Sylva, Vol. 1 (of 2) - Or A Discourse of Forest Trees
by John Evelyn
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3. I shall not need to repeat what has already been said Cap. 2. concerning the raising of this tree from the acorn; they will also endure the laying, but never to advantage of bulk or stature: It is in the mean time the propagation of these large spreading oaks, which is especially recommended for the excellency of the timber, and that his Majesties forests were well and plentifully stor'd with them; because they require room, and space to amplifie and expand themselves, and would therefore be planted at more remote distances, and free from all encumbrances: And this upon consideration how slowly a full-grown oak mounts upwards, and how speedily they spread, and dilate themselves to all quarters, by dressing and due culture; so as above forty years advance is to be gain'd by this only industry: And, if thus his Majesties forests and chases were stor'd, viz. with this spreading tree at handsom intervals, by which grazing might be improv'd for the feeding of deer and cattel under them, (for such was the old Saltus) benignly visited with the gleams of the sun, and adorn'd with the distant land-skips appearing through the glades, and frequent vallies;

(..............................betwixt Whose rows the azure sky is seen immix'd, With hillocks, vales, and fields, as now we see Distinguish'd in a sweet variety; Such places which wild apple-trees throughout Adorn, and happy shrubs grow all about,){35:1}

As the poet describes his olive-groves, nothing could be more ravishing; for so we might also sprinkle fruit-trees amongst them (of which hereafter) for cyder, and many singular uses, and should find such goodly plantations the boast of our rangers, and forests infinitely preferable to any thing we have yet beheld, rude, and neglected as they are: I say, when his Majesty shall proceed (as he hath design'd) to animate this laudable pride into fashion, forests and woods (as well as fields and inclosures) will present us with another face than now they do. And here I cannot but applaud the worthy industry of old Sir Harbotle Grimstone, who (I am told) from a very small nursery of acorns, which he sow'd in the neglected corners of his ground, did draw forth such numbers of oaks of competent growth; as being planted about his fields in even, and uniform rows, about one hundred foot from the hedges; bush'd, and well water'd till they had sufficiently fix'd themselves, did wonderfully improve both the beauty, and the value of his demeasnes. But I proceed.

4. Both these kinds would be taken up very young, and transplanted about October; some yet for these hardy, and late springing trees, defer it till the winter be well over; but the earth had need be moist; and though they will grow tolerably in most grounds, yet do they generally affect the sound, black, deep, and fast mould, rather warm than over-wet and cold, and a little rising; for this produces the firmest timber; though my L. Bacon prefers that which grows in the moister grounds for ship-timber, as the most tough, and less subject to rift. But let us hear Pliny:

This is a general rule, saith he; "What trees soever they be which grow tolerably, either on hills, or valleys, arise to greater stature, and spread more amply in the lower ground: But the timber is far better, and of a finer grain, which grows upon the mountains, excepting only apple and pear-trees." And in the 39 cap. lib. 16. "The timber of those trees which grow in moist and shady places is not so good as that which comes from a more expos'd situation, nor is it so close, substantial and durable":

Upon which he much prefers the timber growing in Tuscany, before that towards the Venetian side, and upper part of the Gulph: And that timber so grown, was in greatest esteem long before Pliny, we have the Spear of Agamemnon........... echon anemotrephes enchos. Il. l.{37:1} from a tree so expos'd; and Didymus gives the reason, Ta gar en anemo (says he) pleion gymnazomena deudra oterea &c. For that being continually weather-beaten, they become hardier and tougher: Otherwise, that which is wind-shaken, never comes to good; and therefore, when we speak of the climate, 'tis to be understood of valleys rather than hills, and in calm places, than exposed, because they shoot streight and upright. The result of all is, that upon occasion of special timber, there is a very great and considerable difference; so as some oaken-timber proves manifestly weaker, more spungy, and sooner decaying than other. The like may be affirm'd of ash, and other kinds; and generally speaking, the close-grain'd is the stoutest, and most permanent: But of this, let the industrious consult that whole tenth chapter in the second book of Vitruvius, where he expresly treats of this argument, De Abiete supernate & infernate, cum Apennini descriptione: Where we note concerning oak, that it neither prospers in very hot, nor excessive cold countries; and therefore there is little good of it to be found in Africa; or indeed, the lower and most southern parts of Italy (but the Venetians have excellent timber) nor in Denmark, or Norway comparable to ours; it chiefly affecting a temperate climate, and where they grow naturally in abundance, 'tis a promising mark of it. If I were to make choice of the place, or the tree, it should be such as grows in the best cow-pasture, or up-land meadow, where the mould is rich, and sweet, (Suffolk affords an admirable instance) and in such places you may also transplant large trees with extraordinary success: And therefore it were not amiss to bore and search the ground where you intend to plant or sow, before you fall to work; since earth too shallow, or rocky is not so proper for this timber; the roots fix not kindly, and though for a time they may seem to flourish, yet they will dwindle: In the mean time, 'tis wonderful to consider how strangely the oak will penetrate to come to a marly bottom; so as where we find this tree to prosper, the indication of a fruitful and excellent soil is certain even by the token of this natural augury only; so as by the plantation of this tree and some others, we have the advantage of profit rais'd from the pregnancy, substance and depth of our land; whilst by the grass and corn, (whose roots are but a few inches deep), we have the benefit of the crust only.

5. But to discourage none, oaks prosper exceedingly even in gravel and moist clays, which most other trees abhor; yea, even the coldest clay-grounds that will hardly graze: But these trees will frequently make stands, as they encounter variety of footing, and sometimes proceed again vigorously, as they either penetrate beyond, or out-grow their obstructions, and meet better earth; which is of that consequence, that I dare boldly affirm, more than an hundred years advance is clearly gain'd by soil and husbandry. I have yet read, that there grow oaks, (some of which have contain'd ten loads apiece) out of the very walls of Silcester in Hantshire, which seem to strike root in the very stones; and even in our renowned Forest of Dean itself, some goodly oaks have been noted to grow upon ground, which has been as it were a rock of ancient cinders, buried there many ages since. It is indeed obser'd, that oaks which grow in rough stony grounds, and obstinate clays, are long before they come to any considerable stature, (for such places, and all sort of clay, is held but a step-mother to trees) but in time they afford the most excellent timber, having stood long, and got good footing. The same may we affirm of the lightest sands, which produces a smoother-grain'd timber, of all other the most useful for the joyner; but that which grows in gravel is subject to be frow (as they term it) and brittle. What improvement the stirring of the ground about the roots of oaks is to the trees, I have already hinted; and yet in copses where they stand warm, and so thicken'd with the underwood, as this culture cannot be practis'd, they prove in time to be goodly trees. I have of late tried the graffing of oaks, but as yet with slender success: Ruellius indeed affirms it will take the pear and other fruit; and if we may credit the poet,

The sturdy oak does golden apples bear.{39:1}

And under elms swine do the mast devour.{39:2}

Which I conceive to be the more probable, for that the sap of the oak is of an unkind tincture to most trees. But for this improvement, I would rather advise inoculation, as the ordinary elm upon the witch-hazel, for those large leaves we shall anon mention, and which are so familiar in France.

6. That the transplanting of young oaks gains them ten years advance, some happy persons have affirmed: From this belief, if in a former impression I have desired to be excused, and produc'd my reasons for it, I shall not persist against any sober man's experience; and therefore leave this article to their choice; since (as the butchers phrase is) change of pasture makes fat calves; and so transplantations of these hard-wood-trees, when young, may possibly, by an happy hand, in fit season, and other circumstances of soil, sun, and room for growth, be an improvement: But as for those who advise us to plant oaks of too great a stature, they hardly make any considerable progress in an age; and therefore I cannot encourage it, unless the ground be extraordinarily qualify'd, or that the oak you would transplant, be not above 6 or 7 foot growth in height: Yet if any be desirous to make tryal of it, let their stems be of the smoothest and tenderest bark; for that is ever an indication of youth, as well as the paucity of their circles, which in disbranching and cutting the head off, at five or six foot height (a thing, by the way, which the French usually spare when they transplant this tree) may (before you stir their roots) serve for the more certain guide; and then plant them immediately, with as much earth as will adhere to them, in the place destin'd for their station; abating only the{41:1} tap-root, which is that down-right, and stubby part of the roots (which all trees rais'd of seeds do universally produce) and quickning some of the rest with a sharp knife (but sparing the fibrous, which are the main suckers and mouths of all trees) spread them in the foss or pit which hath been prepar'd to receive them. I say, in the foss, unless you will rather trench the whole field, which is incomparably the best; and infinitely to be preferr'd before narrow pits and holes (as the manner is) in case you plant any number considerable, the earth being hereby made loose, easier and penetrable for the roots, about which you are to cast that mould, which (in opening of the trench) you took from the surface, and purposely laid apart; because it is sweet, mellow, and better impregnated: But in this work, be circumspect never to inter your stem deeper than you found it standing; for profound burying very frequently destroys a tree, though an error seldom observed: If therefore the roots be sufficiently covered to keep the body steady and erect, it is enough; and the not minding of this trifling circumstance, does very much deceive our ordinary wood-men, as well as gardiners; for most roots covet the air (though that of the Quercus urbano least of any); for like the Esculus

How much to heaven her towring head ascends, So much towards hell her piercing root extends.{41:2}

And the perfection of that, does almost as much concern the prosperity of a tree, as of man himself, since homo is but arbor inversa; which prompts me to this curious, but important advertisement, that the position be likewise sedulously observed.

7. For, the southern parts being more dilated, and the pores expos'd (as evidently appears in their horizontal sections) by the constant excentricity of the hyperbolical circles of all trees, (save just under AEquator, where the circles concentre, as we find in those hard woods which grow there) ours, being now on the sudden, and at such a season converted to the north, does starve and destroy more trees (how careful soever men have been in ordering the roots, and preparing the ground,) than any other accident whatsoever (neglect of staking, and defending from cattle excepted); the importance whereof caused the best of poets, and most experienc'd in this Argument, giving advice concerning this article, to add.

The card'nal points upon the bark they sign, And as before it stood, in the same line Place to warm south, or the obverted pole; Such force has custom, in each tender soul.{42:1}

Which monition, though Pliny, and some others think good to neglect, or esteem indifferent, I can confirm from frequent losses of my own, and by particular tryals; having sometimes transplanted great trees at mid-summer with success (the earth adhering to the roots) and miscarried in others, where this circumstance only was omitted.

To observe therefore the coast, and side of the stock (especially of fruit-trees) is not such a trifle as by some pretended: For if the air be as much the mother or nurse, as water and earth, (as more than probable it is) such blossoming plants as court the motion of the meridian sun, do as 't were evidently point out the advantage they receive by their position, by the clearness, politure, and comparative splendor of the southside: And the frequent mossiness of trees on the opposite side, does sufficiently note the unkindness of that aspect; most evident in the bark of oaks white and smooth; the trees growing more kindly on the south side of an hill, than those which are expos'd to the north, with an hard, dark, rougher and more mossie integument, as I can now demonstrate in a prodigious coat of it, investing some pyracanths which I have removed to a northern dripping shade. I have seen (writes a worthy friend to me on this occasion) whole hedge-rows of apples and pears that quite perished after that shelter was removed: The good husbands expected the contrary, and that the fruit should improve, as freed from the proedations of the hedge; but use and custom made that shelter necessary; and therefore (saith he) a stock for a time is the weaker, taken out of a thicket, if it be not well protected from all sudden and fierce invasions, either of crude air or winds. Nor let any be deterr'd, if being to remove any trees, he shall esteem it too consumptive of time; for with a brush dipped in any white colour, or oaker, a thousand may be marked as they stand, in a moment; and that once done, the difficulty is over. I have been the larger upon these two remarks, because I find them so material, and yet so much neglected.

8. There are other rules concerning the situation of trees; the former author commending the north-east-wind both for the flourishing of the tree, and advantage of the timber; but to my observation in our climates, where those sharp winds do rather flanker than blow fully opposite upon our plantations, they thrive best; and there are as well other circumstances to be considered, as they respect rivers and marshes obnoxious to unwholsom and poysonous fogs, hills and seas, which expose them to the weather; and those silvifragi venti, our cruel and tedious western-winds; all which I leave to observation, because these accidents do so universally govern, that it is not easie to determine farther than that the timber is commonly better qualified which hath endur'd the colder aspects without these prejudices. And hence it is that Seneca observes, wood most expos'd to the winds to be the most strong and solid, and that therefore Chiron made Achilles's spear of a mountain-tree; and of those the best, which grow thin, not much shelter'd from the north. Again, Theophrastus seems to have special regard to places; exemplifying in many of Greece, which exceeded others for good timber, as doubtless do our oaks in the Forest of Dean all others of England: And much certainly there may reasonably be attributed to these advantages for the growth of timber, and of almost all other trees, as we daily see by their general improsperity, where the ground is a hot gravel, and a loose earth: An oak, or elm in such a place shall not in an hundred years, overtake one of fifty, planted in its proper soil; though next to this, and (haply) before it, I prefer the good air. But thus have they such vast junipers in Spain; and the ash in some parts of the Levant (as of old near Troy) so excellent, as it was after mistaken for cedar, so great was the difference; as now the Cantabrian, or Spanish exceeds any we have elsewhere in Europe. And we shall sometimes in our own country see woods within a little of each other, and to all appearance, growing on the same soil, where oaks of twenty years growth, or forty, will in the same bulk, contain their double in heart and timber; and that in one, the heart will not be so big as a man's arm, when the trunk exceeds a man's body: This ought therefore to be weighed in the first plantation of copses, and a good eye may discern it in the first shoot; the difference proceeding doubtless from the variety of the seed, and therefore great care should be had of its goodness, and that it be gather'd from the best sort of trees, as was formerly hinted, Chap. 1.

9. Veterem arborem transplantare was said of a difficult enterprize; yet before we take leave of this paragraph, concerning the transplanting of great trees, and to shew what is possible to be effected in this kind, with cost and industry; Count Maurice (the late Governor of Brasil for the Hollanders) planted a grove near his delicious paradise of Friburgh, containing six hundred coco-trees of eighty years growth, and fifty foot high to the nearest bough: These he wafted upon floats and engines, four long miles; and planted them so luckily, that they bare abundantly the very first year; as Gasper Barloeus hath related in his Elegant Description of that Prince's Expedition. Nor hath this only succeeded in the Indies alone; Monsieur de Fiat (one of the Mareschals of France) hath with huge oaks done the like at Fiat. Shall I yet bring you nearer home? A great person in Devon, planted oaks as big as twelve oxen could draw, to supply some defect in an avenue to one of his houses; as the Right Honourable the Lord Fitz-Harding, late Treasurer of His Majesty's Household, assur'd me; who had himself likewise practis'd the removing of great oaks by a particular address extreamly ingenious, and worthy the communication.

10. Chuse a tree as big as your thigh, remove the earth from about him; cut through all the collateral roots, till with a competent strength you can enforce him down upon one side, so as to come with your ax at the top-root; cut that off, redress your tree, and so let it stand cover'd about with the mould you loosen'd from it, till the next year, or longer if you think good; then take it up at a fit season; it will likely have drawn new tender roots apt to take, and sufficient for the tree, wheresoever you shall transplant him. Some are for laying bare the whole roots, and then dividing it into 4 parts, in form of a cross, to cut away the interjacent rootlings, leaving only the cross and master-roots, that were spared to support the tree; and then covering the pit with fresh mould (as above) after a year or two, when it has put forth, and furnish'd the interstices you left between the cross-roots, with plenty of new fibers and tender shoots, you may safely remove the tree itself, so soon as you have loosened and reduc'd the 4 decusseted roots, and shortned the top-roots: And this operation is done without stooping or bending the tree at all: And if in removing it with as much of the clod about the new roots, as possible, it would be much the better.

Pliny notes it as a common thing, to re-establish huge trees which have been blown down, part of their roots torn up, and the body prostrate; and, in particular, of a firr, that when it was to be transplanted, had a top-root which went no less than eight cubits perpendicular; and to these I could superadd (by woful experience) where some oaks, and other old trees of mine, tore up with their fall and ruin, portions of earth (in which their former spreading roots were ingag'd) little less in bulk and height than some ordinary cottages and houses, built on the common: Such havock, was the effect of the late prodigious hurricane. But to proceed. To facilitate the removal of such monstrous trees, for the adornment of some particular place, or the rarity of the plant, there is this farther expedient: A little before the hardest frosts surprise you, make a square trench about your tree, at such distance from the stem as you judge sufficient for the root; dig this of competent depth, so as almost quite to undermine it; by placing blocks and quarters of wood, to sustain the earth; this done, cast in as much water as may fill the trench, or at least sufficiently wet it, unless the ground were very moist before. Thus let it stand, till some very hard frost do bind it firmly to the roots, and then convey it to the pit prepar'd for its new station, which you may preserve from freezing, by laying store of warm litter in it, and so close the mould the better to the stragling fibers, placing what you take out about your new guest, to preserve it in temper: But in case the mould about it be so ponderous as not to be remov'd by an ordinary force; you may then raise it with a crane or pully, hanging between a triangle (or like machine) which is made of three strong and tall limbs united at the top, where a pully is fastned, as the cables are to be under the quarters which bear the earth about the roots: For by this means you may weigh up, and place the whole weighty clod upon a trundle, sledge, or other carriage, to be convey'd and replanted where you please, being let down perpendicularly into the place by the help of the foresaid engine. And by this address you may transplant trees of a wonderful stature, without the least disorder; and many times without topping, or diminution of the head, which is of great importance, where this is practis'd to supply a defect, or remove a curiosity.

11. Some advise, that in planting of oaks, &c. four or five be suffer'd to stand very near to one another, and then to leave the most prosperous, when they find the rest to disturb his growth; but I conceive it were better to plant them at such distances, as they may least incommode one another: For timber-trees, I would have none nearer than forty foot where they stand closest; especially of the spreading kind.

12. Lastly, trees of ordinary stature transplanted (being first well water'd) must be sufficiently staked, and bush'd about with thorns, or with something better, to protect them from the concussions of the winds, and from the casual rubbing, and poysonous brutting of cattle and sheep, the oyliness of whose wooll is also very noxious to them; till being well grown and fixed (which by seven years will be to some competent degree) they shall be able to withstand all accidental invasions, but the axe; for I am now come to their pruning and cutting, in which work the seasons are of main importance.

13. Therefore, if you would propagate trees for timber, cut not off their heads at all, nor be too busie with lopping: But if you desire shade and fuel, or bearing of mast alone, lop off their tops, sear, and unthriving branches only: If you intend an outright felling, expect till November; for this proemature cutting down of trees before the sap is perfectly at rest, will be to your exceeding prejudice, by reason of the worm, which will certainly breed in timber which is felled before that period: But in case you cut only for the chimney, you need not be so punctual as to the time; yet for the benefit of what you let stand, observe the moon's increase if you please. The reason of these differences, is; because this is the best season for the growth of the tree which you do not fell, the other for the durableness of the timber which you do: Now that which is to be burnt is not so material for lasting, as the growth of the tree is considerable for the timber: But of these particulars more at large in cap. 3. book III.

14. The very stumps of oak, especially that part which is dry, and above ground, being well grubb'd, is many times worth the pains and charge, for sundry rare and hard works; and where timber is dear. I could name some who abandoning this to workmen for their pains only, when they perceiv'd the great advantage, repented of their bargain, and undertaking it themselves, were gainers above half: I wish only for the expedition of this knotty work, some effectual engine were devised; such as I have been told a worthy person of this nation made use of, by which he was able with one man, to perform more than with twelve oxen; and surely, there might be much done by fastning of iron-hooks and fangs about one root, to extract another; the hook chain'd to some portable screw or winch: I say, such an invention might effect wonders, not only for the extirpation of roots, but the prostrating of huge trees: That small engine, which by some is call'd the german-devil, reform'd after this manner, and duly applied, might be very expedient for this purpose, and therefore we have exhibited the following figure, and submit it to improvement and tryal.

But this is to be practis'd only where you design a final extirpation; for some have drawn suckers even from an old stub-root; but they certainly perish by the moss which invades them, and are very subject to grow rotten. Pliny speaks of one root, which took up an entire acre of ground, and Theophrastus describes the Lycean Platanus to have spread an hundred foot; if so, the argument may hold good for their growth after the tree is come to its period. They made cups of the roots of oaks heretofore, and such a curiosity Athenaeus tells us was carv'd by Thericleus himself; and there is a way so to tinge oak after long burying and soaking in water, (which gives it a wonderful politure) as that it has frequently been taken for a course ebony: Hence even by floating, comes the Bohemian oak, Polish, and other northern timber, to be of such excellent use for some parts of shipping: But the blackness which we find in oaks, that have long lain under ground, (and may be call'd subterranean timber) proceeds from some vitriolic juice of the bed in which they lie, which makes it very weighty; but (as the excellent naturalist and learned physician Dr. Sloane observes) it dries, splits, and becomes light, and much impairs.

15. There is not in nature a thing more obnoxious to deceit, than the buying of trees standing, upon the reputation of their appearance to the eye, unless the chapman be extraordinarily judicious; so various are their hidden and conceal'd infirmities, till they be fell'd and sawn out: So as if to any thing applicable, certainly there is nothing which does more perfectly confirm it, than the most flourishing out-side of trees, fronti nulla fides. A timber-tree is a merchant-adventurer, you shall never know what he is worth till he be dead.

16. Oaks are in some places (where the soil is especially qualified) ready to be cut for cops in fourteen years and sooner; I compute from the first semination; though it be told as an instance of high encouragement (and as indeed it merits) that a lady in Northamptonshire sowed acorns, and liv'd to cut the trees produc'd from them, twice in two and twenty years; and both as well grown as most are in sixteen or eighteen. This yet is certain, that acorns set in hedg-rows, have in thirty years born a stem of a foot diameter. Generally, cops-wood should be cut close, and at such intervals as the growth requires; which being seldom constant, depends much on the places and the kinds, the mould and the air, and for which there are extant particular statutes to direct us; of all which more at large hereafter. Oak for tan-bark may be fell'd from April to the last of June, by a Statute in the 1 Jacobi. And here some are for the disbarking of oaks, and so to let them stand, before they fell.

17. To enumerate now the incomparable uses of this wood, were needless; but so precious was the esteem of it, that of old there was an express law amongst the Twelve Tables, concerning the very gathering of the acorns, though they should be found fallen into another man's ground: The land and the sea do sufficiently speak for the improvement of this excellent material; houses and ships, cities and navies are built with it; and there is a kind of it so tough, and extreamly compact, that our sharpest tools will hardly enter it, and scarcely the very fire it self, in which it consumes but slowly, as seeming to partake of a ferruginous and metallin shining nature, proper for sundry robust uses. It is doubtless of all timber hitherto known, the most universally useful and strong; for though some trees be harder, as box, cornus, ebony, and divers of the Indian woods; yet we find them more fragil, and not so well qualify'd to support great incumbencies and weights, nor is there any timber more lasting, which way soever us'd. There has (we know) been no little stir amongst learned men, of what material the Cross was made, on which our Blessed Saviour suffer'd: Venerable Bede in Collectaneis, affirms it to have been fram'd of several woods, namely cypress, cedar, pine, and box; and to confirm it S. Hierom has cited the 6th of Isaiah 13. Gloria libani ad te veniet, & buxus & pinus simul ad ornandum locum sanctificationis meae, & locum pedum meorum significabo; but following the version of the LXX. he reads in cupresso, pinu & cedro, &c. Others insert the palm, and so compose the gibbet of no less than four different timbers, according to the old verse:

Nail'd were his feet to cedar, to palm his hands; Cypress his Body bore, title on olive stands:{52:1}

And for this of the palm, they fetch it from that of 7 Cant. 8. where 'tis said, ascendam in palmam, & apprehendam fructus ejus, and from other allegorical and mysterious expressions of the Sacred Text, without any manner of probability; whilst by Alphonsus Ciacconius, Lipsius, Angelus Rocca, Falconius, and divers other learned men (writing on this subject) and upon accurate examination of the many fragments pretended to be parcels of it, 'tis generally concluded to have been the oak; and I do verily believe it; since those who have described those countries, assure us there is no tree more frequent; which (with relation to several celebrations and mysteries under oaks in the Old Testament) has been the subject of many fine discourses. Nor is it likely they should chuse, or assemble so many sorts of woods with that curiosity, to execute one upon, whom they esteemed a malefactor; besides, we read how heavy it was, which cypress, cedar and palm are not in comparison with oak; whilst Gretser denies all this, lib. 1. cap. 6. and concludes upon his accurate examination of several fragments yet extant, that 'tis not discernible of what timber it was fram'd. We might add to these, the furious zeal of the bloody and malicious Jews (to see our B. Lord inhumanly executed) could not possibly allow leisure to frame a gibbet of so many rare and curious materials: Let this therefore pass for an errant legend.

That which is twin'd and a little wreathed (easily to be discern'd by the texture of the bark) is best to support burthens for posts, columns, summers, &c. for all which our English oak is infinitely preferable to the French, which is nothing so useful, nor comparably so strong; insomuch as I have frequently admir'd at the sudden failing of most goodly timber to the eye, which being employ'd to these uses, does many times most dangerously fly in sunder, as wanting that native spring and toughness which our English oak is indu'd withal. And here we forget not the stress which Sir H. Wotton, and other architects put even in the very position of their growth, their native streightness and loftiness, for columns, supporters, cross-beams, &c. and 'tis found that the rough-grain'd body of a stubbed oak, is the fittest timber for the case of a cyder-mill, and such like engines, as best enduring the unquietness of a ponderous rolling-stone. For shingles, pales, lathes, coopers ware, clap-board for wainscot, (the ancient{54:1} intestina opera and works within doors) and some pannells are curiously vein'd, of much esteem in former times, till the finer grain'd Spanish and Norway timber came amongst us, which is likewise of a whiter colour. There is in New-England a certain red-oak, which being fell'd, they season in some moist and muddy place, which branches into very curious works. It is observ'd that oak will not easily glue to other wood; no not very well with its own kind; and some sorts will never cohere tolerably, as the box and horn-beam, tho' both hard woods; so nor service with cornell, &c. Oak is excellent for wheel-spokes, pins and pegs for tyling, &c. Mr. Blith makes spars and small building-timber of oaks of eleven years growth, which is a prodigious advance, &c. The smallest and streightest is best, discover'd by the upright tenor of the bark, as being the most proper for cleaving: The knottiest for water-works, piles, and the like, because 'twill drive best, and last longest; the crooked, yet firm, for knee-timber in shipping, millwheels, &c. In a word, how absolutely necessary the oak is above all the trees of the forest in naval-architecture, &c. consult Whitson, lib. 1. cap. 13.

Were planting of these woods more in use, we should banish our hoops of hazel, &c. for those of good copse-oak, which being made of the younger shoots, are exceeding tough and strong: One of them being of ground-oak, will outlast six of the best ash; but this our coopers love not to hear of, who work by the great for sale, and for others. The smaller trunchions and spray, make billet, bavine and coals; and the bark is of price with the tanner and dyer, to whom the very saw-dust is of use, as are the ashes and lee for bucking linnen; and to cure the roapishness of wine: And 'tis probable the cups of our acorns would tan leather as well as the bark, I wonder no body makes the experiment, as it is done in Turky with the valonia, which is a kind of acorn growing on the oaks. The ground-oak, while young, is us'd for poles, cudgels and walking-staffs, much come into mode of late, but to the wast of many a hopeful plant which might have prov'd good timber; and I the rather declaim against the custom, because I suspect they are such as are for the most part cut, and stolen by idle persons, and brought up to London in great bundles, without the knowledge or leave of the owners, who would never have glean'd their copses for such trifling uses. Here I am again to give a general notice of the peculiar excellency of the roots of most trees, for fair, beautiful, chamleted and lasting timber, applicable to many purposes; such as formerly made hafts for daggers, hangers, knives, handles for staves, tabacco-boxes, and elegant joyners-work, and even for some mathematical instruments of the larger size, to be had either in, or near the roots of many trees; however 'tis a kindness to premonish stewards and surveyors, that they do not negligently wast those materials: Nor may we here omit to mention tables for painters, which heretofore were us'd by the most famous artists, especially the curious pieces of Raphael, Durer, and Holbin, and before that of canvass, and much more lasting: To these add the galls, misletoe, polypod, agaric (us'd in antidotes) uvae, fungus's to make tinder, and many other useful excrescencies, to the number of above twenty, which doubtless discover the variety of transudations, percolations and contextures of this admirable tree; but of the several fruits, and animals generated of them, and other trees, Francisco Redi promises an express Treatise, in his Esperienze intorno alla Generatione de gl' Insetti, already publish'd. Pliny affirms, that the galls break out all together in one night, about the beginning of June, and arrive to their full growth in one day; this I should recommend to the experience of some extraordinary vigilant wood-man, had we any of our oaks that produc'd them, Italy and Spain being the nearest that do: Galls are of several kinds, but grow upon a different species of robur from any of ours, which never arrive to any maturity; the white and imperforated are the best; of all which, and their several species, see Jasp. Bauhinus, and the excellent Malpighius, in his Discourse de Gallis, and other morbous tumors, raised by, and producing insects, infecting the leaves, stalks and branches of this tree with a venomous liquor or froth, wherein they lay and deposite their eggs, which bore and perforate these excrescences, when the worms are hatch'd, so as we see them in galls.

What benefit the mast does universally yield (once in two years at least) for the fatting of hogs and deer, I shall shew upon another occasion, before the conclusion of this Discourse. A peck of acorns a day, with a little bran, will make an hog ('tis said) increase a pound-weight per diem for two months together. They give them also to oxen mingled with bran, chop'd or broken; otherwise they are apt to sprout and grow in their bellies. Others say, they should first be macerated in water, to extract their malignity; cattle many times perishing without this preparation. Cato advises the husband-man to reserve 240 bushels of acorns for his oxen, mingled with a like quantity of beans and lupines, and to drench them well. But in truth they are more proper for swine, and being so made small, will fatten pidgeons, peacocks, turkeys, pheasants and poultry; nay 'tis reported, that some fishes feed on them, especially the tunny, in such places of the coast where trees hang over arms of the sea. Acorns, esculus ab esca (before the use of wheat-corn was found out) were heretofore the food of men, nay of Jupiter himself, (as well as other productions of the earth) till their luxurious palats were debauched: And even in the Romans time, the custom was in Spain to make a second service of acorns and mast, (as the French now do of marrons and chesnuts) which they likewise used to rost under the embers.

........Fed with the oaken mast The aged trees themselves in years surpass'd.{57:1}

And men had indeed hearts of oak; I mean, not so hard, but health, and strength, and liv'd naturally, and with things easily parable and plain.

Blest age o'th' world, just nymph, when man did dwell Under thy shade, whence his provision fell; Sallads the meal, wildings were the dissert: No tree yet learn'd by ill-example, art, With insititious fruit to symbolize, As in an emblem, our adulteries.{58:1}

As the sweet poet bespeaks the dryad; and therefore it was not call'd Quercus, (as some etymologists fancy'd) because the Pagans (quaeribantur responsa) had their oracles under it, but because they sought for acorns: But 'tis in another{58:2} place where I shew you what this acorn was; and even now I am told, that those small young acorns which we find in the stock-doves craws, are a delicious fare, as well as those incomparable salads of young herbs taken out of the maws of partridges at a certain season of the year, which gives them a preparation far exceeding all the art of cookery. Oaks bear also a knur, full of a cottony matter, of which they anciently made wick for their lamps and candles; and among the Selectiora Remedia of Jo. Praevotius, there is mention of an oil e querna glande chymically extracted, which he affirms to be of the longest continuance, and least consumptive of any other whatsoever for such lights, ita ut uncia singulis mensibus vix ab sumatur continuo igne: The ingenious author of the Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, tells us, that (upon his own experience) a rod of oak of 4, 5, 6 or 8 inches about, being twisted like a with, boil'd in wort, well dry'd, and kept in a little bundle of barley-straw, and then steep'd again in wort, causes it to ferment, and procures yest: The rod should be cut before mid-May, and is frequently us'd in this manner to furnish yest, and being preserv'd, will serve, and produce the same effect many years together; and (as the historian affirms) that he was shew'd a piece of a thick wyth, which had been kept for making ale with for above 20 years, &c. In the mean time, the leaves of oaks abundantly congested on snow, preserve it as well for wine, as a deep pit, or the most artificial refrigeratory. Nor must we pass by the sweet mel-dews, so much more copiously found on the leaves of this tree, than any other; whence the industrious bees gather such abundance of honey, as that instead of carrying it to their hives, they glut themselves to death: But from this ill report (hastily taken up by Euricius Cordus) our learned Mr. Ray has vindicated this temperat and abstemious useful creature. Varro affirms, they made salt of oak ashes, with which they sometimes seasoned meat, but more frequently made use of it to sprinkle among, and fertilize their seed-corn: Which minds me of a certain oak found buried somewhere in Transilvania, near the Salt-pits, that was entirely converted into an hard salt, when they came to examine it by cutting. This experiment (if true) may possibly encourage some other attempts for the multiplying of salt: Nor less strange is that which some report of a certain water somewhere in Hungary, which transmutes the leaves of this tree into brass, and iron into copper. Of the galls is made trial of spaw-water, and the ground and basis of several dies, especially sadder colours, and are a great revenue to those who have quantities of them: Nor must I forget ink, compos'd of galls {oz}iiij, coppras {oz}ij, gum-arabic {oz}i: Beat the galls grossly, and put them into a quart of claret, or French-wine, and let them soak for eight or nine days, setting the vessel (an earthen glaz'd pitcher is best) in the hot sun, if made in summer; in winter near the fire, stirring it frequently with a wooden spatula: Then add the coppras and gum, and after it has stood a day or two, it will be fit to use. There are a world of receipts more, of which see Caneparius de Atramentis. Of the very moss of the oak, that which is white, composes the choicest cypress-powder, which is esteemed good for the head; but impostors familiarly vend other mosses under that name, as they do the fungi (excellent in hemorages and fluxes) for the true agaric, to the great scandal of physick. Young red oaken leaves decocted in wine, make an excellent gargle for a sore mouth; and almost every part of this tree is soveraign against fluxes in general, and where astringents are proper. The dew that impearls the leaves in May, insolated, meteorizes and sends up a liquor, which is of admirable effect in ruptures: The liquor issuing out between the bark, (which looks like treakle) has many soveraign vertues; and some affirm, the water stagnate in the hollow stump of a newly fell'd oak, is as effectual as lignum sanctum in the foul disease, and also stops a diarrhaea: And a water distill'd from the acorns is good against the pthisick, stitch in the side, and heals inward ulcers, breaks the stone, and refrigerates inflammations, being applied with linnen dipp'd therein: nay, the acorns themselves eaten fasting, kill the worms, provoke urine, and (some affirm) break even the stone it self. The coals of oak beaten and mingled with honey, cures the carbuncle; to say nothing of the viscus's, polypods, and other excrescences, of which innumerable remedies are composed, noble antidotes, syrups, &c. Nay, 'tis reported, that the very shade of this tree is so wholesome, that the sleeping, or lying under it becomes a present remedy to paralyticks, and recovers those whom the mistaken malign influence of the walnut-tree has smitten: But what is still more strange, I read in one Paulus a Physician of Denmark, that an handful or two of small oak buttons, mingled with oats, given to horses which are black of colour, will in few days eating alter it to a fine dapple-grey, which he attributes to the vitriol abounding in this tree. To conclude; and upon serious meditation of the various uses of this and other trees, we cannot but take notice of the admirable mechanism of vegetables in general, as in particular in this species; that by the diversity of percolations and strainers, and by mixtures, as it were of divine chymistry, various concoctions, &c. the sap should be so green on the indented leaves, so lustily esculent for our hardier and rustick constitutions in the fruit; so flat and pallid in the atramental galls; and haply, so prognostick in the apple; so suberous in the bark (for even the cork-tree is but a courser oak) so oozie in the tanners pit; and in that subduction so wonderfully specifick in corroborating the entrails, and bladder, reins, loins, back, &c. which are all but the gifts and qualities, with many more, that these robust sons of the earth afford us; and that in other specifics, even the most despicable and vulgar elder imparts to us in its rind, leaves, buds, blossoms, berries, ears, pith, bark, &c. Which hint may also carry our remarks upon all the varieties of shape, leaf, seed, fruit, timber, grain, colour, and all those other forms {62:1} that philosophers have enumerated; but which were here too many for us to repeat. In a word, so great and universal is the benefit and use of this poly-crest, that they have prohibited the transporting it out of Norway, where there grows abundance. Let us end with the poet:

When ships for bloody combat we prepare, Oak affords plank, and arms our men of war; Maintains our fires, makes ploughs to till the ground, For use no timber like the oak is found.{62:2}


{31:1} Saturn. lib. II. cap. 16.


(Caerula distinguens inter plaga currere posset Per tumulos, & convalles, camposque profusa: Ut nunc esse vides vario distincta lepore Omnia, que pomis intersita dulcibus ornant Arbustisque tenent felicibus obsita circum).

Lucret. l. 5.

{37:1} See what Vossius has written in his Observations on Catullus, p. 204. Indomitus turbo contorquens flamine......


.....Aurea durae Mala ferant quercus.

Ecl. 8.


Glandemque sues fregere sub Ulmo.


{41:1} Which yet some, upon good experience will not allow in transplanting young Oaks; affirming the taking them up without any abatement, or the least wound, does exceedingly advance the growth of this tree above such as are depriv'd of it.


.......Quae quantum vertice ad auras AEthereas, tantum radice in Tartara tendit.

Geo. l. 2.


Quinetiam Coeli regionem in cortice signant, Ut quo quaeque modo steterit, qua parte calores Austrinos tulerit, quae terga obverterit axi, Restituant: Adeo in teneris consuescere multum est.

Geor. li. 1.


Quatuor ex lignis domini crux dicitur esse, &c. Pes crucis est cedrus, corpus tenet alta cupressus; Palma manus retinet, titulo laetatur oliva.

{54:1} And therefore were joyners called intestinary. See Leg. 2. Cod. Theodos.


.........Et querna glande repasta AEquasse annosas vivendo corpora Quercus.


Foelix illa aetas mundi, justissima nymphe, Cum dabat umbra domum vivam tua, cum domus ipsa Decidua dominos pascebat fruge quietos, Solaque praebebant sylvestria poma secundas Gramineis epulas mensis; nondum arte magistra Arbor adulteriis praeluserat insita nostris, &c.

Couleii Pl. l. 6.

{58:2} Cap. I. Book III.

{62:1} Of the ilex and cork (reckon'd among the glandiferus) see Book II. cap. V. and of the sacred and mysterious Missalto, Book III. cap. I.; see also more of quercus, Mr. Ray's Hist. Plan. tom. III. cap. De Quercus, tom. II. p. 1390.


Si quando armandae naves, & bella paranda, Det quercus nautis tabulata, det arma furori Bellantum; det ligna foco, det aratra colono, Aut aliis alios porro sumatur in usus.



Of the Elm.

1. Ulmus the elm, there are four or five sorts, and from the difference of the soil and air divers spurious: Two of these kinds are most worthy our culture, the vulgar, viz. the mountain elm, which is taken to be the oriptelea of Theophrastus; being of a less jagged and smaller leaf; and the vernacula or French elm, whose leaves are thicker, and more florid, glabrous and smooth, delighting in the lower and moister grounds, where they will sometimes rise to above an hundred foot in height, and a prodigious growth, in less than an age; my self having seen one planted by the hand of a Countess living not long since, which was near 12 foot in compass, and of an height proportionable; notwithstanding the numerous progeny which grew under the shade of it, some whereof were at least a foot in diameter, that for want of being seasonably transplanted, must needs have hindered the procerity of their ample and indulgent mother: I am persuaded some of these were viviradices, & traduces, produc'd of the falling seeds.

2. For though both these sorts are rais'd of appendices, or suckers (as anon we shall describe) yet this latter comes well from the samera or seeds, and therefore I suppose it to be the ancient atinia, for such an elm they acknowledge to be rais'd of seeds, which being ripe about the beginning of March (though frequently not till the following month) will produce them; as we might have seen abundantly in the gardens of the Thuilleries, and that of Luxembourgh at Paris, where they usually sow themselves, and come up very thick; and so do they in many places of our country, tho' so seldom taken notice of, as that it is esteemed a fable, by the less observant and ignorant vulgar; let it therefore be tried in season, by turning and raking some fine earth, often refreshed, under some amply spreading tree, or to raise them of their seeds (being well dried a day or two before) sprinkled on beds prepar'd of good loamy fresh earth, and sifting some of the finest mould thinly over them, and watering them when need requires. Being risen (which may be within 4 or 5 months) an inch above ground (refreshed, and preserved from the scraping of birds and poultry) comfort the tender seedlings by a second sifting of more fine earth, to establish them; thus keep them clean weeded for the first two years, and cleansing the side-boughs; or till being of fitting stature to remove into a nursery at wider intervals, and even rows, you may thin and transplant them in the same manner as you were directed for young oaks; only they shall not need above one cutting, where they grow less regular and hopeful. But because this is an experiment of some curiosity, obnoxious to many casualties, and that the producing them from the mother-roots of greater trees is very facile and expeditious (besides the numbers which are to be found in the hedge-rows and woods, of all plantable sizes) I rather advise our forester to furnish himself from those places.

3. The suckers which I speak of, are produced in abundance from the roots, whence, being dextrously separated, after the earth has been well loosened, and planted about the end of October, they will grow very well: Nay, the stubs only, which are left in the ground after a felling (being fenced in as far as the roots extend) will furnish you with plenty, which may be transplanted from the first year or two, successively, by slipping them from the roots, which will continually supply you for many years, after that the body of the mother-tree has been cut down: And from hence probably is sprung that (I fear) mistake of Salmasius and others, where they write of the growing of their chips (I suppose having some of the bark on) scattered in hewing of their timber; the error proceeding from this, that after an elm-tree has been fell'd, the numerous suckers which shoot from the remainders of the latent roots, seem to be produced from this dispersion of the chips: Let this yet be more accurately examined; for I pronounce nothing magisterially, since it is so confidently reported.

4. I have known stakes sharpned at the ends for other purposes, take root familiarly in moist grounds, and become trees; and divers have essay'd with extraordinary success the trunchions of the boughs and arms of elms cut to the scantling of a man's arm, about an ell in length. These must be chopp'd on each side opposite, and laid into trenches about half a foot deep, covered about two or three fingers deep with good mould. The season for this work is towards the exit of January, or early in February, if the frosts impede not; and after the first year, you may cut, or saw the trunchions off in as many places as you find cause, and as the shoots and rooted sprouts will direct you for transplantation. Another expedient for the propagation of elms is this: Let trenches be sunk at a good distance (viz. twenty or thirty yards) from such trees as stand in hedge-rows, and in such order as you desire your elms should grow; where these gutters are, many young elms will spring from the small roots of the adjoining trees. Divide (after one year) the shoots from their mother-roots (which you may dextrously do with a sharp spade) and these transplanted, will prove good trees without any damage to their progenitors. Or do thus, lop a young elm, the lop being about three years growth, do it in the latter end of March, when the sap begins to creep up into the boughs, and the buds ready to break out; cut the boughs into lengths of four foot slanting, leaving the knot where the bud seems to put forth in the middle: Inter these short pieces in trenches of three or four inches deep, and in good mould well trodden, and they will infallibly produce you a crop; for even the smallest suckers of elms will grow, being set when the sap is newly stirring in them. There is yet a fourth way no less expeditious, and frequently confirmed with excellent success: Bare some of the master-roots of a vigorous tree within a foot of the trunk, or there abouts, and with your axe make several chops, putting a small stone into every cleft, to hinder their closure, and give access to the wet; then cover them with three or four inch-thick of earth; and thus they will send forth suckers in abundance, (I assure you one single elm thus well ordered, is a fair nursery) which after two or three years, you may separate and plant in the Ulmarium, or place designed for them; and which if it be in plumps (as they call them) within ten or twelve foot of each other, or in hedge-rows, it will be the better: For the elm is a tree of consort, sociable, and so affecting to grow in company, that the very best which I have ever seen, do almost touch one another: This also protects them from the winds, and causes them to shoot of an extraordinary height; so as in little more than forty years, they even arrive to a load of timber; provided they be sedulously and carefully cultivated, and the soil propitious. For an elm does not thrive so well in the forest, as where it may enjoy scope for the roots to dilate and spread at the sides, as in hedge-rows and avenues, where they have the air likewise free: Note, that they spring abundantly by layers also.

5. There is besides these sorts we have named, one of a more scabrous harsh leaf, but very large, which becomes an huge tree, (frequent in the northern counties) and is distinguished by the name of the witch-hazle in our Statute Books, as serving formerly to make long bowes of; but the timber is not so good as the first more vulgar; but the bark at time of year, will serve to make a course bast-rope with.

6. Of all the trees which grow in our woods, there is none which does better suffer the transplantation than the elm; for you may remove a tree of twenty years growth with undoubted success: It is an experiment I have made in a tree almost as big more as my waste; but then you must totally disbranch him, leaving only the summit intire; and being careful to take him up with as much earth as you can, refresh him with abundance of water. This is an excellent, and expeditious way for great persons to plant the accesses of their houses with; for being disposed at sixteen or eighteen foot interval, they will in a few years bear goodly heads, and thrive to admiration. Some that are very cautious, emplaster the wounds of such over-grown elms with a mixture of clay and horse-dung, bound about them with a wisp of hay or fine moss, and I do not reprove it, provided they take care to temper it well, so as the vermine nestle not in it. But for more ordinary plantations, younger trees, which have their bark smooth and tender, clear of wenns and tuberous bunches (for those of that sort seldom come to be stately trees) about the scantling of your leg, and their heads trimm'd at five or six foot height, are to be prefer'd before all other. Cato would have none of these sorts of trees to be removed till they are five or six fingers in diameter; others think they cannot take them too young; but experience (the best mistress) tells us, that you can hardly plant an elm too big. There are who pare away the root within two fingers of the stem, and quite cut off the head; but I cannot commend this extream severity, no more than I do the strewing of oats in the pit; which fermenting with the moisture and frequent waterings, is believed much to accelerate the putting forth of the roots; not considering, that for want of air they corrupt and grow musty, which more frequently suffocates the roots, and endangers the whole tree.

7. I have affirmed how patient this tree is of transplantation; not only for that I observe so few of them to grow wild in England, and where it may not be suspected, but they or their predecessors have been planted by some industrious hand; but for that those incomparable walks and vistas of them, both at Aranjuez, Casal del Campo, Madrid, the Escurial, and other places of delight, belonging to the King and Grandees of Spain, are planted with such as they report Philip the second caused to be brought out of England; before which (as that most honourable person the Earl of Sandwich, when his Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary at that Court writ to me) it does not appear there were any of those trees in all Spain. But of that plantation, see it more particularly describ'd in the Eighth Chapter, Book III^d of this Discourse, whither I refer my reader: Whilst (as to my own inclination) I know of no tree amongst all the foresters, becoming the almost interminat lontananza of walks and vistas, comparable to this majestick plant: But let us hear it as sweetly advised as described;

An elm for graceful verdure, bushy bough, A lofty top, and a firm rind allow. Plant elm in borders, on the grass-plots list, Branches of elm into thick arbours twist; A gallery of elm draw to the end, That eyes can reach, or a breath'd race extend.{69:1}

8. The elm delights in a sound, sweet, and fertile land, something more inclined to loamy moisture, and where good pasture is produced; though it will also prosper in the gravelly, provided there be a competent depth of mould, and be refreshed with springs; in defect of which, being planted on the very surface of the ground (the swarth par'd first away, and the earth stirred a foot deep or more) they will undoubtedly succeed; but in this trial, let the roots be handsomly spread, and covered a foot or more in height; and above all, firmly staked. This is practicable also for other trees, where the soil is over-moist or unkind: For as the elm does not thrive in too dry, sandy, or hot grounds, no more will it abide the cold and spungy; but in places that are competently fertile, or a little elevated from these annoyances; as we see in the mounds, and casting up of ditches, upon whose banks the female sort does more naturally delight; though 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 almost continually in tufts, hedge-rows, and mounds; and that Shropshire, and several other counties, and rarely any beyond Stamford to Durham, have any growing in many miles together: Indeed Camden mentions a place in Yorkshire call'd Elmet; and V. Bede, Eccl. Hist. l. 11. c. 14. (speaking of a fire hap'ning there, and describing of the harm it did thereabout, ulmarium or ulmetum) evasit autem ignem altare, quia lapidium erat, & servatur adhuc in monasterio r. abbatis & presbyteri thrythwuelf, quod in sylva elmete est; but neither does this speak it miraculous, (for the altar it seems was stone) or that the elms grew spontaneously. In the mean time, some affirm they were first brought out of Lombardy, where indeed I have observ'd very goodly trees about the rich grounds, with pines among them, vitelus almi; for I hear of none either in Saxony or Denmark, nor in France, (growing wild) who all came and prey'd upon us after the Romans. But leaving this to the learned.

9. The elm is by reason of its aspiring and tapering growth, (unless it be topped to enlarge the branches, and make them spread low) the least offensive to corn and pasture-grounds; to both which, and the cattel, they afford a benign shade, defence, and agreeable ornament: But then as to pastures, the wand'ring roots (apt to infect the fields and grass with innumerable suckers) the leading mother-root ought to be quite separated on that part, and the suckers irradicated. The like should be done where they are placed near walks of turf or gravel.

10. It would be planted as shallow as might be; for, as we noted, deep interring of roots is amongst the catholick mistakes; and of this, the greatest to which trees are obnoxious. Let new-planted elms be kept moist by frequent refreshings upon some half-rotten fern, or litter laid about the foot of the stem; the earth a little stirred and depressed for the better reception and retention of the water.

11. Lastly, your plantation must above all things be carefully preserved from cattel and the concussions of impetuous winds, till they are out of reach of the one, and sturdy enough to encounter the other.

12. When you lop the side-boughs of an elm (which may be about January for the fire, and more frequently, if you desire to have them tall; or that you would form them into hedges, for so they may be kept plashed, and thickned to the highest twig; affording both a magnificent and august defence against the winds and sun) I say, when you trim them, be careful to indulge the tops; for they protect the body of your trees from the wet, which always invades those parts first, and will in time perish them to the very heart; so as elms beginning thus to decay, are not long prosperous. Sir Hugh Plat relates (as from an expert carpenter) that the boughs and branches of an elm should be left a foot long next the trunk when they are lopp'd; but this is to my certain observation, a very great mistake either in the relator, or author; for I have noted many elms so disbranched, that the remaining stubs grew immediately hollow, and were as so many conduits or pipes, to hold, and convey the rain to the very body and heart of the tree.

13. There was a cloyster of the right French elm in the little garden near to Her Majesty's the Queen-Mother's Chappel at Somerset-House, which were (I suppose) planted there, by the industry of the F. F. Capuchines, that would have directed you to the incomparable use of this noble tree for shade and delight, into whatever figure you will accustom them. I have my self procured some of them from Paris, but they were so abused in the transportation, that they all perished save one, which now flourishes with me: I have also lately graffed elms to a great improvement of their heads. Virgil tells us they will join in marriage with the oak, and they would both be tryed; and that with the more probable success, for such lignous kinds, if you graff under the earth, upon, or near the very root it self, which is likely to entertain the cyon better than when more exposed, till it be well fixt, and have made some considerable progress.

14. When you would fell, let the sap be perfectly in repose; as 'tis commonly about November or December, even to February, after the frost hath well nipp'd them: I have already alledged my reason for it; and I am told, that both oak and elm so cut, the very saplings (whereof rafters, spars, &c. are made) will continue as long as the very heart of the tree, without decay. In this work, cut your kerfe near to the ground; but have a care that it suffer not in the fall, and be ruined with its own weight: This depends upon your wood-man's judgment in disbranching, and is a necessary caution to the felling of all other timber-trees. If any begin to doat, pick out such for the axe, and rather trust to its successor. And if cutting over-late, by floating them 2 or 3 months in the water, it prevents the worm, and proves the best of seasons.

15. Elm is a timber of most singular use; especially where it may lie continually dry, or wet, in extreams; therefore proper for water-works, mills, the ladles, and soles of the wheel, pipes, pumps, aquae-ducts, pales, ship-planks beneath the water-line; and some that has been found buried in bogs has turned like the most polish'd and hardest ebony, only discerned by the grain: Also for wheel-wrights, handles for the single hand-saw, rails and gates made of elm (thin sawed) is not so apt to rive as oak: The knotty for naves, hubs; the straight and smooth for axle-trees, and the very roots for curiously dappled works, scarce has any superior for kerbs of coppers, featheridge, and weather-boards, (but it does not without difficulty, admit the nail without boreing) chopping-blocks, blocks for the hat-maker, trunks, and boxes to be covered with leather; coffins, for dressers and shovel-board-tables of great length, and a lustrous colour if rightly seasoned; also for the carver, by reason of the tenor of the grain, and toughness which fits it for all those curious works of frutages, foliage, shields, statues, and most of the ornaments appertaining to the orders of architecture, and for not being much subject to warping; I find that of old they used it even for hinges and hooks of doors; but then, that part of the plank which grew towards the top of the tree, was in work to be always reversed; and for that it is not so subject to rift; Vitruvius commends it both for tenons and mortaises: But besides these, and sundry other employments, it makes also the second sort of charcoal; and finally, (which I must not omit) the use of the very leaves of this tree, especially of the female, is not to be despis'd; for being suffered to dry in the sun upon the branches, and the spray strip'd off about the decrease in August (as also where the suckers and stolones are super-numerary, and hinder the thriving of their nurses) they will prove a great relief to cattel in winter, and scorching summers, when hay and fodder is dear they will eat them before oats, and thrive exceedingly well with them; remember only to lay your boughs up in some dry and sweet corner of your barn: It was for this the poet prais'd them, and the epithet was advis'd,

fruitful in leaves the elm.{74:1}

In some parts of Herefordshire they gather them in sacks for their swine, and other cattel, according to this husbandry. But I hear an ill report of them for bees, that surfeiting of the blooming seeds, they are obnoxious to the lask, at their first going abroad in spring, which endangers whole stocks, if remedies be not timely adhibited; therefore 'tis said in great elm countries they do not thrive; but the truth of which I am yet to learn. The green leaf of the elms contused, heals a green wound or cut, and boiled with the bark, consolidates fractur'd bones. All the parts of this tree are abstersive, and therefore sovereign for the consolidating wounds; and asswage the pains of the gout: But the bark decocted in common water, to almost the consistence of a syrup, adding a third part of aqua vitae, is a most admirable remedy for the ischiadicae or hip-pain, the place being well rubb'd and chaf'd by the fire. Other wonderful cures perform'd by the liquor, &c. of this tree, see Mr. Ray's History of Plants, lib. XXV. cap. 1. sect. 5. and for other species of the elm, his Supplement, tom. III. ad cap. De Ulmo. tom. II. p. 1428.



Ut viror est ulmo laetus, ramique comantes, Arduus, alta petens & levi cortice truncus. Ulmum adhibe ordinibus, quoties sudenda per hortum, Sunt serie spatia ingenti, texendaque totis AEstivos contra soles umbracula campis: Una alias inter texendis aptior ulmus Marginibus spatiorum, exornandoque vireto. Seque adeo series, plano super aequore, tendat Ulmorum tractu longo; quantum ipsa tuentum Lumina, vel gressus valeant lustrare sequentum.



.........foecundae frondibus ulmi.

Georg. 2.


Of the Beech.

I. The beech, [fagus] (of two or three kinds) and numbred amongst the glandiferous trees, I rank here before the martial ash, because it commonly grows to a greater stature. But here I may not omit a note of the accurate critic Palmerius, upon a passage in Theophrastus,{75:1} where he animadverts upon his interpreter, and shews that the ancient Phegos was by no means the beech, but a kind of oak; for that the figure of the fruit is so widely unlike it, that being round, this triangular; and both Theophrastus and Pausanias make it indeed a species of oak, (as already we have noted in cap. III.) wholly differing in trunk, as well as fruit and leaf; to which he adds (what determines the controversie) xylon tes phelou ischyrotaton kai asepesaton, &c. that it is of a firmer timber, not obnoxious to the worm; neither of which can so confidently be said of the beech. Yet La Cerda too seems guilty of the same mistake: But leaving this, there are of our fagi, two or three kinds with us; the mountain (where it most affects to grow) which is the whitest, and most sought after by the turner; and the campestrial or wild, which is of a blacker colour, and more durable. They are both to be rais'd from the mast, and govern'd like the oak (of which amply) and that is absolutely the best way of furnishing a wood; unless you will make a nursery, and then you are to treat the mast as you are instructed in the chapter of ashes, sowing them in autumn, or later, even after January, or rather nearer the spring, to preserve them from vermin, which are very great devourers of them. But they are likewise to be planted of young seedlings, to be drawn out of the places where the fruitful trees abound. In transplanting them, cut off only the boughs and bruised parts two inches from the stem, to within a yard of the top, but be very sparing of the root: This for such as are of pretty stature. They make spreading trees, and noble shades with their well furnish'd and glistering leaves, being set at forty foot distance, but they grow taller, and more upright in the forests, where I have beheld them at eight and ten foot, shoot into very long poles; but neither so apt for timber, nor fuel: The shade unpropitious to corn and grass, but sweet, and of all the rest, most refreshing to the weary shepherd—lentus in umbra, ecchoing Amaryllis with his oten pipe. Mabillon tells us in his Itinerary, of the old beech at Villambrosa, to be still flourishing, (and greener than any of the rest) under whose umbrage the famous eremit Gualbertus had his cell.

This tree planted in pallisade, affords a useful and pleasant skreen to shelter orange and other tender case-trees from the parching sun, &c. growing very tall, and little inferior to the horn-beam, or Dutch-elm. In the valleys (where they stand warm, and in consort) they will grow to a stupendous procerity, though the soil be stony and very barren: Also upon the declivities, sides, and tops of high hills, and chalky mountains especially, for tho' they thrust not down such deep and numerous roots as the oak; and grow to vast trees, they will strangely insinuate their roots into the bowels of those seemingly impenetrable places, not much unlike the fir it self, which with this so common tree, the great Caesar denies to be found in Britanny; Materia cujusque generis, ut in Gallia, praeter fagum & abietem: But certainly from a grand mistake, or rather, for that he had not travelled much up into the countrey: Some will have it fagus instead of ficus, but that was never reckon'd among the timber-trees: Virgil reports it will graff with the chesnut.

2. The beech serves for various uses of the housewife;

Hence in the world's best years the humble shed, Was happily, and fully furnished: Beech made their chests, their beds and the joyn'd-stools, Beech made the board, the platters, and the bowls.{77:1}

With it the turner makes dishes, trays, rimbs for buckets, and other utensils, trenchers, dresser-boards, &c. likewise for the wheeler, joyner, for large screws, and upholster for sellyes, chairs, stools, bedsteads, &c. for the bellows-maker, and husbandman his shovel and spade-graffs; floates for fishers nets instead of corks, is made of its bark; for fuel, billet, bavin and coal, tho' one of the least lasting: Not to omit even the very shavings for the fining of wines. Peter Crescentius writes, that the ashes of beech, with proper mixture, is excellent to make glass with. If the timber lie altogether under water, 'tis little inferior to elm, as I find it practised and asserted by shipwrights: Of old they made their vasa vindemiatoria and corbes messoriae (as we our pots for strawberries) with the rind of this beech, nay, and vessels to preserve wine in, and that curiously wrought cup which the shepherd in the Bucolicks wagers withal, was engraven by Alcimedon upon the bark of this tree: And an happy age it seems:

........No wars did men molest, When only beechen-bowls were in request.{78:1}

Of the thin lamina or scale of this wood (as our cutlers call it) are made scabards for swords, and band-boxes, superinduc'd with thin leather or paper, boxes for writings, hat-cases, and formerly book-covers. I wonder we cannot split it our selves, but send into other countries for such trifles. In the cavities of these trees, bees much delight to hive themselves: Yet for all this, you would not wonder to hear me deplore the so frequent use of this wood, if you did consider that the industry of France furnishes that country for all domestick utensils with excellent wallnut; a material infinitely preferable to the best beech, which is indeed good only for shade and for the fire, as being brittle, and exceedingly obnoxious to the worm, where it lies either dry, or wet and dry, as has been noted; but being put ten days in water, it will exceedingly resist the worm: To which, as I said, it is so obnoxious, that I wish the use of it were by a law, prohibited all joyners, cabinet-makers, and such as furnish tables, chairs, bed-steads, cofers, screws, &c. They have a way to black and polish it, so as to render it like ebony, and with a mixture of soot and urine, imitate the wall-nut; but as the colour does not last, so nor does the wood it self (for I can hardly call it timber) soon after the worm has seiz'd it, unless one spunge and imbibe it well with the oyl of spike, where they have made holes. Ricciolus indeed much commends it for oars; and some say, that the vast Argo was built of the fagus, a good part of it at least, as we learn out of Apollonius; this will admit of interpretation; the fagus yet by Claudian is mentioned with the alder,

So he that to export o're sea his wares A vessel builds, and to expose prepares His life to storms, first beech and elder cuts, And measuring them, to various uses puts.{79:1}

But whilst we thus condemn the timber, we must not omit to praise the mast, which fats our swine and deer, and hath in some families even supported men with bread: Chios indured a memorable siege by the benefit of this mast; and in some parts of France they now grind the buck in mills: It affords a sweet oyl, which the poor people eat most willingly: But there is yet another benefit which this tree presents us; that its very leaves (which make a natural and most agreeable canopy all the summer) being gathered about the fall, and somewhat before they are much frostbitten, afford the best and easiest mattrasses in the world to lay under our quilts instead of straw; because, besides their tenderness and loose lying together, they continue sweet for seven or eight years long, before which time straw becomes musty and hard; they are thus used by divers persons of quality in Dauphine; and in Swizzerland I have sometimes lain on them to my great refreshment; so as of this tree it may properly be said,

The wood's an house; the leaves a bed.{80:1}

Being pruin'd it heals the scar immediately, and is not apt to put forth so soon again as other trees.

The stagnant water in the hollow-trees cures the most obstinate tetters, scabs, and scurfs, in man or beast, fomenting the part with it; and the leaves chew'd are wholsome for the gums and teeth, for which the very buds, as they are in winter hardned and dried upon the twigs, make good tooth-pickers. Swine may be driven to mast about the end of August: But it is observ'd, that where they feed on't before it be mature, it intoxicates them for a while; and that generally their fat is not so good and solid, but drips away too soon. In the mean time, the kernels of the mast are greedily devour'd by squirels, mice, and above all, the dormice, who harbouring in the hollow-trees, grow so fat, that in some countries abroad, they take infinite numbers of them, (I suppose) to eat; and what relief they give thrushes, black-birds, feldefares and other birds, every body knows. See Mithiolus in dioscord. l. 1. of what they suffer in Carinthiae, Carniola, and Itiria. Supplement to this Tract. vid. Ray's tom. III. Lib. XXV. Dendrologia Fago. tom. II. p. 1382.


{75:1} Theophrast. l. 3. c. 9.


Hinc olim juvenis mundi melioribus annis, Fortunatarum domuum non magna supellex Tota petebatur; sellas, armaria, lectos, Et mensas dabat, & lances & pocula fagus, &c.

Couleij Pl. l. 6.


.........Nec bella fuerunt, Faginus adstabat dum scyphus ante dapes.



Sic qui vecturus longinqua per aequora merces Molitur tellure ratem, vitamque procellis Objectare parat, fagos metitur, & alnos, Ad varium rudibus silvis accommodat usum, &c.


..........Silva domus, cubilia frondes.



Of the Horn-beam.

1. Ostrys the horn-beam, (by some called the horse-beech, from the resemblance of the leaf) in Latin (ignorantly) the Carpinus, is planted of sets; though it may likewise be rais'd from the juelas and seeds, which being mature in August, should be sown in October, and will lie a year in the bed, which must be well and carefully shaded so soon as they peep: But the more expeditious way is by layers or sets, of about an inch diameter, and cut within half a foot of the earth: Thus it will advance to a considerable tree. The places it chiefly desires to grow in are in cold hills, stiff ground, and in the barren and most expos'd parts of woods. We have it no where more abounding in the south, than in the woods of Hartfordshire; very few westward.

2. Amongst other uses which it serves for, as mill-cogs, &c. (for which it excels either yew or crab) yoak-timber (whence of old, and for that it was as well flexible as tough, 'twas call'd zygia) heads of beetles, stocks and handles of tools: It is likewise for the turners use excellent; good fire-wood, where it burns like a candle, and was of old so employ'd;

Carpinus taedas fissa facesque dabit.

(For all which purposes its extream toughness and whiteness commends it to the husbandman.) Being planted in small fosses or trenches, at half a foot interval, and in the single row, it makes the noblest and the stateliest hedges for long walks in gardens, or parks, of any tree whatsoever whose leaves are deciduous, and forsake their branches in winter; because it grows tall, and so sturdy, as not to be wronged by the winds: Besides, it will furnish to the very foot of the stem, and flourishes with a glossie and polish'd verdure, which is exceeding delightful, of long continuance, and of all other the harder woods, the speediest grower; maintaining a slender, upright-stem, which does not come to be bare and sticky in many years; it has yet this (shall I call it) infirmity, that keeping on its leaf till new ones thrust them off, 'tis clad in russet all the winter long. That admirable espalier-hedge in the long middle walk of Luxemburgh garden at Paris (than which there is nothing more graceful) is planted of this tree; and so was that cradle, or close-walk, with that perplext canopy which lately covered the seat in his Majesty's Garden at Hampton-Court, and as now I hear, they are planted in perfection at New-park, the delicious villa of the Noble Earl of Rochester, belonging once to a near kinsman of mine, who parted with it to K. Charles the First of Blessed Memory. These hedges are tonsile; but where they are maintain'd to fifteen or twenty foot height (which is very frequent in the places before mention'd) they are to be cut, and kept in order with a syth of four foot long, and very little falcated; this is fix'd on a long sneed or streight handle, and does wonderfully expedite the trimming of these and the like hedges: An oblong square, palisado'd with this plant, or the Flemish ormus, as is that I am going to describe, and may be seen in that inexhaustible magazine at Brompton Park (cultivated by those two industrious fellow-gardiners, Mr. London, and Mr. Wise) affords such an umbraculum frondium, the most natural, proper station and convenience for the protection of our orange-trees, myrtles, (and other rare perennials and exoticks) from the scorching darts of the sun, and heat of summer; placing the cases, pots, &c. under this shelter, when either at the first peeping out of the winter concleave, or during the increasing heat of summer, they so are ranged and disposed, as to adorn a noble area of a most magnificent paradisian dining-room to the top of hortulan pomp and bliss, superior to all the artificial furniture of the greatest prince's court: Here the Indian narcissus, tuberoses, Japan-lillies, jasmines, jonquills, lalaes, periclymena, roses, carnations, (with all the pride of the parter) intermixt between the tree-cases, flowry vasas, busts and statues, entertain the eye, and breath their redolent odors and perfumes to the smell: The golden fruit and apples of Hesperides, gratifie the taste, with the delicious annanas, affecting all the sensories; whilst the chearful ditties of canorus birds, recording their innocent amours to the murmurs of the bubling fountain, delight the ear, and with the charming accents of the fair and vertuous sex, (preferable to all the admired composure of the most skilful musitians) join consort in hymns and hallelujahs to the bountiful and glorious Creator, who has left none of the senses, which he has not gratify'd at once, with their most agreeable and proper objects.

But to return to Brompton: 'Tis not to be imagin'd what a surprizing scene, such a spacious salone, tapistried with the natural verdure of the glittering foliage, present the spectator, and recompenses the toil of the ingenious planter; when after a little patience, he finds the slender plants, set but at five or six foot distance, (nor much more in height, well prun'd and dress'd) ascend to an altitude sufficient to shade and defend his paradisian treasure without excluding the milder gleams of the glorious and radiant planet, with his cherishing influence, and kindly warmth, to all within the inclosure, refreshed with the cooling and early dew, pregnant with the sweet exhalations which the indulgent mother and teeming earth sends up, to nourish and maintain her numerous and tender off-spring.

But after all, let us not dwell here too long, whilst the inferences to be derived from those tempting and temporary objects, prompt us to raise our contemplations a little on objects yet more worthy our noblest speculations, and all our pains and curiosity, representing that happy state above, namely, the coelestial paradise: Let us, I say, suspend our admiration a while, of these terrestrial gayeties, which are of so short continuance, and raise our thoughts from being too deeply immers'd and rooted in them, aspiring after those supernal, more lasting and glorious abodes, namely, a paradise; not like this of ours (with so much pains and curiosity) made with hands, but eternal in the heavens; where all the trees are Trees of Life; the flowers all amaranths; all the plants perennial, ever verdant, ever pregnant; and where those who desire knowledge, may fully satiate themselves; taste freely of the fruit of that tree, which cost the first gardiner and posterity so dear; and where the most voluptuous inclinations to the allurements of the senses, may take, and eat, and still be innocent; no forbidden fruit; no serpent to deceive; none to be deceived.

Hail, O hail then, and welcome, you bless'd elyziums, where a new state of things expects us; where all the pompous and charming delights that detain us here a while, shall be changed into real and substantial fruitions, eternal springs, and pleasure intellectual, becoming the dignity of our nature!

I beg no pardon for the application, but deplore my no better use of it, and that whilst I am thus upon the wing, I must now descend so soon again.

Of all the foresters, this preserves it self best from the bruttings of deer, and therefore to be kindly entertain'd in parks: But the reason why with us, we rarely find them ample and spreading, is, that our husbandman suffers too large and grown a lop, before he cuts them off, which leaves such ghastly wounds, as often proves exitial to the tree, or causes it to grow deform'd and hollow, and of little worth but for the fire; whereas, were they oftener taken off, when the lops were younger, though they did not furnish so great wood, yet the continuance and flourishing of the tree, would more than recompence it. For this cause,

3. They very frequently plant a clump of these trees before the entries of most of the great towns in Germany, to which they apply timber-frames for convenience, and the people to sit and solace in. Scamozzi the architect, says, that in his time he found one whose branches extended seventy foot in breadth; this was at Vuimfen near the Necker, belonging to the Duke of Wirtemberg: But that which I find planted before the gates of Strasburgh, is a platanus, and a lime-tree growing hard by one another, in which is erected a Pergolo eight foot from the ground, of fifty foot wide, having ten arches of twelve foot height, all shaded with their foliage; and there is besides this, an over-grown oak, which has an arbour in it of sixty foot diameter: Hear we Rapinus describe the use of the horn-beam for these and other elegancies.

In walks the horn-beam stands, or in a maze Through thousand self-entangling labyrinths strays: So clasp the branches lopp'd on either side, As though an alley did two walls divide: This beauty found, order did next adorn The boughs into a thousand figures shorn, Which pleasing objects weariness betray'd, Your feet into a wilderness convey'd. Nor better leaf on twining arbor spread, Against the scorching sun to shield your head.{86:1}

Evelyn, Rapin.



In tractus longos facilis tibi carpinus ibit, Mille per errores, indeprehensosque recessus, Et molles tendens secto ceu pariete ramos, Praebebit viridem diverso e margine scenam. Primus honos illi quondam, post additus ordo est, Attonsaeque comae, & formis quaesita voluptas Innumeris, furtoque viae, obliquoque recessu: In tractus acta est longos & opaca vireta. Quinetiam egregiae tendens umbracula frondis Temperat ardentes ramis ingentibus aestus.


Of the Ash.

1. Fraxinus the ash, is with us reputed male and female, the one affecting the higher grounds; the other the plains, of a whiter wood, and rising many times to a prodigious stature; so as in forty years from the key, an ash hath been sold for thirty pounds sterling: And I have been credibly inform'd, that one person hath planted so much of this one sort of timber in his life time, as hath been valued worth fifty thousand pounds to be bought. These are pretty encouragements, for a small and pleasant industry. That there is a lower, and more knotty sort, every husbandman can distinguish.

2. The keys or toungs being gathered from a young thriving tree when they begin to fall (which is about the end of October, and the ensuing month) are to be laid to dry, and then sowed any time betwixt that and Christmas; but not altogether so deep as your somer masts: Thus they do in Spain, from whence it were good to procure some of the keys from their best trees: A very narrow seminary will be sufficient to store a whole country: They will lie a full year in the ground before they appear; therefore you must carefully fence them all that time, and have patience: But if you would make a considerable wood of them at once, dig, or plow a parcel of ground, as you would prepare it for corn, and with the corn, especially oats, (or what other grain you think fittest) sow also good store of keys, some crab-kernels, &c. amongst them: Take off your crop of corn, or seed in its season, and the next year following, it will be cover'd with young ashes, which will be fit either to stand (which I prefer) or be transplanted for divers years after; and these you will find to be far better than any you can gather out of the woods (especially suckers, which are worth nothing) being removed at one foot stature (the sooner the better); for an ash of two years thus taken out of the nursery, shall outstrip one of ten, taken out of the hedge; provided you defend them well from cattel, which are exceedingly licorish after their tops: The reason of this hasty transplanting, is to prevent their obstinate and deep rooting; tantus amor terrae ............. which makes them hard to be taken up when they grow older, and that being removed, they take no great hold till the second year, after which, they come away amain; yet I have planted them of five and six inches diameter, which have thriven as well as the smaller wands. You may accelerate their springing by laying the keys in sand, and some moist fine earth s. s. s. but lay them not too thick, or double, and in a cover'd, though airy place for a winter, before you sow them; and the second year they will come away mainly; so you weed, trim and cleanse them. Cut not his head at all (which being young, is pithy) nor, by any means the fibrous part of the roots; only that down-right, or taproot (which gives our husbandmen so much trouble in drawing) is to be totally abated: But this work ought to be in the increase of October, or November, and not in the Spring. We are (as I told you) willing to spare his head rather than the side branches (which whilst young, may be cut close) because being yet young, it is but of a spungy substance; but being once well fixed, you may cut him as close to the earth as you please; it will cause him to shoot prodigiously, so as in a few years to be fit for pike-staves; whereas if you take him wild out of the forest, you must of necessity strike off the head, which much impairs it. Hedgerow ashes may the oftner be decapitated, and shew their heads again sooner than other trees so us'd. Young ashes are sometimes in winter frost-burnt, black as coals, and then to use the knife is seasonable, though they do commonly recover of themselves slowly. In South-Spain, (where, as we said, are the best) after the first dressing, they let them grow till they are so big, as being cleft into four parts, each part is sufficient to make a pike-staff: I am told there is a Flemish ash planted by the Dutchmen in Lincolnshire, which in six years grows to be worth twenty shillings the tree; but I am not assur'd whether it be the ash or abeele; either of them were, upon this account, a worthy encouragement, if at least the latter can be thought to bear that price, which I much question: From these low cuttings come our ground-ashes, so much sought after for arbours, espaliers, and other pole-works: They will spring in abundance, and may be reduced to one for a standard-tree, or for timber, if you design it; for thus hydra-like, a ground-cut-ash,

By havock, wounds and blows, More lively and luxuriant grows.{89:1}

Ash will be propagated from a bough slipt off with some of the old wood, a little before the bud swells, but with difficulty by layers. Such as they reserve for spears in Spain, they keep shrip'd up close to the stem, and plant them in close order, and moister places. These they cut above the knot (for the least nodosity spoils all) in the decrease of January, which were of the latest for us: It is reported that the ash will not only receive its own kind, but graff, or be inoculated with the pear and apple, but to what improvement I know not.

3. It is by no means convenient to plant ash in plow-lands; for the roots will be obnoxious to the coulter; and the shade of the tree is malignant both to corn and grass, when the head and branches over-drip and emaciate 'em; but in hedge-rows and plumps, they will thrive exceedingly, where they may be dispos'd at nine or ten foot distance, and sometimes nearer: But in planting of a whole wood of several kinds of trees for timber, every third set at least, would be an ash. The best ash delights in the best land (which it will soon impoverish) yet grows in any; so it be not over-stiff, wet, and approaching to the marshy, unless it be first well drain'd: By the banks of sweet, and crystal rivers and streams, I have observ'd them to thrive infinitely. One may observe as manifest a difference in the timber of ashes, as of the oak; much more than is found in any one kind of elm, coeteris paribus: For so the ground-ash (like the oak) much excels a bough, or branch of the same bulk, for strength and toughness; and in yet farther emulation of the oak, it has been known to prove as good and lasting timber for building, nay, preferr'd before it, where there has been plenty of oak; vast difference there is also in the strength of ground, and quarter'd ash: 'Tis likewise remarkable that the ash, like the cork-tree, grows when the bark is as it were quite peel'd off, as has been observ'd in several forests, where the deer have bared them as far as they could climb: Some ash is curiously camleted and vein'd, I say, so differently from other timber, that our skilful cabinet-makers prize it equal with ebony, and give it the name of green ebony, which the customer pays well for; and when our wood-men light upon it, they may make what money they will of it: But to bring it to that curious lustre, so as 'tis hardly to be distinguished from the most curiously diaper'd olive, they varnish their work with the china-varnish, (hereafter described) which infinitely excels linseed-oyl, that Cardan so commends, speaking of this root. The truth is, the bruscum and molluscum to be frequently found in this wood, is nothing inferior to that of maple, (of which hereafter) being altogether as exquisitely diaper'd, and wav'd like the gamahes of Achates; an eminent example of divers strange figures of fish, men and beasts, Dr. Plott speaks of to be found in a dining-table made of an old ash, standing in a gentleman's house somewhere in Oxfordshire: Upon which is mention'd that of Jacobus Gaffarellus, in his book of Unheard-of Curiosities; namely of a tree found in Holland, which being cleft, had in the several slivers, the figures of a chalice, a priest's albe, his stole, and several other pontifical vestments: Of this sort was the elm growing at Middle-Aston in Oxfordshire, a block of which wood being cleft, there came out a piece so exactly resembling a shoulder of veal, that it was worthy to be reckon'd among the curiosities of this nature.

4. The use of ash is (next to that of the oak it self) one of the most universal: It serves the soldier ............ & Fraxinus utilis hastis, and heretofore the scholar, who made use of the inner bark to write on, before the invention of paper, &c. The carpenter, wheel-wright, cart-wright, for ploughs, axle-trees, wheel-rings, harrows, bulls, oares, the best blocks for pullies and sheffs, as seamen name them; for drying herrings, no wood like it, and the bark for the tanning of nets; and, like the elm, for the same property (of not being so apt to split and scale) excellent for tenons and mortaises: Also for the cooper, turner, and thatcher: Nothing like it for our garden palisade-hedges, hop-yards, poles, and spars, handles, stocks for tools, spade-trees, &c. In sum, the husbandman cannot be without the ash for his carts, ladders, and other tackling, from the pike to the plow, spear, and bow; for of ash were they formerly made, and therefore reckon'd amongst those woods, which after long tension, has a natural spring, and recovers its position; so as in peace and war it is a wood in highest request: In short, so useful and profitable is this tree, (next to the oak) that every prudent lord of a mannor, should employ one acre of ground, with ash or acorns, to every 20 acres of other land; since in as many years, it would be more worth than the land it self. There is extracted an oyl from the ash, by the process on other woods, which is excellent to recover the hearing, some drops of it being distill'd warm into the ears; and for the caries or rot of the bones, tooth-ach, pains in the kidneys, and spleen, the anointing therewith is most soveraign. Some have us'd the saw-dust of this wood instead of guiacum, with success. The chymists exceedingly commend the seed of ash to be an admirable remedy for the stone: But (whether by the power of magick or nature, I determine not) I have heard it affirm'd with great confidence, and upon experience, that the rupture to which many children are obnoxious, is healed, by passing the infant thro' a wide cleft made in the hole or stem of a growing ash-tree, thro' which the child is to be made pass; and then carried a second time round the ash, caused to repass the same aperture again, that the cleft of the tree suffer'd to close and coalesce, as it will, the rupture of the child, being carefully bound up, will not only abate, but be perfectly cur'd. The manna of Calabria is found to exsude out of the leaves and boughs of this tree, during the hot summer-months. Lastly, the white and rotten dotard part composes a ground for our gallants sweet-powder, and the trunchions make the third sort of the most durable coal, and is (of all other) the sweetest of our forest-fuelling, and the fittest for ladies chambers, it will burn even whilst it is green, and may be reckoned amongst the akapna xyla. To conclude, the very dead leaves afford (like those of the elm) relief to our cattle in winter; and there is a dwarf-sort in France, (if in truth it be not, as I suspect, our witchen-tree) whose berries feed the poor people in scarce years; but it bears no keys, like to ours, which being pickled tender, afford a delicate salading. But the shade of the ash is not to be endur'd, because the leaves produce a noxious insect; and for displaying themselves so very late, and falling very early, not to be planted for umbrage or ornament; especially near the garden, since (besides their predatious roots) the leaves dropping with so long a stalk, are drawn by clusters into the worm-holes, which foul the allies with their keys, and suddenly infect the ground. Note, that the season for felling of this tree must be when the sap is fully at rest; for if you cut it down too early, or over-late in the year, it will be so obnoxious to the worm, as greatly to prejudice the timber; therefore to be sure, fell not till the three mid-winter months, beginning about November: But in lopping of pollards, (as of soft woods) Mr. Cook advises it should be towards the Spring, and that you do not suffer the lops to grow too great: Also, that so soon as a pollard comes to be considerably hollow at the head, you suddenly cut it down, the body decaying more than the head is worth: The same he pronounces of taller ashes, and where the wood-peckers make holes (who constantly indicate their being faulty) to fell it in the Winter. I am astonish'd at the universal confidence of some, that a serpent will rather creep into the fire, than over a twig of ash; this is an old imposture of{94:1} Pliny's, who either took it up upon trust, or we mistake the tree. Other species, see Ray Dendrolog. t. III. lib. XXX. p. 95. De fraxino, t. II. p. 1704.

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