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Massachusetts Society 


ALFRED MUDGE & SON, Pklnters, 
34 School Strket. 
* 1876. 





Massachusetts Society 



ALFRED MUDGE & SON, Pkinteb*, 

34 School Street. 



With a view of stimulating this impoitant branch of agriculture, tho 
following prizes, open to all land-owners in Massachusetts, are offered for 
Tree Planting by the Trustees of the Massachusetts Society for Tromot- 
ing Agriculture. 

First: — 

For the best plantation of not less than five acres .... $1,0C0 

For the next best GOO 

For the next best 400 

Plantations intended to compete for these prizes must be made of the 
European larch in every part of the State, except in Barnstable, Dukes, 
and Nantucket Counties, Avhere the Scotch pine or the Corsican pine, or 
the two mixed, must be used. 

Plantations originally of less than 2,700 trees to the acre cannot com- 
pete for these prizes. 

Only plantations made on poor, worn-out land, or that which is unfit 
for agricultural purposes, can compete for these prizes. 

Second : — 

For the best plantation of American White Ash, of not less 

than five acres in extent $600 

For the next best 400 

Plantationsoriginally of less than 5,000 trees to the acre cannot compete 
for these prizes. 


Competing plantations must be made during the spring of 1877. The 
prizes will be awarded during the summer of lJ^87. 

All persons intending to compete for these prizes must notify in writ- 
ing the Secretary of the Society, E. N. Perkins, Jamaica Plain, Mass., 
of such intention, before Dec. 1, 1876, slating the prize entered for, 
the variety of tree to be planted, and the nature and description of the 
ground to be used. 

All competing plantations must at all times be open to the inspection of 
a committee of the Board of Trustees, who will award the prizes. 

Tlie Board of Trustees reserve the right to withhold any or all of these 
prizes if, in the opinion of the judges, none of the competing plantations 
are of sufficient merit to Avarraut the award. 



When the nature of the soil will permit, shallow furrows four feet apart 
should be run one way across the field to be planted. This is best done 
during the autumn previous to planting. Then by planting in the fur- 
rows, and inserting the plants four feet apart in the rows, the whole land 
will be covered with plants standing four feet apart each way. Planted at 
this distance 2,720 plants will be required to the acre. On hilly, rocky 
land, which is especially recommended for the cultivation of the Eui-opeaa 
larch, and where it is impossible to run furrows, it will be only necessary 
to open with a spade holes large enough to admit the roots of the plants, 
care being taken to set them as near four feet apart each way as the nature 
of the ground will admit. In very exposed situations on the sea-coast, it is 
recommended to plant as many as 5,000 trees to the acre, the plants being 
inserted more thickly on the outsides of the plantations in order that the 
young trees may furnish shelter to each other. 

It is imperative to plant the, Larch as early in the season as the ground can 
he worl^ed. No other tree begins to grow so early, and if the operation of 
transplanting it is delayed until the new shoots have pushed, it is gener- 
ally followed by the destruction of the plant. 

The Scotch and Corsicau pines can be planted up to the 1st of May. 


Land in condition to grow corn or an average hay-crop is suited to pro- 
<luce a profitable crop of white ash. Deep, moist land, rather than that 
which is light and gravelly, should be selected for this tree. The land 
should be ploughed, harrowed, and made as mellow as possible during 
Ihe autumn previous, that the trees may be planted as soon as the ground 
can be worked in the spring. 

As soon as the frost is out mark out the field with furrows four feet 
apart, and insert the trees two feet apart in the rows. This will give 
5,445 plants to the acre, which, at the end of ten years, must be thinned 
one lialf. These thinnings are valuable for barrel-hoops, etc. 

It is recommended to cultivate between the rows for two or three years 
to keep down the weeds and prevent the soil from baking. At the end of 
that time the ground will probably be entirely shaded by the trees, and 
further cultivation will not be necessary. 


Be careful not to expose the roots of trees to the wind and sun more 
than is necessary during the operation of transplanting. More failures in 

tree-planting arise from carelessness in this particular than from any other 

To prevent this, carry the trees to the field to be plantcil in bundles cov- 
ered witli mats; lay them down, and cover the roots with rcei loam, and 
only remove them from the bundles as they are actually required for 

In planting, the roots should be carefully spread out and the soil worked 
among them with the hand. 

When the roots are covered press the earth firmly about the plant with 
the foot. 

Insert the plant to the depth at which it stood before being trans- 

Select, if possible, for tree-planting a cloudy or a rainy day. It is 
better to plant after the middle of the day than before it. 

All young plantations must be 'protected from cattle and other browsing 
animals, — the greatest enemies, next to man, to young trees, and the 
spread of forest growth. 


Selected plants of the European larch and the Scotch pine, about ono 
foot high and very thrifty, can be imported from England, and delivered 
at the railroads in Boston at from f o to $6 @ 1,000, the price varying 
with the price of gold and the rate of exchange and freight. Imported 
plants of the Corsican pine of the same size will cost at present prices 
about $10 @ 1,000 delivered in Boston. 

All persnns, whether competitors for the Society's prizqs or not, desir- 
ing to import trees of these varieties, can do so by sending their orders to 
Francis Skinner, Brookline, Mass., before Dec. 1. Mr. Skinner will 
transmit all orders for not less than 1,000 trees to England, and will see 
that the trees, on their arrival in Boston, are passed through the Custom 
House, and forwarded at the least possible expense to the pei'sons order- 
ing them. 

As ^Ir. Skinner undertakes this duty solely from a desire to facilitate 
tree-planting, in his native State, and m t for the purpose of any personal 
gain, he cannot be held responsible in any way by the persons desiring to 
order tln'ough him. 

Mr. Anthony Waterer, Nurseryman, Woking, England, with whom 
special arrangements have been made to prepare trees for planting in 
Massachusetts, guarantees their safe arrival in this country, proviiled his 
orders are received early enough to permit his shipping the larch, dur- 
ing the months of December and January, and the piues not later than 
Feb. 15. 

The importation of these trees cannot, in safety, be made after these 
dates. If it is delayed later, the plants are liable to heat in transit, 
and to make a soft, unnatural growth, which generally cause.5 their 
death. As the plants will arrive some weeks betore they can be planted, 
importers should provide some accommodation for their reception. The 

plants must be unpacked as soon as received, the roots moistened, 
and then heeled into a frame, cold cellar, or shed, in which the tem- 
perature will be at about the freezing point, but where they can be 
guarded from extreme cold and the sun's rays. As a little soil will be 
required to i:)ut over the roots at this time, importers should lay in a sup- 
ply in the auLumu for this purpose, and keep it away from the frost until 

American white ash, one or two years old, and about one foot high, can 
be procured for from $5 to $10 @ 1000 from the following well-known 
Ameiican nurserymen : Robert Douglas, Waukegan, Illinois; Thomas 
Meehau, Germantowu, Pennsylvania; and the .Lawrence Nursery Co., 
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. 

The following paper on Tree-Planting is reprinted from the Report of 
the Secretary of the Mas-r.chusetts State Board of Agriculture, 1875, for 
general circulation throughout the State, in the hope that its perusal will 
awaken an interest in this subject among Massachusetts land-ownors, 
and induce them to look on arboiiculture as a wise and profitable under- 

Thomas Motley, Jamaica Plain, 
LEVEttETT Saltonstall, Newton, 
Ed. N. Pekki.ns, Jamaica Plain, 
TuiODOiiE Lyman, Brookline, 
B. S. EoTcn, Boston, 
W. R. Robeson, Lenox, 
Henry Saltonstall, Boston, 
John G. Cusiiing, Beverly, 
C S. Sakgent, Brookline, 
II. S. Russell, Alilton, 
E. F. BowDiTCii, Framingham, 
Joiix Lowell, Newton, 

5 Pembkrtox Square, Boston, April, 187G. 


[Reprinted fkom tue Report or the MAssAcnusETTs State Board of Agricultcrb 

FOR 1S75.] 


By C. >'S."B^iRGENT, 
Director of the Botanic Garden and Arhorctitm of Harvard University. 

EvEKY year the destruction of (lie American forests threatens us with 
new dangers. Every year renders it more imperative to provide some 
measures to check the evils which our predecessors in tlioir ignorance have 
left us as a legacy with which to begin tlie second century of the Republic. 

It may not, then, be entirely without interest to examine briefly what 
the dangers are which follow the destruction of the forests, and the methods 
of counteracting them, which, so far as Massachusetts is concerned, arc 
fully within our reach. 

Our agricultural population is not easily convinced of the necessity of 
tree-planting. The benefits arc too vague, the profits too prospective, to 
cause them to look with enthusiasm on what seems a duubtful under- 

Still, in this respect, public opinion is gradually changing, and already 
in many of the Stales of the Union experiments in sylvitulluro are being 
made on a sufficient scale to promise the most gratil\ing results, and it is 
not improbable that at no distant day, when its benefits are more clearly 
understood, tliis branch of agriculture will receive at the hands of our 
farmers the attention its importance demands. 

Proof is wanting that the total average rainfall has been reduced, either 
in this country or Europe, by cutting off the forests. But examjdes arc 
often cited in proof that forests play an important part in regulating and 
attracting summer rains and local showers; and it is not imjjrobable, were 
more data in the form of carefully conducted observations available, that 
some theory on this subject might be deduced. Certainly, as Mr. !Marsh 
remarks in his admirable book on physical geograpliy * "'it is impossible 
to suppose that a dense eloud, a sea of vapor, can pass over miles of sur- 
face bristling with good conductors without undergoing and producing 
some change of electrical condition." 

The following interesting illustrations arc not without value as vaguely 

* The Earth as modified by Human Action. Gcor^o P. Marsh. New York, 187A. 


indicating in wliat direction we must turn for an explanation of tlie sum- 
mer droughts, wliicli, in certain portions of tlie country, have increased of 
late to an alarming extent. In Massacliusetts, liowever, some cause outside 
the destruction of tlie forests must be sought for; as in the earliest history 
of the Colony, and long before land enough had been cleared to induce 
any climatic change, the country was nearly devastated by severe summer 
droughts, which, if less frequent, were no less violent than those of the 
present day. 

Mr. Calvin Chamberlain, in an able memorial on the subject of forests* 
presented to the House of Representatives of the State of Maine in 1869, 
says, " Thei'e is a portion of Hancock County (Maine), along the coast, 
that is now nearly denuded of trees. During the heat of summer the 
radiation from the parched surface affects the atmosphere to excessive 
dryness. The electrical and rain-bearing clouds that approach from the 
westward, as they come within this dry atmosphere, are absorbed and 
dissipated before their watery contents can reach the earth; while the 
clouds just north of them float on over a better wooded district and yield 
a copious rainfall; and, on the other hand, the showers continue abundant 
in the more humid atmosphere of the contiguous bays and ocean." 

Dr. Laphamf observes that "in the hot and dry plains of our south- 
western territories we often see clouds passing overhead that reserve 
their contents until they have passed from these almost desert regions. 
These clouds frequently present all the actual appearance of rain in the 
higher region of the atmosphere, and the fertile-giving drops are seen to 
fall far down towards the earth, only to be dissolved and dissipated in the 
lower strata of air, heated by the reflection from the parched earth, which 
these raindrops do not reach." 

As moderators of the extremes of heat and cold, the benefits derived 
from extensive forests are undoubted, and that our climate is gradually 
changing through their destruction is apparent to the most casual ob- 
server. Our springs are later; our summers are drier, and every year 
becoming more so; our autumns are carried forward into winter, while our 
winter climate is subject to far greater changes of temperature than 
formerly. The total average snowfall is, perhaps, as great as ever, but 
it is certainly less regular, and covers the ground for a shorter pe- 
riod than formerly. It is interesting to note in this connection the 
conclusion which Koah "Webster J drew three quarters of a century 
ago, showing that, even at that time, before the cutting-off the for- 
ests had assumed the importance which it does to-day, similar cli- 
matic changes were at work. "From a careful comparison of these 
facts," he says, "it appears that the weather in modern winters in the 
United States is more inconstant than when the earth was covered with 
Avoods, at the first settlement of Europeans in this country; that the 

* Agriculture of Maine. Second Series. 1809. 

t Iveport of the Disastrous Effects of the Destructionof Forest Trees now going on 
so raj)idly in the St;ite of Wisconsin. 18G7. 

t A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects. New York. 

warm weather of autumn extends further into the winter months, and 
the cold weather of winter and spring encroaches upon the summer; that 
the wind being more variable, snow is less jjermanent; and perhaps the 
same remark may be applicable to the ice of the rivers." Mr. Marsh 
arrives at nearly the same conclusion. " So far as we are able to sum up 
the results," he says, " it would appear that in countries in the temperate 
zone, still chiefly covered with woods, the summers would be cooler, 
shorter; the winters milder, drier, longer than in the same regions after 
the removal of the forests, and the condensation and precipitation of 
atmospheric moisture would be, if not greater in total quantity, more fre- 
quent and less violent in discharge." 

Such changes of climate are everywhere noticed in countries from 
which the forests have been extensively removed; and if they are not 
more apparent in Massachusetts, it is owing to its propinquity to the 
ocean, which exerts an important, and, of course, perpetual control over 
the temperature of all regions within its influence, preventing the exces- 
sive and sudden changes which often mark an inland climate. But even 
here there are certain changed conditions which can only find a solution 
in climatic deterioration traceable to the destruction of the forests. 

Twenty years ago peaches were a profital)le crop; now we must depend 
on New Jersey and Delaware for our supply; and our apples and other 
orchard fruits now come from beyond the limits of New England. The 
failure of these and other crops in the older States is generally ascribed 
to exhaustion of the soil; but with greater reason it can be referred to 
the destruction of the forests which sheltered us from the cold w'inds of 
the north and west, and which, keeping the soil under their shade cool in 
summer and warm in winter, acted at once as material barriers and res- 
ervoirs of moisture. It is not necessary to go beyond the limits of the 
United States for examples of the climatic changes Avhich follow the 
destruction of the forests. Mr. Chamberlain, in the memorial to which I 
have already referred, says, " A decline in fruit products in Maine has 
been apparent for a considerable time; other farm crops are seemingly 
in a decline also. Potatoes, oats, and wheat now i-arely give such crops 
as they did thirty or forty years ago. Fruit-trees take on disease, apples 
become scabbed and distorted; pears knotty, cracked, and extremely per- 
verse; plum and cherry trees forget former habits and old friendships; 
blight and rust and insect-destroyers are everywhere. The iarmer's crops 
are invaded from all sides. The cry of local exhaustion of the elements 
of the soil, negligent culture, and a long chapter of local complaints, fail 
to account for any portion ot the difficulty." According to Lapham, the 
winter in the State of Michigan has greatly increased in severity during 
the last twenty years, and this severity seems to keep pace with the cut- 
ting-ofr of the forests. " Thirty years ago," he says, *' the peach was one 
of the most abundant fruits of that State; at that time fiost injurious to 
corn, at any time from May to October, was a thing unknown. Now the 
peach is an uncertain crop, and frost often injures the corn." It has been 
estimated that the same State has lost,d\n-ing four years, $20,000,000 from 
the failure of the winter wheat, a crop which, in the early history of the 
State, was never injured. 


Forests, by preventing the escape of moisture by rapid superficial 
flow and evai)oration, ensure, it is now geneially acknowledged, the 
permanenee of springs, wliicli, in their turn, supply the rivulets from 
wliich the great waler-couises draw their supply. The water falling 
on a tract of land stripped of its covering of woods is rapidly evap- 
orated by the suninier sun, or in winter rushes off over the surface 
of the frozen ground to ihe nearest water-course, converting this for 
the time being into a roaring torrent. In a country properly wooded 
tlie result would be exactly opposite. The summer rain, falling on tlie 
ground, protected l^y the forest from evaporation, is held as in a sponge, 
slowly but surely finding its way to the water-courses, wlille the melting 
snows and winter I'ains gradually soak into the soil, which in the forests is 
never so deeply froz 'u as in the open ground. This is no mere tlieor}-, 
but a fact of which the proof is, alas! too easily found, and too convincing. 
It is a subject of conimou remark in the country, that brooks which for- 
merly ran throughout the 3-ear are now dry, save after the autumn rains 
or the melting of the snows in spring, wlien they become raging torrents, 
carrying off to the sea in a few days the water whicli formerly supplied 
tlieui with a nuxleiate but constant flow throughout the summer. Unfor- 
tunately, no ohservatious of the flow of the great rivers in the United 
States have been made, covering a period of time of sufficient length to 
enable us to draw any conclusions in regard to it. But in Europe this 
subject has received more careful investigation. Herr Wex,at the recent 
yearly meeting of the Geograpliical Society of Vienna, demonstrated that 
the average level of the liver Elbe had fallen seventeen inches; that 
of the Pihine, over twenty-four inches; that of the Vistula, twenty-six 
inches; and tliat of the Danube, at Orsova, as much as fifty-five inches 
during the past fil'ty years. Accompanying this fall in level, there 
■was also shown to be a constantly increasing diminution of the dis- 
cliarge from springs. Instances, thongli of less general importance, are 
not wanting near liome. "'J here* is a good illustration of the effects 
of the destruction and reproduction of forests in drying up and restoring 
ponds in my immediate neighborhood. Within about one half mile of ni}' 
residence there is a pond upon which mills have been standing for a long 
time, dating back I believe, to the first settlement of the town. These 
have been kept in constant operation until wilhin about twenty or thirty 
years, when the supply of water began to fail. The pond owes its exist- 
ence to a stream wliich has its source in the hills which stretch some 
miles to the south. Within the time mentioned these hills, which vverc 
clothed with a dense forest, have been alnn^st entirely strii)ped of trees; 
and to the wonder and loss of the mill-owners, the water in the pond has 
failed, except in the season of freshets, and, what was never heard of before, 
the stream itself has been entirely dry. Within the last ten years a nevy 
growlli of wood has sprung up on most of the land formerly occupied l)y 
the old forest; ami now the ua'cr runs through the year, notwithstanding 
the great droughts of the last i'itw years, going back from 1850."' 

L;4)lKun mentions that '• suc'a lias been the changes in the flow of the 

* Trees of America. U. U. Piper, Bostou, 185 J. 


^Milwaukee River, even while tlic nrca fiom whicli it receives its supply is 
but pnrtinlly cleared, that the prcprictors of most of the mills and factories 
have found it necessary to resort to ihe use of steam, at a largely increased 
3'carly cost, to supply the deliciency of water-power in dry seasons of the 
3*ear. The floods of sjjring are incieased until they are sufficient to carry 
away bridges and dams before deemed secure against their ravages. What 
lias happened to the Milwaukee lUver has happened to all other water- 
courses in the State from whose banks the forests have been removed, ard 
many farmers who selected land upon which there was a living brook of 
clear, pure water, now find the brooks dried up during a considerable por- 
tion of the 3-ear." 

Many such examples might be instanced to prove that cutting off the 
forests has a direct infi\icncc in diminishing the flow of springs, but I will 
-confine myself to one other. 

Marschand, as quoted by Mr. Marsh, cites the following: "The Wolf 
•Spring, in the commune of Soubcy (France), furnishes a remarkable exam- 
ple of the influence of woods upon f-iuntains. A few years ago this spring 
•did not exist. At the place where it now rises a small thread of water was 
observed after very long rains, but the stream disappeared with the rain. 
The spot is in the middle of a very steep pasture, inclining to the south. 
Eight)' years ago the owner of the land, perceiving that young firs were 
shooting up in the upper part of it, determined to lot them grow, and they 
soon formed a flourishing growth. 

" As soon as they were well grown, a fine spring appeared in place of 
the occasional rill, and furnished abundant water in the longest droughts. 
For forty or fifty j-ears the spring was considered the best in the Clos du 
Doubs. A few years since the grove was felled, and the ground turned 
again to a pasture. The spring disappeared with the wood and is now as 
dry as it was ninety years ago. " 

The influence of belts of trees, especially of sjnked-leaved species, on 
local climate is important. Such plantations serve as a material check to 
the natural force of the cold winds from the north, which rapidly lower 
the temperature, hasten evaporation, and blow into drifts the snow which 
would otherwise protect the ground with an even covering. There is 
probably no way iu which the farmers of this State could more easily or 
more rapidl}' increase its agricultural product than by planting. such 
screens from the northeast to the northwest of their faru^s ; and their 
attention is particularly directed to the importance of this sunject. Such 
Ijlaulations would be too limited in extent and too vviddy scattered to 
have any general influence on our climate, or the flow of our water- 
courses; but, as a means of direct ])rofit, it does i2ot seem unreasonable 
to predict that such protection to our fields would increase the profits of 
their cultivation fully twenty per cent. 

Orchards thus protected are still productive, and all gardeners kno\r 
that plants generally supposed too tender to support our climate will 
thrive when plartted under the protection of a garden wall, oi' among 
evergreen trees. What garden walls arc to the horticulturist, these 
broad evergreen plantations should be to the farmer. 


Mr, J. J. Thoma!=!, as quoted by Lapliam, says, " Isaac rullen, a well- 
known nurseryman at Ilightown, N. J., showed me last summer (1SG4) 
several belts of evergreen trees which had sprung up from his nur- 
sery rows to a height of twenty-five or thirty feet in ten years, and 
he stated that within the shelter of these screens his nursery-trees, as 
well as farm crops, averaged fifty per cent more than in blank or exposed 

Becquerel, as quoted by Mr. Marsh, says, " In the valley of the Rhone 
a simple hedge two metres in height is sufficient protection for a dis- 
tance of twenty-two metres." "The mechanical shelter," says Mr, 
Marsh, " acts, no doubt, chiefly as a defence against the mechanical force 
of the wind; but its uses are by no means limited to that effect. If the 
current of air which it resists moves horizontally, it would prevent the 
access of cold or parching blasts to the ground for a great distance." 
" Becquerel's views," says the same author, " have been amply confirmed 
by recent extensive experiments on the bleak, stony, and desolate plain 
of the Crau in the department of the Bouches du Rhone, which had 
remained a naked waste from the earliest ages of history. Belts of trees 
prove a secure protection even against the piercing and chilly blasts of 
the Mistral, and in their shelter plantations of fruit-trees and vegetables 
thrive with the greatest luxuriance." Experiments of a similar nature, 
and on a large scale, have been made in Holland, and lands which were 
formerly considered unimprovable, such was the force of the winds blow- 
ing from the North Sea, have been rendered almost the most productive 
in Europe simply by sheltering them with rows of trees placed at regular 
intervals, and at right angles to the direction of the wind. 

It appears, then, that in a country in which a due proportion of forest 
was maintained, it might be expected that local summer showers would 
probably be attracted; that extremes of temperature both in summer and 
winter would be prevented to such an extent that additional crops would 
be made possible; and that the annual rainfall, instead of being rapidly 
wasted by evaporation, or still more rapidly poured into the sea, would 
be held in the forest-clad ground, from which it would gradually find its 
way to the water-courses, which would flow regularly throughout the 
year, bringing summer verdure to pastures, and assured power to the 
manufactories along their banks. 

But tliese are national questions, and can only be treated in a broad, 
comprehensive manner. Let us consider, however, whether Massachu- 
setts is furnishing her quota to the national forest system which would 
return to our country much of its lost fertility. It has been estimated, 
and, I think, with correctness, that forests, in order to maintain normal 
physical conditions, and to supply the material so essential to every 
branch of human industry, should occupy about twenty-five per cent 
of the area of the country to be inflnenced and supplied by them. 

By the census of 1870, of the 4,902,000 acres which constilute^the State 
of Massachusetts, only 763,714 were reported as woodlands, or nearly 
550,000 acres less than the proper amount, A comparison of Mr, Bige- 
low's Report on the Industry of Massachusetts for 1837 with the United 


Stales census of 1870, shows a decrease in the amount of Massachusetts 
woodlands of some 23,000 acres. The methods used, however, in prepai- 
ing the statistics of these two reports were so widely different, that I am 
inclined to doubt the value of such a comparison, and to coincide with 
the opinion of ninn}- intelligent observers, that the Massachusetts wood- 
lands are at least holding their own in extent; and if we consider the very- 
encouraging attention which has been been, for some years, paid to tree- 
planting for ornamental purposes, it must be conceded, I think, that 
there is now as large a proportion of Massachusetts covered with arborial 
growth as at any time during the past fifty years. 

As compared with most of the other States of the Union, this condition 
of things would be extremely gratifying were it due to a desire on the 
part of our people to maintain a proper proportion of forest within the 
limits of (he State, and not to the forced abandonment of much improved 
land; the result in no small measure of the folly of those who stripped 
the land of its protection, and subjected their descendants to the evils I 
have tried to point out. 

Granting that the area covered with forest growth in Massachusetts has 
not diminished during the last fifty years, we are still short, by over half 
a million acres, of the amount supposed essential to maintain pioper 
physical conditions; while, if we examine the actual state of the wood- 
lands, it will be found that they are very far from being able to supply 
sufficient forest products for the requirements of the inhabitants of the 

The abandoned lands have generally grown up with trees, compara- 
tively worthless for employment in the arts, and which only supply, after 
years of struggling growth, an inferior fuel. 

The most valuable trees have always been cut, often before they reached 
maturity, and as no steps have been taken to replace them, it is not aston- 
ishing that the poverty of our Avoodlands has i*eached a point which com- 
pels the inhabitants of the State to draw nearly their whole supply of lum- 
ber from portions of the country more recently settled. This is attended 
with so much expense and inconvenience that many valuable industries 
have already moved from Massachusetts, and it is not improbable that at 
no distant day many others depending on the forests for their existence 
will be compelled to do likewise. By the census of 1870, there were in 
Massachusetts, besides the woodlands, nearly two million (1,988,104) 
acres of unimproved land. Of these, at least 1,200,000 are admirably 
suited for forest growth, and, if planted with trees adapted to the various 
soils and situations, they would produce at the end of fifty years a crop, 
the actual value of which in dollars can only be reckoned by hundreds of 

It is impossible to estimate the indirect profit of such plantations in 
improved climate and water-power; but that it would equal or e.xcel the 
actual value of the timber produced seems not improbable, while the 
benefits arising from so large an additional area of forest would be f.dt far 
beyond the limits of the State. There are in Massachusetts, according to 
the last returns, 26,o00 farms (a falling off of 7,500 since 1850), which 


averaf^o one hundred and three acres in extent. There is not a farm of 
this size in the State whicli could not be rendered more A'aluable if a strip 
of laud, equal to at least one tenth of its whole area and on its northern 
boundar3',\vas devoted to a belt of trees, which would serve to protect the 
remainder from the cold winds of winter, and render its cultivation more 
prolitable and its occupation more ai^reeable. Such limber-belts would, 
in the aggregate, give the State 340,000 additional acres covered with 

It is true that if the existing woodlands were increased to the extent I 
suggest, their area would cover not twenty-five, but nearly fifty per cent 
of the whole State. But it must be remembered that the poverty of the 
soil and the severity of the climate preclude profitable agriculture from 
a large portion of Massachusetts, and that the waste lands at least can 
only be made profitable through sylviculture. 

Any fears that the production of such plantations will be greater than 
the demand, are groundless, as Massachusetts, from her geographical posi- 
tion, can always secure a market for any excess of lumber she can 
pi'odiice beyond the wants of her inhabitants. There is no soil witliia 
the State too poor or too exposed, it must be remembered also, to resist 
the fertilizing effects of fifty years of forest covering; and the fact that 
properly managed forests, especially when formed of certain trees, 
have so great an influence in enriching the soil beneath them, should 
always enter largely into any consideration of the expediency of forest 

But few experiments in arboriculture, except on the most limited scale, 
have been aitemptcd in Massachusetts, but I will briefly describe the two 
most important, which are of special interest as showing what our unim- 
proved lands are capable of, if judiciously managed. Mr. Richard S. Fay 
commenced, in 1810, planting on his estate near Lynn, in Essex County 
and in that and the two succeeding 3-ears, planted two hundred thousand 
imported trees, to which were afterwards added nearly as many more 
raised directly from the seed, nearly two hundred acres being covered in 
all. The sites of these plantations were stony hillsides, fully exposed to 
the wind, destitute of loam, their only covering a few struggling barberry 
bushes and junipers, with an abundant undergrowth of woad-wax (Genista 
tinctoria, L.), always a certain indication in Essex County of sterile soil. 
He employed in his plantations, oaks, ashes, maples, the Norway spruce, 
Scotch and Austrian pines; but the principal tree planted was the Euro- 
pean larch. No labor was expended on the land previous to planting, the 
trees, about one foot high, being simply inserted with a spade, and no 
protection has at any time been given them, save against fire and brows- 
ing animals. I recently visited these plantations, twenty-nine years after 
their formation, and took occasion to measure several of the trees, but 
more especially the larches. Some of these are now over fifty feet in 
height, and fifteen inches in diameter three feet from the ground, and 
the average of many trees examined is over forty feet in height and 
twelve inches ^in diameter. The broad-leaved trees have also made a; 
most satisfactory growth, and many of them, on the margins of the plan-- 


tations, are fully forty fot^t high. During the past ten years, about seven 
hundred cords of (ircwood liavc been cut from these plantations, besides all 
the fencing required for a large estate. Firewood, fence-posts, and rail- 
road sleepers, to the value of thousands of dollars, could be cut to-day, to 
the great advantage of the remaining trees. Tlie profit of such an opera- 
tion is apparent, especially when we consider that the land used for these 
plantations did not cost more than ten dollars an acre, and probably not 
half that amount. 

The second experiment was made by Mr. J. S. Fay, a lirother of Mr. 
Fay of Essex County, on his estate at Wood's IIoll, in Barnstable County, 
on the extreme southwestern point of Cape Cod. A tract of land, one 
hundred and twenty-five acres in extent, which is now densely covered 
with Mr. Fay's plantations, was, in 18.5.3, seemingly as little fitted for the 
purpose of tree-culture as can well be imagined. It was fully exposed to 
the cold northwest winds of winter sweeping down across Buzzard's 
Bay, and to the no less baneful southwest winds of summer, which come 
from the Atlantic loaded with saline moisture. 

In answer to an inquiry as to the nature of the soil on which his plan- 
tations are made, Mr. Fay writes me: '' ]\Iy land is made up mainly of 
abrupt hills and deep hollows, sprinkled over with bowlders of granite. 
The soil is dry and worn out, and what there is of it, is a gravelly loam. 
The larger part consisted of old pastures, and on the one hundred and 
twenty-five acres not a tree of any kind, unless an oak, that sprang out of 
the huckleberry bushes here and there, barely lifting its head above them 
for the wind, and when attempting to grow, browsed down by the cattlo 
ranging in winter, could be called a tree." 

Thirty-five thousand trees were imported and set out, besides a large 
number of native trees procured in this country; but fully three fourths 
of the whole plantation was made by sowing the seed directly on the 
ground where the trees were to stand. A huge variety of trees, both 
native and foreign, were (;mployed, and while few have failed entirely, 
the foreign species, as was to be expected from the situation, have been 
the most successful. The Scotch pine has made the most rapid growth, 
and then the European larch. 

The Corsicau pine {Finns Laricio, Voir.), although not planted as 
early as the others, promises to be a valuable and fast-growing tree for 
planting under such circumstances. 

Larch and Scotch pine, transplanted from the nursery in 1853, are now 
forty feet high, and from ten to twelve inches in diameter at one foot from 
the fjround. Trees of the Scotch pine, raised from seed planted in 18G1, 
where the trees have grown, but in favorable situations, and which have 
been properly thinned, have been cut this winter, and measured thirty 
feet in height and ten inches in diameter one foot from the ground, while 
the average of the trees in a large plantation of Scotch pine, made in the 
same manner in 18G-2, and Avhich has received no special care, is twenty 
feet high and six inches in diameter. Plants of the Corsicau pine are now 
eight feet high in only eight years from seed, the growth of the last three 
vears being over five feet. 


When Ave consider the success wliich has attended the experiments of 
these gentlemen in reclothing their property with forest growth, under 
circumstances, too, as disadvantageous as it is possible for Massachusetts 
to offer, it must be acknovvledged that the attempt to replant our unim- 
proved lands is a perfectly feasible one, and the only wonder is that the 
inhabitants of Essex and Barnstable Counties, with such examples before 
them, have not already planted their worthless, worn-out lands with a 
crop wliich would yield a larger profit than any they have produced since 
the first clearing of the forest. 

Enormously as the price of all forest products has advanced during the 
last twenty-five years, their future increase in value must be more rapid 
as the supply becomes more and more inadequate to the demand. The 
great timber districts of the northern hemisphere have now all been 
called on to supply the always increasing wants of the civilized world, 
while no provision has as yet been made, except in limited areas, and on 
an entirely insufficient scale, to provide artificiallj' the wood on which our 
descendants must depend. 

In Europe, Norway and Sweden, Russia, Germany, and possibly Bel- 
gium, are the onl}' countries which yield more forest products than they 
consume; while the other European countries, especially Great Britain 
and the extreme soutiiern nations, are enormous consumers of imported 
wood. In the United States, according to Mr. Marsh's estimate, Oregon 
is the only State in which there is an excess of forest. New York and 
Maine, which were formerly the chief lumber-producing States of the 
East, now do not cut enough for the use of their own inhabitants, and 
depend on Canada for a large portion of their supplj'. And this seems to 
be true of all the States of the Union, with the exception of Pennsyl- 
vania, Colorado, Oregon, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. 

The annual forest destruction in the three last States is enormous, and 
they must soon depend on extraneous sources for their domestic supply. 
According to an article in the " St. Louis Republican," quoted by Mr. 
Marsh, 3, ^Ul, 372,225 feet of lumber were cut in 18G9 in these three States, 
from 883,132 acres; and the same article estimated that there were only 
about 15^500,000 acres of forest left in these States to be cutoff, or only 
fifteen or twenty years' supply. When this is gone, the world will be 
deprived of one of its richest stores of lumber. 

How long the sup])ly in the British Possessions in North America will 
last, it is impossible to estimate. Heavy drains are already being made 
on it. During the three years ending June 80, 1871, the Dominion of 
Canada exported lumber to the value of ^03,131,008, gold; the trade 
increasing during that time about Si,000,000 each year. 

In spite of the substitution in many parts of the country of coal as fuel, 
both for domestic purposes and for the generation of steam; in spite of 
the increasing employment of other material, both in the construction of 
buildings and various implements, and for ship-building, the demand for 
wood in the United States has stimulated the supply until the figures 
■which mark its increase seem almost incredible. 

The railroads are enormous consumers, both in fuel, in the construe- 


tion of cars and buildings, and for sleepers. "The Monthly Report of 
the Bureau of AgricuUure " for November and December, 1809, estimated 
that the annual expenditure of the railroads at that time for wood for 
buildings, repairs, and cars, was S3S.000.000, and that the locomotives of 
the United Slates consumed $.')r),000,000 worth for fuel annually. Sup- 
posing this is correct, and that the wood is worth $i a cord (a large esti- 
mate), this yearly consumption of fuel by the railroads would represent 
twenty-five years' growth on 350,000 acres. 

By the last returns there are in the United States 72,633 miles of rail- 
road in operation, and the addition of double tracks and sidings will prob- 
ably increase this amount to 85,000 miles. 

Supposing the life of a sleeper is seven years, the 85,000 miles of track 
consume annually 34 0U0,000 sleepers, or thirty years' growth on 63.000 
acres of the best natural woodlands; or if the sleepers are raised artificially, 
some 700,000 acres would be required, planted witb trees best adapted for 
the purpose, regularly cropped and scientitically managed, to supply the 
i-ailroads already constructed. At least 125,000 niiles of fencing are re- 
quired to enclose the railroads of the country, which could not have cost 
on an average less than ^100 a mile. One half of this would barely rep- 
resent the cost of the wood employed, or 8^3,000,000; while it must take 
annually lumber to the value of not less than S4,000,000 lo keep these 
fences in repair. 

By the last return I have seen (1872), there were in operation in the 
United States 65,000 miles of telegraph, which destroyed in their construc- 
tion 2,600,000 trees for poles, while the annual repairs must call for some 
250 000 more. 

The 20,000,000 000 matches manufactured in the United States annually 
require, according to Mr. Marsh, 230,000 cubic feet of the best pine lum- 

At least 1,450,000 cords of wood, principally pine, were required to bake 
the 2,899,382 thousand bricks which the census of 1870 gives as the num- 
ber made in that year, requiring the cutting off the trees from 36,000 acres. 

The manufacture of shoe-pegs (a Massachusetis industry, but now car- 
ried on beyond the limits of the State for want of material here) consumes 
annually 100,000 cords of white birch Avorth S1,000,000. 

In 1850 the value of the pine packing-boxes made in the United States 
was 81,000,000; in 1870 they were valued at .88,200,000. The value of the 
material made into wooden ware in the United States increased from 
^436,000 in 1850, to 81,000,000 in 1870. The value of the material con- 
verted into agricultural implements in the United States in 1850 was only 
SS,000,000, while in 1870 it had reached the enormous sum of $73,000,000, 
of which the forests must have furnished twenty millions' worth. Tho 
enormous consumption of wood in this country will, however, be sufii- 
ciently shown by the following figures. 

In 1860, the value of logs sawed into lumber was 843,000,000; in 1870, it 
was over 8103,000,000, — an increase which neither the growth of popula- 
tion or the general advance in all prices can account for, and which can 
only be explained by the supposition that the uses to which forest products 


are applied are being rapidly extended, and that the foreign demands on 
American forests are increasing. But the statistics of the lumber trade 
do not show the entire desfruction which is going on in our forests. Mr. 
Frederic Starr, Jr.,* in an interesting paper on the American forests, 
estimated that during the ten years between 1850 and 1860, .30,000,000 acres 
of forest-covered land were cleared in the United States for agricultural 
purposes, or ten thousand a day for each working day during that time. 
Of the trees thus cut, probably the largest portion never found their way 
to market, but were destroyed by fire for the sake of getting them off the 
land as rapidly as possible; and although lumber is now too valuable to 
justify any such mode of clearing, it is not improbable that trees capable 
of producing millions of feet are annually sacrificed in this manner. 

These facts and figures prove, whatever other objections there may be 
to re-covering a portion of this State with forest growth, that the farmers 
will not want a market for all the lumber they can produce, and at prices 
far above those of the present time. 

In order that any system of ai-boriculture may be successfully carried out, 
it is necessary to consider what trees, both native and foreign, can be 
grown in this State to the greatest advantage; and the profits of such an 
undertaking as I advocate will be immensely increased, if suitable selec- 
tions for the various situations of soil and climate are made. ♦ 

The sugar-mnple, the white elm, and the white ash reach their greatest 
perfection in this and the neighboring States, and should be generally 
planted wherever the soil will permit. The product of the white oak 
and the hickories is of such value that they should also be generally 
planted, although they require a more genial climate and deeper soil 
than Massachusetts can now offer to develop their best qualities. 

The white cedar (Cupressus thyoides, L.), although we are here on its 
northern limit, where it only attains a moderate size, should be jilanted 
on account of the value of its wood for fencing and other rural purposes, 
boat-building, sliingle-making, etc., but more especially on account of its 
natural place of growth, which is always in deep, cold swamps, often near 
the sea, and overflowed by high tides, a situation in which no other tree 
of an equal commercial value could possibly thrive. 

The value of the white pine is so thoroughly understood, and this beau- 
tiful tree grows so rapidly wherever it finds a certain amount of shelter 
and protection, that it is needless to advance its claims on the planter. 

In consideration of its market value at all ages, the rapidity of its 
growth, and the length of time it continues to throw up suckers, the 
white ash {Fraxinus Americana, L.) is the most valuable of all our native 
trees for planting in this State. Valuable as Massachusetts-grown white 
oak is, it can never compete with that i)roduced in other sections of the 
country for purposes which call out its highest qualities ; while the slow- 
ness of its growth, and the difficulties which attend the early years of its 
cultivation, seem still further to reduce its value for the general planter 
as compared with the ash. Already there is a rapidly increasing export 

* Report of Department of Agriculture, 18G5: American Forests; their Destruction 
and Preservation. By the Rev. Frederic Starr, Jr., St, Louis. 


trade of ash lumber to Europe, Australia, and the Pacific coast, from Bos- 
ton and New York, and the possibilities of this business can only be lim- 
ited by the supply. The American is generally acknowledged to be 
superior to the European ash in the qualities for which it is specially 
valued, toughness and elasticity, and in which no other wood can equal 
it. Australia possesses no tree which is at all its equal for carriage- 
building, while west of the Rocky Mountains there is but a single one 
whicli can supply its place — an ash {Fraxinus Oregana, Ifutt.) which, 
developing into a large and valuable timber tree in Oregon, is less fre- 
quent and less valuable south of the California line. Of the economic 
value of several species of ash which grow on the Eastern Asiatic sea- 
board, nothing is as yet known. It seems, then, that the New England 
States could command the markets of the world for one of the most useful 
and valuable of all woods, had they but a sufficient supply to offer. 

According to Mr. Thomas Laslett,* Timber Inspector to the British 
Admiralty, the specific gravity of American ash is 480, while that of the 
European is 736. The former is, therefore, on account of its greater 
lightness, far more valuable for the handlesof shovels, spades, hoes, rakes, 
and other hand implements. 

According to the United States census of 1870, the number of spades, 
shovels, rakes, hoes, and hay -forks made in that year was 8,347,478, and 
as our exportation of such implements is rapidly increasing, although still 
in its infancy, it is evident that the value of ash will be greatly enhanced 
at no distant day. It is also used in making ships' blocks, in turnery, 
and for making the oars of boats. In speaking of the white ash, Laslett 
says, '* It stands well after seasoning, and hence we get from this tree the 
best material for oars for boats that can be produced. They arc much 
and eagerly sought after by foreign governments as well as our own, 
and also by the great private steamship companies and the mercantile 
marine of this country ; consequently there is often a very keen compe- 
tition for the possession of them." The manufactory of oars (surely a 
seaboard industr}-), in pursuit of material, moved from Massachusetts 
first to Maine, and then to Ohio and other western Slates, 

Ash is coming into extensive use for expensive furniture and for the 
interior finish of houses, while an immense number of the young sap- 
lings are annually consumed in the coopers' trade. Its value for fire- 
wood, according to Bull,t is 77, the standard hickor}' being 100, while 
onl}' four other American woods are its superior in heat-giving qualities. 

In view of its many uses for purposes for which no other wood can 
supply its place, it is not astonishing that the value of ash lumber has 
largely increased of late years. The present price in the Boston market 
of the best New England ash is |85 the 1,C00 feet, or about $15 higher 
than that grown in the West. 

To develop its best qualities, the white ash should be planted in a cool, 

♦Timber and Timber Trees, Native and Foreign. Bj Thomas Laslett, Timber 
Inspector to tlie Admiralty. London, 1873. 

t Experiments to determine the Comparative Value of the principal Varieties of 
Fuel. T. Bull. Philadelphia. 


deep, moist, but well-drained soil, where it "will make a rapid growth. 
That Iha plantation may be as early profitable as possible, the young 
trees should be inserted in rows three feet apart, the plants being two 
feet apart in the rows. This would give 7,260 plants to the acre, which 
should be gradually thinned until 103 trees are left standing, twenty feet 
apart each way. The first thinning, which might be made at the end of 
ten years, would give 4,000 hoop-poles, which at present price would bo 
worth .^400. 

The remaining thinnings, made at different periods up to twenty- five 
or thirty j^ears, would produce some three thousand trees more, worth at 
least three times as much as the first thinnings. Such cuttings would 
pay all the expenses of planting, the care of the plantation and the inter- 
est on the capital invested, and would leave the land covered with trees 
capable of being turned into money at a moment's notice, or whose value 
would increase for a hundred years, making no mean inheritance for the 
descendants of a Massachusetts farmer. The planting of the white ash 
as a shade and roadside tree is especially recommended, and for that 
purpose it ranks, among our native trees, next to the sugar-maple. 

The finest hickories are not produced in Massachusetts, although in the 
western part of the State, especially in the valley of the Connecticut, and 
in other favorable situations, the natural growth of this tree is fine 
enough to warrant its extensive cultivation. The hickories should be 
cultivated in the same manner as recommended for the ash, the young 
plants being equally valuable for hoop-poles, walking-sticks, and similar 
purposes; while the lumber cut from the large trees brings a higher price 
than any other produced in the northern States. Il is used extensively 
in carriage-building and for axe handles, in which form it is carried all 
over the world. Hickory makes better fuel than any other wood with 
which we are acquainted, and is always the standard by which the value 
of other woods for this purpose is estimated. The best hickory is worth, 
in the Boston market at the present time, SlOO the 1,000 feet. In the 
form of fircvvood it now seldom comes to the Boston market, where it 
readily commands, however, SIG tlie cord, and in nearly every part of 
the State it is worth from S8 to $10 a cord for curing haras and bacon, for 
which purpose no other wood supplies its place. The shagbark hickory 
(Carya alha, Nutt), which also produces the finest fruit, and the pignut 
liickory (Carua porcina, N'ntt.), are the most valuable species for cultiva- 
tion in Massachusetts. 

In the valley of the Connecticut the American elm develops its noblest 
proportions, and there possibly earns the title of the "most magnificent 
vegetable of the tempei'ate zone," bestowed on it by the younger Michaux. 
Except, however, in very favorable situations, where its roots can find 
their way in deep, cool soil, supplied with abundant moisture, the Ameri- 
can elm is far from a beautiful tree. In the situations I have described 
as being favorable to it, the American elm should be largely planted, not 
only on account of its beauty, rapid growth, and long life, but for the 
value of its wood, which has many uses, the most important being its 
employment for the hubs of carriage-wheels. 


The sugar-maple (Acer saccharlnum, Wang.) nowhere becomes a finer 
tree tlian in the wc'Slcin portions of Massachuselts; and wlicn we con- 
sider tlie value of its wood in the arts, and for fuel, the value of iis sap 
wlien converted into sugar, its rapid growth, long life, immunity from the 
attacks of insects, and its beauty and fitness for street and ornamental 
planting, it must be acknowledged that no tree deserves more general 
cultivation in this State. The wood of the sugar-maple, which is hard, 
close-grained, and graooth,'_is largely used in fiirniture-makiug, cooperage, 
and in making shoe-lasts, for which it is preferred to that of any other 
tree. Two million five hundred thousand pairs of lasts are consumed 
annually in Massachusetts alone; and if we can judge of the future of 
this business by its past history, it will, before many years, consume all 
the sugar-maple lumber the country can produce. For fuel, the wood of 
this tree is generally considered superior to that of any other, with the 
exception (>f the hickory. Mr. Bull estimates its value, however, at only 
60, hickory being 100, and places beibrc it, in heat-giving qualities, no 
less than twenty-two species of North American trees and shrubs. 

Tha destruction of the sugar-maple has been so general in this State, 
that sugar making, which formerly held an important place in Massachu- 
setts industry, has, during the last thirty years, diminished fully one half, 
and that, too, in the face of an enormously increased national production, 
and of prices which have considerably more than doubled during the 
last forty years. 

There are, especially in the western part of the State, many unproduc- 
tive pastures, now almost worthless, which would, if converted into sugar- 
orchards, yield in a few years a handsome income. 

In regard to the age at which it is profitable to commence drawing tho 
sap for sugar, authorities difler; but a tree twenty-five j'cars old will yield, 
on the average, ten pounds of sugar, and will continue to be productive 
to this extent for fifty or sixt}' years longer. One hundred and sixty 
trees being allowed to the acre, the sugar crop, from an orchard of that 
size, would yield, at present prices, S273 annually; and it must ba 
remembered that, owing to the season of the year at which sugar is 
made, no operation of the farm can be carried on with so small an outlay 
for labor. The trees, uninjured by the drawing ofi" of the sap, would 
increase in value for a hundred years, and at any age find a ready sale 
either for fuel or for use in the arts. Its adaptability to all soils, except 
• where stagnant water stands, the rapidity of its growth, its general thrift- 
iness and undoubted beauty at all seasons of the year, render the sugar- 
maple the most valuable of all the North American trees for street and 
roadside planting, and it should be more generally used instead of tho 
American elm, which has been planted for this purpose in Massachusetts 
almost to the exclusion of other trees, although rarely thriving in such 
dr}', dusty situations. 

As I have before remarked, ihc value of the white oak {Qncrcus alba, 
i.), for all i)urposes requiring durability, toughness, and hardness, is so 
great that it must always be in demand, no other North American wood 
equalling it in these qualities. And although I do not believe that its 


cultivation in Massaclmgetts can ever be as profitable as that of tbe ash 
or the hickory, it should always form a part of mixed plantations, and 
should be spared in thinning woodlands in preference to all other trees, 
on account of the slow growth of its early years and its value at maturity. 
The value of the white oak for fuel is very great, being, according to 
Bull, 81 to hickory's 100, the hickories and the swamp white oak alone 
surpassing it in this quality. 

There are a few European trees which have now been sufficiently 
tested here to show that they are suited to the soil and climate of Massa- 
chusetts, and that tlie qualities for which they are held in high esteem in 
other countries would make their cultivation equally valuable here. 

The common European elm (JJlmus campestris, L.) was introduced 
into Massachusetts more than a century ago. According to Dr. Shurt- 
leff,* Maj. Paddock, a carriage-builder by trade, and therefore probably 
fully aware of the economic value of the tree, planted the row of English 
elms in front of the Granary Burying-ground in Boston about the year 
1762, and as the trees had been grown in a nursery at Milton for some 
time previous to their being planted in Boston, it is not improbable that 
they were imported fully a hundred and twenty-five years ago. In 
spite of the hard treatment which seems the destiny of all trees intrusted 
to the care of our city fathers, one of the row had in 1860 reached, accord- 
ing to Dr. Shurtleff's measurement, the respectable size of twelve feet 
eight inches in circumference at three feet from the sidewalk. Other 
trees of this importation were doubtless planted in the neighborhood of 
Boston, and I have recently measured two growing in Jamaica Plain 
which could not have been planted much later. One of these, at four 
feet from the ground, measures seventeen feet two inches in circumfer- 
ence, and the other sixteen feet ten inches at three feet. 

Several trees in Brookline, which were planted in 1805, when they 
might have been ten years old, are now eighty feet high, and average 
from eight feet to eight feet six inches in circumference at three feet 
from the ground. It would, from these examples, seem that the Euro- 
pean elm not only grows rapidly in the eastern part of the State, but 
promises to attain its largest dimensions and full span of life. I have been 
unable to compare satisfactorily the rapidity of its growth with that of 
the American elm, but probably in its best condition the latter is of far 
more rapid growth, although in the ordinary situations where the elm is 
planted, and where it generally suffers from insufficiency of root-moist- 
ure, the European elm is immeasurably its superior in rapidity of growth, 
length of life, and general thrifliness. The fact that the European is fully 
a month longer in leaf than the American elm, that its tougher leaves 
would seem to offer a less appetizing food to the canker-worm, the great- 
est enemy of the American elm in Xew England, and its adaptability to 
all situations, are strong arguments in favor of giving the preference to 
the former for general cultivation. 

Its thriftiness in smoky situations makes the European elm the most 

* Topograpliical and Historical Description of Boston. Nathaniel B. Shurtleflf. 
Boston, 1872. 



valuable tree our climate will allow for city street and square planting, 
and as a shade-tree by roadsides, no Araerican tree is its equal. 

The economic value of the wood of tlie European, which is hard and 
fine, has alwa^'s been generally acknowledged to be superior to timt of 
the American elm, and in Europe it is devoted to many important uses. 
For the hubs of carriage-wheels, it is used almost to the exclusion of all 
other wood. If employed in situations where it is constantly under water, 
or kept perfectly dry, it excels almost every other wood in durability. It 
is considered the best timber for ships' keels. It is largely used for ships' 
blocks, and for pumps, piles, and water-pipes, and by the turner and cabi- 
net-maker; and by the coflin-niaker it is preferred to all other woods. 
The general cultivation of the European elm would add a valuable tim- 
ber-tree to the products of Massachusetts. 

As timber-trees, some of the willoAvs deserve more attention than they 
have hitherto received in this country, for, although the white willow 
(Salix ulha, X.) has for many years been planted in Massachusetts for 
ornamental purposes, its economic value has been entirely overlooked. 
It grows rapidly here, reaching its largest size and developing its best 
qualities. By the side of the highway leading from Stockbridge to Great 
Barrington, in Berkshire County, there is a willow which, at four feet 
from the ground, girts twenty-one feet eight inches, and which, according 
to a i')opular tradition of the neighborhood, was brought in the form of a 
riding-switch by a person travelling from Connecticut, and planted where 
it now stands, in the year 1807, According to Newlands,* Salix fragilUs, 
L., or as it was more commonly known, Salix Itusselliana, Smith (the 
Duke of Bedford's willow), produces the most valuable timber of any of 
the family, the common white willow coming next. I am not aware that 
the Duke of Bedford's willow has ever been introduced into this State; 
but as the two species have the same geographical range, and grow nat- 
urally under precisely similar conditions, there is no doubt that it can be 
successfully cultivated in any part of Massachusetts, Few trees grow 
more rapidly than the willow, or adapt themselves to a greater variety of 
soil. It has been general in this State to select low, undrained situations, 
beside streams or stagnant ditches, for planting this tree, but it is equally 
suited to high, exposed places, and poor soil, where, however, its growth 
will be naturally less rapid. In Europe, the timber of the willow I have 
referred to is used for many purposes. Newlands sa3'S it is " sawn into 
boards for flooring, and into scantlings for raftei's; and in the latter capa- 
city, when kept dry and ventilated, it has been known to last one hundred 
years. But the purposes more peculiarly its own are such ajs require 
lightness, pliancy, elasticity, and toughness, all of which qualities it pos- 
sesses in an eminent degree. It also endures long in water, and theretbre 
is in request for paddle-wheel floats, and for the shrouding of water- 
wheels. It is used iu lining carts for conveying stones or other heavy 
material, as it does not splinter; and the same quality renders it fit for 
guard posts or fenders." Turners and tray-makers find many uses for 
willow-wood, and it is employed in making shoe-lasts, light ladders, and 

* Carpenter's and Joiner's Assistant, James Newlands. Loudon, 18G7. 


the handles of light agricultural implements. Its incombustibility is so 
great that it is peculiarly suited for the llooring of buihlings intended to 
be fire-proof, and attention has been recently called to its value for such 
purposes. As willow timber could be produced far more cheaply than that 
of any of our native trees, it would soon come into general use here for 
the purposes for which it seems particularly fitted, and for which more val- 
uable woods are now employed. 

Less than one third of the willow used in the United States in basket- 
making is produced here, the remainder being imported from Great 
Britain, France, and Relgium, at an annual cost of S-j .000.000. 

The osier proper, the product of 5aZ?a; vi)rnnalis^L.,aud its allies, can be 
grown without trouble in any wet, undrained soil, capable of producing 
little else of vfilue; but tlie better sorts of basket-willow are only success- 
fully produced with careful cultivation on ilch, well-drained soil. Under 
such conditions it is a profitable crop, capable of netting at least S^ISO a 
j-ear to the acre, and well worth the attention of our fanners. Further 
experiments, which might be made under the auspices of the county so- 
cieties, are, however, rerpiired to determine which of the many basket- 
Avillows is best adapted to our climate, and to devise some method for pro- 
tecting this crop against the attacks of many insects which have of late 
years seriously interfered with its cultivation in various parts of the 
United States. 

In spite of the beauty and great economic value of the wliitc pine, 
there are many situations in this State Avhcre its cultivation is almost im- 
possible, and where it should be replaced by its relative the Scotch pine 
(Piaus sylcestris, L.) of the north of Europe. It is many years since 
this tree was first introduced for ornamental purposes in .Massachusetts, 
where it finds itself perfectly at home, and grows rapidly, soon becoming 
a large tree on poor soil and in exposed situations. Under such condi- 
tions, we usually find the ground covered with a spontaneous growth of 
the pitch pine, and wherever this tree grows natuially, it is certain that 
the infinitely more valuable and beautiful Scotch pine will fiourisli. If 
Mr. Fay's success with this tree can be taken as a criterion, the whole of 
Cape Cod, to its eastern extremities, could be covered with sufficiently 
large tracts of the Scotch pine to render the remaining portions better 
suited for agricultural purposes; while the product of such plantations iu 
Barnstable and the other eastern counties in the shape of fuel for brick- 
baking would always find a ready mark(;t, taking the place of the im- 
ported firewood from the shores of the Bay of Fundy, already nearly 
stripped of its forest growth to supply the increasing demands of Boston 
and the other New England seaports. 

But fuel is the least valuable use to which the wood of the Scotch pine 
can be turned. In Europe the lumber from this pine is considered more 
valuable than that of any other coniferous tree, the larch excepted, and 
for all economic purposes it is rated far above American white pine. 

The nature of these two woods, and the uses to which they are each 
specially adapted, are so dissimilar that any comparison between them is 
not particularly interesting. A number of experiments * made at the 
* Timber and Timber Trees. Laslett. Loudon, 1875. 


Hoyal Woolwich Dock5'ar(l have shown that the wood of the Scotch pine 
will resist a transverse strain. 11 greater than that of the white pine; that 
its resistance to a tensile strain is about twice as great, and its resistance 
to a vertical strain is .50 greater; while its specific gravil}' is 541 to 513 
for the white pine. All European writers on timber, from Diihamel to 
Laslctt, agree that the wood of the Scotch pine is the most durable of all 
pine woods. 

Kewlands says " the lightness and stiffness of the Scotch pine render it 
■Buperior to any other kinds of timber for beams, girders, joists, rafters, 
and, indeed, for framing in general." 

From its greater strength, spars, top-masts, and the masts of small ves- 
sels which are often subjected to violent and sudden shocks, are made 
from the Scotch pine, in preference to any other wood, although, on ac- 
count of its greater lightness, the white pine is preferred for heavy masts 
and large spars. Since the supply of larch has become entirely inade- 
quate to the demand, the Scotch pine is used in Europe for railroad 
sleepers more generally than any other tree, enormous quantities even 
being shipped from the northern ports to India for this purpose. 

Although the wood of the white pine is undoubtedly superior to tlie 
Seotch for all purposes where a soft, light, easily worked, clear wood is 
demanded, the latter has qualities so desirable that its cultivation for 
economic purposes would be of great value in this State, especially when 
it is remembered, as I have before remarked, that it will grow rapidly in 
situations where the white pine cannot flourish. 

The rapidity of its growth in all situations and its economic value make 
the Scotch pine the most valuable tree farmers can plant for .^^crecns 
and wind-breaks about their fields and buildings, and for this purpose it 
is recommended in place of the more generally planted Norway spruce, 
which, although of rapid growth in its young slate, does not promise, in 
our climate, at least, to fulfil the hopes which were formed in regard to it. 
The Scotch pine is being so extensively planted in Europe that it is prop- 
agated in immense quantities and at low rates. Plants one foot high can 
be delivered in any part of this Slate for from $60 to SCO the ten thousand. 
There is no tree capable of producing so large an amount of such valua- 
ble timber in so short a time as the European larch (Larix Europea D. C) 
in countries where its cultivation is possible. A native of high elevations 
in Northern and Central Europe, and always growing on poor, gravelly, 
and well-drained soil, it is not surprising that when planted under exactly 
opposite conditions, as is often the case, it does not become a valuable 
tree. The rocky, well-drained hillsides so common in Massachusetts are 
admirably suited to the cultivation of the larch; and there is but little land 
within the limits of the State too poor or too exposed to produce a valua- 
ble crop of timber, if planted with this tree. 

The European larch has always been a favorite for ornamental planting 
here, and has shown itself well adapted to our climate. I cannot discover 
when this tree was first planted in Massachusetts, but in the eastern part 
of the State specimens, in open situations, are abundant, sixty feet high 
and five feet in girth three feet from the ground. The largest specimen 


of the European larch in Bartram's Botanic Garden, near Philadelphia^ 
probably the first ever sent to America, Avhen examined by Mr. Meehan,* 
over twenty years ago, measured 108 feet high and 5 feet 4 inches in cir- 

The economic uses of the larch are numerous and important. Accord- 
ing to Newlands, the strength of larch timber is to that of British oak as 
103 to 100; its stiffness as 79 to 100, Avhlle its toughness is as 134 to 100. 
In the most trying circumstances in which timber can be employed, where 
it is alternately subjected to the influence of air and water, it is the most 
durable wood known. Laslett states, on what he considers good authority, 
that" many of the houses in Venice are built on larch piles, particularly 
those of which the supports are alternately exposed to wet and dry, and 
that many of these piles, after being in place for ages, are said not to have 
the least appearance of deca}'." 

At the request of the Duke of Athol, experiments with a view of testing 
the durability of the larch were made many years ago in the River 
Thames. The result of these experiments is found in Sir Thomas Dick 
Lauder's f edition of Gilpin. " Posts," he says, " of equal thickness and 
strength, one of larch and ihe other of oak, were driven down facing the 
river wall, where they were alternately covered b}' water by the flow of 
the tide, and left di-y by its fall. This species of alternation is the most 
trying of all circumstances for the endurance of timber, and accordingly 
the oaken posts were decayed, and were twice replaced in the course of a 
very few years, while those that were made of larch remained altogether 

In Europe, larch is prefevred to all other woods for railroad sleepers, 
and it is probably superior for this purpose to the wood of any North 
American tree. Larch fence-posts are also in great demand at high prices, 
and instances are abundant of its great durabilit}' when thus employed. 
A practical forester, J speaking of this tree, says, "For out-door work it 
is considered the most durable of all descriptions of wood. The length- 
ened period that some larch posts have stood is quite surprising, some of 
which are known to the writer to have stood nearly fifty years, than which 
there can be no better proof of its durability." For posts, it will probably 
equal in durability our red cedar, while in the power to hold nails it is 
greatly its superior. 

The European must not be confounded with the American larch, which, 
although a valuable tree for many purposes, does not make durable fence- 

Timber of the European larch is admirably adapted for rafters, joists, 
and the main timbers in large buildings. When sawn into boards, how- 
ever, it has the serious drawback of excessive shrinkage, and a tendency 
to warp in seasoning, and is therefore rarely used in this form. Its prin- 
cipal uses in this country would be for railroad sleepers, fence-posts, tele- 

* The American Hand-book of Ornamental Trees. Thomas Meehan. 
t Gilpin's Forest Scenery. Edinbnrgh, 1834. 

I Christopher Young iNIichie, in Transactions of the Scottish Arboricultural Soci- 
ety. Vol. V, part II. Edinburgh. 


graph posts, hop and bean poles, and other rustic work, and for piles in 
bridges, wharves, and similar structures, where the rising and falling of 
the. tide require the emplo3'ment of the most durable timber possible. 
White oak is generally thus employed, but it is probably less durable thau 
larch, and far too expensive. The fertilizing effects of a plantation of 
larch on poor, almost barren ground, is remarkable, and now universally 

According to a writer in the Highland Society's Transactions, quoted 
by Loudon, the pasturage under a plantation of larches thirty years old, 
and which had been thinned to four hundred trees to the acre, produced 
in Scotland an annual rental of eight or ten shillings the acre, while the 
same land, previous to the introduction of the larch, was let for one shil- 
ling the acre. Grigor* calls attention to the same good result of planting 
the larch. ''No tree," he says, " is so valuable as the larch in its fertiliz- 
ing effects, arising from the richness of the foliage which it sheds annu- 
ally. In a healthy wood the yearly deposit is very great; the leaves 
remain, and are consumed on the spot where they drop, and when the 
influence of the air is admitted, ihe space becomes clothed in a vivid 
green, with many cf the finest kinds of natural grasses, the pasture of 
which is highly reputed in dairy management. And in cases where 
v/oodland has been brought under grain crops, the roots have been found 
less difficult to remove than those of other trees, and the soil has been 
rendered more fertile than that which follows au}- other description of 
timber. Already in some of the Western States great interest is taken 
in the cultivation of the European larch, owing principally, I believe, to 
the efforts of Mr. Robert Douglas, of Waukegan, Illinois, and large num- 
bers are planted annually, with every prospect of success. In his whole- 
sale catalogue for 1876, Mr. Douglas calls attention to the flict, that the 
president of the Illinois Central Railroad, after an examination of the 
larch forests of Europe, and the growth and quality of this timber pro- 
duced in Illinois, has without solicitation offered to transport European 
larch free of charge to any point on his lines in Illinois and lovva, pro- 
vided they are to be planted in the vicinity of the road. 

Judging from the growth made by the larches in Mr. Fay's plantation, 
which are the only ones I know in this State offering any valuable statis- 
tics in regard to the rapidity of growth of this tree, I think we can feel 
confident that on the ordinary soil suited to their culture, larch, planted 
when about one foot high and three years old, will in twenty years aver- 
age twenly-two feet in height, and seven inches in diameter, three feet 
from the ground; and that in thirty years they will be from thirty-five to 
forty feet high, and twelve inches in diameter; and if the plantations are 
thinned to four hundred trees to the acre, that at the end of twenty years 
more, or fifty years from the time of planting, the trees will reach from 
sixty to seventy feet in height, and at least twent}' inches in diameter. 
Tliis is also the average growth of this tree in the Highlands of Scotland, 
under nearly similar conditions. 
Let us consider what profits a plantation of larch, ten acres in extent, 

* Arboriculture. John Grigor. 'Edinburgh, 1868. 


and intcnflerl to stand for fifty years, would j?ive. The labor of cutting 
the trees will be more than paid for by the sale at different periods of a 
large amount of small wood suited to many rustic purposes, but for which 
no credit is made. It must also be remarked that the following account 
is charged with a permanent wire fence, although it'is more tlian prob- 
able that any land suited to this purpose, is already surrounded by stone 
walls, which would require but little subsequent care. Present prices for 
forest products are taken, without allowance being made for their prob- 
able future increase in value. 

Estimated Peofits of a Plantation^ of European Larch of Tek Ackes, to 

Last Fifty Yeaes. 


Ten acres of land, at §20 $200 00 

Wire fence 1,000 00 

Plants, 27,200, at $5 130 25 

Labor of planting 500 00 

S'l.fiUG 25 
Interest on investment, as above, 50 years, at G per cent .... 5,499 00 

Taxes, 50 years, at 1.5 per cent 150 00 

Interest on taxes equal 25 years, at G per cent 225 00 

$7,710 25 
Product of first euttins at Ihe end of 20 ye.irs: 13,000 
trees, less 20 per cent for casualties; 10,400 trees, or 20,- 

800 fence-posts, at 20 (?ents $4,1G0 00 

Product of second cutting at llie end of 30 years: 10,- 
[^200 trees, less 10 per cent for casualties; 'J,180 trees, 

or 18,3G0 sleei)ers, at 50 cents $9,180 CO 

And 9.180 fence-posts, at 25 cents 2,295 00 

$11,475 00 

Product of third cutting at tlie end of 50 years: 4,000 trees, 
less 5 per cent for casualties; 3,8C0 piles, worth $5.00 

eacli $19,000 00 

And 7,600 sleepers, worth 50 cents 3,800 00 

$22,8C0 00 

Land at cost 200 00 

$38,035 00 
Thirty years' interest on $4,160, at per cent . . . $7,488 00 

Twenty years' interest ou $11,475, at G per cent . . . 13.770 00 

$21,258 00 

$59,993 00 
Profit 52,282 75* 

There are within the limits of the State fully 200,000 acres of unim- 
proved land which could with advantage be at once covered with larch 

For the sake of keeping these estimates within reasonable bounds let 
us suppose that these 200,000 acres will, in the natural course of events, 

* Equal to about 13 per cent per annum for the entire fifty years, after returning 
the original capital invested. 


produce during the next fifty 3-ears one hundred cords of fircAvood to the 
acre, worth i?G a cord. Tliis would make their total yield for tlie fifty 
years ^120,000,000. If they were planted with larch, their net yield, 
according to my estimate, during the same time, would be Sl,04o,GiJ0,000; 
but that we may judge how much such an operation would add to the 
wealth of the community, we must deduct from this amount the value of 
the wood which we suppose avouUI be produced naturally, or $120,000,000. 
That sum being subtracted, we have left as created wealth the resiiect- 
able sum of $925,000, 000. 

There is no branch of agriculture at once so pleasant and so produc- 
tive of possible gains, as farming on paper. It is a dangerous pastime, 
however, and often leads into grave errors, and great dangers, as the 
agricultural population has learned to its cost. In this case it will be 
well to be on the safe side. The larch, in common with other plants, is 
liable to disease; it is pre3'ed on by many insects, and our plantations 
may be often injured by fire, bad management, and other dangers now 

In view of such chances, let us reduce the total yield of our ten acres 
of larch a little more than one half, and be content with a profit of only 
six per cent per annum on the capital invested. 

Such a diminution of yield would reduce the amount I suppose would 
spring, in the course of fifty years, from the 200,000 acres of larch, to 

If we can add 88,000,000 annually to the net product of the agriculture 
of Massachusetts by replanting a small portion of our nearl}"^ worthless 
lands with trees, the mere material gain to our wealth is worth striving for 
But when Ave consider that this is an operation which will bring benefits 
to the State far beyond any direct material gain, it becomes the moral duty 
of every citizen to continue his efforts in this direction until every land- 
owner shall be convinced that tree-planting is a patriotic act, and that we 
owe it to our descendants to leave the land at least as productive and 
pleasant as Ave i-eceived it. It is Avithin the power of many to give direct 
assistance to such an undertaking. The Avealthy and powerful corpora- 
tions depending on a supply of Avater for their existence will do avcU to 
reflect on the dangers Avhich threaten them through the destruction of 
the forests, and consider Avhat steps they can take to avert them. 

The railroads, the most dependent of all our corporations on a supply 
of Avood for their daily consumption and increased traffic, must soon, in 
self-defence, turn their attention to arboriculture. But, in this com- 
munity, Ave must look to individual enterprise and individual intelligence 
if Ave expect to see any considerable portion of this State re-covered with 
forest groAA'th; and to the farmers, more than to any other class, must be 
left the solution of the difllicullies and dangers, Avhich the forest question 

To-day, I can offer them no better advice than that of the dying old 
Scotchman to his son, — " Ye may be aye sticking in a tree, Jock; it Avill 
be groAviu' Avheu ye're sleepin'." 


000 149 873 3