluable remedy in
these states of mildew, whether occurring on the vine, the hop, the
turnip, the cucumber, or on other plants, as we have frequently seen it
in hothouses—a circumstance which shows the near affinity of all those
forms of epiphytes, which, perhaps, after all, only vary with the
variations in the structure and economy of the different plants on which
they occur.

13. _Oïdium abortifaciens_ (Ergot); _Secale cornutum_ (Ergot of
Rye).—The black horn-looking spur which occurs in rye and other grasses
was formerly looked upon as a distinct fungus; now, however, it is known
to be a diseased or malformed condition of the grain or seed, resulting
from an attack by an oïdium on the immature seed.

Most of the cereal and even the meadow grasses are liable to attacks of
ergot, which is increased by cold damp fogs and a moist condition of the
atmosphere, the difference of the size of the spur being in accordance
with the size of the affected grass seed. Thus, in rye we have seen
spurs more than an inch long, while in the cock’s-foot grass it is
seldom a quarter of an inch.

The ergot, as it occurs in the rye, is much used by medical men in
difficult cases of parturition; and we have had evidence before us, in
some cases of abortion in cows, that the constant depasturing on grasses
affected with ergot (and the _Lolium perenne_ in aftermaths is often
especially so) has been the predisposing cause.



CHAPTER XXIX.

INSECTS (ANIMAL BLIGHTS) AFFECTING CORN CROPS.


The different families and species of insects affecting the various
kinds of corn crops in all their stages of growth are so numerous, that
a detailed list of them would occupy greater space than we can devote to
this chapter.

In this position of affairs we have thought it wise to confine our
remarks to some of the commoner and more mischievous species, choosing
those more particularly which are common to the wheat crop, of which the
following may be at once introduced as a summary in itself sufficient to
show what the farmer may expect at each stage of growth:—

  1. { The _Slug_,      } Attacking the plants soon after germination.
     { The _Wire-worm_, }

  2. { The _Gout Fly_, } That attacks the wheat stems as they begin to
     { The _Saw Fly_,  } form.

  3. The _Wheat Midge_—Commencing their injuries in the young flower.

  4. The _Aphis Flea_—Which attacks the _rachis_ and floral envelopes.

  5. { The _Ear cockle_, } Which destroys the growing grain.
     { The _Corn Moth_,  }

  6. The _Corn Weevil_—Which eats the flower from the grain.

  7. The _Little-grain Moth_—Which attacks the grain in store.

  8. The _Meal-worm Beetle_—Living upon ground corn or flour.

Now, this list may be said to have reference to eight stages in the
growth and preparation of wheat, and they mostly apply to other grains
also—namely, 1. The germinating plant; 2. The growing plant; 3. The
growing flower; 4. The green ear of corn; 5. The young grain; 6. The
perfected grain; 7. The stored grain; and 8. In the state of flour.

1. The _Slug_ may be described as a houseless snail. There are several
species, but the milky slug (_Limax agrestis_) and the black slug (_L.
ater_) are those most common to our corn crops, and are more especially
mischievous to wheat; for, as this crop usually succeeds clover or
“seeds,” in which they breed most rapidly, so, the older the clover lea,
the more eggs will be ready to hatch in the wheat crop, and this all the
more readily as the wheat is nearly always put in with a single
ploughing, and with as little cultivation as possible.

The best remedy will be found in encouraging insectivorous birds—the
lark, rook, starling, peewit, and others, eating them either in the egg
or young state with great avidity; a good assistance to whose labours
may be supplied in a few broods of ducks from the farmyard, which it
will pay well to have tended by a good boy—where such can be found—as
these birds are most efficient as destroyers of slugs and caterpillars.

Store pigs turned into old leas, where they can do no mischief, will get
no bad living where snails and insects abound.

_Wire-worms._—The several species of beetle which produce the wire-worm
belong to the genus _Elater_. They are of a long oval shape: about half
the length belongs to the head and thorax, and the other to the abdomen.
Every schoolboy knows that when he holds the insect on its back it
elevates the abdominal portion, and again lets it fall so as to make a
beating sound; and hence its generic name, and also its common name of
click-and-hammer beetle. If he remove his finger when in this position,
the creature immediately skips up and turns on its feet, from which
action it has got the name of “skipjack.”

Curtis has estimated nearly seventy species of click-beetles as
producing wire-worms in this country; but the three following are those
generally met with—_Elater lineatus_, _E. obscurus_, and _E.
ruficaudis_. These all attack corn and almost every other kind of
vegetable.

The larvæ of these are very much alike, being hard, leathery, wiry
caterpillars, which vary in length to about three-quarters of an inch,
according to age. These are mostly smooth, and have six feet on their
thoracic segments, and a false foot or _proleg_ in the middle of the
underpart of the terminal section of the abdomen—characters by which
wire-worms may be distinguished from all others. Their length varies
with age; as they live for some years in the larva state, so the
different sizes mark so many broods, which in some fields are annually
provided for. It should here be observed that the wire-worm does not
breed; these larvæ can only be hatched from the eggs of the female
click-beetle: hence, then, destroying the worms prevents the development
of their parent.

Now, as we have seen whole fields of wheat destroyed by wire-worms, it
becomes important to examine the nature of this attack, with a view to
point out a remedy. If, then, we go into a corn field in early spring,
and see the young wheat blades looking yellow and sickly, we shall
seldom be long in finding the wire-worm, on carefully taking up some of
the affected plants. Its position will be at the base of the plant,
sometimes eating its way into its centre, and so eating out its very
heart; or perhaps it may nibble away the outer coat of the young stem,
and so prevent any nutriment passing into the blade. One worm will be
enough to kill a single blade; but, alas! it frequently happens that he
either visits all the blades, or is assisted by many individuals to each
plant. This abundance we have observed more particularly on the breaking
up of old pastures, old seeds, or saintfoin _lea_, in which not only
have we many broods of wire-worms, but the eggs of a fresh lot, which
hatch in time to eat the spring wheats. Again, this large increase we
have ever observed in districts where rooks are few or much molested.
The rook is a constant visitor to the clover field; but when the plant
is young he is driven off, because the farmer “cannot think what else he
can come for but the clover buds;” and when he sees some of these
strewing the ground where the birds have been, he is confirmed in his
opinion: but, if he carefully looked at the buds themselves, he would
find them of a sickly hue, however recent the attack, and, if he looked
deeper he might find the real enemy.

Fortified, then, with repeated observations of this kind, if asked how
best to keep under wire-worms, we say most unhesitatingly, encourage the
rook: he is one of the farmer’s best labourers; and though, like John,
and Dick, and Hodge, he will sometimes run into mischief, it is surely
better to institute a judicious police than to condemn and execute
without very strong evidence.

Yarrell, in his beautiful “British Birds,” has the following remarks
upon this highly-important subject:—

     The attempts occasionally made by man to interfere with the balance
     of powers as arranged and sustained by Nature, are seldom
     successful. An extensive experiment appears to have been made in
     some of the agricultural districts on the Continent, the result of
     which has been the opinion that farmers do wrong in destroying
     rooks, jays, sparrows, and, indeed, birds in general on their
     farms, particularly where there are orchards. In our own country,
     particularly on some very large farms in Devonshire, the
     proprietors determined, a few summers ago, to try the result of
     offering a great reward for heads of rooks; but the issue proved
     destructive to the farms, for nearly the whole of the crops failed
     for three successive years, and they have since been forced to
     import rooks and other birds to stock their farms with. A similar
     experiment was made a few years ago in a northern county,
     particularly in reference to rooks, but with no better success; the
     farmers were obliged to reinstate the rooks to save their crops.

But as, perhaps, the most interesting account of the value of rooks will
be found in an extract from the _Magazine of Natural History_, vol. vi.
p. 142, we cannot do better than transcribe it:—

     “In the neighbourhood of my native place (in the county of York),”
     says the writer, Mr. T. Clithero, “is a rookery belonging to W.
     Vavasour, Esq., of Weston, in Wharfdale, in which it is estimated
     that there are 10,000 rooks; that 1 lb. of food a week is a very
     moderate allowance for each bird, and that nine-tenths of their
     food consists of worms, insects, and their larvæ; for, although
     they do considerable damage to the fields for a few weeks in
     seed-time, and a few weeks in harvest, particularly in backward
     seasons, yet a very large proportion of their food, even at these
     seasons, consists of insects and worms, which (if we except a few
     acorns and walnuts in autumn) compose at all other times the whole
     of their subsistence. Here, then, if my data be correct, there is
     the enormous quantity of 468,000 lb., or 209 tons, of worms,
     insects, and their larvæ, destroyed by the rooks of a single
     rookery in one year. To everyone who knows how very destructive to
     vegetation are the larvæ of the tribes of insects, as well as
     worms, fed upon by rooks, some slight idea may be formed of the
     devastation which rooks are the means of preventing.”

Let this, then, suffice for the rooks; but starlings, wagtails, larks,
and other birds, are also helpmates to the farmer; and therefore the
wanton destruction of these will certainly bring, nay, has already
brought, a great amount of trouble upon the cultivator of the soil.

The destruction we speak of has been committed by clubs and societies
established for the purpose; but, as their members are mostly filled up
with all sorts of prejudices—few being naturalists, or even accurate
observers—it becomes daily a matter of more pressing importance that
middle-class education, if not National-school teaching, should
recognise the value of the natural sciences.

2. The _Gout-fly_ (_Chlorops glabra_) and the _Saw-fly_ (_Sirex
pygmæus_) both lay their eggs below the first node or knot of the young
plant, which, as soon as they hatch, form maggots that eat out the
substance of the stems and the nodes, which thus become weakened and
ultimately break off, or, if left standing, the ears of corn as they
appear will be dried, whitened, and infertile.

In these, as in most cases of insect attacks, we have an occasional
blight of such extent as to destroy whole crops, against which we are
almost powerless, as we know so little of the economy of the creatures
by whom the mischief is caused; still, there can be little doubt but
that their periodical appearance, to the extent to cause them to be
recognised as _blights_, is due to the thinning of their enemies; and we
have always observed that a paucity of the _Hirundines_—the swallow
tribe of birds, their greatest enemies—is coupled with a great increase
of the smaller insects which it is the vocation of swallows, bats, and
others of the hawking insectivorous creatures, to take on the wing.

3. The _Wheat-midge_ (_Cecidomyia tritici_), also called the
Hessian-fly, is sometimes very destructive to the wheat crop. In 1860 we
observed the effects of this creature to a greater extent than we have
before known, in not a few instances rendering the crop scarcely worth
reaping. Upon this creature we sent the following notice to the
_Agricultural Gazette_ for August 30, 1862:—

     The wheat-midge (_Cecidomyia tritici_) has been so destructive for
     the last two or three years, that every fact connected with its
     history ought to be of great interest. Curtis tells us that “in
     Scotland one-third of the crop was lost, and the farmers suffered
     severely in 1828 and the three following years;” whilst “in Suffolk
     the yield[19] of wheat was one-third less in some districts in 1841
     than was expected.”

     [19] We believe this creature to be one of the most common causes of
deficient yield, so that a knowledge of its history is all-important in
estimating the value of a crop, which, as a rule, we should always put
lower in the seasons when this blight abounds.

     The presence or absence of this insect is so important as affecting
     the yield, that we now never fail to look for it in every crop upon
     which we would offer a judgment in this respect.

     It is easily detected in the larva state on opening some of the
     chaff-scales—pales—of affected crops, as in the interior of these
     will be found some minute larvæ (maggots) of a bright yellow or
     orange colour. In the earlier period of the blossom these larvæ
     will be found about the stamens and pistils; later, upon the
     grain, which is always shrivelled and lost where the attack has
     been made.

     The colour of the maggots is so much like that of the red-rust as
     often to be mistaken for it; the difference, however, between the
     bunches of minute granular fungi and living worms will be made
     apparent to the most careless observer by the assistance of a
     common pocket lens. We find two terms in use for these yellow
     appearances—namely, red-rust and red-gum; and as we have so often
     found them employed indiscriminately, we would restrict the former
     to the fungus,[20] thus—_Uredo rubigo_, red-rust; and _Cecidomyia
     tritici_, red-gum. Our observations on the latter this year have
     chiefly been made in the counties of Sussex and Gloucester, in both
     of which we have seen this insidious enemy at work to an alarming
     extent. In the former county, with a very limited extent of
     red-rust; in the latter, the later and more delicate wheats have
     both red-rust and red-gum in the same crop: and the interest of the
     subject will be the more forcibly apprehended when we say that in
     some crops, which, from a first glance at the straw and ears, we
     should have put down as somewhere about thirty bushels per acre, we
     have, after a more minute inspection of the ears, estimated at less
     than twenty bushels; and, indeed, in one field which we have
     examined during the last week (August, 1862), affected by the
     _Cladosporium_, _Uredo_, and _Cecidomyia_, there will scarcely be a
     yield in good grains of the amount of the seed sown.

[20] See _ante_, p. 185.

The fly which lays the eggs from which these yellow larvæ are derived is
of about the size of a gnat, and usually takes the wing in the evening,
in which case, if its enemies the bats are not numerous, smother fires
lighted towards sundown on the wind side of the fields are not only
destructive to large numbers, but act as an offensive notice to quit to
others. Curtis says:—

     With regard to the Hessian-fly, even if its presence could be
     ascertained in the early stages, it does not seem possible to
     devise any means of destroying the eggs or young larvæ, unless
     feeding off the blade with sheep would effect the object; and when
     their progress is detected by their mischievous works, at a more
     advanced period, nothing, I apprehend, but sacrificing the crop
     would arrest them. It appears, therefore, to be an evil to which we
     must occasionally submit; but, to guard against its immediate
     recurrence, it will only be necessary to collect and burn the
     stubble after the corn is reaped, by which means the larvæ and pupæ
     which are concealed at the base of the stalk will, of course, be
     destroyed.

Now, in reference to wheat stubbles, we would remark that the
old-fashioned plan of leaving them long as a protection, and, we may
add, a preserve of food for partridges, had its good effects in an
agricultural point of view; but if this be done, we advocate the burning
of the stubs on the soil, as they will thus act better as a manure,
while the destruction of insects by the process must be enormous. All
concur that modern agriculture suffers increasingly from insects; hence,
then, an extended study of their habits seems daily more desirable: and
we boldly assert that if our country schoolmasters would teach their
pupils to observe insect life, they may be doing more good to
agriculture than all our present so-called agricultural colleges and
schools put together.

4. The _Aphis flea_ (_Aphis granaria_) is a creature destructive to the
grain by “sucking the verdure out on’t.” We have this year (1864) seen
this insect, more especially the _apterous_—wingless—females, sticking
on to the green wheat ears to such an extent as to render a walk into
the crop a disgustingly dirty process. It would seem that a continuous
dry and warm season favours the increase of these creatures; but, as we
have always observed that the earlier sown wheats nearly always escape,
from their coming into ear and advancing to ripeness before the aphis
has increased its countless broods; so then we should recommend early
wheat sowing, wherever and whenever practicable, as a preventive of the
pest; in fact, the being in good time with all farm work has every
advantage.

5. The two affections of the grain in our table are widely different in
their modes of attack, but both tend to lessen the quantity of produce.
The first, the Ear-Cockle (_Vitrio tritici_) is an affection of the
grain, which at starting it will be well to distinguish from smut or
bunt. In the latter, the grain is filled with what appears a black
powder, the grains of which the microscope shows to be a fungus;[21]
whilst in the cockle the seed, which is purple externally—hence called
“purples”—is filled with what appears to be white cotton wool. This,
under the microscope, has the appearance of a multitude of eels. These
are, indeed, minute infusorial worms, and are exceedingly curious; the
smallest portion of the cottony substance taken on a pin’s point and
just moistened with water, often showing thousands of the eels under a
good instrument; for drawings and descriptions of which and good
drawings (after Bauer), we should recommend the reader to consult
“Curtis’s Farm Insects.” A damp season favours the production of these;
hence drainage and such conditions as increase the effects of damp and
cold are to be guarded against.

[21] See _ante_, p. 183.

The _Corn Moth_ is best known by the presence of a small, slightly hairy
maggot, which is found to eat the flour from the grain; this is the
larva of a small moth, probably the _Butalis cerealella_. It is easily
found in the chaff scales; and during the summer of 1861 we saw as many
as six in a single ear, and it was, indeed, one of the causes of the bad
yield of that year. We know of no remedy for this evil; but, perhaps, if
we were better acquainted with the habits of the moth itself, means
might be devised for taking it before the eggs are laid in the young ear
of corn.

6. The _Corn or Granary Weevil_ (_Calandra granaria_) and others.—These
attack corn in store, and probably differ in species according to the
kind of corn. This is a small beetle, the female of which makes a hole
in the grain and deposits an egg, which soon hatches into the maggot;
this eats out the grain with great assiduity until its partial period of
rest in the pupa state; which passed, the beetle finishes the work, and
may frequently be found in the interior of wheat.

The usual structures of granaries and corn-stores contribute to the
increase of this pest, as they are mostly dark and ill-ventilated
chambers. The best remedy is to expose the grain to the greatest
possible amount of cold, by spreading it on the floors in hard frosts,
and letting in light and air. Curtis quotes the “Bulletin des Sciences
Agriculture” for July, 1826, for the following plan:—“Lay fleeces of
wool, which have not been scoured, on the grain; the oily matter
attracts the insects amongst the wool, where they soon die, from what
cause is not exactly known. M. B. C. Payrandeau related to the
Philomatic Society of Paris that his father had made the discovery in
1811, and had since practised it on a large scale.”

7. The moth that visits granaries (_Tinia granella_) may here be
adverted to. The presence of the larvæ of the little grain moth may soon
be ascertained in the granary, when one finds several grains of corn
united by a web, to which will be attached bunches of small granules,
which are the exuviæ of the one or two caterpillars belonging to each
group of corns.

The best method of preventing this is thorough cleanliness, light, and
ventilation in the granary. If, however, the moth has got possession,
then we recommend sulphur to be burnt in iron pans—old saucepan lids are
as good as anything—stopping up all the crevices. This will be an
effectual remedy, not only for the moth, but for the weevils and other
insect pests; and if a pound of sulphur be occasionally burnt in the
barn, even rats must succumb to the gas which is generated.

8. The _Meal-worm Beetle_ (_Tenebrio molitor_), which generates commonly
in the meal-bins of this country, and the _T. obscurus_, which has been
introduced in American flour, are two forms of beetle, the larvæ of
which are “meal-worms.” These are best prevented by not keeping too
large a store of flour, always having this dry and in the best
condition, and storing, as far as possible, in a clean, light, and airy
position. Indeed, as Curtis remarks, “Cleanliness is the best guard
against these insects;” and we cannot better conclude this chapter than
by further quoting the following from this excellent author:—

     In looking back to the variety of insects that feed upon corn, and
     the multitudes that are often congregated in one heap, there can be
     no doubt that a very large portion must be occasionally ground up
     with the corn and consumed by the public. This is not only a
     disagreeable fact, but it may be the source of very serious
     consequences, for I think it not improbable that many diseases
     might be traced to the insects which are converted with the
     infested flour into bread, amounting to such a large percentage,
     that if they have the slightest medicinal or deleterious qualities,
     it is impossible to deny the influence they must exercise upon the
     human system. I have known bushels of cocoa-nuts, which were every
     one worm-eaten and full of maggots, with their webs, excrement,
     cast-off skins, pupæ, and cocoons, all ground down to make
     chocolate, flavoured, I suppose, with vanilla!



CHAPTER XXX.

SCIENCE IN THE CULTIVATION OF CORN.


The object of the present chapter will be to point out the principles
concerned in the more immediate acts connected with the cultivation of
corn. In so doing in the present case, as in the discussion of the
preceding subjects, it may not be out of place here to state that it has
not, nor will it be, our object to enter into the every-day practical
details of crop-management, but to dwell more particularly upon those
points in cultivation which may be said to belong more especially to the
science of the subject.

This chapter, then, will be more especially devoted to the consideration
of the three following subjects:—

1st. On the uses of special manures for corn crops.

2nd. On the quality and quantity of corn to be used for seed.

3rd. On the period for harvesting corn.

1st. _On the Uses of Manures._—It is pretty generally agreed that
special manuring for corn, when grown in the ordinary shifting crop
system, is positively injurious, and more truly so, if farmyard dung be
employed. Still, on our own farm we were over-persuaded to give a
dressing of rotted dung to some wheat. As the previous crop, turnips,
had all but failed, we yielded on being told that it was a common Dorset
custom, but, fortunately, only to the extent of a few acres down the
middle of the field, on which part, at harvest, the main of the crop had
fallen to the ground, with the affection known as knee-bent. There was
plenty of straw, not at all good; but the yield of plump grains can
hardly be half of those of the other parts of the field.

As a general rule, we have never observed special manuring to be useful
except as top-dressings in early spring, at which time soot, or, better
still, a mixture of soot and guano, may be sown on most wheat crops to
advantage, and more especially where the young plant has been injured by
the slug or the wire-worm, as in these cases the lower joint and the
winter root are destroyed. If, then, the young plant be at this time
stimulated with the mixture as advised, and the crop be afterwards
rolled, we supply nutriment just in the form that it can be readily
assimilated, the injured plants send out new roots from the second
joint, and begin a fresh life, whilst the uninjured ones push out new
buds—_stolons_—and all grow the better, because the roller has aided in
firmly fixing the plants in the ground.

There have been those who would tell us that manure can be best used to
wheat by subjecting the seed to various steeps; but we need hardly stop
to question the folly of the assertions which from time to time
re-appear, both at home and abroad, upon this point.

Thus far the subject of manures has been treated as for wheat as a
shifting crop; but this crop has been grown year after year on the same
soil, and, in some cases, without an apparent diminution in quantity or
quality. One instance that came under our own observation was in
Gloucestershire, where a cottager had grown wheat on the same plot of
ground for thirteen years, and, for aught I know, it may still be
continued. Hence the subsoil was _Lias shale_; but it was well drained
and cultivated as a garden, the manure employed being the contents of
the garden-house.

In cases of this kind, an annual application of manure is absolutely
necessary; and we are happy to find that different manures and their
effects have been experimented upon and duly noted, _for the same
plots_, during a period of no less than twenty years, and that by such
careful and reliable inquirers as J. B. Lawes, Esq., F.R.S., and Dr.
Gilbert, F.R.S.; full details of the results of whose labours upon this
subject will be found in Vol. XXV. of the _Journal of the Royal
Agricultural Society of England_, from which we have extracted some of
the following general conclusions as to average yield and weight of corn
for the lengthened periods quoted:—

1. TABLE OF RESULTS OF EXPERIMENTS AT ROTHAMSHEAD, BY MESSRS. LAWES AND
GILBERT.

  +------+--------------------------+------------+---------+----------+
  |      |                          |            | Average |          |
  |Plots.| Manures used every year. |  Average.  | weight  |  Years.  |
  |      |                          |            |per bush.|          |
  +------+--------------------------+------------+---------+----------+
  |      |                          |Bush. Pecks.|         |          |
  |  1   |Unmanured every year      | 16    1    |  57·9   | 20 years,|
  |      |                          |            |         | 1844-63. |
  |  2   |Ammonia salts alone       | 24    1¾   |  57·6   | 19 years,|
  |      |                          |            |         | 1845-63. |
  |  3   |14 tons Farmyard manure   | 32    1¾   |  60·0   | 20 years,|
  |      |                          |            |         | 1844-63. |
  |  4   |Unmanured every year      | 15    2    |  56·5   |}         |
  |  5   |Mixed mineral manure alone| 18    1¾   |  57·9   |}         |
  |  6   |Ammonia salts alone       | 22    2½   |  55·9   |}12 years,|
  |  7  {|Ammonia salts and mixed } |            |         |}1852-63. |
  |     {|mineral manure          } | 36    1½   |  58·4   |}         |
  |  8   |14 tons Farmyard manure   | 35    1½   |  59·3   |}         |
  +------+--------------------------+------------+---------+----------+

A glance at this table shows us the wonderful results of _continuous_
manuring for the soil operated upon; we might, however, expect that,
though the general conclusions would probably not greatly vary, yet that
there would not be absolute uniformity in these respects in different
soils and districts.

2. _On the Quality and Quantity of Seed-corn._—It seems to be generally
concluded that a thin seed, from poorer soil, should be preferred for
land of a better quality; but our own experience would lead us to look
for seed from as great a change of soil as possible, and to procure
therefrom not a poor, but as good a sample as we could. We should,
however, look for our seed, not from a richer soil or a warmer climate,
but the reverse. Oats, for example, as previously shown, degenerate,
even to wild ones, if the poor seed be brought from a poor, cold soil,
to be cultivated in land still poorer. We, however, on our farm, sowed
oats during the past season weighing 48 lb. per bushel on a sandy soil;
and, although our return was not so large in bushels as though we had
sown black oats, yet their weight was but just under that of the seed.
Now, these oats were from Canada, and, no doubt, the warm climate of the
west of England suited them as to change.

As regards barley, we prefer a good sample for seed, if it be of
home-growth; at the same time, very thin samples from Russia, or the
States, often do well. Last season, we sowed some American barley of so
poor a quality, that it was impossible to tell its name, but which gave
for 50 acres an average yield of 40 bushels per acre, so even and plump,
that only 28 sacks of “tailing” were separated, and the bulk—good
Chevallier barley—was equal to any in the market.

In cultivating wheat, climate must ever be considered, as only in warm
situations can the finest samples of white wheats be grown. Upland cold
positions are suitable for red wheats, and so are undrained lowlands;
still, good farming will render it possible to grow white wheats where,
before drainage and other ameliorating processes, such was impossible.

As regards the quantity to be sown per acre, it will be seen that the
margin is sufficiently wide, if we say that it lies between half a peck
and half a quarter. In garden cultivation, with deep digging, and in the
absence of weeds, birds, or insects, where you can choose your time for
every operation, dibble in a seed in a place, the minimum quantity may
suffice, as good crops have been got from a very small quantity of seed;
but garden experimenters rather too positively lay down the law, when
they tell the farmer that this thin seeding will do equally well on
broad acres, where every operation is circumscribed by circumstances.
Where there is so much to do, you cannot always get everything done at
the right season, even if the soil were favourable for so doing; and the
period at which you get your land ready for the seed, and the time of
sowing it, makes a wide difference. But there is another point of
even—if possible—greater importance; namely, the _quality_ of the seed.
Now, on our farm we always ascertain the germinating power of every
sample of seed before sowing; and from this, as well as from the results
of numerous experiments on this subject, we have arrived at the
conclusion, that there are immense differences in this respect, which
cannot possibly be made out at sight, but can only be ascertained
experimentally. To make this matter clear, we append a table (2) of the
results of experiments on this point upon no less than forty-two
samples, which were tried in 1863.

Now, these experiments showed a want of germinating power, in some of
the samples, of more than 50 per cent., and in the 42 samples an average
of 24·5 per cent.; from which it will be seen that sometimes the thick
sower is not the thick seeder, and his failure of a crop is not always
due to slugs and wireworms.

These experiments were published in the _Agricultural Gazette_, and they
evoked some remarks from a learned divine, so unfair and uncandid, as
only to be excused by the nature of his professional education and modes
of thought. Now, when this gentleman affected to believe that these
things could not be so, and that with him every seed germinated, we
could only conclude that the days of miracles had not quite ceased; but
as, in later numbers of the _Gazette_, his opinions have been somewhat
modified in this respect, we yet think him capable of riding a hobby too
hard, though not until the pace has thrown him down and broken his knees
will he own it.

2. TABLE OF THE GERMINATION OF WHEAT.

  +---+---------------------+-------+-------+-----+------+------------------+
  |No.|        Label.       |Weight | Price |Came |Failed|      Remarks.    |
  |   |   Wheats of 1862.   |  per  |  per  | up  | per  |                  |
  |   |                     |bushel.|bushel.|pr.  |cent. |                  |
  |   |                     |       |       |cent.|      |                  |
  +---+---------------------+-------+-------+-----+------+------------------+
  |   |                     |       | s. d. |     |      |                  |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |}These are six    |
  | 1 |Tasmania             |  66·  |  ...  |  46 |  54  |}samples from the |
  | 2 |  Ditto              |  60·5 |  ...  |   8 |  92  |}the International|
  | 3 |Tuscan, from Victoria|  68·  |  ...  |  94 |   6  |}Exhibition of    |
  | 4 |  Ditto    ditto     |  63·  |  ...  |  78 |  22  |}1862, to which   |
  | 5 |  Ditto    ditto     |  67·  |  ...  |  90 |  10  |}they were for-   |
  | 6 |Tasmania             |  60·  |  ...  |  30 |  70  |}warded by various|
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |}colonists.       |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |Taken by us;      |
  | 7 |  Ditto              |  59·5 |  ...  |  28 |  72  |probably the same |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |as No. 6.         |
  | 8 |Talavera             |  66·  |  ...  |  98 |   2  |}Four samples from|
  | 9 |Spalding             |  63·3 |  ...  |  94 |   6  |}Hainhault Farm—  |
  |10 |Thick-set Rough Chaff|  65·  |  ...  | 100 | None |}amongst the best |
  |11 |Morton’s Blood Straw |  62·6 |  ...  |  94 |   6  |}that have come   |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |}before us.       |
  |12 |Hallett’s Pedigree   |  62·9 |  ...  |  78 |  22  |Communicated.     |
  |13 |Creeping Wheat       |  66·5 |  ...  |  98 |   2  |  Ditto.          |
  |14 |{Bland’s Giant }     |  59·  |  ...  |  96 |   4  |  Ditto.          |
  |   |{Prolific      }     |       |       |     |      |                  |
  |15 |Fuller’s Red         |  56·8 |  ...  |  98 |   2  |A poor grain from |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |the Cotteswolds.  |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |{Samples taken by |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |{us from Cirences-|
  |16 |Red Straw Lammas     |  56·8 |  7  0 |  82 |  18  |{ter Market. No.  |
  |17 |Hallett’s Pedigree   |  64·6 | 10  6 |  88 |  12  |{21 not a seed    |
  |18 |Browick              |  58·5 |  6  6 |  88 |  12  |{wheat; it con-   |
  |19 |Red Chaff White      |  59·  |  6  6 |  78 |  22  |{tains 76,800     |
  |20 |Free-trade           |  59·5 |  6  3 |  88 |  12  |{seeds of corn    |
  |21 |Russian              |  55·  |  5  7½|  32 |  68  |{cockle and 64,000|
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |{seeds of rye in  |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |{the bushel.      |
  |22 |Burwell              |  58·5 |  8  0 |  18 |  82  |}                 |
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |}Communicated     |
  |23 |Rough Chaff Talavera |  60·5 |  9  0 |  90 |  10  |}from a well-known|
  |   |                     |       |       |     |      |}seedsman.        |
  |24 |Talavera             |  63·  | 10  0 |  38 |  62  |}                 |
  |25 |Corner’s Rough Chaff |  62·  | 10  0 |  52 |  48  |}                 |
  |26 |Red Browick          |  65·  |  8  0 |  58 |  42  |}                 |
  |27 |Chidham              |  66·5 | 10  0 |  70 |  30  |}                 |
  |28 |Lammas               |  63·3 |  8  0 |  58 |  42  |}                 |
  |29 |{Britannia, or Red}  |       |  8  0 |  54 |  46  |}These formed a   |
  |   |{Thickset         }  |  66·  |       |     |      |}most interesting |
  |30 |Red Nursery          |  67·  |  9  0 |  92 |   8  |}series of several|
  |31 |Col. Quentin’s Giant |  68·  |  9  0 |  38 |  62  |}sorts of wheat—  |
  |32 |Kessingland          |  63·3 |  8  0 |  86 |  14  |}most of which    |
  |33 |April                |  60·3 | 12  0 |  84 |  16  |}looked remark-   |
  |34 |Golden Drop          |  63·3 |  8  0 |  92 |   8  |}ably well as hand|
  |35 |{Shirreff’s Bearded} |  60·5 |  9  0 |  74 |  26  |}samples.         |
  |   |{Red               } |       |       |     |      |}                 |
  |36 |Essex Rough Chaff    |  66·3 |  9  0 |  96 |   4  |}                 |
  |37 |Hunter’s White       |  60·  |  8  0 |  60 |  40  |}Out of condition.|
  |38 |{Shirreff’s Bearded} |  63·2 | 10  0 |  96 |   4  |}                 |
  |   |{White             } |       |       |     |      |}                 |
  |39 |White Trump          |  63·3 |  9  0 |  96 |   4  |}                 |
  |40 |Grace’s White        |  65·  | 10  0 |  38 |  62  |}                 |
  |41 |Hertfordshire White  |  62·2 |  8  0 |  94 |   6  |}                 |
  |42 |Hallett’s Pedigree   |  66·  | 10  0 |  92 |   8  |}                 |
  +---+---------------------+-------+-------+-----+------+------------------+

3. TABLE OF THE GERMINATION OF BARLEY, 1863.

  +---+----------------+------+-----+------+----------------------------+
  |   |                |Price |Came |Failed|                            |
  |No.|      Label.    | per  | up  | per  |          Remarks.          |
  |   |                |quar- | pr. |cent. |                            |
  |   |                | ter. |cent.|      |                            |
  +---+----------------+------+-----+------+----------------------------+
  |   |                |  s.  |     |      |                            |
  | 1 |From Sherborne  |  29  |  98 |   2  | }                          |
  | 2 | „   Martock    |  29  |  98 |   2  | }                          |
  | 3 | „   Lulworth   |  24  |  96 |   4  | }All market samples.       |
  | 4 | „   Crewkerne  |  28  |  76 |  24  | }                          |
  | 5 | „   Mr. Masters|  28  |  96 |   4  | }                          |
  | 6 |Odessa          |  24  |  96 |   4  | }                          |
  | 7 |From Salisbury  |  24  | 100 |   0  |}Salisbury is considered    |
  | 8 |    Ditto       |  24  |  96 |   4  |}one of the best places for |
  | 9 |    Ditto       |  24  |  90 |  10  |}seed barley. The samples   |
  |10 |    Ditto       |  24  |  92 |   8  |}are mostly from the Chalk  |
  |11 |    Ditto       |  24  | 100 |   0  |}Rock.                      |
  |12 |From Langport   |  28  | 100 |   0  | }                          |
  |13 | „   Chard      |  27  |  82 |  18  | }Like most of our speci-   |
  |14 |Stiff-straw     |  28  |  82 |  18  | }mens, market samples.     |
  |15 |Nottingham      |  32  |  90 |  10  | }                          |
  |16 |Chevallier      |  26  |  96 |   4  | }                          |
  |17 |From Yeovil     |  26  |  70 |  30  |}This is a low-germinating  |
  |18 |   Ditto        |  26  |  70 |  30  |}series; their uniformity of|
  |19 |   Ditto        |  26  |  84 |  16  |}price and difference in    |
  |20 |   Ditto        |  26  |  94 |   6  |}germination is remarkable. |
  |21 |   Ditto        |  26  |  84 |  16  |}                           |
  |22 |{Chevallier,  } |      |     |      |{Two good samples, and the  |
  |   |{sown on farm } |  28  |  96 |   4  |{yield of the crop of fifty |
  |23 |American, ditto |  28  | 100 |   0  |{acres each about 36 bush.  |
  |   |                |      |     |      |{per acre.                  |
  |24 |   Ditto        |  30  |  92 |   8  |                            |
  |25 |New from farm,  |  30  |  98 |   2  |                            |
  |   |1864            |      |     |      |                            |
  |   |                |      | --- | ---  |                            |
  |   |    Average     |      |  92 |   8  |In round numbers.           |
  +---+----------------+------+-----+------+----------------------------+

Seeing, then, that there were such variations in the germinating powers
of wheat, we determined to try a series of experiments with barley; and
from the results (table 3), it will be seen that, though the margin is
not so wide, yet great differences occur; still, with regard to this
grain, we constantly find that in samples too thin and poor for even
the farmyard poultry to pick up, yet that much of this is capable of
germination.

Still, theory and practice confirm the assumption that in England very
much seed is wasted by being too thickly sown; and, if a farmer can get
his land well prepared and in good time, we conclude, as a matter of
practical experience, that just half the seed usually sown will be
better than the double quantity; but we should, as a rule, make a
difference of at least half a peck for each week that we were beyond the
best time of wheat-sowing in any particular district. On our own farm we
sowed four and six pecks of wheat where double the quantity had been the
rule before Christmas, and from six to eight pecks afterwards; six pecks
of barley and oats, where a sack had previously been the rule. With the
wheat and barley we were right, except in the very late-sown of the
latter, when time was only sufficient to grow a single head, and not to
allow of stooling. Here a sack would have given a better result. The
same with our oats: thin seeding caused them to run to straw; they were
on a poor sand, taller than the men who cut them; but had we doubled our
seed, we conclude we should have had shorter straw and more corn.

If, then, these things be so, the judgment of the farmer will be best
shown in rightly weighing _all_ the circumstances of his case; and in
the matter of seeding, as with physic, he will find that homœopathy
_alone_ is only quackery.



CHAPTER XXXI.

ON HARVESTING CORN.


A knowledge of when corn is in the best condition to be harvested is a
matter of great importance; and hence some observations upon this
subject may fitly conclude this part of our work.

Not to enter too deeply into chemical matters, we may state, at least as
a probable general conclusion, that there is a period in the growth of
grain and pulse crops before they are ripe, in which all the feeding
qualities will be found diffused in the several plants; a little later,
and the feeding matters will be found more particularly concentrated in
the seed. Now, if oats, peas, and beans, be cut in this “green” state,
they make either a fresh food, or can be dried into hay, which, when cut
into chaff, is found to be an excellent feeding material; and as such
crops can be quickly cleared and cheaply employed, there is no doubt but
that they will henceforward be more generally used in this way than
formerly.

But, again, in ripening of wheat there would appear to be a point in its
progress short of “dead ripe,” in which every quality is fully stored in
the seed; and, after this period, the seed-covering becomes thicker, and
makes more bran in proportion to flour: facts made out from the
following results of experiments of samples in three different states:—

TABLE OF THE RESULTS OF EXPERIMENTS WITH WHEAT.

     _Sample 1._—Wheat gathered when the grain was sweet, and almost
     milky. The stalks green. Date, July 25th, 1856.

     _Sample 2._—Wheat from the same field, gathered when in the state
     of hardening grain. The stalk just yellowed all the way down.
     August 2nd.

     _Sample 3._—Wheat from the same field, gathered when what is termed
     “dead ripe,” having been, in fact, left longer than it otherwise
     would, for want of hands. August 18th.

4. TABLE OF RESULTS FOR TWELVE EARS OF WHEAT DRIED.

“MORTON’S RED STRAW WHITE.”

  +-------+---------+-------------+---------+-----------------+
  |Sample.| Weight  |No. of grains|Weight of|                 |
  |       |   of    |     of      |grains of|                 |
  |       |the ears.|    corn.    |  corn.  |                 |
  +-------+---------+-------------+---------+-----------------+
  |       | Grains. |             | Grains. |                 |
  |   1   |   400   |     569     |   284   |Grain shrivelled.|
  |   2   |   379   |     431     |   294   |Grain plump.     |
  |   3   |   468   |     453     |   377   |Grain coarser.   |
  +-------+---------+-------------+---------+-----------------+

5. TABLE OF ANALYSIS OF THE CORN FOR THE TWELVE EARS.

  +-------+--------+-----------+-----------+------------------+
  |       |        |Per-centage|Per-centage|                  |
  |Sample.|Measure.|     of    |     of    |                  |
  |       |        |   flour.  |    bran.  |                  |
  +-------+--------+-----------+-----------+------------------+
  |   1   |  7·5   |    70·4   |    29·6   |} Flour of a fine |
  |   2   |  6·8   |    71·4   |    28·6   |} white quality in|
  |   3   |  8·8   |    63·7   |    36·3   |} all the samples.|
  +-------+--------+-----------+-----------+------------------+

Now, this shows that although the medium ripe ears in sample 2 had a
less number of grains, yet their per-centage of flour, as compared with
bran, was greatly on the increase. Still, it will be seen that sample 3
has the advantage in measure: hence, then, unless the miller will agree
to give a better price for a “gay”[22] sample, it will be to the
farmer’s advantage to leave it to fully ripen, if he can make sure that
it can be kept from shedding in harvesting, and the attacks of birds.

[22] The farmer’s term for early-cut corn, in both the middle and West
of England.

As regards barley, if our crop is required for home use for feeding
purposes, we should cut at least a week earlier than most people, and we
should have as good feeding quality, without loss from winds, loss in
harvesting, and from birds; but, if our land grows malting barley, the
sample will be a better, and more uniform in germinating, when “dead
ripe.”

During the last season (1864), our pupil, F. Witts, Esq., collected
bunches of corn from a crop of fine white oats at the under-mentioned
dates. From these we counted 500 seeds, and took their weights; and,
though we confess that many such experiments will be required to settle
the whole facts of the case, yet the results given in table 6 are so
curious, that we hope in future to direct our pupils in carrying out
many similar experiments.

The two samples, each of the 20th and 21st, were probably obtained from
different parts of the same field, yet they lead us to conclude, as do
those of the other dates, that a single day, if a hot summer, makes a
great deal of difference. Now, the crop was not cut until a week after
the 21st, and yet we are persuaded that we should have gained by cutting
on the 20th rather than later, and, at least, we should have prevented
much loss from “shed” seeds.

6. TABLE OF RIPENING OF OATS.

  +-------+------+-------+--------------------------------+
  |       |  No. |Weight |                                |
  | Date. |  of  |  in   |            Remarks.            |
  |       |seeds.|grains.|                                |
  +-------+------+-------+--------------------------------+
  |July  9| 500  | 110   |}The interiors of the grains    |
  |July  9| 500  | 120   |}only milky.                    |
  |July 11| 500  | 165   | }The interiors just beginning  |
  |July 14| 500  | 165   | }to harden.                    |
  |July 16| 500  | 207·5 |}Seeds ripe, but not beginning  |
  |July 18| 500  | 230   |}to shed.                       |
  |July 20| 500  | 250   | }                              |
  |July 20| 500  | 262·5 | }Ripe, and  shedding more      |
  |July 21| 500  | 257·5 | }every day.                    |
  |July 21| 500  | 267·5 | }                              |
  |Dec. 15| 500  | 250   |{Thrashed on the named date.    |
  |       |      |       |{Weight, 47½ lb. per bushel.    |
  +-------+------+-------+--------------------------------+

[Illustration: Cratægus oxyacanthoides. Glabrous White-thorn.]



HOW TO GROW GOOD FENCES.



CHAPTER XXXII.

ON THE NATURE OF FENCES.


Fences, as boundary lines to estates and as a means of dividing and
separating land into convenient parts or fields, are worthy of greater
attention than we think is paid to them either by the landlord or the
tenant.

But it is perhaps the fact that the landlord on the one hand too often
looks upon them as mere boundaries, or deems that he is only personally
concerned in them to that extent; while the tenant on the other hand—and
especially if his holding be precarious—can hardly be expected to take
that care and defray those expenses which growing good fences and
keeping them in order must necessarily entail. In treating this subject,
then, we shall endeavour to show that the study of how to grow good
fences, by putting the matter upon correct principles, will tend to the
good of all parties concerned.

Fences are of two well-known types: _Dead fences_, such as the natural
boundaries of streams, artificial ditches, raised mounds, walls,
railings, &c.; _Live fences_, grown from living trees or shrubs. These
latter, then, as forming no unimportant part of farm cultivation, will
occupy our attention in the next few chapters.

With regard to dead fences, those in more general farm use may be
briefly described under the heads of railings, mounds, and stone walls.

Railings are of various kinds, according to circumstances; the simplest
form of these consist of piles driven into the ground at about five feet
apart and secured by split larch on the top, and either larch cross
pieces below or iron hoops. In making these the landlord usually finds
the rough material, the tenant paying for the work, the usual cost for
cutting-out being a penny for each pile. This kind of fencing is mostly
employed as a protection to young live fences, or to fill up gaps in
older ones.

Mounds are simply lines of raised earthworks, and are used where stone
or fencing materials are expensive, or where live fences can only be
grown with difficulty. Sometimes these elevations are crowned with
privet or some light hedge-plant. They are occasionally employed as
field boundaries by river sides, where they subserve the purpose of
keeping out floods, but usually the mound is more used as a division of
property than as a fence.

Stone walls are the commonest fences over miles of country in the middle
of England, the Cotteswold hills being remarkable for dry stone
walls—the stone for these “Oolite freestones” being well adapted for the
purpose—of course they are dry, that is, built without mortar, as this
would render the work too costly for field boundaries. These walls have
a wild and desolate appearance, but they are commended by some as not
harbouring birds or vermin; but this is a questionable good, for as
regards birds, we contend that the stone wall districts would be better
off if they afforded shelter for a few more; but stoats, mice, snails,
beetles, and small fry of the kind of no use whatever, are absolutely
protected by the stone wall.

It is said again, that the stone wall offers little chance for weeds,
but to those who have been accustomed to observe about a yard on either
side of a wall constantly left unploughed and uncleaned, stone walls
will be considered as nurseries and protectors of weeds, and those, too,
of a highly mischievous character, as couch thistles, docks, &c.

With regard to the couch grass (_Triticum repens_), we have traced it
running from this source for a couple of yards into the ploughed field,
with the inevitable consequence that in the furrows it is cut into
convenient lengths to multiply the pest; and it has been on this account
that we have ever been careful to direct dragging and harrowing to be
done in the direction of the walls, before proceeding with these
operations over the rest of the field, and we recommend the cutting down
of weeds under these walls before a crop of corn be carried.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

ON THE PLANTS FOR “LIVE” FENCES.


The native plants which have been employed for living fences include
most of our indigenous trees and shrubs, with some few which, if not
native, have yet been for a long time naturalised throughout Great
Britain. The most important of these will be found in the following
list:—

           { Oak          }
           { Beech        } Forest trees usually forming
  Group 1. { Hornbeam     } fences by means of undergrowth
           { Ash          } from lopping and
           { Elm          } cutting.
           { Maple        }

           { Whitethorn   }
           { Blackthorn   } Trees and shrubs forming fences
  Group 2. { Crab         } by reason of a thick-growth
           { Buckthorn    } and repellant thorns and spines.
           { Holly        }

           { Nut          }
           { Privet       } Shrubs which for the most part
  Group 3. { Dogwood      } fill up badly-grown fences.
           { Spearwood    } These are really weeds in
           { Guelder Rose } good hedges.
           { Elder        }

In the first group, it may be remarked, that oak, ash, and elm are
seldom, if ever, planted for hedges; for in the first place these plants
are usually too expensive, and in the next they are not esteemed as
hedge plants. They mostly find their way in the fence by seeds being
sown by the wind, as is often the case with ash-keys, or they may start
up a bush of underwood after being cut down as hedge-row timber; in
either case they are very unsightly in appearance, and far from good in
hedges. Trees should not be grown in hedge-rows where the fence is to be
perfect, as these overshadow the best hedge-plants, and the sides of the
boles always offer weak places.

Beech and hornbeam are frequently used for garden and smaller fences,
and, when well grown, are really useful as a protection, as their
withered leaves are persistent, that is, they do not fall off until new
ones are formed. They are grown comparatively quickly, and will flourish
in poor light soils, and if strong plants be made to cross each other in
planting, they may be trained to form a strong fence.

In the second group, the whitethorn (_Cratægus oxyacantha_) stands
deservedly at the top of the list; in fact, it is the very best
hedge-row plant we possess. It is not slow of growth in congenial soil,
especially if well attended to. Its thorns render it thoroughly
repellant to cattle. It bears cutting, clipping, and trimming better
than any other; and though variable in its behaviour in different soils,
it is, after all, capable of bearing a greater diversity in this respect
than any other of our list. The whitethorn, then, is deservedly held in
the highest repute for the growth of the most perfect live fence for all
ordinary farm purposes; the blackthorn, crab, and buckthorn being
tolerated only because they possess some of the same characteristics as
the whitethorn. As regards the latter, it is exceedingly long-lived,
and, if left to itself, forms trees of considerable size, which are
occasionally very beautiful as forming part of park scenery; still in
hedges it can be kept to any size, and cutting it in causes a new wood
to spring up, which has all the characteristics of a young, quick plant.

These are merits of the greatest importance in favour of the whitethorn,
which will ever make this the best hedge-row plant, as if we succeed to
a whitethorn fence, which has been trimmed and kept within due bounds,
there is no difficulty in continuing the process; and so if the hedge be
left to grow tall and wild it may be cut out either wholly or partially,
some stems cut half through—as in the process of _plashing_—laid down,
and so a secure though not so tall a fence be formed, that will only
grow thicker year by year.

Blackthorn—sloe (_Prunus spinosa_) is formidable enough as regards
thorns, but it cannot stand the same amount of cutting as the
whitethorn, and, when cut, its young shoots being almost thornless,
makes a hedge of the sloe the less repellant the more vigorous are its
shoots.

The crab-apple (_Pyrus malus_) and the buckthorn (_Rhamnus catharticus_)
may be considered as accidental in fences; and as, to a great extent,
they will grow with the quicks and suffer the same treatment without
growing as upstarts on the one hand, or refusing to start again after
crippling on the other, they are both tolerated in fences without quite
getting a character for being hedgerow weeds.

The holly (_Ilex aquifolium_) possesses a wonderful repellant armour in
its spinous, evergreen leaves, on which, account it is esteemed as a
plant for fences:—

    A hedge of holly, thieves that would invade,
    Repulses like a growing palisade;
    Whose numerous leaves such orient greens invest,
    As in deep winter do the spring arrest.

This is one of our native trees, frequently attaining to a great size on
even wild, stony places, with only a thin layer of soil. We have seen
some fine examples, large enough to secure the holly a place among our
native forest trees on the “stony Cotteswolds,” as Shakespeare calls the
high Gloucestershire range; it is, however, of slow growth, or it would,
doubtless, be more used for fences: still in poor soils it will, after
all, grow as fast as the whitethorn, Evelyn is eloquent in praise of
holly. He says:—

     Is there under heaven a more glorious and refreshing object of the
     kind than an impregnable hedge of about four hundred feet in
     length, nine feet high, and five in diameter, which I can show in
     my now ruined gardens at Saye Court (thanks to the Czar of
     Muscovy[23]), at any time of the year, glittering with its armed
     and varnished leaves? The taller standards, at orderly distances,
     blushing with their natural coral; it mocks the rudest assaults of
     the weather, beasts, or hedge-breakers,—

    Et illum nemo impunè lacessit.

[23] The Czar Peter the Great resided at Mr. Evelyn’s house, in order
that he might be near the yard at Deptford, during his stay in England;
but we do not see why he should be thanked for the holly hedge.

     It is with us of two eminent kinds, the prickly and smoother
     leaved; or, as some term it, the free holly, not unwelcome, when
     tender, to sheep and other cattle. There is also of the white
     berried, and a golden and silver, variegated in six or seven
     differences, which proceeds from no difference in the species, but
     accidentally, and _naturæ lusu_, as most such variegations do,
     since we are taught how to effect it artificially, namely by sowing
     the seeds, and planting in gravelly soil mixed with store of chalk,
     pressing it hard down: it being certain that they return to their
     native colour when sown in richer mould, and that all the fibres of
     the roots recover their natural food.

The differences in the colour of the fruit, as of the colour and shape
of the leaves, is truly a matter of variety. The red-berried holly,
under the name of “Christmas,” is quite an article of commerce at the
festive season—so much so that a friend of ours in the neighbourhood of
Stroud, who this year (1864-5) had a large tree well covered with
berries, assured us that he had great difficulty in preventing it going
to market with some of the marauders, who scour the country in search of
anything they can sell.

In the Worcester market we for many years noticed a sprinkling of white,
or, rather, yellowish-berried holly, a spray or two of which was always
put with the bundle of the red-berried in effecting the many Christmas
sales.

As regards the difference in the leaves, although it is true that in the
gardens we have a smooth and unarmed variety, however dwarf the specimen
may be, yet in wild examples the smooth leaves will, for the most part,
only be found on the upper parts of tall trees; the poet, then, has been
as true to Nature as graceful in art in the poem of which the following
lines form a part:—

    Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen
      Wrinkled and keen.

    No grazing cattle through their prickly round
      Can reach to wound;
    But as they grow where nothing is to fear,
    Smooth and unarmed, the pointless leaves appear.

_Southey._

In growing hedges, the clipping to keep them within bounds helps to keep
the holly spinous at any age.

Evelyn further descants upon the excellency of holly for hedges; and as
the following remarks are so truly practical, we quote them in this
place:—

     The holly is an excellent plant for hedges, and would claim the
     preference to the hawthorn, were it not for the slowness of its
     growth while young, and the difficulty of transplanting it when
     grown to a moderate size. It will grow best in cold, stony land,
     where, if once it takes well, the hedges may be rendered so close
     and thick as to keep out all sorts of animals. These hedges may be
     raised by sowing the berries in the place where they are designed
     to remain, or by plants of three or four years’ growth; but as the
     berries continue in the ground near eighteen months before the
     plants appear, few persons care to wait so long; therefore, the
     usual and best method is to plant the hedges with plants of the
     before-mentioned age. But where this is practised, they should be
     transplanted either early in autumn, or deferred till toward the
     end of March; then the surface of the ground should be covered with
     mulch near their roots, after they are planted, to keep the earth
     moist; and if the season should prove dry, the plants should be
     watered, at least once a-week, until they have taken root,
     otherwise they will be in danger of miscarrying, for which reason
     the autumnal planting is generally preferred to the spring,
     especially in dry grounds. Columella’s description of a good hedge
     is highly applicable to one made of holly, “Neu sit pecori, neu
     pervia furi.” Of the rind of this tree birdlime is made.

    Alas! in vain with warmth and food
    You cheer the songsters of the wood;
    The barbarous boy from you prepares,
    On treacherous twigs, his viscous snares;
    Yes, the poor bird you nursed shall find
    Destruction in your rifled rind.

If we except the Privet, the examples of plants in our third group are
quite unfit for hedge purposes, as they are entirely without offensive
armature. Privet hedges are not unfrequent in gardens, where they are
useful for boundaries, blinds, and to act as shelter, but as a farm
hedge-plant it is quite useless.

The nut, guelder rose, and elder have none of the qualities for hedge
growth that are required by the former; on the contrary, they have large
leaves, and so smother the quicks if they grow with them, and when cut
they shoot rapidly, especially in the case of the elder (_Sambucus
niger_), and so make a hedgerow look ragged by here and there growing a
yard or so above the ordinary hedge-plants; but, besides this, the lower
stems get free from leaves, and hence gaps are easily made in bushes of
nut, dogwood, elder, &c.

In the above description of hedgerow plants we have omitted all mention
of yew, holly, laurustinas, furze, and the like, as being more properly
materials for ornamental or garden hedges. The furze, however, is
sometimes used on the tops of mounds, in some sandy districts, as a
fence plant, but the constant dying of the old wood and the consequent
exercise by the cottager of a fancied right to pull the hedge to pieces
for firing render it almost impossible to employ it to any advantage.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

ON THE REARING AND PLANTING OF HEDGES.


The rearing of plants for hedges is a matter of so much importance that
one can well understand how it has come to be a business of itself; and
as it is better that it should be so, both landlords and tenants will do
rightly to encourage its being done well. If, then, we take it for
granted that the whitethorn is the best hedge-plant, it will be best to
inquire—as a contribution to the science of the subject—whether there
are not some important varieties of this plant; if so, we should
determine which is the best, and encourage its cultivation. As the case
at present stands, nurserymen take no pains in the matter; they usually
employ children to collect the “haws”—the name by which the fruits are
known—and it is a matter of perfect indifference where or how they
obtain them.

Now, as regards the common hawthorn, experience has taught us that seeds
obtained from trees in cold, wild, stony places, such as have
established themselves about old quarries on the Cotteswold-hills, more
quickly make good plants than those from the pampered hedge-row in the
deep vale-lands.

But, in addition to this, having some years ago observed that certain
whitethorn-trees came into flower a full fortnight before others, and
this on the cold forest-marble clays in the exposed country of North
Wilts and south of Cirencester, we were induced to examine this tree
more closely; and the result of the inquiry was to induce a belief that
this is a much hardier, quicker, and more certain growing plant for
hedge-rows than the commoner form.

With these views established in our mind, we were not a little pleased
to find that in the beautiful new edition of “English Botany,” by the
accomplished editor, J. T. Syme, Esq., F.L.S., &c., figures and
descriptions are given of the two forms; and we here reproduce in
opposite columns the descriptions referred to with a figure of the early
form we have mentioned, that our readers may compare it with the common
whitethorn:—

                          _Cratægus oxyacantha._
                 /—————————————————^——————————————————\
    _Cratægus oxyacanthoides_               _Cratægus monogyna_
    (_Glabrous Whitethorn_).               (_Common Whitethorn_).

    Plate CCCCLXXIX. (E.B.)                Plate CCCCLXXX. (E.B.)

  Leaves obovate or rhomboid-          Leaves rhomboidal or rhomboidal-
  obovate, with 3 to 5 lobes,          ovate, with 3 to 5 lobes, margins
  margins slightly convex from the     straight or concave from the base
  base to the apex of the first        to the apex of the first lobe,
  lobe, usually serrated; lobes        usually entire, except at the
  scarcely longer than broad,          tips of the lobes; lobes longer
  generally rounded. Peduncles         than broad, and acute at the
  commonly glabrous. Calyx-tube        apex. Peduncles generally downy.
  glabrous; segments glabrous,         Calyx-tube more or less downy;
  ovate-deltoid, acuminate,            segments slightly downy, ovate-
  spreading-reflexed, with recurved    triangular, acuminate, suddenly
  points. Styles usually 2 or 3.       reflexed. Style 1. Fruit with
  Fruit with 2 or 3 stones.            1 stone. (See plate.)

That the glabrous whitethorn would make the best hedge-row form we have
no doubt, as its free growth and early leafing particularly recommend
it; and besides, though not the commonest, we cannot help thinking it to
be the hardiest variety, and one that would be likely to succeed in
soils where the ordinary one would be very slow in growth.

We have occasionally met with it in nursery-plantations, as well as in
hedge-rows, where it is distinguished at a glance by its more freely
growing twigs and brighter coloured, quite smooth leaves; so also, but
more rarely, we have met with the Glastonbury thorn in the hedge-row,
which we look upon as a variety of the glabrous thorn, a specimen of
which is now before us (January, 1865), with both leaves and flowers
well in bud, in the midst of a deep snow and a severe frost.

This variety is fabled to have sprung from Joseph of Arimathæa’s
staff, which he is supposed to have planted in the soil at Glastonbury,
on Christmas-day, prior to the foundation of the abbey at that
interesting place; and we have found some natives, both here and in
Herefordshire—whither perhaps the thorn had spread with sorts of
apples,—who adduce the budding of this thorn, which is usually after our
present Christmas-tide, as an evidence that Old Christmas is the right
day.

But we must not be too far led away by the legendary lore, much less the
poetry connected with the whitethorn.

We come now to a description of the methods to be observed in planting
fences, having taken for granted that quicks be employed for the
purpose, and that we encourage the production of the sort best adapted
to our purpose,—an end which, we conceive, will be well attained by
offering prizes to nurserymen for good and well-grown quicks.

In planting hedges, then, our first care should be to prepare the
ground. This must be done according to the soil; and here it may be
noted that there are two plans of doing this most commonly used, namely,
raising a mound, on which the quicks are to be planted without a ditch;
and the making a ditch and planting the quicks on the top of the
elevated soil. Now, curiously enough, the first method is the one
usually adopted in light, porous soils, as on the sands of Dorsetshire;
the second, in porous stones, where ditches are not required, as in the
oolitic districts; or else in clay soils, where alone the ditch is at
all advisable.

We advise that in light soils, as sandy loams, where drainage is not
required, the ground be well dug on the flat before the planting of the
quicks; that in thin soils on brashes the brash be loosened; and then
that some soil be carted on this surface, making an additional thickness
of not more than six inches of soil. As regards the preparation for a
fence, by previously making a ditch, we object to it on account of the
loss of ground; the ditch, again, if forming part of the system of
drainage, is always liable to become choked by weeds, brambles, and the
like, with water-plants growing in it. Had we to begin the laying-out of
ground, we should make our drainage-system independent of the fences;
and so, however stiff our clays if well drained, we should as a rule
only raise the soil where a fence was to be planted, by a few inches.

We speak the more strongly on this matter, because on our own farm we
have fences attempted to be grown on the top of mounds five feet high,
and which are made out of some of the lightest agricultural soil in
England, so light, indeed, as at first to appear to be a nearly pure
sand. On the same farm, again, we have yawning ditches in oolitic
limestone, which never carried water; and Mr. Parkes made ditches of
this kind on the College-farm at Cirencester, which have ever been
equally dry. These banks and ditches are worse than useless in our own
case: quicks will not grow at all; and so the bank is covered with all
kinds of shrubs, mixed with weeds, neither sufficient to keep in cattle,
nor prevent the workmen trespassing in every direction.

The next subject for consideration is that of the planting of the
quicks. To this end we should choose our plants to be of about four or
five years old; and in all cases, if possible, should personally
superintend their removal from the nursery. Old bundles of quicks, that
have stood it may be two or three weekly markets, will be sure to cause
disappointment. They should be removed so as to secure as many of the
rootlets—not merely the larger roots—as possible.

In planting, which should be done as quickly as may be after removal,
avoid the dibble, or anything which would tend to combine the roots in a
small compass. The best plan is to use the spade and to spread the roots
carefully; then cover them up, and tread the plants firmly into the
ground, taking care, if it be in a retentive soil, not to leave holes in
which water could stagnate.

When so planted, at about from six to nine inches, they should
annually, or twice a year if necessary, be hoed and weeded and have the
surface-soil tolerably well stirred, and, usually at the end of about
the third or fourth year, be carefully cut down within six or eight
inches of the ground, and the soil well stirred and manured. This would
appear to be a waste of time; but a single year will restore the plants
to even a greater height than before, and with all the elements for a
thick impervious bottom, from which time annual careful trimming—always
when the leaves have performed their functions and fall off—will be
sufficient to keep the hedge in an improving state.

We have here advocated planting in single lines. Some, however, prefer
double rows of quicks; but the latter are more difficult to keep clean
and to cultivate; and we have ever seen that it is not the quantity, but
the quality and the after-treatment of the plants which result in the
compact and repellant hedge.

Of course, all young hedges must be protected by a dead fence; and for
this purpose we prefer posts and rails of wood, or, if to keep back
sheep, mixed with a line or two of hoop-iron: this, according to the
situation of the fence, will be required on only one or on both sides.

In planting young beech, or hornbeam, or any non-spinous plant, for
hedges, it is advisable to cross the sets like a series of XXX’s,
overlapping each other at about ten or twelve inches apart; by this
means the branches interlace, and a compact fence, difficult to
penetrate, will be formed.

[Illustration: _E.B. 2504._

Cratægus monogyna. Common White-thorn.]

Maple may be used in the same way; but it never makes a strong fence,
and it has not the advantage of the two former, as its leaves fall off
at the approach of cold weather, which is not the case with either beech
or hornbeam, whose leaves are eminently persistent, especially in the
earlier part of their lives.

If furze hedges be required for any position, they may easily be grown,
either by taking up young plants from the waste and planting them where
wanted, or by sowing seed, which can readily be obtained from any
seedsman.

Before sowing, the ground should be lightly dug, and the seeds, after
being soaked for a few hours in water, be thinly sown, and be only just
covered up by the soil. This operation may be done in February; and when
the seeds come up, if they are covered over by branches of cut furze, or
these be stuck here and there in, or on, either side of the rows, the
young plants will be protected from cattle and sheep, which are fond of
nibbling the tender furze shoots.



CHAPTER XXXV.

WEEDS OF HEDGE-ROW FENCES.


As the hawthorn is usually recognized as the best plant for living
fences for farm purposes, it will be expected that this has been almost
exclusively employed; but, seeing that this is so, and has been so for
many years past, it is not a little interesting to trace in all hedges a
predilection to grow anything else rather than that originally planted.
Of course, with anything else we wished to grow, such interlopers would
be eradicated as weeds; but with hedges it would seem that all kinds of
rubbish are left to accumulate, until a hedge originally all hawthorn
has become made up of extraneous matters, with occasional “gaps,” which
are sure to occur where other plants are allowed, to the prejudice of
the quicks. As examples, we append the following:—

Ex. 1. ANALYSIS OF A HEDGE-ROW ON THE GREAT OOLITE COLLEGE FARM,
CIRENCESTER.

                                                               ft.   in.
  Whitethorn                                                     2    6
  Maple                                                          4    0
  Elder                                                          2    0
  Maple and whitethorn confused                                  4    6
  Elder                                                          3    0
  Maple, whitethorn, and elder, confused                        12    0
  Elder                                                          5    0
  Maple, whitethorn, and elder, confused                        21    0
  Ash twigs                                                      3    0
  Maple                                                          2    0
  Ash                                                            3    6
  Quicks                                                        12    0
  Elm twigs                                                      3    0
  Elder                                                          3    6
  Maple                                                          3    0
  Elder                                                          3    0
  Whitethorn and maple                                          24    0
  Gap                                                            4    0
                                                               --------
  Total                                                        115    0

Ex. 2. ANALYSIS OF A HEDGE ON THE FOREST MARBLE, NEAR CIRENCESTER.

                                                                ft.  in.
  Whitethorn                                                     3    0
  Blackthorn                                                     4    0
  Brambles and briars (Rubus and Rosa)                           4    6
  Ash and gap                                                    4    0
  Crab                                                           4    0
  Gap and brambles                                               3    0
  Whitethorn                                                     2    6
  Crab                                                           2    0
  Blackthorn                                                     2    0
  Whitethorn                                                     4    0
  Blackthorn                                                     7    0
  Gap and briars (Rosa canina)                                   4    0
  Blackthorn                                                     4    0
  Whitethorn                                                     3    0
  Rose (briars) and brambles                                     4    6
  Whitethorn                                                     3    0
  Gap and brambles                                               2    6
  Whitethorn                                                     2    0
  Rose (briars)                                                  3    0
  Whitethorn                                                     2    0
  Rose                                                           2    6
  Blackthorn                                                     2    6
                                                               --------
  Total                                                         73    0

Ex. 3. ANALYSIS OF A HEDGE ON THE INFERIOR OOLITE, BRADFORD ABBAS.

                                                                ft.  in.
  Traveller’s Joy (clematis)                                     3    0
  Gap                                                           12    0
  Whitethorn                                                     4    0
  Ash                                                            3    6
  Whitethorn, brambles, &c.                                     10    0
  Clematis                                                      18    0
  Sycamore stump                                                 4    0
  Brambles, &c.                                                  8    0
  Maple brambles, with occasional whitethorn bush               33    0
  Nut and gaps                                                  11    0
  Blackthorn and brambles                                        6    6
  Guelder rose                                                   3    0
  Blackthorn, &c.                                                5    0
  Elder                                                          3    0
  Blackthorn, maple, and others, with occasional whitethorn     20    0
  The same, smothered with clematis                             28    0
                                                               --------
  Total                                                        172    0

These three examples will be sufficient to show the fact that, in the
lapse of years, a hedge originally planted either all or nearly all
quicks, ultimately contains almost everything besides. How this comes
about may be easily observed. Birds and other creatures are constantly
taking fruits of various plants to the hedge-rows, the seeds of which
being dropped there, soon vegetate; and if shrubs with heavier twigs and
broader leaves once ascend into the hedge, they overshadow the smaller
leaves of the quicks, and ultimately so discourage them that they all
but die out, and it is not at all difficult to see that the success of
the interlopers is only augmented by the injuries to the quicks.

A more minute inquiry into the natural history and mode of operation of
hedge-row weeds will be best preceded by a list of such plants as may be
considered to act as weeds in a properly planted whitethorn hedge.

In doing this we may premise that, if our object has been to plant
quicks, interlopers of all kinds, whether trees or shrubs—in fact, all
but the plant which we have purchased and planted—can scarcely be
considered other than as weeds. To these interlopers, then, we may add
the following list, as containing a series of plants that will be,
perhaps, more generally recognized as weeds:—

LIST OF HEDGE-ROW WEEDS.

  +---+---------------------+-----------------------+-------------------+
  |No.|   Botanical Name.   |     Trivial Name.     |     Remarks.      |
  +---+---------------------+-----------------------+-------------------+
  | 1 |Salix species        |Willows, various       |                   |
  | 2 |Berberis vulgaris    |Barberry               |}Spinous under-    |
  | 3 |Rosa species         |Wild Roses (briars),   |}shrubs.           |
  |   |                     |various                |}                  |
  | 4 |Rubus species        |Brambles, various      | }Woody climbing   |
  | 5 |Clematis vitalba     |Traveller’s Joy        | }plants.          |
  | 6 |Hedera helix         |Ivy                    | }                 |
  | 7 |Solanum dulcamara    |Bitter-sweet Nightshade|}Climbing          |
  | 8 |Tamus communis       |Black Bryony           |}herbs,—mostly     |
  | 9 |Bryonia dioica       |White Bryony           |}twisting around   |
  |10 |Humulus lupulus      |Wild Hop               |}the stems of the  |
  |11 |Convolvulus sepium   |Larger Bindweed        |}stronger hedge-   |
  |12 |Galium species       |Bedstraw, various      |}plants.           |
  |   |                     |                       |{Weeds of the lower|
  |13 |Glechoma hederacea   |Ground Ivy             |{parts of hedges,  |
  |14 |Geranium Robertianum |Herb, Robert Cranesbill|{which smother out |
  |15 |Carduus varieties    |Various Thistles       |{young quicks, and |
  |16 |Umbelliferæ varieties|Hedge Parsley, &c.     |{prevent the old   |
  |17 |Graminaceæ varieties |Grasses                |{ones from being   |
  |   |                     |                       |{thick at “bottom.”|
  +---+---------------------+-----------------------+-------------------+

As regards the plants of this list, it will only be necessary to refer
to a few of them, in order the more fully to impress the principles we
have laid down.

The roses (briars) and brambles, though spinous, are yet short-lived; so
that their old wood is continually dying out, thus causing gaps,
inasmuch as such heavily-foliaged plants necessarily prevent the growth
of the whitethorn or any other tolerable hedge-plant. But, besides this,
the bramble has the propensity to root at the ends of its long flexile
branches, and so spreads the pest in every direction, not escaping the
ditch when it forms part of the fence, that the whole becomes smothered
up in a tangled, inextricable mass, always out of order and unsightly,
making but a poor fence, though affording shelter to hares, rabbits, and
other farm pests.

The clematis and ivy are large-foliaged plants, and their pliant stems
interlace on the hedge in such a manner as most surely to kill out the
quicks, and so to become the usurping tenants; but, no sooner have they
attained the mastery than they begin to decay, whole branches die, and
the result is a gap, which must either be patched up with thorns or be
newly planted, and then fenced with post and rails. As regards mending
gaps with thorns, we ought to state that we view it as decidedly
injurious,—as dead matter in proximity with the living only prevents the
growth of the latter: at best it is only a makeshift, which soon gets
rotten, and tempts the petty wood-pilferer to pull the hedge further to
pieces for the sake of a few dry sticks.

With regard to those plants of which we may take the bryony and the hop
as the types, it is true that their bine is annual; but each year the
quantity and strength of this augments—each year the mass of foliage
becomes larger and thicker. The twining arms twist around any branch
strong enough to support them, and then, once at the top of the fence,
they spread over its surface, making so thick a mass that the legitimate
hedge-plants are no longer visible; thus sun and air are excluded from
them, and they soon pine away. These are difficult to eradicate, as they
have stout rhizomata (underground stems) interlaced with the very roots
of the hedge-plants: still, if pains be taken to pluck away the bine as
soon as it makes its appearance, it must in time be destroyed; for, like
even the hawthorn tree, hardy as it is, if the leaves be kept from
perfecting themselves, they soon pine away, and ultimately die
altogether.

The other plants are more properly weeds of the hedge-bank than of the
hedge, and as such need only be mentioned with weeds in general as pests
to be periodically removed by hoeing, digging, and otherwise clearing
the ground between and about the hedge-row work, more particularly
necessary in the first few years of planting.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

ON HEDGE-ROW TIMBER.


Of the many sources of mischief to which the farmer may be liable, we
can conceive none greater than that of being overgrown with hedge-row
timber. It is scarcely, if at all, second to that of being overstocked
with game—for as regards game, there is a chance of getting some
compensation for palpable injury; but the mischief which trees silently
but surely effect, when surrounding fields, is never allowed for, as it
is not fully appreciated by the tenant, and never admitted by the
landlord; and so as hedge-row timber is usually thicker in the richer
parts of the country, it is somehow considered as an evidence of
fertility on the one hand, while it is looked upon as a legitimate mode
of increasing income on the other.

But we are quite sure that hedge-row timber is almost useless in itself,
and a pest to all who must live under it. Hedges themselves are usually
too many, and these too thick through them; and when it comes to be
understood that the enclosures are smaller, the hedges often greater,
and hedge-row timber thicker on good than on bad lands, some idea may be
formed of the mischief which is inflicted by thus hemming in fine land
from light and air.

The following tables, by Mr. J. Bravender, land-surveyor, of
Cirencester, are the results of an “examination of the fields contained
in 120 parishes:”—

TABLE OF ADMEASUREMENT OF FENCES.

  +---------------+--------+--------+---------+--------+---------+--------+
  |               |Average |        | Length  |        |Quantity |Quantity|
  |Geological     |quantity| Length |   of    | Width  |occupied |  per   |
  |Formation, &c. |  of    |   of   |fencing, |   of   |by fences|hundred |
  |               | each   |fencing.|per acre.|fencing.|per acre.| acres. |
  |               | field. |        |         |        |   [24]  |        |
  +---------------+--------+--------+---------+--------+---------+--------+
  |               | Acres. | Chains.| Chains. | Links. |Perches. | Acres. |
  | 1. Red Sand-  |   5½   |  15·58 |   2·83  |  15    |  9·05   |   5?   |
  |    stone      |        |        |         |        |         |        |
  | 2. Lias       |   4    |  12·90 |   3·22  |  18    | 12·36   |   7¾   |
  | 3. Oolite     |  11    |  20·75 |   1·88  |  12    |  4·81   |   3    |
  | 4. Oxford Clay|   6½   |  16·45 |   2·53  |  16    |  8·63   |   5?   |
  | 5. Coralline  |  11    |  20·75 |   1·88  |  14    |  5·61   |   3½   |
  |    Oolite     |        |        |         |        |         |        |
  | 6. Kimmeridge |   8    |  18·25 |   2·28  |  16½   |  8·65   |   5    |
  |    Clay       |        |        |         |        |         |        |
  | 7. Chalk      |  13    |  23·27 |   1·79  |  12    |  4·58   |   2?   |
  |                                                    |         |        |
  | The average of the above quantity occupied by      |         |        |
  | fences is                                          |   ..    |   4¾   |
  |                                                    |         |        |
  | A wall, 2 ft. wide, with 1 ft. 3 in. on each side,}|         |        |
  | between arable fields (oolite)                    }|  2·80   |   1¾   |
  |                                                    |         |        |
  | A wall, 2 ft. wide, between pasture fields (oolite)|  1·20   |   0¾   |
  +----------------------------------------------------+---------+--------+

[24] Including one-third added for angular sinuosities.

The above calculations do not include the strips which are so often
found alongside fences, covered by brambles, blackthorns, and other
rubbish. Now we have seen what is the quantity of land occupied by
fences, it will be our province to ascertain to what extent they may be
reduced in size, and yet remain as useful to the agriculturist.

The following table will exhibit the saving per hundred acres, by
reducing the width of fences:—

TABLE OF REDUCTION OF FENCES.

  +--------------------+---------+--------+------+-------+--------+------+
  |                    |  Width, |Width to|      | Length| Saving |      |
  |     Geological     |as in the| which  |Saving|  per  |   in   |Saving|
  |     Formation.     |preceding| fences |  in  | hedge,|quantity|  per |
  |                    |  table. | may be |width.|  per  |   per  | cent.|
  |                    |         |reduced.|      | acre. |  acre. |      |
  +--------------------+---------+--------+------+-------+--------+------+
  |                    |  Links. | Links. |Links.|Chains.|Perches.|      |
  |1. Red Sandstone    |   15    |   9    |  6   |  2·83 |   2·71 |1-7/10|
  |2. Lias             |   18    |  10½   |  7½  |  3·22 |   3·86 |2-2/5 |
  |3. Oolite, Forest  }|         |        |      |       |        |      |
  |   Marble, and     }|   12    |   7½   |  4½  |  1·88 |   1·35 |0-7/8 |
  |   Cornbrash       }|         |        |      |       |        |      |
  |4. Oxford Clay      |   16    |   9½   |  6½  |  2·53 |   2·63 |1-2/3 |
  |5. Coralline Oolite |   14    |   8½   |  5½  |  1·88 |   1·65 |1     |
  |6. Kimmeridge Clay  |   16½   |  10½   |  6   |  2·28 |   2·18 |1-3/8 |
  |7. Upper & Lower   }|   12    |   7    |  5   |  1·79 |   1·43 |0-9/10|
  |   Chalk           }|         |        |      |       |        |      |
  +--------------------+---------+--------+------+-------+--------+------+

     The average quantity of the above saving is 1⅖ for every 100 acres.

     If this saving were effected, which is quite practicable, it would
     increase the cultivated land in England and Wales 490,000 acres,
     and would be similar in its effect to the addition of a new county,
     nearly equal in extent to Nottinghamshire, and somewhat larger than
     Berkshire.”—_Morton’s Cyclopædia of Agriculture_, p. 859.

The above is the evidence of a highly practical gentleman as regards the
loss by bad, wide, and straggling fences; and if we add to this the
additional loss and injury which the land sustains by the growth of
hedge-row timber, we shall find that we have even a greater account to
settle. Now, if we inquire into the nature of these evils, we shall find
that they result from shade, drip, and exhaustion by roots.

There are those who speak in favour of hedge-row timber as affording
shade for cattle; but we should remember that when this is so, the
cattle, by being thus gathered to one spot, only aid in manuring those
portions of the field where the grass is always more rank than
nutritious, and this to the robbery of other portions of the field. For
ourselves, we would rather have our fields exposed to the influence of
sun and air, and, if required, have some contrivances for shade which
could be moved about the fields at pleasure. The shade of trees keeps
off those refreshing showers so important to vegetation, but in much wet
the trees send down a drip which is sometimes found to be so injurious
as to prevent any good growth beneath them, and then as the leaves fall
off they often poison the soil for some distance, while the roots
impoverish the land in every direction.

We have just visited a field, in the southern hedge of which are
growing some beech trees; these not only keep off the southern sun, but
their drip and fallen leaves render fully one-eighth of the field nearly
useless.

Again, do we not everywhere find twice the number of hedges that are
required; and, to add to the mischief, these filled with trees? In many
places we see elms not more than three yards apart. Here the shade would
be intolerable, but the farmer is allowed to lop them until they look
not unlike the stuck-up tails of French poodle dogs—a process which
certainly diminishes the evils they entail upon the farmer, but renders
the timber comparatively useless.

But, say the advocates of tall hedges and hedge-row timber, “How
beautiful they make the country look! Your plan would leave it all bare
and desolate; no song of birds to cheer the wayfarer,” &c. But stop,
good people; we love trees, but we do not care so much for straight
lines of stuck-up _besoms_. Let the landlord grow his woods and his
groves, and plant his parks. Let him put trees in parts which will grow
nothing better, and in belts to keep off malignant winds; and even here
(the best places for them), let him be content with their pleasure and
profit as a rent for the ground they occupy, and not, as some do, insist
upon the tenant yearly planting trees in positions which must injure so
much land which he is still to pay rent for. This is about as tyrannical
as to make a schoolboy carry a birch, and ask for its application.

As regards the loss of land by the division into smaller fields, we
cannot do better than copy the former outlines of an arable field on our
own farm. This, which is now one field of over fifty acres, was
formerly in fifteen fenced fields, each with a ragged hedge—of anything
but quicks—planted upon raised mounds. Now, the gain in the removal of
fences, indicated by the dotted lines (see fig. 1), may be explained by
the following calculations:—

[Illustration: FIG. 1. _Field with its old divisions, now removed, as
marked by the dotted lines._]

                                                        Acr. Rds.
  Ground, 2 yards wide, occupied by the mounds and
  hedges, about                                          1    2

  One foot and a half on either side of the
  mounds which cannot be ploughed, about                 0    3
                                                        --------
            Total of gain in 50 acres                    2    1
                   Or, per cent., 4a. 2r.

From these data, then, we may conclude that if available land equal in
extent to a county may be gained by keeping fences within bounds, this
may be more than doubled by grubbing up, not merely useless, but
mischievous fences, and discountenancing the growth of hedge-row timber.

Now, although we reside in the county of the Dorsetshire poet, we are
not of those who would curtail the privileges of the poor by closing up
all footpaths, or by too rigidly curtailing the road space; but as long
as the farmer has to pay rent for the ground needlessly occupied by
badly-constructed hedge-rows, we think it due to him, and even to the
poor themselves, that land now so occupied should in future be made
food-producing; and with these sentiments we would conclude this chapter
by quoting the following

DORSETSHIRE DITTY.

(_From Poems by William Barnes._)

    “They do zay that a travellin chap
      Have a-put in the newspeäper now
    That the bit o’ green ground on the knap
      Should be all a-took in vor the plough.
    He do fancy ’tis easy to show
      That we can be but stunpolls at best,
    Vor to leäve a green spot where a flower can grow
      Or a foot-weary walker mid rest.
    ’Tis hedge-grubbèn, Thomas, an’ ledge-grubbèn
      Never a done,
    While a sov’rèn mwore’s to be won.

    “The road, he do zay, is so wide
      As ’tis wanted vor travellers’ wheels;
    As if all that did travel did ride,
      An’ did never get galls on their heels.
    He would leäve sich a thin strip o’ groun’
      That if a man’s veet in his shoes
    Wer a-burnèn an’ zore, why he coulden zit down
      But the wheels would run over his tooes.
    Vor ’tis meäke money, Thomas, an’ teäke money,
      What’s zwold an’ bought
    Is all that is worthy o’ thought.

           *       *       *       *       *

    “The children will soon have noo pleäce
      Vor to play in, an’ if they do grow,
    They will have a thin musheroom feäce,
      Wi’ their bodies so sumple as dough.
    But a man is a meäde ov a child
      An’ his limbs do grow worksome by play,
    An’ if the young child’s little body’s a-spweil’d,
      Why, the man’s wull the zooner decay.
    But wealth is wo’th now mwore than health is wo’th;
      Let it all goo
    If ’t ’ull bring but a sov’rèn or two.”



CHAPTER XXXVII.

ON THE VERMIN OF FENCES.


One of the great objections urged to more hedge-row fences than are
necessary, is that of harbouring _Vermin_; it therefore becomes
necessary to inquire into the history of those creatures designated by a
name everywhere held in reproach.

The meaning of the term vermin has not been very accurately defined.
Johnson considers “any noxious animal” to belong to vermin; whilst
Bailey, anxious to be more specific, defines vermin to be “any kind of
hurtful creature or insect, as rats, mice, lice, fleas, bugs, &c.;” but
whatever lexicographers may say upon the subject, there can be no doubt
that, in country language, what are known as noxious animals are
distinguished from noxious insects, the first being in most counties
known as “Varment,” to which belong rats, mice, stoats, &c., to which
the keeper would add kites, hawks, owls, magpies, and other birds; the
second term being limited to those parasitic creatures by which both man
and some inferior animals may be attacked.

The farmer’s notion of vermin, as applied to the hedge-row, differs from
these, as it includes all beasts, birds, reptiles, insects, &c., which
directly injure the hedge, together with such as choose the hedge-row or
the bank on which it might be grown as a breeding-place, from which they
migrate to farm crops, and so become injurious, not to the hedge alone,
but to the farm in general.

Some notion of these may be inferred from the following list:—

  1. _Rabbits_—By burrowing in the hedge-bank.

  2. _Hedge-hog_—Ignorantly included with hedge-row vermin
     by the farmer.

  3. {_Stoats_} These burrow or make the hedge-row or bank
     {_Rats_  } a place of refuge and concealment.
     {_Mice_  }

  4. _Snakes_—Erroneously supposed to be injurious.

  5. {_Slugs_ } Both breed extensively in hedge-rows, which
     {_Snails_} often form these hybernacula.

     {_Insects_ injurious to the growing hedge-plants.
     {  _Do._   protected by the hedge, and migrating to the
  6. {          farm crops.
     {  _Do._   harboured by hedge-row weeds, and thence
     {          migrating to the crops.

  7. _Birds_ in general, according to the dictum of the Sparrow
     Clubbists.

1. The rabbit is one of the greatest pests to the bank on which hedges
are too often grown, and therefore is injurious to the growing hedge, to
say nothing of the mischief which these creatures do to the crops. The
other day we visited a field in which a hedge-bank had been undermined
with no less than fifty holes in the distance of five-and-twenty yards;
these ramified in every direction, not only through the raised mound,
but into the fields on either side of the hedge, and out of which
rabbits were dug from a depth of as much as four feet. Here the
ridiculous nature of the mound was the primary cause of the mischief,
and hence we here offer an illustration of the general facts which met
our view:—

[Illustration: _Diagram of a Mound and Ditch in Oolite Sands._

                                                       ft. in.
  _a._ A rabbit hole.
  1. and 5. Grass and weeds which cannot be ploughed    5  0
  2. Mound for fence                                    8  0
  3. Bottom of ditch                                    3  0
  4. Field side of ditch                                6  0
  6. Arable field                                        ——
                                                       -----
                                           Total       22  0
]

Here it will be seen that not only has nearly twenty feet of land been
taken up with the fence, but the plan upon which it is made of itself
suggests a rabbit-warren, and especially when we say that the soil is of
a loose sandy nature, and the ditch has never yet been a conduit for
running water, and is therefore perfectly unnecessary.

2. The hedge-hog is here only mentioned in the hope of dispelling a
popular prejudice with regard to him. He is ruthlessly destroyed as
vermin, on the supposition that the hedge screens a traitor who is ever
ready to suck eggs or to take a meal from the cow’s udder. Now, as
regards the first charge, one would have thought that, from the
pertinacity displayed by those who bring it in destroying birds’ eggs
and birds of every kind, they would have little care upon this head.
His sucking of cows has never been witnessed by any competent observer,
and with such the idea was never entertained, nor can it be supposed
that a cow would suffer the approach of a creature so thoroughly armed
with spines as the hedge-hog. In the words of Yarrell we may conclude
that “this is about as well-founded an accusation as that of Pliny,
exaggerated as it is by Sperling, who assures us that it ascends trees,
knocks off the apples and pears, and, throwing itself down upon them
that they may stick to its spines, trots off with the prize! Ælian gives
us the same story, substituting figs for apples, and omitting the
climbing power of the animal.”

3. This section contains creatures for which few of us entertain any
affection; at the same time, it may perhaps be true that some of the
greatest of farm pests, in the shapes of rats and mice, have greatly
increased since the destruction of the polecat, stoat, and other of our
smaller carnivorous quadrupeds.

As regards mice in general, one source of alarm connected with their
former occupancy of the hedge-row has nearly vanished from among us. We
allude to the supposed injury they were thought to inflict on any
creature over which they might creep.

At one time, if a cow or sheep offered any symptom of paralysis or
injury, more particularly of the hind-quarters, the creature was said to
be “mouse-crope,” for which were several popular remedies, which were
used by way of direct applications, such as a liberal application of
rods of wytch-hazel, drawing twigs of mountain-ash or rowan-tree over
the affected parts; but the more general plan of action was to operate
upon the offending creature upon the same principle as pertains to the
present day in the case of a bite by a dog—namely, that the bitten
subject is not safe from the direst calamities so long as the author of
the mischief is alive; and acting upon this, there are few persons in
rural districts who would not demand the death of a dog by whom they may
have been bitten, and this not as a measure of precaution, to prevent
the like occurrence happening again, but as the first thing to be done
to ensure a safe cure. So with a “mouse-crope” subject: action was at
once taken against the mouse, but this through the agency of the
“shrew-ash,” which potent remedy is thus described by Gilbert White, in
his charming “Natural History of Selborne:”—

     Now, a shrew-ash is an ash whose twigs or branches, when gently
     applied to the limbs of cattle, will immediately relieve the pains
     which a beast suffers from the running of a shrew-mouse over the
     part affected; for it is supposed that a shrew-mouse is of so
     baneful and deleterious a nature, that wherever it creeps over a
     beast, be it horse, cow, or sheep, the suffering animal is
     afflicted with cruel anguish, and threatened with the loss of the
     use of the limb. Against this accident, to which they were
     continually liable, our provident forefathers always kept a
     shrew-ash at hand, which, when properly medicated, would maintain
     its virtue for ever. A shrew-ash was made thus:—Into the body of
     the tree a deep hole was bored with an augur, and a poor devoted
     shrew-mouse was thrust in alive, and plugged in, no doubt, with
     several quaint incantations, long since forgotten.

That the shrew-mouse was generally held in the greatest dread, there is
no doubt; but, we find in Dorsetshire, where this notion still prevails,
that the idea of mischief is not confined to the shrew, but is believed
of any mouse. We had a steer in one of our feeding-pits, which, as he
did not gain flesh, was said to be “moss-crop,” the western vernacular
for mouse-crope. Still, field mice, without regard to species, are
supposed to be the most baneful in this way; at the same time, we may
trace an evidence of the former generally prevailing belief in the
injurious tendencies of even our common mouse, in the fact that when you
have so far convinced a lady friend, who may have a “horror of a mouse,”
of their harmless nature, you are sure to be met with the unanswerable
remark, which gains point from the manner of its utterance, “But suppose
a mouse should creep over me?” We may now entirely discard every notion
of the evils of mouse-crope cattle as an argument against the hedge-row
as a harbour for rats and mice; still, these are vermin in the true
sense of the word, and which hedge-rows, unless kept trim and clean at
bottom, are sure to encourage.

4. Snakes in hedge-rows are very common, and especially on banks facing
the south; of these, the common ringed snake and the slow-worm are often
met with. They excite great terror in most people; but still they may be
said not merely to be quite harmless, but absolutely useful, as they
live upon insects and small fry in general, and so, in reality, they
ought not to be classed as vermin, but take their place amongst their
most decided enemies.

5. The land mollusks, to which belong the snail and the slug, are
sheltered in hedges by thousands; and highly destructive they are, and
more especially in small overshadowed enclosures. The quantity of
vegetation which these consume is enormous, and we are sorry to think
that they are on the increase—a fact which we deem to be due to the
indiscriminate slaughter of small birds, more especially the blackbird,
thrush, and lark, which are their most determined enemies. As farmers,
we might well afford them a dessert of small fruit for the good they do
in destroying slugs and snails.

6. Hedge-row shrubs are liable to be injured by many insects, more
especially the caterpillars of different kinds of moths and butterflies,
which sometimes eat away all their leaves, and so greatly retard the
growth of the hedge. Upon this subject we quote from “Our Woodlands,
Heaths, and Hedges,” for the purpose of introducing to our readers a
small book by W. S. Coleman, which should be in the hands of all country
readers:—

     The foliage of the hawthorn, remarkable for its elegance, is the
     chosen food of a great number of interesting insects, principally
     the caterpillars of various _lepidoptera_.

     Several species of these are of a gregarious nature, living
     together in extensive colonies under a thick net-work of silk,
     which serves them for a common protection while feeding on the
     foliage enclosed with themselves in a silken tent.

     Among these social net-weavers are the caterpillars of a fine
     insect, the black-veined white butterfly (_Pieris cratægi_), a
     rarity in some districts, but in certain localities, and at certain
     periods, abounding to such an extent as entirely to strip the
     hawthorn hedges of their foliage. Similar depredations are
     committed by the gaily-coloured progeny of the common lackey moth,
     and of the gold-tailed and brown-tailed moths; but the most
     formidable devastators, though the tiniest individually, are the
     little ermine moths (_Yponomenta_), small silvery-grey creatures,
     minutely spotted with black. The curious twig-like caterpillars of
     the brimstone moth (a pretty canary-coloured creature, with brown
     markings), and of several other geometers, are common upon
     hawthorn.

Last summer (1864), the hawthorn trees and hedges about the parks and
squares of London were entirely defoliated by caterpillars, which
progressed from tree to tree in squads of numberless individuals, only
seeking a new site of action when the former one had been despoiled of
every vestige of leaf and bud.

But it is not only the hawthorn which becomes attacked by insects: all
other hedge-row trees and shrubs have their peculiar enemies, to
describe which would take more space than we have to spare, and we
therefore conclude the chapter with a few remarks upon the weeds of
dirty hedge-rows. These harbour various insects, which migrate to our
crops, and do an immense amount of injury. For instance, such plants as
Jack by the Hedge (_Erysimum alliaria_), treacle mustard (_Sisymbrium
officinale_), wild mustards, and other forms of _Cruciferæ_, in
hedge-rows, afford a winter nidus for the turnip flea beetles (_Haltica
concinna_ and _H. nemorum_),[25] from which they take their flight to
the more delicate turnip and swede crops as soon as these come up.

[25] See _How to Grow Good Roots_, pp. 43 and 44 of the present work.

Birds need only here be mentioned incidentally, as there is still a
conflict of opinions as to the use of the bird family to the farmer; and
those species which mostly build in and frequent our hedges are perhaps
those upon which evil suspicions are most universally held. Amongst
these are the hedge-sparrow, finch, linnet, and others—and that these
are mischievous at times, we are not prepared to deny; but we should be
sorry if the curtailment of hedges, for which we are advocates, should
result in the destruction of our small birds, as we conclude most of the
species to be at times eminently useful.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

ON THE MANAGEMENT OF HEDGE-ROW FENCES.


We shall, in the first place, treat the subject of management in
reference to fences composed of hawthorn. In the newly-planted hedge we
shall find that the better the soil in which it is planted, the quicker
and stronger the young quicks will grow. If, then, the soil be not good,
or if it be thin, it will be worth while to prepare it as well as
circumstances will permit. This may be done by deep digging, by bringing
good soil from a distance, or some aid may be given by means of any kind
of manure. It should ever be borne in mind that to start with luxuriant
growth is all-important, as neglect in this matter at first can only be
partially remedied afterwards.

Good quicks, selected and removed with care, carefully planted in
well-prepared ground, not elevated several feet on a dry sand-bank, or
carelessly grouted in a gutter of clay, will soon send out vigorous
shoots. These should be well weeded and dug at least for three or four
years, during which time an occasional trimming of a wild shoot here and
there with the knife will rightly direct a more even growth.

In weeding, the first advent of briars and brambles should be looked to;
so all seedling ash, elder, maple, and defenceless trees in general,
should be _taken out by the roots_, not cut off, as this only makes a
thicket of a twig.

After three or four years, if the growth be sufficiently strong, the
young hedge may be trimmed to a desired shape with the shears or the
hook; but if weak and straggling, we would strongly recommend that the
whole be boldly cut off within a few inches of the base, the ground to
be well dug and even manured about the roots, and the protecting
railings to be put in order, and a new growth be waited for, which,
generally speaking, will not be long—for by this means we believe that a
good fence will be sooner arrived at than by allowing weak wood to go on
growing still weaker.

Hawthorn fences are sometimes allowed to get several feet high before
being brought into reasonable dimensions, in which case they get smooth,
unarmed, and unbranched stems at the base. This state of things is too
often attempted to be cured by cutting out a quantity of the wood and
laying the rest, by partially dividing them near the ground—a plan which
is called “plashing.” This we think highly objectionable: it would be
far better to cut off the whole to within a few inches of the ground,
and so trim the shoots as they grow again.

The truth is, that plashing gets out of order, the layered sticks get
out of place, and the whole is aided by stakes of dead wood, which soon
decay, or, if not, are almost certain to be removed by the constant
country claimants to dead sticks in general.

We prefer that no dead materials should be put to a living fence; for if
there are gaps, it will be best to dig the ground well and put in some
young quicks, fencing with posts and rails, to guard the plants as well
as impound the cattle. Mending gaps with thorns only aggravates the
evil, as the living part of the fence is so interfered with by the dead
matter that it grows but imperfectly, and the dead materials soon rot
away, leaving a greater gap to be re-mended.

We have seen gaps tried to be repaired by old quicks, but this seldom
succeeds—for if they grow, they are never bushy enough to be repellant;
but they often die altogether, and at best with old plants, young quicks
will repair the mischief in less time.

Seeing the difficulty there is sometimes in getting quicks to grow well
in hedge gaps, it is not uncommon to fill up with various kinds of
hedge-row plants, such as hazel, whitebeam, spindle-tree, dogwood,
maple, &c.; but the objection to these is, that they are often not
repellant in any way, and they help to make weaker places broader than
they found them, and, indeed, ultimately get possession of the greater
part of the hedge-row. There is, then, nothing better to mend a
whitethorn hedge than quicks, and they will grow if attended to for the
first two or three years; but why they usually fail is, that if planted
in gaps they are usually closely hemmed in by old thorns, or allowed to
become smothered by weeds.

With respect to very old hedges, made up of all sorts of materials, we
prefer cutting them down about three feet from the ground, leaving all
the stubs to branch out, than to attempt to layer as shrubs, and then
the whitethorn succeeds even less with plashing. Where, however, we have
rough, but, after all, not repellant fences, we should like to see them
re-planted, by which they could mostly be curtailed, and at the same
time opportunity may be taken to get rid of some of them altogether, or
to make them in a more convenient direction.

We are now in possession of a hedge composed of everything but hawthorn,
and somewhere about twelve feet high. It is without gaps, but still
pregnable at any point, by reason of the want of armature in the shrubs
of which it is composed. Still, as it stands on the top of a bank five
feet high, the mound and hedge together is not so bad a fence as its
materials might warrant.

We here give a list of the plants of which this fence is composed, in
order to the more clear explanation of what is to follow:—

PLANTS IN A HEDGE AT BRADFORD ABBAS, ON THE INFERIOR OOLITE.

                        Parts.

  Ash                     4 }
  Hazel                  20 } The whole
  Cornel                 10 } intermixed
  Spindle-tree           12 } with long
  Blackthorn              6 } climbing brambles
  Maple                  20 } and straggling
  Mealy Guelder Rose      5 } briars, and the
  Clematis                2 } bank covered with
  Elder                   3 } the usual hedge-row
  Elm                     3 } weeds.
  Whitethorn              2 }

Now, here is a tall hedge on the north side of our field, and so capable
of affording no slight amount of shelter to stock; but how much southern
sun does it keep off our neighbour’s field! And yet we have just
succeeded to a lease which contains a clause compelling this hedge to
be annually trimmed—a process which has not been performed for many
years, but which we shall hereafter show should be done, especially
where hedges have been properly cared for, for the due keeping of the
fence itself; but further, we feel convinced that a proprietor should be
able to call upon the owner of a neighbouring estate to keep his portion
of the fences within such bounds as may not be injurious.

In the case before us, what is best to be done? Custom says, “Lay it;
plash it.” Still, the materials are not suitable for this process. “Cut
it down and it will shoot up again,” says the hedger, who would be ready
to do the work for the wood; but mark, that in order to get as much as
possible, it would be cut close to the ground. Our plan will be to cut
it at about a yard from the top of the mound, and afterwards to watch
the young shoots, so as carefully to trim them, in order to induce them
to throw out laterals, and thus make, at least, a thick growth, though
of unpromising materials.

With regard to trimming by the piece: if it be really a well-grown
quick-set hedge, the keeping it to a certain standard may be easily
accomplished; but if it be a weakly growth of all kinds of shrubs, the
labourer slashes as close to the ground as he can with the hook, in
order to “have something to cut against”—a process which only makes the
hedges weaker the oftener it is performed.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

COVENANTS WITH REGARD TO FENCES, ETC.


From what has been already advanced, it will be seen that the matter of
fences is most important in connection with the arrangements between
landlord and tenant.

The landlord for the most part gets the same rent for the land occupied
by fences as for the whole of the field, such land being calculated with
the acreage; and, further, with the tenant-at-will he insists upon their
being kept in order—that is, if he cares for or knows anything about
order—at the expense of the tenant. In leases there are usually inserted
covenants obliging annual trimming of fences and scouring of ditches;
but, generally speaking, the tenant does just as much as he likes, and
the landlord knows but little about it. At the same time, annual
trimming of hedges would often be mischievous; and again, as some hedges
would be well to be let grow tall, on account of the shelter they might
afford, there will be so many circumstances to be considered in coming
to a right conclusion about what should be done to fences, that it is no
wonder that covenants are only insisted upon in a very partial manner,
and the careless farmer, instead of repairing hedges in a permanent
manner, is content to mend gaps—or “shards,” as they are called in the
midland counties—only when he wants to keep his beasts in any
particular meadow or field.

We shall shortly discuss these views under the following heads:—

1. Fences should not be kept up to a greater extent than is required.

2. A tenant-at-will should not be expected to plant or take charge of
fences.

3. Evils of bad fences.

1. The curtailment and removal of fences is, as already shown, a matter
of great moment, not only as providing more available land for
cultivation, but as exposing a greater surface even of the cultivated
portions of fields to the influence of light and air. But on any estate
where this has been deemed advisable, we have usually seen that as the
work has been, as it were, divided amongst the tenants, it has either
been done without judgment, or, if performed well, yet by men of
different views, as having different requirements, so that it has
resulted in a patchy and anything rather than an uniform improvement.

We would advise that the landlord or his agent take charge of this
matter, with a view to that uniform improvement which would affect the
whole estate. In this case it would be to the interest of the proprietor
to make the run of the fences as straight as possible, to plant quicks,
to mend gaps, and properly to fence them with rails. Were this the case,
we should hardly see gaps filled up with dead materials, only to widen
them as time advances by killing more of the living wood, or, what is
even worse, left as roadways to tempt the trespasser. In fine, as the
estate would be improved by having perfect fences, and therefore would
fetch a better rent, it would appear to be the landlord’s duty to see it
attended to, and not to expect to charge a tenant for bad fences, and to
insist upon his constantly mending them into the bargain, or it will
naturally follow that they will seldom be up to a high standard of
perfection.

2. A tenant-at-will, or even a leaseholder, should not be expected to
plant new fences, or to cultivate those already planted, when it
involves expenses from which he cannot reap the benefit. In the first
place, it is not only the planting, but weeding and pruning—not merely
slashing—that is required, all involving time, expense, and judgment,
which no man would be justified in expending upon a precarious holding.

But take the case of a leaseholder for seven years. In our own parish,
on the light oolite sands, is a quick-set hedge, which has been badly
planted—now entering upon the fourth year since—upon the top of a thin
mound of sandy soil, from four to five feet high. The quicks are not so
good as when they were planted; it can _never_ make a good hedge. Briars
and brambles, and various shrubs common to oolite soils, will smother
out the quicks, and altogether it will result in failure. Here the
landlord should not expect his tenant to weed, and it is not worth his
while to even find “rough timber” for forming a defence of such a hedge
from the cattle, nor will it pay the tenant to employ a carpenter to
work it. In this case the landlord should level the soil and re-plant
the hedge—not on a mound of sand, but in the well-dug surface
soil—efficiently fence it, and see to its annual weeding. In this way,
instead of his having to find rough timber for fences for all time, one
set of rails should be enough, and so he would ultimately save money for
time by a present judicious expenditure; and, besides, as he would give
his tenant more available land for his acreage, and this better secured,
so that trespassers are kept from without and his cattle prevented
straying from within, the holding would certainly be more valuable.

3. With bad fences the land is not at command. There has to be
superintendence and mending whenever a field is wanted to be used. We
recollect a farmer who, having bought some pigs, on being asked by his
man where he was to put ’em, replied, “Oh, put ’em in the garden, for if
you don’t they’ll very soon get there.”

Here was a case of bad fences about the homestead, and we may be sure
everywhere else too. And here we would controvert the assertion that is
too often made, that “the farmer who is a careful gardener will be a bad
farmer.” We have ever seen that attention to neatness and order, at home
and in the fields, will mark the good farmer, though it may not always
assure us of the prosperous one. The truth is, that neatness is
sometimes expensive; and as it does not always yield any greater reward
than gratification to the tenant, it should at all times be encouraged
by the landlord with every possible assistance, as he can never be a
loser thereby, but must be the gainer.

The truth is, that there is nothing about estates or farms which so much
requires remodelling as the system of fences. They want lessening, as
the land is cut up into far too many awkward little pieces. They want
straightening and paralleling, if we may so express it. They should,
too, be kept within due compass, both as to breadth and height, so that
altogether, as to material, mode of planting, position, and general
supervision, the hedge-row really is in want of that kind of treatment
which only a far-seeing, comprehensive overseer can direct, and which,
were we to come into the possession of a large estate, would be the
first process for its amelioration and improvement that we should attend
to.

In fact, it may be said that this subject is daily receiving a greater
share of attention, and that for a reason at first little suspected; but
the truth is, steam is asserting its power on the farm as on the road,
and as the engine marches into our fields, fences will be levelled
before his mightiness—all sorts of crooked corners and queer-shaped
angles will be removed, and the whole will assume a more regular
outline.

There are moral evils connected with bad fences which we think have
hardly been duly considered. We have hinted at their encouragement of
trespassers and fostering of idle habits.

In our own parish are gaps leading from one field and from one farm to
another. This encourages idle vagabonds to go anywhere—everywhere—on
pretence of shooting small birds, many of which are often of more value
than themselves; and if there is no gap already, how easy to push
through twigs of cornel, ash, guelder rose, &c. &c.

Such hedges, again, are mended with dead thorns and stakes and rails of
wood, which soon decay and become a prey to all the old women and idle
children in the parish, the latter of whom hasten the period when they
may claim them by climbing through and over them, and so prematurely
despoil what they soon take home as of right.

In conclusion, then, we hazard the assertion that well-grown and
well-kept fences are a boon to all. They benefit the landlord, by
enabling him to give well-secured acres in exchange for his rent. Like
good “buildings,” fences benefit the farmer by affording him protection
for his property. They benefit the poor, by removing a great source of
lawless habits, and that commencement of petty larceny which too often
leads to a complete negation of conscience.

They benefit all, inasmuch as Order, which “is Heaven’s first law,” is
Man’s best friend.

[Illustration: Plate I.

J.E. Sowerby, sc.

W. West, imp.

Quercus Robur Pedunculata]



HOW TO GROW GOOD TIMBER.



CHAPTER XL.

ON THE VALUE OF TIMBER FOR ORNAMENT AND PROFIT.


Among all the varied productions (says Strutt[26]) with which nature has
adorned the surface of the earth, none awakens our sympathies, or
interests our imagination, so powerfully as those venerable trees which
seem to have stood the lapse of ages—silent witnesses of the successive
generations of man, to whose destiny they bear so touching a
resemblance, alike in their budding, their pride, and their decay.

[26] Introduction to “Sylva Britannica.”

Hence, in all ages, the earliest dawn of civilization has been marked by
a reverence of woods and groves; devotion has fled to their recesses for
the performance of her most solemn rites; princes have chosen the
embowering shade of some wide-spreading tree, under which to receive the
deputations of the neighbouring “great ones of the earth;” and angels
themselves, it is recorded, have not disdained to deliver their
celestial messages beneath the same verdant canopy. To sit under the
shadow of his own fig-tree, and drink of the fruit of his own vine, is
the reward promised, in Holy Writ, to the righteous man; and the
gratification arising from the site of a favoured and long-remembered
tree is one enjoyed in common by the peer, whom it reminds, as its
branches wave over his head whilst wandering in his hereditary domains,
of the illustrious ancestors who may have seen it planted; and by the
peasant, who recalls, as he looks on it in his way to his daily labours,
the sports of his infancy round its venerable trunk, and regards it at
once as his chronicler and landmark.

Who indeed amongst us, in whatever position of life he may be, or in
what land soever his lot may be cast, does not often find his mind’s eye
resting upon some favourite tree; it may be some huge elm on his village
green, where, in the dim twilight, he either told or listened to the
fairy tale or exciting ghost story; or the spreading oak, beneath whose
shade he has picnicked; or the haunted grove, where his tale, though
only whispered, yet spoke loudly to a willing listener.

    Now shift the scene to moonlight glade,
    Where dapper elves beneath the shade
    Of oak or elm their revels keep,
    What time we plodding mortals sleep.
    Next lead me to some haunted grove,
    Such as the Fauns and Dryads love;
    Or seat me by some brook, whose swell
    Makes music like a Naiad’s shell;
    Then touch the tree ’neath which I lie,
    Till it unclose to ear and eye
    Whate’er it may have heard or seen
    Since spring first clothed its stems with green.

_Spirit of the Woods._

But we must not be led astray by the poetical emotions which are sure to
rise up within us at the contemplation of forest trees; we shall
therefore confine ourself, in this treatise, more particularly to a
general description of the genera and species of trees usually grown in
Great Britain for timber, with an explanation of some of the principles
connected with the growth of timber.

Timber in a country where trees are almost, if not wholly, planted,
affords a subject for consideration very different from that of wild
aboriginal forests; in the former we have to consider our subjects as
objects for cultivation, and that with a view of yielding profit or
pleasure, or both, whilst the study of trees in the forest would
naturally resolve itself into a botanical and physiological inquiry into
specific forms. While, therefore, we would not here neglect the latter,
our arrangement of trees and their history will have more particular
reference to their cultivation, a subject which will probably address
itself more especially to the landlord than to the tenant farmer.

In the main, then, the primary object of growing trees is that of
profit, whilst a secondary—or with some even primary—consideration will
be that of ornamentation; and we admit that, apart from any other
consideration, a landed estate without timber would be as bare, cold,
and comfortless as a house without furniture; at the same time, too many
trees, and these in themselves awkwardly grown and stuck about in all
sorts of awkward positions, would be like an over-furnished and
ill-regulated mansion.

We would, then, have that kind of thought exercised in planting which
should result, if not in profit, at least in providing ornament without
loss, either to the tenant on the one hand, or the proprietor on the
other. To this end we would advocate setting apart portions of the
estate for the cultivation of timber in belt plantations, or even in
woods, having reference to the nature of the soil and general position,
and this in preference to hedge-row planting, as long lines of ash or
elm can never look ornamental however well-grown; but, inasmuch as this
mode of growth necessitates lopping, the timber is so long in growing
and then is never good, that it seldom pays even the expenses attendant
upon its utilization.

In plantations, again, you can adopt such a system of growing nurses
that some return for the outlay will not be many years in commencing,
and so profit by way of rent is not delayed as in hedge-row growth.[27]

[27] We are aware that the landlord too often considers hedge-row timber
as costless; but the injury which it entails upon the farm, and its
nearly useless character, leads us to view the matter in a different
light.

In order to understand what we would call a forest nurse, let us suppose
that in a certain position our object is to grow a plantation of oak: we
might in this case mix beech, elm, larch, Scotch firs, and spruce with
the oak; these, by growing together, would increase an upward
development; they would “pull each other up,” as usually expressed. Soon
this lateral growth would cause them to approach each other too closely,
and then the larch would be first cut out, perhaps for hop-poles; next
the spruce and Scotch firs for fencing and other purposes; then the
beech and elm as they became useful; and at last, all the nurses gone,
the oak would be sufficient to occupy the space, and, though many years
have passed in the process, the wood has all the time yielded something
towards rent and expenses.

In planting, of course, the kinds to be planted will depend upon
circumstances, and so to a great extent will the methods to be adopted
in planting; it may, however, be here stated that three plans of
preparing the soil have been recommended:—1. _Trenching_; 2. _Pitting_;
and 3. _Ploughing_.

1. _Trenching_ is a very expensive process, and, upon the whole, is
scarcely worth the cost. It is true that digging and turning over the
soil will cause a number of weeds to die, but, on the other hand, it
encourages the growth of greater numbers than it destroys, and it is
doubtful whether weeding can be done so well in the loosened ground as
it could before. Supposing, then, the young trees to be planted in old
turf, we consider trenching to be quite unnecessary; but, as the plants
will flourish best when weeds and grass are kept under, we should advise
the skinning of the turf round them annually for about three years with
a common mattock, and at the same time advantage to be taken of the
opportunity to tread in the trees more firmly when they may have become
loosened; to remove any broken or decayed matter, as in the case of
conifers, to see to the training of a single leader, rather than two or
more; and in all cases where young conifers show an increasing
disposition to grow a great quantity of fruits (cones), we should
either dig around it, and, perhaps, apply a portion of manure, or
sacrifice the plant and put a fresh one in its stead.

This premature fruiting arises sometimes from the roots of the plant
having been too much crippled, either by breaking or drying from being
kept too long out of the ground; we may here state, then, that, if only
to prevent this, in all cases of transplantation, they should be taken
out of the nursery with great care, so as to injure the roots as little
as possible, and further be planted in their new home with the utmost
despatch. Disappointment is sure to result where trees of any kind have
been kept long out of the ground, as they are when bought at market or
in packets at sales. We should never purchase at the latter, unless they
were left in the ground to be fetched as might be required.

As we have been led incidentally to remark upon the subject of crippling
by means of injured roots, we may now point out that the same thing
occurs where young trees have been topped either for mischief, or
injudiciously pruned. We remember having some larches thus damaged by
some vagabond boy, and in seven years they were only dwarf cone-bearing
bushes, whilst others planted at the same time were 15 feet in height.
In this case, then, instant removal, when discovered, and the being
replaced by fresh plants, would after all be a saving of time in getting
useful sticks.

2. _Pitting._—In this process the soil is sometimes dug out so as to
make holes about 2 feet square, the soil being left to weather by the
sides of the holes, and returned around the trees when they are
planted. This is not nearly so expensive as trenching; but it, too, is
not always advisable, for trees have the tendency to confine their roots
to the dug-out space for some years, and so they do not get the hold
upon the ground that they otherwise would.

This plan is that of partial trenching, and we should prefer the former
to the pitting process, unless where stones, such as those found in the
oolite rocks, come to the surface. In such case, the removal of some of
the larger stones and supplementing them with soil from some other
source we have found to be of advantage.

3. _Ploughing_ the soil is as expeditious a plan of preparing and
clearing it as we possess; and now that steam cultivation can be brought
into action for a much greater depth than could be done with horses,
smashing-up the land by its means would be no bad preparation for
planting where this is to be done on tolerably level ground.

While upon this subject we may here quote, as still worthy of attention,
the directions in the fourth edition of the “Sylva.”

     Let us now see in what manner we are to prepare the ground for
     their reception. The best way is by trenching, or double digging,
     as deep as the soil will admit of; but as this is a very expensive
     proceeding, and consequently can only be practised upon a small
     scale, I shall recommend another good method of preparing the
     ground. This is to be done by proper ploughing, and, if agreeable,
     the year before the land is planted, it may bear a crop of oats,
     rape, or turnips. By this means the sward will be effectually
     destroyed. After the crop is off, let the ground be
     trench-ploughed, and then harrowed with very heavy harrows, to
     break the clods; about the end of October let it be again ploughed
     crossways, and harrowed as before. This is the season for planting
     the sets, for the ground, by being thus cross-ploughed and well
     harrowed, will be in proper order for their reception. The manner
     of planting the sets is as follows:—

     First, carefully take the plants out of the seed-beds, shorten the
     tap-root, and take off part of the side-shoots, that there may be
     an equal proportion of strength between the stem and the root. If
     the wood is designed to be but small, ten, twenty, or thirty acres,
     then lines may be drawn, and the trees planted in rows, four feet
     distant from each other, and the trees two feet asunder in the row:
     each line must have a man and a boy for planting. The ground being
     made light and pliable by cross-ploughing and harrowing, the man
     strikes his spade into the earth close to the line; he then takes
     it out, and gives another stroke at right angles with it; then the
     boy, having a parcel of plants under his left arm, takes one with
     his right hand, and readily puts it into the crevice made by the
     spade at the second stroke; after this the man gently presses the
     mould to it with his foot, and thus the young oakling is planted.
     He proceeds in the same manner to the next, and so on till all is
     finished. An active man with his boy will plant 1,500 or 2,000 in a
     day; and while they are planting others should be employed in
     taking up fresh sets from the seed-bed, sorting them, and preparing
     their roots. In short, a sufficient number of hands should be set
     to every part of this work, that the whole may be carried on with
     despatch and regularity; for the ground cannot be too soon
     furnished with its plants after it is in readiness to receive them,
     neither can the plants be put too early into the ground after they
     are taken up from the seminary. Those plants which are nearly of
     the same size should be made to occupy a large quarter together,
     and the weakest should be left in the seminary a year longer to
     gain strength.

     The trees, either for small or large plantations, being in the
     ground, the first care should be to fence them well from cattle,
     and even, if possible, from rabbits and hares. The next should be
     to keep them clear from weeds, that they may not be incommoded in
     their growth. In all lands weeds must be carefully watched and
     destroyed at their first appearance. In small plantations hoeing
     may do; but where the plantations are large and noble, a
     double-shelving plough should be provided; and when the weeds are
     got two or three inches high, this must be drawn exactly down the
     middle of each row by horses with their mouths muzzled, somebody
     leading the foremost horse; this plough will effectually throw a
     ridge each way, so that the edge of it will be almost contiguous
     to the plants on both sides. This being done, the whole surface of
     the ground will be changed, and the weeds all buried, except a few
     about the stems of the plants, which a man following the plough
     should cut or pluck up. In this manner the ground may lie until a
     fresh crop of weeds present themselves; when these are about three
     inches high, a common plough should be provided to go up one side
     of the row and down the other, to plough the ridges made by the
     double-shelving plough into their former places, men following with
     hoes to destroy such weeds as are near the stems of the trees. Thus
     will the whole scene be changed again; the ground will appear as
     new-tilled; and in this condition it may remain until the weeds
     call for the double-shelving plough a second time, which must also
     be followed alternately with the common plough as occasion may
     require. By this means the ground will not only be kept clear of
     weeds, but the earth, by constant stirring, will be more replete
     with nourishing juices, the gentle showers will produce their good
     effects, the sun will have his influence, and all the powers of
     vegetation will combine to nourish and set forward the infant oak.
     This work must be repeated every year, until the oaks are of a
     height sufficient to destroy the weeds, which may be, perhaps, in
     three or four years, according to the goodness of the ground in
     which they are planted.

Still, notwithstanding the care sometimes taken in planting, we have
often observed that the simple method of making triangular or cruciform
openings with the spade, thus—[Y] [+], and carefully dividing the roots
in putting the plants in their places, and afterwards well pressing the
turf against them, has succeeded as well as any other method. Indeed, we
have known plants put in with only a single slit; but this never
succeeds so well, though it is more expeditiously performed. Where,
however, trees are put in at so much an acre, the plan of action must be
specified, and the proceedings carefully watched, to ensure its due
performance, or the work will most likely be done in the quickest, and
not best, manner.



CHAPTER XLI.

ON THE KINDS OF TIMBER BEST ADAPTED FOR DIFFERENT SITUATIONS.


That the growth and quality of timber will be influenced by the nature
of the soil is a matter so well understood that it would scarcely
require to be treated of in this place, if we did not daily see examples
of planting in which all laws of growth have been set at defiance;
still, occasionally, experience has lent her aid and produced some
satisfactory results; and, as an exemplification of our meaning, and as
showing the influence of geological position upon planting, we would
direct attention to the following section:—

[Illustration: ALICE HOLT FOREST.

Beech. Hops. Larch. Oak. Larch. Hops. Beech.

4. Chalk. 3. Chalk Marl. 2. Upper G. S. 1. Gault Clay.]

Here we have the oak—of both varieties known to planters, to be
hereafter described—flourishing most luxuriantly on the stiff soil of
the gault; the chalk-marl, upper green sand, and gault—the two latter
only partially—being engaged in hop cultivation. The green sand
surrounding the forest is mostly devoted to the growth of larch or
spruce, the thinnings of which are used for hop-poles and the larger
trees are left as timber-belts; whilst the beech will be found to favour
the chalk. Hops and other cultivated plants flourish according to
geological position.

That the geology of a district affects vegetation mainly, according to
the mechanical and chemical structure of its individual rocks and the
climate in which they are situate, is quite true; and yet the following
table will show that different formations favour the growth of trees
upon other conditions than those named.

Choosing figures to represent relative values, the annexed table is
intended to show the amount of influence exercised by certain geological
rocks in the growth of different fruit and forest trees met with in
England.

  +-----------+---+------------------+------+-----+----+----+------+-----+
  |           |No.|Rocks.            |Apple.|Pear.|Oak.|Elm.|Beech.|Firs.|
  +-----------+---+------------------+------+-----+----+----+------+-----+
  |Cretaceous{| 1 |Chalk             |   2  |  0  |  2 |  4 |   8  |  5  |
  |Rocks.    {| 2 |Green Sands       |   3  |  1  |  3 |  7 |   0  |  3  |
  |          {| 3 |Gault             |   4  |  1  |  6 |  6 |   0  |  0  |
  |Jurassique}| 4 |Oxford Clay       |   6  |  0  | 10 |  8 |   0  |  1  |
  |Rocks.    }| 5 |Oolite Freestone  |   2  |  0  |  1 |  4 |  10  |  5  |
  |          }| 6 |Lias              |  10  |  3  |  5 | 10 |   0  |  1  |
  |           | 7 |New Red Sandstone |   8  | 10  |  7 | 12 |   0  |  2  |
  |           | 8 |Mountain Limestone|   1  |  0  |  2 |  2 |   3  |  1  |
  |           | 9 |Old Red Sandstone |  15  |  8  |  8 | 10 |   0  |  1  |
  +-----------+---+------------------+------+-----+----+----+------+-----+

These figures may serve to express—although roughly—the capacities of
different formations for the production of fruit and forest trees, and
it may be curious to note that, while the chalk and the oolite
freestones, both composed of carbonate of lime, offer a remarkable
agreement in point of dendrological productions, the mountain limestone,
also consisting of carbonate of lime, affords very different results;
here, no doubt, the different kinds of scenery presented by the rocks
themselves have a decided influence on the general results.

Much, however, of any geological influence in the growth of trees must
depend upon the material rather than upon the position of the rocks
forming the subsoil upon which they occur, and thus it may be expected
that clays, limestones, and sands, and different mixtures of these, will
each favour the growth of a peculiar spontaneous or native vegetation;
so that, if we looked to a larger list of trees and coupled it with
lists of herbaceous plants, we might make out even a stronger case,
either for the effects of geological or lithological conditions; but
enough has been said to point out that various trees naturally affect
one position more than another, and so they succeed as the results of
planting and cultivation in one kind of soil in preference to another,
and it may be laid down as a rule, that pomaceous fruits and hard-wooded
trees, as oak and elm, only _flourish_ in strong soils, though they may
be imperfectly grown in all soils, whilst soft-wooded trees, as beech,
lime, and the coniferæ, succeed best in lighter soils; hence, then, the
planter who would try to grow vigorous oak on sandbeds would be
disappointed, and while beech is the “weed” of the Cotteswold oolite,
whoever tries to grow an orchard upon the freestone rocks is sure to
meet with disappointment.

As regards forest trees we shall, for the most part, confine our remarks
to those of the following list, as, although of recent years many new
genera and species have been introduced, they are not yet in general
cultivation even for ornamental purposes, much less as a source of
profit.

  LIST OF NATIVE OR NATURALIZED FOREST TREES.

  Oak          }
  Chestnut     } Our more common timber trees used
  Walnut       } in buildings, furniture, cooperage,
  Elm          } turnery, &c.
  Ash          }
  Beech        }

  Birch        } Employed in furniture, turnery, &c.
  Larch        } The British Coniferæ are not used
  Spruce       } for timber, except for fencing and
  Scotch Fir   } other common purposes.
  Poplar       }

  Plane        }
  Mountain Ash } Employed for turnery, picture-frames,
  Maple        } and occasional useful purposes.
  Lime         }



CHAPTER XLII.

ON THE BRITISH OAK.


Whilst the discussion is still pending, of iron against wooden bulwarks,
if only for the love we feel towards the “brave old oak,” a few notes
upon the forms of this truly national tree can hardly fail to be
acceptable. At starting, however, we must bear in mind, that though we
have ever looked upon the oak as so thoroughly British that we had
almost been brought to think that it was made for the sole glory of our
land, yet there are those who would wish to cast a doubt upon its true
aboriginal nature, and who, according to their custom, represent
everything great as borrowed from the Continent. What says, however,
that pleasant discourser on forest trees, Jacob George Strutt, of
imperishable sylvan fame:—“In proportion as the oak is valued above all
other trees, so is the English oak esteemed above that of any other
country, for its particular characteristics of hardness and toughness,
qualities which so peculiarly fit it to be the ‘father of ships,’ and
which are so admirably expressed in two epithets by that great poet, to
whom the book of nature and of the human heart seemed alike laid open:—

    Thou rather with thy sharp and sulph’rous bolt
    Splitt’st the _unwedgeable_ and _gnarled_ oak,
    Than the soft myrtle.”—SHAKESPEARE.

Selby again, in his “History of Forest Trees,” a work which should be
in the hands of all lovers of the beautiful natural objects of which it
treats, describes the finding of some bog oaks, which would almost
connect the present race with a fossilized past:—

     At the Linden, the seat of C. W. Bigge, Esq., the trunk of a
     magnificent oak was extracted from a peat moss that fills a small
     basin or hollow, evidently produced by the stagnation of a stream,
     which now passes through it, and which, at some distant period, had
     been dammed back by the fall of the trees upon its margins. This
     oak was covered by a layer of the peat to the depth of about three
     feet, and was discovered by probing the moss. The trunk, with a
     small portion of one of the larger limbs, was with great labour and
     difficulty dragged from its miry bed. The contents of the portion
     recovered contained 545 cubic feet, although the whole of the
     sap-wood had perished. The timber was perfectly sound, and the
     tree, by whatever accident it had been overthrown, had fallen in
     the vigour of its growth. When sawn up, the interior planks were
     found of a deep rich brown colour; those nearer the exterior
     darker, or approaching to black. A variety of elegant furniture has
     been made from the wood; but it has been found necessary, for fine
     cabinet-work, to have it cut into veneers, for, when worked in
     bulk, it is apt to crack and become warped. Remains of other huge
     oaks have also been met with on the banks of the Tyne, the Alne,
     and other rivers, as well as in various bogs and morasses; and we
     mention these instances to show that in a district where, at the
     present day, nothing but recently-planted oak or dwarfish timber
     from stock-shoots exists, in former times the monarch of the forest
     grew luxuriantly, and attained a splendid development; and also as
     an inducement to the planter not to neglect the liberal insertion
     of this national tree wherever soil and situation are found
     congenial to its growth. In other parts of England, the oak still
     grows in all its native magnificence of form and dimensions, and
     the remains of those ancient forests, which are chronicled by our
     earliest writers, and which, in the time of our Saxon ancestors,
     spread over the greater portion of the country, are still to be
     traced in the venerable but living relics of enormous oaks, many of
     which are supposed to number more than a thousand years.

Not to neglect to plant the national tree! We hope indeed that there is
no possessor of broad acres who does not esteem it a duty, regardless of
profit, to provide for a succession of forest kings, if only to beautify
the face of the country, and to leave the people of the present, some
grand living object to connect them with the history of the past. In
fact, planting of the “British oak” has not only been considered a duty,
but followed out with the keenest pleasure by the country gentleman. In
so doing, the question has scarcely until lately occurred, is the
British oak always the same? or, are there not different species, or at
least varieties of the genus _quercus_ which have been confounded by the
planter? To this question we now propose to address our inquiries.

On referring to different authors, we shall find mention of the
following names as applied to the British oak:—

  1. Quercus robur, _Linn_.

  2.    „    sessiliflora, _Salisbury_.

  3.    „    intermedia, _Don_.

This method of nomenclature would, however, be only tenable on the
supposition that we considered the trees so named _specifically_
distinct; but as we incline to believe them to be only varieties—though
highly important as such—we intend to treat of them as follows:—

  1st. QUERCUS ROBUR PEDUNCULATA.

  2nd.    „      „   SESSILIFLORA.

  3rd.    „      „   INTERMEDIA.

[Illustration: Plate II.

J. E. Sowerby, sc.

W. West, imp.

Quercus Robur Sessiliflora.]

1st. _Quercus Robur pedunculata_ is readily distinguished in trees
separate from others by its robust habits, thick, gnarled, twisted, and
more or less horizontally inclined branches. The leaves have
comparatively few broad, wavy indentations, and are set on a short
leaf-stalk (petiole) (Plate I. fig. _a_), the fruit being situate on
long footstalks (peduncles), varying from two to upwards of four inches
(fig. _b_).

This is the typical British oak, the pride of our sailors, when men
fought bravely and did not care to vie with each other as to who should
make the most secure skulking-places. The tree—

                            Whose roots descend
    As low towards Pluto’s realms, as high in air
    Its massive branches rise.  The utmost rage
    Of wintry storms howls o’er its strength in vain.
    Successive generations of mankind,
    Revolving ages flourish and decay,
    Yet still immovable it stands, and throws
    Its vigorous limbs around, and proudly bears
    With firm and solid trunk its stately form,
    A mighty canopy of thickest shade.

VIRGIL, _Georg._ ii. 291.

This is the tree that seems to be longer lived than any other in
Britain, and though it would appear to be the prey of nearly, if not
quite, two hundred species of insects, it has still had vigour of
constitution to survive them all; and in many instances we might point
to brave old trees which must have been veterans at the time of the
Norman Conquest. Now, however, they are old and staggy, with hollow
trunks truly—but what trunks!—from forty to fifty feet in circumference,
presenting the following picture to us as it did to Spenser:—

    There grew an aged tree on the green,
    A goodly oak some time had it been,
    With arms full long, and largely displayed,
    But of their leaves they were disarrayed;
    The body big, and mightily pight,
    Thoroughly rooted, and of wond’rous height:
    Whilom had been the king of the field,
    And mockel mast to the husband did yield;
    And with his nuts larded many a swine,
    But now the grey moss marred his rine;
    His bared boughs were beaten with storms,
    His top was bald and wasted with worms,
    His honour decay’d, his branches sere.

_Shepherd’s Calendar._

This, indeed, is a melancholy sight, like the Stag’s Horn Oak by the
roadside between Farnham and Woolmer, in the ancient boundary of Alice
Holt Forest; yet this has a young tree growing by its side, perhaps one
of his own children, which gracefully conceals much of his gaunt
nakedness. In the same forest are many old staggy trees, their contorted
horn-like branches sticking out in a most picturesque manner from the
top and sides of a still leafy head. In these the white owls may yet be
seen peering out of dark cavernous hollows as they did in Gilbert
White’s day; and during the summer of 1861 we with pleasure watched
their motions, which so minutely agreed with those described by the
father of observing naturalists, that we cannot forbear quoting his
remarks thereon in his “Natural History of Selborne,” a not very distant
parish from the Holt, and to which he indeed often refers:—

     As I have paid particular attention to the manner of life of these
     birds (the White Owl), during their season of breeding, which lasts
     the summer through, the following remarks may not be unacceptable.
     About an hour before sunset (for then the mice begin to run), they
     sally forth in quest of prey, and hunt all round the hedges of
     meadows and small enclosures for them, which seem to be their only
     food. In this irregular country we can stand on an eminence and see
     them beat the fields over like a setting-dog, and often drop down
     in the grass or corn. I have minuted these birds with my watch for
     an hour together, and have found that they return to their nest,
     the one or the other of them, about once in five minutes;
     reflecting at the same time on the adroitness that every animal is
     possessed of as far as regards the well-being of itself and
     offspring.

Notwithstanding the good done by these birds in keeping under mice, all
our eloquence could scarcely preserve them from the onslaught of the
keeper; they were, however, protected during our pleasant sojourn at the
Holt; but we much fear only, after all, to gratify the taste for stuffed
birds, a _love_ which is equally fatal to the feathered race (and
especially the finest examples thereof) as the _hate_ of the keeper.

But we are digressing sadly, and must return to _Quercus Robur
pedunculata_, and complete our observations thereon with the statement
that most, if not all, the nobler examples of oaks in England belong to
this form. Selby directs attention to the “Flitton Oak, in Devonshire,
of the _Sessiliflora_ variety, supposed to be one thousand years old,
and which is thirty-three feet in circumference at one foot from the
ground.” However, nearly every historical oak is of the pedunculate
variety. In the Holt forest are still left some huge examples; the same
in the Dean forest; and Braydon, near Swindon, Wilts, though
disafforested, can yet show noble trees of this form. Indeed, throughout
England it is difficult to meet with many examples of any other form,
except in Wyre forest, Worcestershire, where the tree next to be
described is perhaps the more general, and it would also appear that in
the New Forest the _Q. sessiliflora_ is also frequently met with.

_Quercus Robur sessiliflora_ may be generally described as of a more
upright and formal habit. Limbs straighter and less gnarled. Bark
usually smoother than the former. The leaf has many sinuosities, and is
set on a comparatively long leaf-stalk (petiole) (Plate II. fig. _a_).

The fruit, on the contrary, is so nearly sessile that it may be said to
have little more than the indication of a peduncle (fig. _b_).

We have already stated our opinion that the sessile-fruited oak does not
usually attain the huge dimensions of the pedunculate form; but on the
other hand we incline to the belief that it grows more rapidly, and is
best adapted for a lighter soil than the latter. There are conditions
which might to a greater or less extent affect the quality of its
timber, but we do not think that there is much difference in this
respect. We believe that their wood has been used indifferently, and the
quality is influenced by surrounding circumstances. Selby, in his
“History of Forest Trees,” states on this head:—“The result, perhaps, of
some original constitutional defect, or arising from the nature of the
soil, situation, or other local peculiarities of the ground upon which
the timber has been raised; such at least is the result of our own
experience, as we have met with oak of the _peduncled_ kind, its timber
possessing all the inferior qualities attributed to, and supposed to be
possessed exclusively by, _Q. sessiliflora_.” The longer, straighter
spars of the Sessiliflora, in days when oak was so uniformly used for
roofs, seem to have pointed out this variety for roof-timbering; and
hence some of the finest ancient timbered roofs of this country have
been ascertained to have been formed from its wood. With respect to
these the opinion long prevailed that they were formed of the wood of
the Spanish chestnut. This, however, is but a poor timber tree, as, long
before it could afford so large a scantling as would be required by the
roof of the Parliament House at Edinburgh or of Westminster Abbey (both
of which were supposed to be of chestnut), the chestnut would begin to
decay at the heart; in fact, just at the period when the heart-wood of
oak begins to harden, that of the chestnut would appear to deteriorate.

_Quercus Robur intermedia_, having a petiole intermediate in length
between the other two varieties described, and a peduncle varying from a
quarter to one inch in length, may with propriety be deemed a variety
intermediate between “Sessiliflora” and “Pedunculata,” and a comparison
of the three will substantiate its claim to this title.

As a tree it is impossible to make out any specific character from its
mode of growth, and, indeed, without the fruit, it is extremely
difficult even to distinguish it as a variety.

It occurs—only occasionally—in the Cotteswold district, and we suppose
the same elsewhere. One meets with it here and there in the hedge-rows,
and in Oakley Park, the seat of Earl Bathurst, we can point out a few
specimens.

[Illustration: Galls of the _Cynips Quercus petiolata_.

(Natural size.)]

Passing from the subject of the varieties of our British oak, it now
remains to mention a most formidable enemy by which it has of late years
been attacked, and so exclusively, that in plantations where may be
found the American oaks, the Ilex oak, and Turkey oak trees, it has been
the only one subjected to the operations of the new gall pest. It has
long been known that our native oaks were subject to excrescences of
different forms and sizes, such, for example, as oak-apples, oakleaf
galls, oak spangles, &c., all of which were ascertained to be caused by
several species of _cynips_; but lately we have to lament the
introduction of a new species of the same insect, forming a new kind of
gall, which, instead of attacking the backs of the leaves, as does the
oakleaf gall, occupies the stem that belongs to the leaf; in fact, the
attacked leaves seem to be converted into bunches of galls, as
represented in the adjoining figure, which presents an illustration of
the new pest. They are hard galls, more or less like the “nut-gall” from
Aleppo, of which ink is made, and it will be seen that the little twig
supports no less than five galls, in the interior of each of which may
be found the maggot or _larva_ of an insect; and, as this is affected at
the expense of the buds and leaves, the mode of injury must be obvious,
as the new twigs which would have been formed, had there been no galls,
would in their turn have produced branches and leaves. Trees thus
infested are crippled as though they had been subjected to constant
pruning.

As much of the natural history of the _cynips_, by which these gall-nuts
are formed, as is necessary for our purpose, may be gathered from a
paper by Mr. Parfitt, who seems to have well studied the gall insect in
Devon, its head-quarters. We quote it from the Journal of the Bath and
West of England Agricultural Society for 1861:—

     The eggs deposited by the females in the oak buds in September
     remain there in a state of apparent quiescence till the following
     spring; then, as soon as the sap begins to flow, the irritant
     injected into the wound at the same time the _egg_ was deposited,
     or possibly the combined action of the egg and irritant, causes the
     sap to diverge; that portion of the bud which should have formed a
     young shoot is converted into a spherical ball; the outer scales of
     the bud fall away, and it is the woody secretion which entirely
     forms the gall. The cells in the gall are not elongated and
     regular, as in the young shoot, but confused and irregular; and in
     the centre of each gall lies a young grub of the _cynips_, forming
     a living nucleus, around which is deposited a thin, hard, woody
     envelope, much more compact in substance than the sponge-like
     tissue which fills up the interstice between it and the shining
     outer coat of the gall. This compactness of structure is a
     necessary and all-wise provision of nature for protecting the
     delicate insect which lies within from destruction; for if the gall
     were composed entirely of large spongy cells, the rapid flow of sap
     in the early spring would be more than the creature could consume,
     and it would consequently be drowned. I am aware that some
     naturalists incline to the opinion that the _larvæ_ of the _cynips_
     feed on the gall. From this view, however, I venture to dissent;
     for not only is it inconsistent with the structure of the
     creature’s mouth, and the position in which the young _larvæ_ are
     invariably found, with the head tucked under the apex of the
     abdomen, but if they fed on the substance or crude material of the
     gall, the undigested parts would certainly be found in the
     interior of its cell: in other words, the excrement would be there,
     for there is no outlet, and the lacteals or absorbent vessels of
     the gall could not take it up. I therefore think that the creature
     feeds entirely on the sap of the tree—an elaborate food fit for it
     without the need of mastication. This explains how it happens that
     the galls of commerce, with the insects in them, are so much better
     and dearer than those from which the _cynips_ has escaped; in a
     word, the tannic acid is more abundant.

     It has been before observed, that there are two broods of the
     insect in a season; thus, those which do not emerge from the gall
     in September remain on till the following April or May. This is a
     wise provision of nature for continuing the species, should
     anything befall the autumn brood; and it is the more deserving of
     notice, because the gall-producing _cynips_ has a deadly enemy
     which accompanies or follows it in its flight from bud to bud, and
     deposits an egg wherever it finds the egg of the _cynips_. Here, as
     soon as the _cynips_ larva is hatched, the larva of the parasite is
     hatched also; forthwith the latter proceeds to eat a hole in the
     skin of the rightful occupant of the nidus, and the two larvæ go on
     growing together till the _cynips_ is ready to assume the pupal
     state; then the parasite cuts the vital thread of the _cynips_, and
     uses its skin for a pupal envelope for itself; and thus, instead of
     the gall-fly emerging into day, a beautiful green insect makes its
     appearance on the stage of life. I had the pleasure of first
     discovering this parasite while engaged in studying the _cynips_;
     it belongs to the genus _Callimone_, and from the fact of having
     discovered it in Devonshire, I gave it the name of _Callimone
     Devoniensis_. It is one of the handsomest of our British insects;
     its costume a brilliant green, shot with gold; the abdominal
     segments green, gold, and purple; legs yellow; tarsi reddish; and
     it has four beautiful transparent and iridescent wings.

     It has been stated that oak-galls are produced at the expense of
     acorns. From this view my experience leads me to dissent. In
     exceptional instances it may have been the case; but as a rule the
     _cynips_ confines its attacks to young trees and young growths in
     hedges, within a range of ten or twelve feet from the ground, and
     the nearer the ground the more numerous the galls. Young trees
     which have not attained a greater height than that I have indicated
     suffer so much that many of them can scarcely make headway against
     their foe; and in several nurseries I have visited, where it might
     be expected that greater care would be paid than in the case of
     ordinary plantations, the young stock of oaks has been rendered
     quite unsaleable by the pest. This year I have noticed the progress
     of the insect on two groups of young English and Turkey oaks
     growing side by side; and although there are hundreds of galls on
     the English oaks, there are none on the Turkey oaks. From this I am
     led to infer that the species of _cynips_ now under notice is
     confined in its depredations to the English oak; and as it
     invariably selects trees of younger or restricted growth—probably
     because the temperature at a higher elevation than ten or twelve
     feet from the earth is unfavourable to it—it would seem that
     children might be advantageously employed in young plantations in
     collecting the galls by means of cutting-hooks, such as are used
     for thistles. The galls, when once collected, might either be
     crushed for tanning purposes, or consumed by fire, and if the
     process were repeated for two or three seasons, it is more than
     probable that the plantation would be altogether free from the
     pest.

These able remarks not only well describe the nature of the attack, but
also point to a cure—a matter to which we would direct the most serious
attention of the planter; for we may state that, in 1853, we saw some
very small oak trees, in the neighbourhood of Dawlish, Devon, from which
some hundreds of these galls might have been gathered. This was the
first time we had noticed this pest, though it appears that it had been
under Mr. Parfitt’s notice as long as a dozen years. Since then (1853)
we have traced it in its progress as follows:—

Having observed the galls in Devon in 1853, we were yearly on the
look-out in the Midland and Eastern counties for its appearance, and the
following dates will show that its spread, though gradual, was
sufficiently rapid:—

  The galls were gathered in Devon in                   1853
  The same kind in Somerset, in                         1854
  In Gloucester, on the west side of the river Severn,
  Forest of Dean, in                                    1855
  In Gloucester, east side of the Severn, and as far as
  Oakley Park, Cirencester, in                          1856
  In Worcestershire, in                                 1857
  In North Wales, Beddgelert (pointed out to us by
  John Savory, Esq.), in                                1859
  In Sussex, very sparingly, in                         1860
  In Alice Holt Forest, and far from abundant, in       1861
  About Hastings, very plentifully, in                  1862

We have this season observed a lot of the young galls; but last year,
for the first time, we discovered that, in many cases, the maggot had
been extracted by some small bird, one of the titmice (_Parus
cæruleus_); and, if so, wherever young oaks may be growing, it should
afford an additional reason for the protection of these useful birds.
The magnitude of the evil, unless checked by some means, may be
estimated from the fact that, in 1856, we could scarcely find half a
dozen galls within a wide district, and now all around may be found
trees, not more than 10 feet high, upon which are no less than from one
to five hundred distinct galls.

We conclude these remarks upon our native oaks with the fervent hope
that in “Merry England” it may ever be as described by dear old
Chaucer:—

                                A pleasant grove

           *       *       *       *       *

    In which were okes grete, streight as a line,
    Undir the which the grass so fresh of hew
    Was newly sprong, and an eight fote, or nine,
    Every tree well from his fellow grew,
    With branches brode, laden with levis new,
    That, sprongin out agen, the sonnè shene.
    Some very rede; and some a glad light grene.

_The Floure and the Leafe._



CHAPTER XLIII.

ON THE CHESTNUT AND WALNUT.


The Chestnut and Walnut are here brought together, not only as producing
two useful kinds of hard-wooded timber, but from the fact of both being
bearers of esteemed kinds of fruit. They are neither grown to the same
extent in England as on the Continent, and probably neither of them is
indigenous to this country, although it is stated by Sir W. Hooker to
grow in woods apparently wild, in the south and south-west of England.
As regards the fruit of the former, it may be said that in parts of
Spain “Spanish Chestnuts” are a staple article of food. In England they
are sometimes brought to table as a stuffing for turkeys, or roasted for
dessert; but their greatest consumption among us is with the poor, who,
in winter, with a halfpenny-worth of roasted chestnuts enjoy the double
luxury of warm fingers and a sweet nutritious diet. Walnuts, as a fruit,
are highly esteemed by all classes: as much by those who crack and peel
them in a second or third class railway carriage, as by the squire who
takes them as a concomitant with his glass of port. With us they are
only cared for while they can be peeled, but abroad they are carefully
dried, in which state they form an important article of commerce. In the
Portuguese court of the International Exhibition of 1861, in our
capacity of juryman, we had brought before us specimens of dried walnuts
from as many as fifty exhibitors.

The Spanish chestnut (_Castanea vulgaris_) has no relationship with the
so-called horse-chestnut, which latter, we might just mention, is solely
employed as an ornamental tree, if we except its occasional use in
cabinet-work. Evelyn, sixty years ago, speaks of it as being “all the
mode for the avenues to their country palaces in France.” It has been
much used for this purpose with us, and its magnificent flowers and fine
foliage will ever recommend it as an ornament about country residences.

But to return to the Spanish chestnut. This tree is planted with us both
for the growth of timber or as underwood for poles; for the latter
purpose it answers well, as it soon grows up again after cutting, and in
its young state it goes so soon to heart-wood that the poles are
remarkably strong and tough.

As a timber tree, the chestnut has been very extensively extolled both
in this country and on the Continent; it may, however, be concluded that
although its wood is exceedingly useful, it has never been put to the
important uses which have been claimed for it.

Evelyn, speaking of chestnut-wood, says:—“I had once a very large barn
near the city, framed entirely of this timber.”

Sir T. D. Lauder tells us that the roof of the Parliament House in
Edinburgh is constructed of chestnut, and we have often seen it stated
that the magnificent roof of Westminster Hall has been framed of this
timber;[28] but to quote from Selby’s admirable “History of British
Forest Trees”:—

     The fact is, as Buffon first observed, the wood of the oak, more
     particularly that of the sessile-fruited variety, assumes, in
     course of time, a near resemblance in colour to that of the
     chestnut in its best condition, or when young and untainted at
     heart; and as few chestnuts could have acquired the scantling
     frequently observed in the timbers of these ancient buildings at
     the age dialling or decay almost invariably commences, this in
     itself furnishes a strong argument against the use of chestnut
     timbers and beams by our ancestors, inasmuch as the trees must
     become unfit for the purpose long before they had attained the
     necessary dimensions.—P. 326.

[28] Many of the most ancient houses in London were built of its
(chestnut) wood, as is the roof of Westminster Hall, built by William
Rufus, in the year 1099, still free from any appearance of decay.—_Sylva
Britannica_, p. 81.

But although we may safely dismiss the notion that chestnut is of the
value formerly supposed, yet its timber is not without its uses; it is
employed for smaller beams, gate-posts, piles, and other purposes where
large timber is not required. Its best use is for poles, for which
purpose chestnut may be employed as nurses to oak, thinning out the
former as growth advances.

Dismissing, however, the subject of the economic value of the chestnut,
whether for timber or fruit, as an ornamental tree it has few equals.
There are many fine chestnut-trees in our country, but perhaps the
finest, as it is supposed to be the oldest, sylvan veteran in England is
the one at Tortworth, in Gloucestershire, of which Strutt says:—

     In the reign of Stephen, who ascended the throne in 1135, it was
     deemed so remarkable for its size, that, as appears upon record,
     it was well known as a signal boundary to the Manor of Tortworth.
     At the time that it was thus conspicuous for its magnitude and
     vigour, we may reasonably suppose it to have been in its prime; if,
     therefore, we pay any regard to the received opinion which is
     applied to the chestnut, equally with the oak, that it is three
     hundred years in coming to perfection, this calculation takes us
     back to the beginning of the reign of Egbert, in the year 800, for
     the commencement of the existence of the Tortworth Chestnut.

Well then may we exclaim with the poet—

    Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!

The Walnut (_Juglans regia_) is supposed to have been introduced from
Persia by the Romans; but although we can have no claim to it as a
native, yet it has thriven so remarkably well, as for many years since
to have furnished us with a large quantity of a highly valuable timber.
So much indeed is its wood esteemed, as to have caused its use only in
the better kinds of cabinet-work, such as drawing-room furniture,
internal fittings, and where mahogany would now be considered as
somewhat common; it has, too, been ever esteemed as a wood for
gun-stocks, as it combines hardness, toughness, and an agreeable colour
with a great degree of lightness—being of a less specific gravity than
that of any other kind of hard wood.

Fowling-pieces, gentlemen’s rifles, pistols, and all the finer kinds of
small arms, usually have stocks of walnut, as its texture, colour, and
the sharpness with which fancy carvings can be worked, peculiarly adapt
it for the purpose.

During the continental war, English walnut fetched an enormous price.
Selby tells us that a single tree was sold for £600, owing to which
many of the noblest specimens were sacrificed; and Loudon tells us that,
about 1806, no less than 12,000 trees were annually required for these
uses in France.

In England this tree is principally grown for its fruit, which is a
great favourite when ripe as an adjunct to the social glass. Still
enormous quantities are never allowed to attain to ripeness, from their
being used in a green state for the purposes of pickling, sauces, and
the like; indeed, so much is the green part of the walnut esteemed for
its flavouring properties, that the very “hulls,” or coverings to the
ripened fruits, are employed as an ingredient in the preparation of
sauces and flavourings.

Another use of the fruit, especially on the Continent, is that of making
oil, which is considered to be little, if at all, inferior to fine
olive-oil.

The walnut-tree, then, may be considered as offering many claims for its
more extensive cultivation, for although native growths of timber have
been of late years in a measure superseded by American walnut and
hickory wood, still it offers no mean inducements to the planter upon
this score alone, at the same time it must be allowed that with us the
chief inducement to the culture of this tree is the value of its fruit
and the handsome tree which it makes.

In the growth of this and the preceding, it is always best to procure
good, healthy, young trees from the nurseryman; indeed, in planting all
forest trees this may be considered as not only the best, but usually
the cheapest mode of proceeding.



CHAPTER XLIV.

ON THE ELM.


To the critical botanist the study of the different kinds of Elm is one
of the most perplexing subjects he has to cope with, the fact being,
that if the seed of any one form be cultivated, the results will seldom
or never be uniform, for not only may several well-known varieties be
produced from the seed of a single tree, but even new forms may thus be
obtained.

On this account have arisen the great discrepancies one meets with in
authors as regards nomenclature; some making many species of the Elms
commonly met with in Great Britain, while others reduce them to two;
viz.—

     _Ulmus campestris_—Small-leaved, Common Upright or English Elm.

     _Ulmus montana_—Large-leaved, Spreading Scotch or Wych Elm.

But though these are the names used by most authors to distinguish these
two well-recognized forms, yet they have been reversed in Dr. Arnott’s
edition of Hooker’s “Flora,” thus:—

     _Ulmus suberosa_ (Ehrh.)—Common or English Elm.

     _Ulmus campestris_ (L.)—Broad-leaved or Wych Hazel.

Now it is not our object to enter into a discussion on the much-vexed
question of species, and therefore, without even determining whether the
English and Scotch Elms be absolutely distinct, we shall yet describe
as two well-established forms of forest trees, and endeavour to put them
in their proper position among profitable and ornamental timber trees,
to which end we would distinguish them as follows:—

        1. ULMUS CAMPESTRIS.                 2. ULMUS MONTANA.
         (_English Elm._)                     (_Scotch Elm._)

  Leaves small, doubly-notched at     Leaves larger, divided into
  the margin, with an alternation     segments at the margin, which
  of larger and smaller teeth         segments are notched with fine
  (alternately serrate).              serrated teeth.

  Fruit small and flat, with a deep   Fruit large and flat, with a slight
  notch at the apex; bunches          notch at the apex; bunches large
  somewhat small and inconspicuous.   and having the general
                                      appearance of bunches of hops.

  Branches more or less spreading,    Branches more or less upright,
  inclining to be rough or even corky smooth, and even. Twigs sometimes
  (_suberose_). Twigs more or less    clothed with a short down.
  hairy.

  Bole more or less towering upwards, Bole shorter, branching at a
  its divisions having the same       moderate elevation into large
  tendency. Arms more like those of   spreading arms, more like those of
  the beech.                          the oak.

  Roots throwing up suckers often at  Roots not stoloniferous.
  a great distance from the tree.

1. _Ulmus campestris._—The English Elm, though not the producer of the
most valuable timber, or of a kind for more refined purposes, is still
one of the most extensively useful of any kind whatsoever. The long
straight balks of this Elm caused it at one time to be employed for
water-pipes; these can be readily cut into boards of great length and
width, which are useful for a variety of purposes. Selby sums up an
account of its character as follows:—

     The wood when matured is of a deep-brown colour, compact and
     fine-grained; according to Loudon, it loses nearly two-thirds of
     its weight in drying, as when cut it weighs nearly seventy pounds
     the cubic foot, and when seasoned not more than twenty-eight pounds
     and a half. In the lateral adhesion of its fibre it surpasses the
     _U. montana_, though perhaps inferior to it in longitudinal
     toughness, and therefore not capable of supporting so severe a
     cross strain. The former property, however, eminently qualifies it
     for every purpose where a strong wood that will not split or crack,
     either from concussion or the action of sun and wet, is required;
     on this account, Matthew, in his able treatise on naval timber,
     strongly recommends it for the “blocks, dead-eyes, and other wooden
     furniture of rigging.” In country carpentry it is very extensively
     used in all the Southern parts of England; but the purposes to
     which it is applied it is unnecessary to enumerate, these having
     already been described by Evelyn and subsequent authors. Its
     durability under water, as well as the straightness and great
     length of its stem, qualifies it for making the keels of large
     ships, for which purpose it sells at a very high price.

As an ornamental tree for general purposes, few can surpass the elm, as
when well-grown and not too much interfered with by the forester, it has
a gracefully aspiring form without a disposition to lankiness: its
foliage is thick enough to afford any amount of shade, and yet is never
of a heavy appearance.

It flourishes best in good deep soil, in which the most solid balks are
grown: when planted on poor land or on gravel-beds it decays at the
heart at a very early age. Some of the English elms in Hyde Park have
thus decayed, whilst others have attained a respectable size and age,
having been injured by storms:—

    The wintry winds had passed
      And swept an arm away,
    And winter found a wound at last,
      In which to work decay.

In good soil the English elm grows to an enormous size, remaining
perfectly solid to a good old age. We remember the felling of a tree
called “Piff’s Elm,” on the high-road between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury,
in which the hole measured 28 feet in circumference at 4 feet from the
ground, and we counted 198 rings of annual growth. Still, when grown in
poor gravelly soils and in the usual hedge mode, in which they are
periodically shrouded and crippled, they often begin to decay in the
centre at less than twenty years of age.

There are varieties of the _U. campestris_, which, as they are not of
any particular importance as timber trees, need only be lightly touched
upon in this place. They are as follows:—

     1. _Ulmus suberosa_—Cork Elm, bark of the limbs exceedingly corky.

     2. _Ulmus carpinifolia_—Hornbeam-leaved Elm, leaves
     strongly-veined, serratures blunt; branches nearly smooth.

     3. _Ulmus stricta_—Cornish Elm, leaves smooth and shining above,
     doubly serrated, with obtuse teeth; branches bright-brown, smooth,
     erect.

     4. _Ulmus glabra_—Small-leaved Elm, leaves small and smooth;
     branches pendulous.

2. _Ulmus montana._—The Scotch Elm, the broad-leaved elm (wych hazel) of
most parts of England and Scotland, is well distinguished by its large
broad leaves, hop-like fruits, large limbs diverging from a less
towering trunk at an obtuse angle, branches more or less lax and
pendulous, bark of the twigs dark brown, smooth and not corky; of stem
when rough, not _suberose_.

This tree is reputed wild, but there seems reason to think that this
form, and certainly the _U. campestris_, has been introduced. One reason
for this conclusion is that although the _U. montana_ produces such an
enormous amount of seed, yet, in as far as we know, none of this
produces young trees, or, in other words, this elm does not appear to
increase sporadically. Even in cultivation it is found to be exceedingly
difficult to replenish our nursery stock from seed, and hence the cost
of young plants, as they have to be produced from suckers, or otherwise
layered, and occasionally grown from cuttings. Evelyn says:—

     It seems to be so much more addicted to some places than to others,
     that I have frequently doubted whether it be a pure indigene or
     translatitious; and not only because I have hardly ever known any
     considerable woods of them (besides some few nurseries near
     Cambridge, planted, I suppose, for store), but most continually in
     tufts, hedge-rows, and mounds; and that Shropshire, and several
     other counties, have rarely any growing in many miles
     together.—_Sylva_, vol. i. p. 127.

To this may be added the fact that the most notable elm trees will
usually be found at cross-roads—as Maul’s Elm at Cheltenham, nearly 40
feet in circumference, or about dwellings; the fine old trunk at the
Slade Farm, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, as much as 50 feet, for some
time hollow, and once used as a cider-mill; the fine elms in our parks,
as at Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and others; and such avenues of
elms as seen at Christchurch.

As a timber tree the Scotch elm is not esteemed so highly as is the
English sort. To begin with, it does not grow such straight even balks;
it is more gnarled and knotty in sawing, and more difficult to work.
Selby says that Scottish writers have arrived at a different conclusion,
which he conceives to have arisen from the fact that “their estimate has
been drawn from a comparison of the wood of _U. montana_ with that of
_U. suberosa_ (considered by them to be the English elm), which produces
a soft, spongy wood, greatly inferior to most other trees of the genus.”

It is used for flooring and rough country work. The peculiar wen-like
excrescences that one sometimes meets with on the sides of wych elms are
carefully preserved and cut into veneers for fine loo-tables,
work-boxes, and other purposes, when a peculiar mottled fine-coloured
wood is required for fancy-work.

Some of the finest elms we have examined have been Maul’s elm, Piff’s
elm, the Slade elm, before mentioned, and the following, measured at one
and three feet from the ground.

                                                   Circum. at  Circum. at
                                                    1 foot.     3 feet.

  _Ulmus montana_,    Oakley Park, Cirencester      38  0       33  6
    Ditto,            Hyde Park                      —          20  6
    Ditto,            Hyde Park                      —          20  0
    Ditto,            group of twelve in Kensington
                      Gardens, varying to            —          20  0
  _Ulmus campestris_, Hyde Park, several varying
                      from 20 ft. to                 —          30  0
    Ditto,            in Oakley Park, from
                      15 ft. to                      —          22  0



CHAPTER XLV.

ON THE ASH, BEECH, AND OTHER WHITE-WOODED TREES.


THE ASH (_Fraxinus excelsior_), when well-grown and in good
foliage, is one of our most charming trees; its light, graceful, and
agreeably-coloured leaves, united with a graceful disposition of lithe,
smoothly-formed limbs, altogether fully entitle it to be considered as
the “Venus of the Forest.”

The leaves of the common ash are pinnate, with from three to four pairs
of leaflets and one terminal leaflet. This latter is sometimes absent
when the apex is bifoliate, and a form called the double-leaf is
produced, which even at this day is reputed by the rustics to be capable
of working various charms.

It is this pinnate pendent leaf which, loosely hanging on the flexile,
more or less pendent branches, gives so much grace to the tree.

We have been much pleased with some groups of ash trees in Earl
Bathurst’s park (Oakley Park) at Cirencester; but, as Strutt well
observes,—

     It is in mountain scenery that the ash appears to peculiar
     advantage; waving its slender branches over some precipice which
     just affords it soil sufficient for its footing, or springing
     between crevices of rock, a happy emblem of the hardy spirit which
     will not be subdued by fortune’s scantiness. It is likewise a
     lovely object by the side of some crystal stream, in which it views
     its elegant pendent foliage, bending, Narcissus-like, over its own
     charms.

But charming as is the ash when in its most perfect foliage, yet as its
æstivation is usually so late, and the fall of its leaves so early and
rapid, it often displays all but naked limbs, even amidst the freshness
of spring, as well as during the autumnal tinting of almost all other
trees. It would seem that its buds cannot expand in spring frosts,
whilst the first frost of autumn will frequently make the whole foliage
drop in one mass beneath the influence of the succeeding sunshine. This
susceptibility to spring cold is doubtless at the base of the country
weather predictions which are made to depend upon the behaviour of the
ash in respect to its time of displaying its leaves:—

    When the oak’s before the ash,
    You may then expect a dash.

Generally held to mean, that if the leaves of the oak are seen before
those of the ash, a fine dry summer may be expected; but, on the
contrary,—

    With the ash before the oak,
    You may then expect a soak.

The truth of all this may be that a cold wet spring, which would retard
the bursting of the buds of the ash, may be expected to be followed by a
fine summer; whilst, on the contrary, a genial forward spring is often
succeeded by a wet summer.

Selby remarks on the early fall of the leaf, which, as he says, is
“after the first autumnal frost, however early that may happen; and
this, in general, without undergoing any change of colour, or
contributing by the ’sear and yellow leaf’ to the waning beauty of
autumnal foliage.” On this account, Sir T. D. Lauder recommends that
“ash trees should be sparingly planted around a gentleman’s residence,
to avoid the risk of their giving to it a cold, late appearance, at a
season when all nature should smile.”

It should be noted that although the ash seems to be so susceptible of
cold, it nevertheless ripens its seeds most perfectly in any part of
Great Britain; and besides this, these seeds, or “keys,” when naturally
sown, come up with the greatest certainty, so that young ash may be
removed from the wood and used for planting.

This renders it easy to cultivate young plants from seed; to which end,
when the ripened keys are gathered in the autumn, they should be well
examined to see that the seed has not been eaten out by the ash-weevil,
as it will most certainly be if a small orifice be observable on one
side of the key or samara, just over the seed.

In growing ash with a view to profit, it is recommended to plant it by
itself in belts or plantations, which are called ash-holts, as it
usually, when well started, grows upwards too fast to be a good nurse to
other trees, which latter would suffer from the whipping of the longer
heavy flexile stems of the ash.[29]

[29] Selby says, “The pitting system should always be adopted in
planting the ash, for the roots, even in young plants, are too numerous,
large, and spreading, to be properly inserted by the splitting or [T]
method.” We would also add, that they should be planted as soon upon
removal as possible.

It is too often planted in hedge-rows, where it is exceedingly
objectionable, not only from the ill effects on the scene of
interminable rows of one kind of tree, but the drip and the peculiar
growth of the roots render it most destructive to the growth of crops
planted beneath its shade.

The uses to which the wood of this tree is turned are multifarious in
the extreme. Walking-sticks are made from ash saplings; and as, from
youth to age, it is so tough and elastic, it is used for handles and
other parts of farm implements and machinery of all kinds. The
wheelwright and coachmaker employ the wood extensively; so also the
cooper. As a firewood its “offal” is always welcome, as it burns with a
clear, bright flame, and that nearly as well in the green as in the dry
state; and the whole tree is so rich in potash that this alkali is often
made from its trimmings and loppings.

We had already mentioned some of the superstitions connected with the
ash, and at p. 250 will be found directions for making a shrew-ash; we
shall now, therefore, only direct attention to another practice which
this tree was employed for, even to a somewhat recent period, as it will
account for some curious growths of ash which will sometimes be met
with. Evelyn says:—

     I have heard it affirmed with great confidence, and upon
     experience, that the rupture to which many children are obnoxious,
     is healed, by passing the infant through a wide cleft made in the
     bole or stem of the growing ash-tree; it is then carried a second
     time round the ash, and caused to repass the same aperture as
     before. The rupture of the child being bound up, it is supposed to
     heal as the cleft of the tree closes and coalesces.

As, then, the healing of the child would seem to depend upon that of
the tree, this potent charm is not always successful, as may be gathered
from the fact that young trees have been met with which never healed at
all, and we recollect one of these, of which the accompanying wood-cut
is a copy, having been presented at a Conversazione of the
Worcestershire Natural History Society. The tree from whence it was
taken was of about ten years of age. Selby says that an instance of this
use of the ash is “related by the Rev. T. Bree, in the _Magazine of
Natural History_, where a ruptured child was made to pass through the
chasm of a young ash-tree, split for the purpose, in Warwickshire.”

[Illustration]

These facts seem to point to the acting upon such superstitions to
within a comparatively recent period, though doubtless the drawing a
child beneath the stolon or shoot of a bramble that has rooted at its
extremity, and which we have known to be gravely recommended by a wise
(!) woman, would be equally efficacious, and, upon the whole, easier to
perform.

Evelyn further says that “the chemists exceedingly commend the seed of
the ash to be an admirable remedy for the stone.” “But,” he adds,
“whether by the power of magic or nature, I determine not.” We would
suggest that it was by the power its roots possess of riving the natural
rock. So stone-crop, from decomposing the stones on which it grows, was
held to have the like effect. How strange, then, it is that with such
evidences of the truth of the motto,—

    Similia similibus curantur,

physicians of the present day should refuse to listen to this still (and
very small) voice of nature, and not all become homœopaths! Such may
well be the reasoning of many an old woman who still pretends to cures
either by magic spells or infinitesimal globules.

Two interesting varieties of ash are met with: the pendulous or
weeping-ash, which, Sir W. Hooker informs us, is said to have been first
discovered in a field at Gamlingay, and the _Fraxinus heterophylla_, in
which the leaf is simple, that is, it is in one piece, more the form of
a laurel-leaf than the usual pinnated ash-leaf. These variations are
easily perpetuated by grafting, and are here only mentioned on account
of their peculiar habits.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BEECH (_Fagus sylvatica_) is admitted by all authors to be a native
of Great Britain, and if the many magnificent giants one here and there
meets with be admitted as proofs of indigenous origin, few trees can put
in a more imposing claim. The celebrated Burnham beeches, so well known
to artists and lovers of nature in general, and the many fine examples
of this tree in the Cotteswolds, upon which range it is said to grow as
a weed, testify to the age and size to which the beech may attain.

The plantations of beeches in Oakley Park are well worthy of note in
speaking of the Cotteswolds, for although they have been planted here,
yet the fine, tall, clean balks, lofty tops, and the “twilight shades”
beneath, will not soon be forgotten by the author, who, beneath their
boughs, through the liberality of Earl Bathurst, “has felt them all his
own,” as says the poet Gray of the Burnham beeches. Here, too, has he
mused, though not, like Pope, in “thoughts that burn,” yet much
wondering at the curious plants which choose such seclusion for their
dwelling. Of these the following may be here enumerated, as they really
form part of the natural history of the beech wood:—

     _Listera Nidus-avis_—Birds’-nest Orchis.

     _Habenaria chlorantha_—Butterfly Orchis.

     _Epipactis grandiflora_—Large White Helleborine.

     _Epipactis ensifolia_—Narrow-leaved White Helleborine.

     _Epipactis latifolia_—Broad-leaved Helleborine.

     _Monotropa Hypopithys_—Yellow Birds’-nest.

     _Pyrola minor_—Lesser Winter Green.

Such a list of plants found in the beech woods is sufficient to make
their locality remarkable, and if we add to them the

     _Tuber cibarium_—Truffle,

     _Morchella esculenta_—Morell,

     _Elaphomyces muricatus_—Sharp-warted _Elaphomyces_,

—these, with various other curious fungi, will be sufficient to make
Oakley Park and its beeches a botanical habitat of no mean pretension.

As regards the truffle, we may mention that we have heard that a former
Earl Bathurst kept dogs for the purpose of hunting them. We have
partaken of the morells from this park several times, and always found
them delicious, and can recommend them stuffed with sausage-meat and
fried, as a dish for an epicure: we have seen them exposed for sale in
the greengrocers’ shops of the good old town of Cirencester.

But we are sadly digressing from the subject of the beech tree in his
history as a forest and ornamental tree. Under the latter aspect, then,
most authors, except Gilpin, view the beech to hold a very high place.
Coleman, in his “Woodlands,” considers that,—

     Among our truly indigenous forest-trees, the beech must certainly
     rank as second only to the oak for majesty and picturesqueness;
     while, for the union of grace and nobility, it may claim precedence
     over every other member of our sylva.

     Having said this, we must, as a matter of course, dissent from the
     opinion of Gilpin, the highly-gifted author of “Forest Scenery,”
     who has, as we think, unjustly impugned the ornamental character of
     this generally favourite tree, and this because he had some
     crotchets of his own about landscape composition, and the shape
     that trees ought to take to make them good subjects for the pencil.
     The beech did not happen to fit itself to his theory, and so he
     quarrelled with it, and called it hard names.

Any one who has ever seen a well-grown beech tree, such as was once our
delight to visit at Hartley Bottom, near the source of the Thames, or
who has seen such masses of beech glowing with autumnal tints as may be
witnessed in a journey on the Great Western Railway between Swindon and
Cheltenham, will never speak disparagingly of the beech, which we think
noble, alike by itself as in masses, or as a sylvan denizen with other
trees.

But it has other claims besides that of ornament; it is a highly useful
wood, much employed in carpentry, cabinet-work, and turnery; in the
making of charcoal; and increasingly so in the manufacture of
wood-spirit.

As a firewood it excels most others, as it burns with a clear flame,
even when wet, and leaves behind only a small quantity of ash. How,
indeed, could it possess much ash when it flourishes in positions where
scarcely four inches of soil covers up the oolitic stone, its roots
spreading over the rock and occasionally dipping into its fissures in a
manner most aptly illustrative of the fact that this tree really derives
but little nutrition from the soil, the rocks upon which it grows, for
the most part, serving to moor the giant in position that it may spread
forth its leaves to feed upon the atmosphere?

The beech is easily propagated from its fruit—“mast”—which, indeed, so
readily grows beneath the trees that thousands might be obtained for the
purpose of pricking out in nursery lines, if looked after. The usual
method of cultivation is to gather the mast in the autumn, to keep it
well in sand, and sow in the spring. After two years it is pricked out
in nursery rows, and is fit for planting in three years more.

Where once established it will soon spread, as the mast grows
sporadically with great readiness, and this tree has a faculty for
extending undisputed possession; thus, in America will be found
wide-extended forests of scarcely anything but beech, which, though
perhaps a little varied from our own, is yet doubtless of the same
species.

There are several ornamental varieties of beech to be obtained from the
nurserymen, some of which are more curious than useful; but we must not
omit to mention the Copper Beech (_Fagus sylvatica_, var. _purpurea_).
This, judiciously disposed, is capable of affording a great charm to the
wood, and more especially in plantations near the homestead. They are
fast-growing trees, and at present are here and there to be met with of
considerable size. We once possessed a couple on our lawn, the largest
of which must have been nearly six feet in circumference; and what from
its colour, the thickness of its foliage, and the fine sweep of its
branches, it was capable of yielding shade and shelter of a most perfect
and agreeable kind.

The drip of the beech is prejudicial to cultivation, we think, from the
circumstance that the hard, though thin, leaves are so difficult of
decomposition that where they fall they leave a thick carpet covering up
the ground. If, then, these trees are in such a position as to do
mischief from this cause, the leaves should be removed, and they will,
if stored, be found very useful in making hotbeds, linings to pots, and
other gardening work.

Beech is less liable to insect attacks than almost any other tree; the
most annoying is that of the _Aphis_, especially when near the house, as
this harbours insects of all kinds, and the exuding honey-dew much
injures the aspect of the tree.

Beech timber would be more valuable than it is were it not for its
liability, when in panels, tables, and furniture, to be attacked and
bored by weevils. We once had our house so infested with these little
beetles, derived from some furniture of this wood, as to cause
considerable alarm; but fortunately our domestic’s knowledge of natural
history in the matter of bugs was somewhat defective, as she had
mistaken the nature of the weevil. This pest can be removed by boiling
in oil; but it is a great drawback to the use of a wood which otherwise
might be applied to various domestic purposes.



CHAPTER XLVI.

ON SOFT-WOODED FOREST TREES.


In this chapter we shall shortly direct attention to such soft-wooded
trees as the sycamore, plane, horse-chestnut, lime, willow, poplar, and
others, which, though commonly grown, are yet more so for ornament than
profit; for though their woods are found to be more or less useful, as a
general rule they must take a comparatively low rank as timber trees.

Both the Sycamore and the Plane are introduced trees; both attain to a
large size; and when judiciously mixed with other trees form a very
pleasing contrast. The plane has the property of withstanding the
effects of smoke in towns better than any other tree, and therefore it
is recommended for planting in public parks and town enclosures.

The Horse-Chestnut has much of the character of the above; it grows tall
and large, and its fine foliage and handsome bunches of flowers are very
attractive. It is an excellent tree for shade, and has the merit of
quick growth; but its wood is so brittle as to cause great limbs to be
too readily blown off with a high wind.

The Lime (_Tilia Europæa_) is one of our most charming native trees, for
so it has been pretty clearly proved to be by E. Lees, Esq., F.L.S., who
says “that at Shrawley, eight miles north from Worcester, there is a
wood, remote from any dwelling or public road, of about five hundred
acres in extent, the greater part of the undergrowth of which is
composed of _Tilia Europæa_, var. _Microphylla_;” and the same
gentleman, in a communication to the Botanical Society of London,
mentioned several places, in Worcestershire, Herefordshire,
Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, and South Wales, where he considers the
lime to be indigenous, and where he met with many remarkable and aged
trees.

We shall not here enter into a discussion about species, but, from what
we saw in Shrawley wood and its district, we incline to the belief that
several names made to depend mainly upon the leaves, might well be
omitted, seeing that from Shrawley itself the leaves on the newly-sprung
underwood are fully five times larger than those on an old tree.

Putting such questions aside, we may well consider the lime as a truly
ornamental tree, _whose varieties_ give great charm to the forest or the
more limited plantation about the homestead, where its shade, its
perfume when in flower, and patience under lopping and training, must
ever recommend it.

The Willow, though usually cultivated in the shape of twigs for
basket-making and the like purposes, for which many species are
employed, is nevertheless grown upon the margins of streams and in damp
places about estates and farms for its lop, which is much used for
hurdle-bonds, thatching-spars, &c.

Amongst implements from this tree, the willow-wand of the cricketer has
now a fame in the New as well as in the Old world, and long may its
magic continue to develope the muscle and sharpen the faculties of the
youth of Old England; whilst well-developed muscle cannot better
maintain its tone than by a well-contested game of cricket.

In good situations the White Willow (_Salix alba_) attains to very
magnificent proportions. One at Siddington, near Cirencester, measures
22 feet in girth, at one foot from the ground; 18 ft. 6 in. at three
feet; and 20 ft. 6 in. at six feet. The principal limb measured 12 ft. 6
in., and the circumference of its fine top is as much as 72 feet. And
four trees by the Roman Amphitheatre at Cirencester, average somewhere
about 12 feet round at six feet from the ground. Trees of this size,
from their light, silvery foliage, give great character to the
surrounding scenery.

These soft-wooded trees, with some poplar and other ornamental trees,
furnish a more or less light, soft, spongy wood, very inferior for
timber, but yet capable of being put to various uses in turnery,
internal work, &c., in which white wood is employed.

The _Coniferæ_ (Cone-bearers).—The Fir tribe may well form a subject
even for a separate volume, for not only are some of them employed as
timber trees, but many are grown for their curious and interesting
structure.

The _Pinetum_ has become to be a matter of amusement to many a country
gentleman throughout the country; and in these are collected such new
forms as may in time become useful to the planter, as well as such
minute species as may illustrate the natural history of a subject well
worthy of extended study.

Amongst our giants of this natural order may be placed the yew (which
has been made a separate order under the name of _Taxaceæ_) and the
cedar; the spruce-fir, Scotch-pine, and larch being the more useful
members as timber trees.

The Yew (_Taxus baccata_) is generally considered as an indigenous tree,
and as we can certainly point to individuals that must have weathered
nearly, if not quite a thousand years, we are not disposed to quarrel
with the conclusion. Its former use in the construction of the English
long-bow is now obsolete, and so too has almost died out the taste for
growing this tree to torture into grotesque shapes. Still, as a
picturesque tree in woodland and home scenery, and even as an attendant
upon the parish church, we should like to see the yew more extensively
grown. It is also a most useful tree for close hedges and blinds in the
garden, as it will bear being clipped within due bounds with a great
amount of patience.

The Cedar (_Cedrus Libani_), which was probably introduced to this
country towards the end of the seventeenth century, has yet made such
progress as to rival in size and importance many of our more stately
native timber trees of far greater age.

Amongst the more stately examples of this tree, we may mention those at
the Chelsea Botanical Garden. There are some fine groups in Oakley Park,
Cirencester, growing on almost a bare rock of the Great or Bath Oolite,
and in the bleak Cotteswold country, attaining the circumference of from
10 to 12 feet, at three feet from the ground. Long may the cedar be
cultivated for the size and beauty to which it can attain, in which,
perhaps, it may yet be excelled by the _Cedrus deodara_, not many years
since introduced from the Himalayas. We rejoice to see such noble
specimens of vegetation grown, independent of profit, which, indeed, is
scarcely needed by a princely possessor of a fine estate handed down,
perhaps, from generation to generation, in which each tree may have a
history of its own.

The Spruce-Fir (_Abies excelsa_) is an elegant tree in composition, and
grows well on the thinnest and poorest soils. Its upright, tapering
mode of growth renders it a good nurse, with beech, larch, and other
_Coniferæ_. It may be planted thickly; the first thinning being used for
hop-poles, the next for spars, masts, &c.; and ultimately a few may be
left to attain size and height as shelter and for effect.

The Scotch Pine (_Pinus sylvestris_) is a native of North Britain, where
its fine trees in large forests or in great clumps, form a peculiar and
at times magnificent appearance. It is much used in planting in this
country, principally as a nurse; but its young sticks are not so durable
as those of the spruce, and much inferior to the larch. Its larger wood
forms the red deal—a timber so much used in all kinds of carpentry as to
give this tree a high value among timber trees.

The Larch (_Larix Europæa_) is a deciduous tree of the order, and though
it has not been introduced into general use for very many years, yet its
value is daily becoming more fully developed; and as a tree for general
plantation, either as a nurse or in belts, it has few, if any, equals.
As a curious tree, it appears to have been grown early in the eighteenth
century, and some fine trees are noticed by Selby at Dalwick in
Peeblesshire, and at Monzie in Argyleshire. The largest larch which we
have noticed was one which was felled in Oakley Park.

It had previously been injured by being struck with lightning, by which
large pieces of the bark had been torn away. We examined it at Lord
Bathurst’s desire, when it was found to be bored into from the base of
the trunk to as high as we could see, by that curious insect the _Sirex
gigas_, whose hornet-like appearance causes so much consternation in the
pine forests in Germany, from which it is often introduced into the
dwellings of the peasant with fir logs. It is quite as large as the
hornet, and much of the same bright colours, but its apparent sting of
more than half an inch in length is only an ovipositor, so that that
formidable-looking creature is perfectly harmless after all. This tree
was nearly twelve feet in circumference, at three feet from the ground,
in which condition its lower drooping branches give the larch a fine
picturesque appearance.

Larches, and, indeed, the whole of the _Coniferæ_, are best procured for
planting from the nursery, and much time will ultimately be saved by
planting them as soon after removal as possible, and that by the pit
method; and so done, larch, unlike most other young trees, shoots away
at once, and soon allows of thinning to profit.

We now bring this subject to an end, for the want of space; but we
cannot part with friends we love so much without a benediction; in the
words of Cowley then we say,—

    Hail, old patrician trees!


DESCRIPTION OF THE PLATES.

     Plate I. QUERCUS ROBUR PEDUNCULATA, nat. size, from Oakley Park,
     Cirencester.

     Fig. _a._ _Petiole_, or leaf-stalk.

     Fig. _b._ _Peduncle_, or fruit-stalk.

     Plate II. QUERCUS ROBUR SESSILIFLORA, from Wyre Forest, near
     Kidderminster.

     Fig. _a._ _Petiole_.

     Fig. _b._ _Peduncle_.


     NOTE.—The leaf of _Quercus Robur sessiliflora_ has a greater number
     of divisions than that of _Q. Robur pedunculata_. These lobes are
     somewhat more acute at the apex. This and its longer petiole, and
     general brighter colour of the whole leaf, gives the former tree,
     when in foliage, a lighter aspect than the latter.



HOW TO GROW GOOD ORCHARDS



CHAPTER XLVII.

ON THE APPLE AND PEAR AS ORCHARD FRUITS.


In discussing the subject of fruit in relation to the farm, we shall
find that the number of species is exceedingly limited, being, indeed,
confined to two: the apple and the pear. This paucity of species,
however, is amply compensated for in an extended and constantly
extending list of _sorts_, or varieties, which, in both species, amount
to several hundreds.

The apple, which we shall first describe, is admitted on all hands to be
derived from the wild crab-apple (_Pyrus malus_), which is considered to
be a native tree, to which position its general appearance in woods and
hedges all over the island would seem to give it no small claim.

The fruit of the crab is exceedingly austere, and hence sour-tempered
people are said to be “crabbed.” The expressed juice makes a strong
vinegar, called “Verjuice”—in the vulgar, “Varjes”—and hence Akerman, in
his “Wiltshire Tales,” has given a cross-grained woman the name of
“Mistress Varjes.” Verjuice is a very popular remedy for sprains and
bruises, and hence on most farms having trees of crab-apples, the fruit
is made into vinegar, and kept separately for medicinal or domestic use.

The wild crab is very various in the size, colour, and flavour of its
fruit, varying in the latter point from an austerity that, on biting an
apple, would make one wince again, to that of an agreeable acid flavour,
almost equal to some of our domestic apples.

Taking into consideration this disposition to run into varieties, even
in a wild state, we shall not be surprised that, in cultivation, the
sorts of apples should be endless, so much so, indeed, that Don, in his
“General System of Gardening and Botany,” has copied a list[30] in which
are described no less than one thousand four hundred sorts, and in a
nurseryman’s list now before us, “Descriptive Catalogue of Fruit Trees,
by John Scott, of Merriott Nurseries, Crewkerne, Somerset,” are
described as many as one hundred and sixty-six sorts, which he is
prepared to supply to purchasers.

[30] This list was made out by the Horticultural Society in 1832, and
may now be considerably augmented.

As an evidence of the facility with which new sorts can be obtained,
there is scarcely a country town or place in orchard districts but has
given its name to some apple. Thus we have Canadian Pippin, Newtown
Pippin, Carlisle and Keswick Codlin, Hawthenden, &c.; and the names of
fruit-growers and others attached to apples is almost endless; as thus:
Ashmead’s Kernel, Nelson’s Codlin, Lucombe’s Seedling, Lord Nelson, Lord
Raglan, &c., &c.

The subject of “sorts,” as applied to fruit, is one of great interest,
as the facility with which these can be obtained renders it possible to
procure fruit possessing very different properties and capabilities,
adapted, not only to a great variety of uses, but with powers of
adaptation to different soils, and a wide range of climatic differences.

These powers of adaptation have, indeed, resulted in the preservation of
many sorts, but it also causes the neglect of some others; for as
fashion takes up with new favourites old ones are neglected until they
die out, and, if not become entirely lost, their stocks are lessened, so
that the chance of a good choice for their continuance becomes more
difficult year by year. We believe this to have more to do with the
decline of old favourites than any inherent principle of decay with
which grafts are said to be endowed.

The many sorts of apples differing so much in flavour and keeping
powers, enable this fruit to be employed for a variety of purposes, such
as—

     _Culinary Apples_, used for tarts, puddings, &c., &c.;

     _Dessert Apples_, usually of a sweet sub-acid flavour and crisp
     texture, eaten raw;

     _Cider Apples_, the expressed juice of which forms English Cider
     (_Cidre_, French).

The same distinctions apply to pears, with the difference that their
juice is termed Perry.

Now, with regard to the two first, we need here only mention them
incidentally, as their description belongs more properly to the
horticulturist, or pomologist, than to the farmer; at the same time it
must be confessed that both culinary and dessert apples may be made a
source of profit by the farmer, as they would always find ready
purchasers; but the difficulty a farmer meets with in their cultivation
results from the circumstance that it is not easy to exert that
watchfulness over broad acres necessary to protect sweet apples from the
predatory urchins with which every country parish abounds, a propensity,
indeed, not sufficiently checked by the elders, whose plea that “it is
only a few apples, and that children will be children,” affords just
that amount of encouragement which too often ends in more serious acts
of larceny.

As regards cider fruit, we would here dissent from the common belief
that sour apples are the best for cider-making. We believe that the
sweeter the apple, and the higher the specific gravity of the juice, the
better the cider. Many, then, of our culinary and dessert apples would
make most excellent drink; at the same time there are many sorts that
will not “cook,” whose flesh cannot be got to become soft and pulpy, but
rather hard and tough by the processes either of boiling or baking. Many
sorts whose flavour is not sufficiently agreeable to be eaten raw, and
yet these may yield on expression a sweet juice, resulting in a strong
and agreeable cider.

Now, although there can be little doubt but that the quality of cider is
much influenced by the sort of fruit from which it is made, we are
inclined to the belief that the nature of the soil has, if possible, a
still more decided influence upon the result. We therefore now direct
attention to some of the best cider districts in England, which may be
classed as follows:—

     Devonshire, Cider of the sweetest and richest kind;

     Somersetshire, Cider rich and not so sweet;

     Dorsetshire, Cider somewhat poor;

     Herefordshire, Cider and Perry, very strong, but somewhat harsh;

     Worcestershire, Perry and Cider, rich and not too harsh;

     Gloucestershire, Cider and Perry, strong but not sweet.

The prevailing geological formations of these cider-producing counties
may be arranged as follows:—

     1. Oolite Sands—Dorset, and parts of Somerset.

     2. Lias—Gloucester, Somerset, and Dorset.

     3. New Red Sandstone—Worcester, Devon and Hereford, in part.

     4. Old Red Sandstone—Hereford and Devon.

     5. Silurian System—Hereford, in part.

Hence, then, cider and perry are grown on the sub-soils of five
geological substrata, if, indeed, No. 1 should not here be classed with
No. 2, for the extent of orcharding upon the inferior oolite sands of
Somerset and Dorset is rather due to its extension from the contiguous
lias, and this on account of an occasional depth and tenacity of soil.
Its produce, however, is usually inferior.

In Gloucestershire orchards always stop when the top of the lias is
reached, and it is curious to see the sides of the Cotteswolds occupied
with well-to-do orchards until the oolite is reached, and then they
cease altogether, except in some few instances, which are here referred
to by way of warning.

Gloucestershire, for our present purpose, may be said to rest on liassic
valleys and oolitic hills. In the valleys are small farms with small
enclosures, much of which is in orchard and meadow, whilst on the hills
are large farms with fields of from 30 to 100 acres devoted to arable
cultivation. Hence, then, this has brought about two sets of farms: the
vale, with its fruits and dairy stock, producing good cider, perry,
butter, and cheese; the hills, mutton, wool, roots, barley, &c. Now, it
happens as a rule that the hill farmer stands higher in his profession
than he of the vale, for on the hills he can say—

    “Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room.”

The skill and enterprise in breeding the magnificent Cotteswold sheep,
for which there is each year such a spirited competition, attest to this
fact.

No sooner, then, does a vale farmer become possessed of sufficient
capital than he moves to the hills, and as in his former residence he
had imbibed a love for cider, his first act will be to plant an orchard
at his new home; but, alas! the most successful farmer cannot command
crops in an uncongenial soil, and so it is not surprising that we should
know of instances where not even enough fruit for an annual apple
pudding has been produced from a Cotteswold orchard which had been
planted thirty years.

Apples only attain to perfection on deep tenacious soils, and in a
genial climate; the moment the roots get down to stones, the ends of the
branches begin to decay, and they become covered over with lichens as
thickly as in wet ill-drained clays; besides this the trees look old and
knotty, even in youth, a sure sign that they are not sufficiently
nourished. These facts are so well known that in planting in our gardens
we prepare the soil, if not sufficiently deep and good, and make the
climate more genial by fencing and planting in sheltered situations; but
this is not possible on a large scale.

Pears prefer a lighter soil than apples, the new red sandstone deposit,
especially, the marls of this rock and the lias clays, when covered up,
as in parts of the valley of the Severn, with sand drifts, suit pears
admirably.

Like the apple, the pear is rich in sorts. It is said to be derived from
the _Pyrus communis_, which is referred to as a native tree; but though
it is really wild in the temperate regions of the European continent,
and in parts of Asia, there seems reason to conclude that our occasional
hedge-row denizen has, after all, been derived from pear cultivation.

Pears for dessert are very numerous, and each year adds to the list.
Scott, of Crewkerne and Yeovil Nurseries, gives a list of two hundred
and thirty sorts cultivated by himself, as Standards, Pyramids, and
Dwarf-trained for walls and espaliers. This list abounds in French names
given by both French and Dutch horticulturists, with whom the pear is a
great favourite.

Lindley, in his “Guide to the Orchard and Kitchen Garden,” describes but
six sorts of perry pears, of which there are doubtless several
varieties. They are as follows:—

     ORIGIN OF NAMES.

     _Barland_, from Barland, in the parish of Bosbury, Herefordshire.

     _Holmore_, from the parish of Holmore, between Hereford and
     Leominster.

     _Huffcap_.

     _Longland_, from the field in which the tree grew.

     _Oldfield_, from Oldfield, near Ledbury.

     _Teinton Squash_, from Teinton, in Gloucestershire.

Besides these are Blakeney Red Trump Pear, Honey Pear, Moorcroft,
Malvern Hill, &c. Pears, like apples, being named from places and
people, &c., each district having its own favourite sorts; but perhaps
those in the previous list are the favourite.

This subject of variety in both apple and pear is interesting, as it has
given rise to innumerable names upon this head. My old pupil, Mr.
Clement Cadle, says:—

     It is almost impossible to give satisfactory information on the
     sorts of fruit, because the same sort is not only known by
     different names in different localities, but it also assumes a
     widely different character under the influence of broad
     distinctions of soil and climate, and this is more frequently the
     case with pears than apples. In a tour I made last autumn in the
     south of Devonshire, I visited several farms in the neighbourhood
     of Totnes and Paignton, and amongst a great number of sorts that I
     there saw, I could in no instance recognize either an apple or tree
     as being like those I had seen before in Herefordshire,
     Gloucestershire, or Worcestershire.

     In selecting for producing cider or perry it is very important, not
     only to get those kinds which suit the district, but to get a
     variety in their character, especially for making good cider. Thus,
     some of the apples should be sour, others sweet, bitter-sweet,
     tart, and harsh, as much of the keeping character of the cider
     depends upon this mixture, which also makes it fine down well. It
     may be remarked that sweet or eating sorts of pears seldom make
     perry that will keep any length of time, or that fines well.

     There is another peculiar feature in regard to sorts of fruit,
     namely, that each variety has its day, then gradually dies out. The
     trees become non-bearers, and their places are filled with new
     sorts. This is especially the case with the Hagloe crab, Fox whelp,
     and Skryme’s kernel, which seldom bear or grow well now, and are
     nearly gone.

     _R. A. S. Journal S.S._, vol. I. pp. 18, 19.

As regards pears, it should be stated that, while in Worcester,
Gloucester, and Hereford much perry is made, and it is highly esteemed,
especially for bottling, in Dorset this drink is almost unknown, and we
were last year greatly surprised that a farmer who had an immense crop
of pears of a sort that were not fit for dessert or culinary purposes,
could not divine what to do with them, though he made excellent cider.

We conclude this portion of our subject with a quotation from the
Botanical Looker-out, by our old friend and fellow worker, E. Lees,
Esq.:—

     A pear orchard in exuberant flower is a vegetable spectacle not
     easily matched, for the bending branches of the pear tree give a
     gracefulness to its outline far exceeding the stiff formality of
     the apple tree, and oppressed with a multitudinous crowd of
     blossoms its branches almost trail the ground, a bending load of
     beauty that seems by moonlight a mass of silvery ingots. The
     Barland Orchard, between Worcester and Malvern, containing more
     than seventy trees, lofty as oaks, cannot be seen by a traveller
     without admiration, and is the finest in the kingdom, though the
     trees are now getting old.



CHAPTER XLVIII.

ON THE PRODUCTION AND CHOICE OF FRUIT TREES.


Although new sorts of fruits are easily obtainable from seeds, yet this
method of production is much too slow for general purposes, and when
kernel trees—that is those raised from seed—are in the slow progress of
such events brought to produce fruit, it is ten to one if it be of any
value; so that even seedling trees, when they have attained sufficient
size, are best used for stocks upon which to graft any desired sort.

In reproducing a constant supply of well-known sorts of fruit, three
plans are usually practised, namely, _Budding_, _Grafting_, and
_Cutting_.

_Budding_ is usually employed in the case of smaller fruit or flower
trees, and but seldom with apples and pears; this well-known process,
however, is frequently had recourse to in the nursery; it is performed
for fruit trees in the same way as for roses, and therefore needs no
description in this place, as we can scarcely conceive the farmer doing
much in this direction, except as a matter of amusement and experiment.

_Grafting_ is a common process on most farms with orcharding; a sort of
fruit may be wished to be changed or a promising tree may be broken, and
in either case the farmer should know enough of the process of grafting
to be able to do it himself or else to properly direct others.

[Illustration:

1. The Graft.

2. The Stock.]

In grafting, the first thing to be done is to secure good shoots from a
healthy tree of the sort you wish to grow—these are called the “grafts.”
The stem to receive the graft is called the stock. Now a stock may be
single, in which case one graft will be sufficient, as in the
accompanying diagram, or if an old tree has to be grafted, a graft may
be inserted on as many branches as may seem desirable. Our diagram
represents the common practice of side grafting, but different plans are
adopted according to the difference in size of the stock on the one
hand, and the graft on the other, the principle to be aimed at in the
process being to get _as complete an apposition of as much of the wood
and bark of the graft, with that of the stock, as is possible by careful
cutting and fitting_, and the tact and delicacy in manipulating this
matter make that successful result which marks the good grafter. In this
as in other matters, practice and experience ensure success; and hence
it is usually found expedient to employ a person who makes it his
profession, and such are always to be obtained in cider countries.

When the grafts have been fitted, they must be kept in place by some
plastic material, and that most commonly used is a compost of cow-dung
and clay, well kneaded together, or merely chopped hay and clay; this is
pressed round the united parts in the form of a ball, and in cases
where every care is taken the graft may be further protected by a wicker
basket, as in the diagram.

[Illustration: Graft protected by a Wicker basket.]

_Cutting._—The ease with which apple trees can be multiplied by cuttings
was forcibly impressed upon our attention at a very early age. When a
boy, having seen a most promising branch cut from a favourite apple tree
in the process of pruning, the thought struck us that we might get a
tree of our own, and so, seizing the branch in question, we planted it
in another part of the garden, only—sad to relate—to have it pulled up
the first time the gardener passed that way. With a boy’s perseverance
or obstinacy—which the reader pleases—again and again did we replant
this same branch with a like result, until finding a quiet corner, we
once more planted our cutting, and this time, no evil chance overtaking
it, it took root; and in two years from that time we enjoyed the taste
of apples from what, we hope not undeservedly, was allowed to be
considered our own tree. This was a matter for frequent reflection in
after-life, for, besides viewing the result as a reward for
perseverance, it is just possible that our first disappointment may have
tended after all to our success, for doubtless the unexposed sheltered
corner was just the place for ensuring this in rooting cuttings. Here,
however, the cutting was a large branch, but for general purposes we
should recommend cuttings to be made of small unbranched shoots; these
may be planted in rows in a somewhat shaded situation, and when they
have become rooted and fit for independent trees, they may be removed to
their permanent places, and so be either pruned for tall orchard trees,
or, as they are well adapted to the purpose, be trained for dwarf
orchards.

_Pruning_, in the cultivation and due keeping of an orchard, is one of
the most important operations connected with the subject. Its objects
are:—

1st. To circumscribe the growth in any given direction, to train the
tree on the one hand, and to let in light and air by thinning on the
other.

2nd. By pruning fruit trees we operate so as to check undue growth of
wood and leaf, and thus, by what the botanist calls the “arrestation of
development,” cause flower and fruit to be formed instead of leaves. In
the western counties, if a tree or plant of any kind grows leaves too
freely, it is said to be too “frum,” probably derived from the Saxon
_from_, strong, stout.

Pruning, then, hastens the fruiting season in fruit trees, but at the
same time it brings on premature age, and hence the operation should be
performed with judgment, or else premature decay will be the
consequence. In pruning of large trees care should be taken to cut out,
as smoothly as possible, all awkward or crossing branches, so as to
expose the whole of the fruiting limbs to light, warmth, and air. This
again is an operation requiring an experienced hand, and when such an
one is known, it is far better to employ him than to trust the matter
to those who know little or nothing of the subject.

Much has been said and written upon the subject of rearing fruit trees,
and when matter of this kind is addressed to the nurseryman, it is to be
welcomed if based upon sound botanical principles, but we cannot
recommend the farmer to grow his own fruit trees, as he rarely pays
sufficient attention to their youthful training, and we therefore
recommend the purchase of fruit trees from the best growers, to get the
best sorts, and to get well-grown and healthy examples. These should be
carefully lifted and planted as soon as possible after leaving the
nursery, always avoiding trees that have hawked the market week after
week, even if procurable for nothing.

Some people insist upon the propriety of planting poor trees grown in
poor soil, but our experience has shown that nothing could be a greater
mistake. It is true that these often fruit soon; but getting crops of
fruit from trees only a quarter grown, though sometimes welcome to a
tenant with no sure holding, is a matter which should always be looked
to by the landlord, who, indeed, should pay greater attention to his
orchards than is usually the case, if his desire be to hand them down to
his successors in anything like a good bearing condition. That fruit
trees must in time get old is quite true; at the same time it may be
stated as an important fact, that poor stunted trees on the one hand, or
those too prodigal of their youth on the other, will too surely result
in decrepitude ere half the span of a healthy tree be attained.

Feeling so strongly as we do the importance of healthy young trees from
a good soil and climate to plant even in an unfavourable district,
instead of, as is generally sought after, trees from a poor soil, we are
glad to have our opinion fortified by a successful practical grower of
fruit trees, whose samples of young stock in apple trees, as we have
seen them exhibited in Yeovil market, are patterns of healthiness in
bark and models of form. The cultivator to whom we refer is Mr. J.
Scott, whose name and place we have before mentioned. He says, in his
Descriptive Catalogue of Fruit Trees:—

     There remains _one thing_ the writer would especially guard
     intending planters against; that is, be careful _never to purchase_
     trees off a poor soil. I know this is heterodox; but many years’
     experience has taught me the fallacy of the popular dogma, _i.e._,
     “Get your trees off poor soils, as they will be hardier, and endure
     the storms better.” I could show examples, in numbers, in my
     nursery, where the trees came from one of the so-called poor soils,
     that never will be anything like healthy trees. They were
     hide-bound and checked in their natures when I received them, and I
     believe will ever remain so, less or more. A genial, moderately
     rich, and naturally good soil is the soil I would choose my trees
     from.

Experience and observation, both in the garden and the orchard, fully
confirm us in this view of the case, and we would therefore only add to
the direction, “Get your trees from moderately rich soil,” that of,
“Plant them in a soil of the like kind;” for if trees be brought from a
poor soil, not fit for them, to a poorer, they will certainly not
succeed, and indeed the choice of poor land for orchard growth will be
seen to end in disappointment.

In planting apples we should choose a mixture of several of the best
sorts, and it is recommended that some should be sour; but we prefer to
have those that produce a juice of high specific gravity, though with
all cider and perry fruit there will be great diversities in this
respect, depending upon soil, climate, and season.

The following list of apples contains such as are met with principally
in the counties of Worcester, Hereford, and Gloucester; all may be used
for cider, but some are more especially adapted for house purposes:—

I.—LIST OF APPLES.

  Those marked with (A) are good for hoarding, and those with † are good
  for boiling.

   Skyrme’s Kernel—Tart; good for cider.
   Royal Wilding—Bitter sweet; good for cider.
   Black Foxwhelp—Moderately tart; good for cider.
  †Red Foxwhelp (A)—Moderately tart; good for cider.
   Cowan Red—Sweet; good for cider.
  †Dymock Red (A)—Very sweet; good for cider.
   White Norman—Bitter sweet; good for cider.
   Red Norman—Bitter sweet; good for cider.
   Hagloe Crab—Tart; good for cider.
   Pawson—Tart; good for cider.
  †Redstreak—Sweet; good for cider.
   Yellow Styre—Sweet; good for cider.
  †Hooper’s Kernel (A)—Moderately sweet; good for cider.
  †Hill Barn Kernel (A)—Sweet; good for cider.
  †Ribston Pippin (A)—Sweet; good for table and keeping.
   Golden Harvey (A)—Sweet; good for table and for cider.
   Siberian Harvey—Sweet; good for cider.
   Farewell Blossom—Tart and bitter; large bearer.
   Upright French—Bitter sweet; large bearer.
   Black or Red French—Bitter sweet.
   Knotted Kernel—Tart.
   Leather Apple—Hardly any taste.
   Ironsides (A)—Hardly any taste; good for keeping.
  †Cats’-heads (A)—Sweet; good for cider.
   Pigs’-eyes—Sweet.
   Downton Pippin (A)—Sweet; table and eating.
  †Codlings (A)—Sweet; good as boilers and for cider.
  †May Blooms (A)—Sweet; good for cider, boiling, and keeping.
   Rough Coat (A)—Dry and sweet; good keepers.
   Brandy Apple (A)—Very sweet; makes strong cider.
  †Cowarne Quinin (A) Sweet; good for cider.
  †Blenheim Orange (A)—Very sweet; good for table.
  †Golden Pippin (A)—Very sweet; good for table.
   Old Pearmain (A)—Very sweet; good for table.
   Brown Crests—Very sweet.
   Under Leaves—Sweet; large bearer.
   Red Kernel—Sweet; good for cider.
  †Reynolds’s Kernel (A)—Sweet; large pot-fruit.
   Newland Kernel—Bitter sweet; good for cider.
   Jackson’s Kernel—Tart.
  †Sam’s Crab—Tart.
  †Bridgewater Pippin (A)—Sweet.
  †Spice Apple (A)—Sweet.
   White Beach—Bitter sweet; good for cider.
   Handsome Mandy—Bitter sweet; good for cider.
   Golden Rennet (A)—Sweet.
   Pine Apple—Moderately tart; wood cankers.
   Stoke Pippin (A)—Sweet; good bearers; pot-fruit and for cider; and
   numerous others.

  _From Prize Essay on Orchards, by Clement Cadle, from the Journal of
  the Royal Society._

The next list is taken from Scott’s Descriptive Catalogue, by way of
contrast and comparison with the above, as it is more particularly
adapted to Devon, Somerset, and Dorset.

LIST II. CIDER APPLES.

  The following is a list of some of the best Cider fruit, cultivated in
  the best Cider counties throughout England.

  167. Best Bache, spec. grav. 1073. A Herefordshire fruit of great
       excellence.
  168. Bringewood, a good cider fruit.
  169. Bovey Redstreak.
  170. Cadbury, supposed to be the same as Royal Somerset.
  171. Coccagee, a splendid cider fruit of first-rate excellence.
  172. Cowrane, red, spec. grav. 1069; an excellent sort.
  173. Devonshire Redstreak.
   37. Devonshire Quarrenden, a valuable hardy fruit; well known.
   35. Downton Pippin, a most prolific and valuable cider fruit.
  174. Forest Styre, spec. grav. 1076 to 1081, esteemed fruit.
  175. Foxley, spec. grav. 1080, hardy and a great bearer, excellent
       cider fruit.
  176. Fox Whelp, spec. grav. 1076 to 1080, a celebrated cider fruit of
       the richest kind.
   54. Golden Harvey, spec. grav. 1085, a first-rate cider fruit. No
       orchard should be without this.
  177. Haglo Crab, spec. grav. 1081.
  178. Jersey, early, very fine cider fruit.
  179. Jersey, late, a great bearer, and excellent; one of the best.
   77. Isle of Wight Pippin, spec. gray. 1074, a fine cider fruit of
       great excellence.
  180. Kingston Black, first-rate cider fruit of first-rate excellence.
   97. Minchal Crab, a very fine fruit.
  181. Red Must, very large, yielding a fine cider from heavy soils.
  182. Red Streak, spec. grav. 1079, one of the best cider apples.
  183. Siberian Bitter Sweet, spec. grav. 1091.
  184. Sops in Wine.
  185. Tom Potter or Tom Put, a fine fruit.

  Besides the above, many other choice sorts make splendid Cider.

Pears for perry differ in one respect from apples, in that, though the
best and purest perry is made from only one sort of fruit, and that
generally from fruit utterly unfit for any other purpose. Pears, as has
been stated, delight in a lighter soil than that which is suitable for
apples, and the trees have the advantage of growing so tall that even
cereal cultivation is possible under them. It is, therefore, curious to
note how scarcely any perry pears are grown in the west of England,
unless we view Gloucester as a western county. Though Somerset and
Dorset are particularly adapted for the pear, there are many places
where its culture is never attempted; we would mention the district of
sandy loam around Sherborne, Dorset, as one well adapted for the growth
of perry, but where it is nevertheless almost unknown.

It may be noted that although good cider—even the best—can be made from
dessert and culinary fruit, yet dessert pears are not well adapted for
perry, as their produce is usually watery, and does not fine well.



CHAPTER XLIX.

ON FRUIT-GATHERING, ETC.


In making cider and perry there are several important matters to be
taken into consideration, as upon the due observance of these success
will mainly depend. These are—

The selection, gathering, and storing of the fruit.

The grinding of the fruit, and storage of the drink.

The after-management, keeping, fining, &c. &c.

Orchard fruit is economized chiefly in the three following methods:—

     1. Cooking Apples—used for culinary purposes.

     2. Dessert Apples—some of the fine-flavoured varieties.

     3. Cider Fruit—which includes all the others.

1. Cooking apples may be hand-picked as they become ripe, and those that
will not keep long, as the various codlins, may be disposed of in the
lump to the fruiterer, or sent to market in smaller quantities. The good
keeping apples may be sold in the lot when ripe, or kept in store to be
retailed at market.

Both these sets of apples require to be gathered with some care; in
short, to be what are called “hand-picked,” as, when bruised, they not
only are injured for present use, but their keeping qualities are
greatly affected.

For store apples the fruit should be gathered before being what is
called “dead ripe,” that is, when they are quite crisp and juicy; one of
the best indications of fitness being a bright light-brown kernel as
opposed to a dull dark-brown.

The fruit should be kept in a dry room, from which frost is entirely
excluded, and where air can freely ventilate whenever required. The best
plan is to fit up such a room with shelves made up of laths three inches
wide, and placed an inch and a half or two inches apart.

[Illustration: PLAN OF SHELF FOR KEEPING FRUIT.]

In this way _a_ represents the laths, of which there may be many or few
to each shelf according to the breadth required; _b_, the interspaces.
Here, then, the fruit is placed in lines over the interspaces, the
object being thus to secure a free passage for the air all around the
fruit; if placed in a single layer, faulty ones can be seen at a glance,
and these should be removed as soon as detected.

If this plan be found too onerous, and fruit must be put together in
larger quantity, we would advise that they be so placed as that air can
get to them from below. Keeping fruit in heaps in corners, or even
spreading them between layers of straw, tends to their destruction
rather than preservation. If, then, it be borne in mind that the end to
aim at, in order to keep fruit, is that of exposing sound examples to
the free access of the air, it will be seen that the nearer we can
secure this the better will be our result.

We say _sound_ fruit, for it is useless to put spotted and worm-eaten
apples or pears in the keeping-room. These had better be put by and used
as soon as possible for whatever purpose they may be fit, for whenever
the air can get into the interior of fruit by reason of abrasions,
borings, &c., decay soon sets in; and now, while we are writing, we have
a quantity of apples with the plague-spot of rottenness proceeding from
their being “worm-eaten.”

2. In storing dessert apples these directions are even more important.
If, then, the farm should produce one or several sorts in quantity, if
they are to be disposed of, we would advise their sale to the fruiterer
with the onus of gathering and managing them. Small farmers sometimes
make no bad addition to their income by thus disposing of fine fruits,
and we always advise that such should be planted to a greater extent
than is usually done about farm homesteads. It is not a heavy matter for
the landlord to find a few sorts of choice fruit-trees for his smaller
or even larger holdings, and, by thus adding to the comfort or even
luxuries of his tenants, he will be benefiting not only himself but the
country at large. We believe it to be a duty incumbent upon the landed
proprietor thus to foster a love of fruits, and we honour the names of
Knight, of Downton, and Williams, of Pitmaston, in that they loved to
propagate new fruits, and to encourage their dissemination. It is said
by Mr. Benjamin Maund, the author of “The Fruitist”:—

     A propagator of apple and pear trees from seeds may be supposed to
     possess not only patience, but a desire to benefit posterity.
     Twelve or fourteen years cast a long shadow before them; and when,
     after waiting this length of time, the uncertain value of the
     substance is considered, it must be confessed that men deserve more
     than praise, who originate new fruits. Apple trees rarely show the
     real quality of their fruit in less than fourteen years. All,
     however, who have the convenience of doing so, should raise
     seedling trees; for it is to these only that we can look with any
     degree of confidence for permanently furnishing our orchards, and
     not to old or cankering varieties.

It is true that it is not within the province of all, even of the
permanent owners of the soil, thus to add to the number of Pomona’s
gifts, but all can inquire for and purchase esteemed sorts; and no
tenant that is worth having will grudge them care and attention, be his
tenure ever so precarious.

We would assign to the lords of the soil the duty of improving
fruit-trees, while the gentleman who resides in the country, it may be
for only a short season, should make the best use of it to encourage a
love for the garden, and to increase its various attractions to charm
the eye, and to increase and vary the vegetable food of the people.

3. Fruit for cider-making will consist of “wind-falls,” that is, such as
has fallen prematurely ripe, or been shaken off by the wind; and
gathered fruit. As regards wind-falls, it is only necessary to state
that, although these can only be employed for an inferior kind of drink,
yet even this may be improved by care, as thus:—Instead of picking up
the apples while they are still wet with dew, they should be gathered in
as dry a state as possible, and then not, as is too often the case,
huddled together in a heap in the orchard, exposed to alternations of
frost, and wet, and dry.

Such fruit will often require to be kept for some time waiting temperate
weather, which is best for cider-making. It should be kept then under
cover, and in such a manner that the air can get beneath it; and for
this purpose we have found a few wattled hurdles well adapted for
keeping fruit on that is waiting to be ground.

In gathering cider-fruit we should consider it ripe at that period when
a not rude shake of a limb would cause most of it to fall pretty well at
one and the same time. We dislike beating off fruit with sticks, as it
damages the bearing shoots. In fine, in gathering fruit all undue
violence should be carefully avoided, as it is unwise to use that amount
of hurry, which will only secure a large present crop, unless it can be
done in such a manner as not to injure our hopes of the future. It is a
curious circumstance that in the garden there is usually something like
a crop, even in a bad season; but in the orchard we seldom meet with
anything like a crop the year following what is called a “hit of fruit,”
and only the finer sorts of apples which are hand-gathered with care are
often found to be most constant bearers, while the rougher cider-fruits
seldom afford a good crop oftener than once in from three to five years.
Surely, then, much of this must be the result of the rougher treatment
to which cider-fruit is so carelessly subjected.

When the fruit is collected, it should be put in a dry airy place, to
await the process of grinding. For this we adopt the plan of spreading
it in sheds or outhouses on wattled hurdles. This keeps it from the
rain, by which it becomes sodden when in exposed heaps: then the wind
will only partially dry it, and the result will be a general heating of
the mass, which results, if not in quick decay amounting to absolute
rottenness, yet in that state, technically called “moisey,”[31] or dead,
in which the juices are nearly dried up and the fruit flavourless.

[31] Apple moise, or apple moce, was an old dish made of pressed apples.
In cider counties apples are called moisey when they are juiceless, dry,
and without flavour—dead. (See Archaic Dictionaries.)

We have seen heaps of apples, consisting of many waggon-loads, in the
orchard at Christmas, when wet and frost had so preyed upon them that
none of their proper juices remained. This is certain to make a cider
which will be of inferior quality; and though some of our friends boast
of the good quality of their cider which has been made in the roughest
manner, yet one cannot help thinking how much better it might have been
with the fruit carefully collected, and kept until it could be ground.
Still, with all our care in this matter, disappointment is sometimes the
result; for it is with cider as with wine, the season will have a great
deal to do with it, though with both, the manner of making and storing
will be all-important matters, to which we shall advert in the next
chapter.

We much object to the gathering of fruit for any purpose in the wet.
Were it not for the expense, it would be better to take advantage of dry
weather, and to collect even cider-fruit by hand-picking before it has
become dead ripe, and so let the ripening process be completed in some
dry storing-place. In our own experience of cider-making, the two or
three casks made for home consumption from carefully picked and
well-kept fruit are usually of the best quality, and so made we believe
cider to be a most agreeable and very wholesome beverage,—to paraphrase
Isaac Walton, only fit for farmers or very honest men. As long, however,
as rough people are about who never know when they have had enough, the
rougher cider made by a ruder process is quite good enough.

It must be obvious to all that if a man can drink as much as four
gallons of good cider in a day’s mowing, he would be better off with a
less quantity of an inferior sort, supplemented with tea or coffee.



CHAPTER L.

ON CIDER-MAKING AND ITS MANAGEMENT.


In making cider or perry it is well not to begin unless the weather be
moderately cool, as in hot weather the changes in the fluid become too
rapid, and it consequently does not keep well.

The first process will be to grind the fruit into as perfect a state of
pulp as possible. This will be effected when the kernels are decidedly
crushed. Such a state of pulp usually ensures the best results, not only
from the fact that the whole juice of the fruit is not only set free,
but it is all exposed to the action of the air, by which both the colour
and quality are greatly improved; and, besides this, every good quality
is decidedly increased by having the principles and flavour of the
kernels mixed with the other juices.

The method by which this is best effected is by grinding in the usual
circular stone horse-mill. This is confessedly a slow process, but
notwithstanding the newer methods, to be presently described, we still
prefer it to all others, and that from the great completeness with which
the grinding is effected.

Of late years cider-mills have been brought out which essentially
consist of a combination of gribbling teeth, by which the fruit is first
torn to pieces, and two cylindrical rollers, between which it is
afterwards crushed with greater or less completeness.

In some cases the rollers are of iron, in others of hard stone: the
latter is preferable, as contact with iron, even where but slight,
causes the drink to assume a degree of blackness, especially on
exposure.

Portable mills of this kind are now very general, but we so fully agree
with the remarks of Mr. Cadle, that we here quote his description of
some portable cider-mills, with his comments upon their action.

     About twenty-six years ago, Mr. Coleman, of Chaxhill,
     Westbury-on-Severn, commenced making an improved cider-mill and
     press, which could act either as a fixture or a portable mill. It
     was found that the cider thus made fined better, and the process
     was also more expeditious. These advantages, together with the cost
     of keeping the old kind of mills in repair, which landlords were
     unwilling to undertake, led to their being superseded, as they wore
     out, by Coleman’s, or a similar mill.

     Coleman’s mill consists of two pairs of rollers fixed in a strong
     wooden frame; it is fed from a hopper, the apples passing through
     the first pair of rollers, which are made of hard wood, with iron
     teeth, so as to break the apples, which fall next between a pair of
     stone rollers set close enough to break the kernels, and from these
     the pulp drops into a trough placed beneath to receive it.

     Mr. Latchem, of Hereford, has also paid considerable attention to
     the construction of these mills, and has taken out a patent for
     doing away with the iron in the feed-rollers, and substituting
     steel teeth fitted into one roller, and working through other steel
     teeth on a fixed plate, partly on the same principle as a
     curd-mill. The fruit, after passing this “chewer,” is ground
     between a pair of stone rollers, as before described.

     Until the portable apple-mills became general, we had a mill to
     almost every farm, and even to many of the cottages; but in
     Devonshire one mill or pound-house serves for a number of makers,
     and sometimes for a parish, each person paying so much per hogshead
     for the making.

     Most of the travelling portable machines in Herefordshire have two
     presses with each mill, and are worked by two horses, making 1,000
     to 1,500 gallons in a day; sometimes they are worked by a small
     portable steam-engine. They are very expeditious, and do very well
     for a second-class cider, but if you would have the best, they are
     very objectionable, because the different sorts of fruit very
     rarely get ripe at once in sufficient quantities to enable you to
     make much at a time. Much cider is therefore spoiled, the fruit
     being ground when too green, by those who are impatient to finish
     the process. I think that each farm or holding should have a mill
     of its own, even if it be only a small hand-mill.

     There are several other rude plans of grinding, such as nut-mills,
     graters, scratchers, &c., but they are so objectionable that they
     hardly deserve notice.

     All metallic substances should be kept from contact with the pulp,
     as chemical combinations immediately take place on contact; for
     instance, if you take a clean knife and cut an apple through, the
     knife quickly becomes black, as well as the apple. For this reason
     I think the iron teeth and cast-iron in the rollers are
     objectionable; as also the steel ones, although perhaps not to the
     same extent. I should recommend that this iron be removed, and
     fluted rollers of larger diameter be made of some hard wood, such
     as yew-tree, or American iron-wood. No doubt more power would then
     be required to work the mills, but this would be of little
     consequence if the produce was first-class cider.

     When this new mode of grinding was first tried, there was great
     complaint amongst the labourers that the cider did not agree with
     them, and this was generally attributed to the iron; but in my
     opinion, the green state of the fruit when ground made the juice
     harsh, and caused irritation in the system.—_Journal R. A. S._,
     vol. XXV. page 1.

The next point for consideration is the pressing out of the juice. This
has been done with screw-presses of various kinds, either wood or iron,
with single or double screws.

Hydraulic presses are now coming into fashion, and one advantage which
they possess is, that of easily and expeditiously getting _all_ the
juice from the pulp.

In Dorsetshire the ground pulp or “pummy” is usually put upon a flat
stage between layers of straw, which are deftly turned up at the edges
so as to keep the “cheese” together. Upon the top of the cheese is
placed another flat board, which is acted upon by the press.

In Worcestershire and Hereford the pulp is pressed in hair cloths, which
plan is much more perfect than with straw.

In pressing it is well to observe that the pulp be ground on one day and
pressed the next, as not only colour but general richness in quality
results from exposure. The dark colour which an apple assumes on being
cut is due to this cause, not as supposed to the steel knife, for the
change mentioned is equally certain with a silver one. In the now almost
exploded plan of scooping apples, the pulp of even sour apples becomes
sweet by the process.

As the juice is exuded from the press it falls into a trough beneath,
which is divided into two parts by a grating with small holes, by which
the particles of pulp are separated, and from this the clearer fluid is
conveyed to the cask.

As regards straining, we have seen some of the finer sorts of perry made
by a more complete straining than the above; in fact, a rough kind of
filtering in flannel bags. This would take too long a time for general
purposes. It is, however, a good way of making drink for bottling.

The after-management of cider and perry is a subject upon which much has
been both said and written. We, however, join in the country opinion,
that “if it be made well the less it is messed with the better.”

We prefer putting cider in large casks in a cool cellar—say of from one
to two hundred gallons or more,—to each of which should be two
tap-holes, one in the middle and one towards the bottom; the first
tapping from the middle hole insures a clear fluid without disturbing
the lower part, which thus goes on “settling down.”

If cider from good fruit be made well, it will have an agreeable
sub-acid flavour, derived from the malic acid, which is the principle
which gives the refreshing juice of most fruits.

Fermentation is necessary to make good cider, as by it the sugar of the
fruit is converted into alcohol or spirit; and if, when this process is
complete, the fermentation ceases, we shall have a refreshing, exciting,
and generous fluid; if, however, it passes from vinous to acetous
fermentation, we get acetic acid, and the product is sour.

Cider made from good and well-ordered fruit in temperate weather, and
put in casks in a cool cellar, will be likely to ferment equably, and to
stop at the right time; if so, the product will be of the best; if,
however, these conditions have not been complied with, the cider will be
more or less harsh or “hard,” and no means will avail to improve it.
Sulphur may be burnt in the casks to check fermentation; but we would
after all prefer acetic to sulphurous acid. Chalk and lime will
decompose the acid, but to little purpose. The London method of adding
sugar or sugar-candy and water to sour cider—and to them all mature
cider is sour—is in itself innocent enough.

There is, then, this consolation: if the cider be harsh, farm labourers
will drink it; and as they will not, as a rule, drink half so much of
the inferior as of the best, they will after all be the gainers.



CHAPTER LI.

ON THE USES AND ECONOMY OF CIDER AND PERRY.


If we canvass the opinions of the mass of the people in cider-producing
and non-cider-producing counties as to the relative merits of cider and
beer, we shall find opinions wider apart than even the counties
themselves. The “Beer-drinking Briton” cannot at all understand how the
lover of cider can skin his throat with such sour stuff as cider, whilst
the agricultural labourer in cider districts infinitely prefers harsh
cider to the finest ale. We recollect, in one of our geological trips in
to Herefordshire, in company with an esteemed clerical friend, that a
quarryman, working in Wenlock limestone, tendered us a few shells, on
which we offered him sixpence, remarking, “Here’s a quart of beer for
your trouble.” This same man then gave our companion a couple of
trilobites, who presented him with a coin of like value to our own, but
with the remark, “Here, my friend, is a _gallon of cider_ for you.” The
effect upon the man’s whole being will never be forgotten. He was the
slave of the Church for the whole day, and ever thereafter for all we
can tell.

In cider districts the farmer, his family and friends, all relish cider,
and with all, its proper use seems to agree in a most remarkable manner;
but it would be fun to a country cousin who could cease to look at the
matter in a serious light to see what a face his London relative would
make at a draught of his “own peculiar;” and yet he of the town
professes to like sweet cider; but as his knowledge of sweet cider is
obtained from the summer drink of the London houses, called “Prime
Devonshire Cider,” the following recipe will explain it:—

  Take of Vinegar (or sweeter still, cider)  1 pint.
          Brown sugar (or treacle)           1 pound.
          Water                              7 quarts.

The following will be found in Cooley’s “Cyclopædia of Practical
Receipts:”—

     CIDER, MADE.—An article under this name is made in Devonshire for
     the supply of the London market, it having been found that the
     ordinary cider will not stand a voyage to the metropolis without
     some preparation. The finest quality of made cider is only ordinary
     cider racked into a clean cask, and well sulphured; but the mass of
     that which is sent to London is mixed with water, treacle, and
     alum, and then fined down, after which it is racked into
     well-matched casks (_i.e._, a burnt-sulphur match). The larger
     portion of the cider sold in London, professing to be Devonshire
     cider, would be rejected even by the farmers’ servants in that
     county.

No wonder, then, that cider is not a favourite beverage when it is only
used as a summer drink in some sophisticated form; but, when understood
and obtained at all good, we believe it to be wholesome and palatable,
and, indeed, we know it to be preferred before even the best ales in
cider districts.

There is a common error amongst town-folk who prefer the above mixture
that cider is not intoxicating, that it has no strength in it; but we
regret to say that it is not only intoxicating, but we believe more
exciting than beer: it is true that its effects pass off sooner.

Drunkenness with cider would seem to be so far different than in the
case of beer, in that while the latter makes its victim heavy and
stupid, the former incites to motion, and leads to quarrelling,
fighting, and foolhardiness.

Hence, then, cider so exhilarates the farm labourer that he will do any
amount of work if he is constantly plied with it, and all the while that
it is but stimulating him, he fancies he is getting strength and vigour
from it; but, alas! he is only thus drawing upon his capital; exhaustion
follows a hard day’s work got over amid hard drinking, which requires
the following day to be spent on the same high-pressure system, or else
little will be done. Hence one of our own labourers, during barley
mowing at so much _per acre_, was fain to confess that he “wanted a pint
of cider at four o’clock in the morning worse nor any other time of
day.”

It happens, then, that as harvest work is wanted to be done
expeditiously, it is let out by the piece, by which the labourer
gets more money and more cider. But consider, my masters, that, when
not under these stimulants, you can only expect from the workman a
languid day’s work when the excitement is over; and too often, indeed,
the poor man gets a long illness as the result of his forced, that is,
stimulated labour, and, if not, such a system of drawing upon his
capital—strength—is certain to end in premature old age.

Seeing, however, that the labourer has got to believe that drink keeps
up his strength, it too often follows that he concludes that the more he
gets of it the better; and hence, as a rule, there is no satisfying him
upon this head, and the result is, that the labourer too often keeps
himself in that state of thirst and muzziness during his work that
almost compels him to seek the public-house when work is done. Here
quarrels ensue, and it is a wonder that manslaughter is not more
frequently the result. Expelled from the scene of his debauch, he finds
his way home, unless, as is not unfrequent, he is “found drowned” in the
river by which he may have to pass.

This is no fancied sketch, as it is derived from the sad experience of
the author and the result of events in his own parish. On one melancholy
occasion it was indeed sad to hear the Coroner, among other remarks,
observe that full four-fifths of the inquests in a cider county were the
result of drink.

Is there not, then, a heavy responsibility resting upon the farmer in
especial connection with cider, while his men are partially paid in this
fluid? It is different in the beer-drinking counties, as beer costs more
money, and is never allowed in such quantity as cider. Put it down as
true that the farmer _at times_ gets more work out of his men by plying
them with cider, yet we feel sure he thereby hastens the time when such
men can no longer work, and they have then to be chargeable to the
parish, if in the mean time nothing worse should happen.

Mechanics are not paid in drink; they purchase what they require out of
regular wages, and thus they have the option, which many of them take
advantage of, of leaving off strong drink altogether; and though they
too are sometimes hard pressed to get a piece of work done, yet, by
over-hours, for which they are rightly paid, not, as in the country,
wholly by cider, but in money, the business is managed, and the workman
can afford extra meat and bread, by which his worn muscles are truly
renovated, and not merely stimulated to frantic action as by drink. The
great rise in the price of meat, even before cattle disease became rife,
is due to the cause that so much more meat has, within the last five
years, been eaten by the British workman. In this advance, however, the
farm labourer has had no part; he rarely gets meat twice a week, while
all this time his wages have advanced so much as 25 _per cent._, which
rise, in nine cases out of ten, is only looked upon as a boon, inasmuch
as it enables the recipient to “enjoy himself,” which simply means he
has more to spend at the public-house.

We conclude, as the result of experience, that each sack of corn that
finds its way to market from a cider county costs 1s. (or 3d. per
bushel) in drink, which, though it is produced on the farm, might yet
have been sold to produce that amount.

Would it then not be better to sell such farm produce, and, by giving
extra money instead of drink to the labourers, and so, by allowing him
the option of taking less drink but more meat, gradually to withdraw him
from the temptations to get drunk, which beset him under the present
system? For, while we feel quite sure that the morbid craving for the
public-house has commenced with drinking on the farm, we may be certain
that if by any means we can check this system, it will ultimately be a
great gain to both master and man.

Where are farm labourers best off? We say in the non-cider counties. In
these he has learnt the use of skim-milk and the value of meat. In cider
counties the farm labourer despises skim-milk as “poor weak tack, only
fit for pigs.” He cannot get meat, as he takes part of his wage in a
stimulant which excites him to spend some of his money in falsely
“_keeping up his strength_.”

Now what are the results? We unhesitatingly assert, muscle, longevity,
more robust, honest, well-to-do families, healthier bodies and minds,
beyond the cider limits.

If, then, these things be so, some change in the use and economy of this
wholesome drink is an object worthy of the deepest and most earnest
consideration. One man alone can do no good. Beneficial results can only
follow upon calm discussion and combined action by the masters, upon
well ascertained facts. We would not stint the labourer of that which is
to do him good; and if we find that he is really willing and capable of
taking the whole responsibility connected with his drinking requirements
upon his own shoulders, we cannot help thinking that it would be for the
good of all parties to pay increased wages in full rather than any
portion in kind, and more especially of the kind we have thus
animadverted upon.



POSTSCRIPT.


In bringing these Papers to a conclusion, we would, among other matters,
make a few remarks upon the title under which they have been issued,
namely, _Science and Practice of Farm Cultivation_.

Now it will be seen that our object has not been to enter into the
minutiæ of practical farming, but rather to point out some of the more
important scientific principles by which much of practice is regulated.
Hence, then, we would beg the reader to amend the title as
follows:—“Science _of_ Practice _in_ Farm Cultivation.” This will more
fully explain the aim and object we have had in view in the series of
Papers now concluded.

It is now time to tender our best acknowledgements for the aid we have
received in the many drawings with which this small work has been so
liberally illustrated. We owe especial thanks to Mr. Hardwicke for
several fine plates of interesting agricultural as well as botanical
specimens; to the Royal Agricultural Society of England for the loan of
the woodcuts of roots; and to our friend Mr. Wheeler, of Gloucester, for
the use of the woodcut illustrations of grasses; and as both the
drawings of roots and grasses were made by us direct on the wood, rough
though they may be, we yet hope they may be deemed more faithful than
any second-hand copy.

Our labours being ended, it only remains to add that we hope our little
work may have the effect of inducing some of our agricultural friends to
look into the principles connected with the various operations which
they daily superintend, as by so doing agriculture will be really
elevated to a science; whereas, by merely copying what has been done
before, we shall only be empirics, practising rational empiricism it is
true, but still coming short of that light and knowledge which is the
life,—_the science_ of our profession.

J. B.

BRADFORD ABBAS, DORSET,

_Sept. 25, 1865_.


COX AND WYMAN, PRINTERS, GREAT QUEEN STREET, LONDON, W.C.



  +------------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                      TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES                         |
  |                                                                  |
  | The text of the original work has been maintained, including all |
  | inconsistencies in spelling, lay-out, hyphenation, capitalisation|
  | etc. These have not been changed, except as indicated below.     |
  | Notable inconsistencies include Hagloe/Haglo, bird's foot/       |
  | birdsfoot/birds-foot, codlin/codling, Cotteswold-hills/Cotteswold|
  | Hills, wire-worm/wireworm, sainfoin/saintfoin, per cent./        |
  | percent./per-cent./pr-cent. Achillæa millefolia (yarrow) and     |
  | Achillea millefolium (milfoil) are both used for the same plant. |
  |                                                                  |
  | The tables have been re-arranged to fit in the available width.  |
  | Multi-page tables have been re-combined into single tables.      |
  |                                                                  |
  | Footnotes have been moved to directly under the text to which    |
  | they refer. Illustrations and tables have been moved to before or|
  | after the paragraph in which they were printed in the original   |
  | work.                                                            |
  |                                                                  |
  | The differences in wording between the table of contents and the |
  | text have been left as in the original work because the meaning  |
  | is clear.                                                        |
  |                                                                  |
  | Changes made to the text:                                        |
  | p. vi      epipitical          changed to     epiphytical        |
  |            (page number) 218       „          217                |
  | p. vii     (page number) 266       „          265                |
  |            chesnut                 „          chestnut           |
  |            (page number) 320       „          319                |
  | p. 9       be utterly failed       „          he utterly failed  |
  | p. 10      that be has tried       „          that he has tried  |
  | p. 24      Skirvings swede         „          Skirving’s swede   |
  | p. 41      (see Chap. VII.)        „          (see Chap. VI.)    |
  | p. 112     fænum-græcum            „          fœnum-græcum       |
  | p. 127     Bird's-food Trefoil     „          Bird's-foot Trefoil|
  | p. 136     _single_-seeded         „          _single-seeded_    |
  | p. 146     indentical              „          identical          |
  | p. 151     in August 31            „          on August 31       |
  | p. 276     geologial               „          geological         |
  | p. 318     first letter missing from “gives the former tree”,    |
  |            “g” inserted                                          |
  +------------------------------------------------------------------+





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