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Sylva, Vol. 1 (of 2) - Or A Discourse of Forest Trees
by John Evelyn
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But now before we expatiate farther concerning saps; it is by some controverted, whether this exhaustion would not be an extreme detriment to the growth, substance, and other parts of trees: As to the growth and bulk, if what I have observ'd of a birch, which has for very many years been perforated at the usual season, (besides the scars made in the bark) it still thrives, and is grown to a prodigious substance, the species consider'd. What it would effect in other trees (the vine excepted unseasonably launc'd) I know not: But this calls to mind, a tryal of Esq; Brotherton, (mentioning some excortications and incisions, by what he observ'd in pruning,) that most (if not all) of the sap ascends by the lignous part of trees, not the cortical; nor between the cortical and lignous: And that the increase of a tree's growth in thickness, is by the descent of the sap, and not by the ascent; so as if there were no descent, the tree would increase very little, if at all; for that there is a perpetual circulation of the sap, during the whole Summer; and whilst it is in this course, and not a descent at Michaelmas only, as some hold, but evaporated by the branches, during Summer and Autumn, and at Spring supplied with rains. He also thinks it probable, that the bodies of plants, as well as those of animals, are nourish'd and increas'd by a double pabulum or food; as water and air both impregnated, mixing and coalescing by a mutual conversion.

That all plants and animals seem to have a two-fold kind of roots, one spreading into the earth, the other shooting up into the air; which, as they receive and carry up their proper nutriments to the body of the plant and root, so they carry off the useless dregs and recrements, &c. But this curious note seeming fitter to have been plac'd in our chapter of Pruning, (upon which this learned gentleman has given us his experience) I beg pardon for this diverticle, and return to my subject.

4. But whilst the second edition was under my hand, there came to me divers papers upon this subject, experimentally made by a worthy friend of mine, a learned and most industrious person, which I had here once resolv'd to have publish'd, according to the generous liberty granted me for so doing; but understanding he was still in pursuit of that useful, and curious secret, I chang'd my resolution into an earnest address, that he would communicate it to the world himself, together with those other excellent enquiries and observations, which he is adorning for the benefit of planters, and such as delight themselves in those innocent rusticities. I will only by way of corollary, hint some particulars for satisfaction of the curious; and especially that we may in some sort gratifie those earnest suggestions and queries of the late most obliging{148:1} publisher of the Philosophical Transactions, to whose indefatigable pains the learned world has been infinitely engag'd. In compliance therefore to his Queries, Monday, Octob. 19. 1668. numb. 40. p. 797, 801, &c. these generals are submitted: That in such trials as my friend essay'd, he has not yet encountred with any sap but what is very clear and sweet; especially that of the sycomor, which has a dulcoration as if mixed with sugar, and that it runs one of the earliest: That the maple distill'd when quite rescinded from the body, and even whilst he yet held it in his hand: That the sycomor ran at the root, which some days before yielded no sap from his branches; the experiment made at the end of March: But the accurate knowledge of the nature of sap, and its periodic motions and properties in several trees, should be observed by some at entire leisure to attend it daily, and almost continually, and will require more than any one person's industry can afford: For it must be enquir'd concerning every tree, its age, soil, situation, &c. the variety of its ascending sap depending on it; and then of its sap ascending in the branches and roots; descending in cut branches; ascending from root, and not from branches; the seasons and difference of time in which those accidents happen, &c. He likewise thinks the best expedient to procure store of liquor, is, to cut the trees almost quite through all the circles, on both sides the pith, leaving only the outmost circle, and the barks on the north, or north-east side unpierced; and this hole, the larger it is bored, the more plentifully 'twill distill; which if it be under, and through a large arm, near the ground, it is effected with greatest advantage, and will need neither stone, nor chip to keep it open, nor spigot to direct it to the recipient. Thus it will, in a short time, afford liquor sufficient to brew with; and in some of these sweet saps, one bushel of mault will afford as good ale, as four in ordinary waters, even in March it self; in others, as good as two bushels; for this, preferring the sycomor before any other: But to preserve it in best condition for brewing, till you are stored with a sufficient quantity, it is advis'd, that what first runs, be insolated and placed in the sun, till the remainder be prepar'd, to prevent its growing sour: But it may also be fermented alone, by such as have the secret: To the curious these essays are recommended: That it be immediately stopp'd up in the bottles in which it is gathered, the corks well wax'd, and expos'd to the sun, till (as was said) sufficient quantity be run; then let so much rye-bread (toasted very dry, but not burnt) be put into it, as will serve to set it a working; and when it begins to ferment, take it out, and bottle it immediately. If you add a few cloves, &c. to steep in it, 'twill certainly keep the year about: 'Tis a wonder how speedily it extracts the tast and tincture of the spice. Mr. Boyle proposes a sulphurous fume to the bottles: Spirit of wine may haply not only preserve, but advance the virtues of saps; and infusions of rasins are obvious, and without decoction best, which does but spend the more delicate parts. Note, that the sap of the birch, will make excellent mead.

5. To these observations, that of the weight and virtue of the several juices, would be both useful and curious: As whether that which proceeds from the bark, or between that and the wood be of the same nature with that which is suposed to spring from the pores of the woody circles? and whether it rise in like quantity, upon comparing the incisures? All which may be try'd, first attempting through the bark, and saving that apart, and then perforating into the wood, to the thickness of the bark, or more; with a like separation of what distills. The period also of its current would be calculated; as how much proceeds from the bark in one hour, how much from the wood or body of the tree, and thus every hour, with still a deeper incision, with a good large augre, till the tree be quite perforated: Then by making a second hole within the first, fitted with a lesser pipe, the interior heart-sap may be drawn apart, and examin'd by weight, quantity, colour, distillation, &c. and if no difference perceptible be detected the presumption will be greater, that the difference of heart and sap in timber, is not from the saps plenty or penury, but the season; and then possibly, the very season of squaring, as well as felling of timber, may be considerable to the preservation of it.

6. The notice likewise of the saps rising more plentifully, and constantly in the sun, than shade; more in the day than night, more in the roots than branch, more southward, and when that, and the west-wind blows, than northward, &c. may yield many useful observations: As for planting, to set thicker, or thinner (si coetera sint paria) namely, the nature of the tree, soil, &c. and not to shade overmuch the roots of those stems we desire should mount, &c. That in transplanting trees we turn the best and largest roots towards the south, and consequently the most ample and spreading part of the head correspondent to the roots: For if there be a strong root on that quarter, and but a feeble attraction in the branches, this may not always counterpoise the weak roots on the north-side, damnified by the too puissant attraction of over large branches: This may also suggest a cause why trees flourish more on the south-side, and have their integument and coats thicker on those aspects annually, with divers other useful speculations, if in the mean time, they seem not rather to be puntillos over nice for a plain forester. Let the curious further consult Philos. Transactions, numb. 43, 44, 46, 48, 57, 58, 68, 70, 71. for farther instances and tryals, upon this subject of sap. And that excellent treatise of Hen. Meibomius. De Cervisiis Potibusque; & Ebriaminibus extra Vinum, annext to Turnebus de Vino, &c. Where he shews how, and by whom, (after the first use of water and milk) were introduc'd the drinks made from vegetables, vines, corn, and other fruits and juices tapp'd out of trees, &c.

7. To shew our reader yet, that these are no novel experiments, we are to know, that a large tract of the world, almost altogether subsists on these treen liquors; especially that of the date, which being grown to about seven or eight foot in height, they wound, as we have taught, for the sap, which they call toddy, a very famous drink in the East-Indies. This tree increasing every year about a foot, near the opposite part of the first incisure, they pierce again, changing the receiver; and so still by opposite wounds and notches, they yearly draw forth the liquor, till it arrive to near thirty foot upward, and of these they have ample groves and plantations which they set at seven or eight foot distance: But then they use to percolate what they extract, through a stratum made of the rind of the tree, well contus'd and beaten, before which preparation, it is not safe to drink it; and 'tis observed that some trees afford a much more generous wine than others of the same kind. In the coco and palmeto trees, they chop a bough, as we do the betula; but in the date, make the incision with a chisel in the body very neatly, in which they stick a leaf of the tree, as a lingula to direct it into the appendant vessel, which the subjoin'd figure represents, and illustrates with its improvement to our former discourse.

Note, if there be no fitting arms, the hole thus obliquely perforated, and a faucet or pipe made of a swan's or goose's quill inserted, will lead the sap into the recipient; and this is a very neat way, and as effectual: I would also have it try'd, whether the very top twigs, grasped in the hand together, a little cropt with a knife, and put into the mouth of a bottle, would not instil, if not as much, yet a more refined liquor, as some pretend.

8. The liquor of the birch is esteemed to have all the virtues of the spirit of salt, without the danger of its acrimony; most powerful for the dissolving of the stone in the bladder, bloody water and strangury: Helmont shews how to make a beer of the water; but the wine is a most rich cordial, curing (as I am told) consumptions, and such interior diseases as accompany the stone in the bladder or reins{152:1}: The juice decocted with honey and wine, Dr. Needham affirms he has often cur'd the scorbut with. This wine, exquisitely made, is so strong, that the common sort of stone-bottles cannot preserve the spirits, so subtile they are and volatile; and yet it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the appetite, being drunk ante pastum: I will present you a receipt, as it was sent me by a fair lady, and have often, and still use it.

{Illustration: (a. b.) The Body of the Tree (g.) boar'd at that part of the Arm (f.) join'd to the Stem, with an Augre of an Inch or more diameter, according to the bigness of the Tree. (c.) A part of the Bark, or if you will, a Faucet of Quill bent down into the Mouth of the Bottle (e.) to conduct the Liqour into it. (d.) The String about the Arm (f.) by which the Bottle hangs.}

9. To every gallon of birch-water put a quart of honey, well stirr'd together; then boil it almost an hour with a few cloves, and a little limon-peel, keeping it well scumm'd: When it is sufficiently boil'd, and become cold, add to it three or four spoonfuls of good ale to make it work (which it will do like new ale) and when the yest begins to settle, bottle it up as you do other winy liquors. It will in a competent time become a most brisk and spiritous drink, which (besides the former virtues) is a very powerful opener, and doing wonders for cure of the phthysick: This wine may (if you please) be made as successfully with sugar, instead of honey 1 lb. to each gallon of water; or you may dulcifie it with raisins, and compose a raisin-wine of it. I know not whether the quantity of the sweet ingredients might not be somewhat reduc'd, and the operation improv'd: But I give it as receiv'd. The author of the Vinetum Brit. boils it but to a quarter or half an hour, then setting it a cooling, adds a very little yest to ferment and purge it; and so barrels it with a small proportion of cinamon and mace bruis'd, about half an ounce of both to ten gallons, close stopp'd, and to be bottled a month after. Care must be taken to set the bottles in a very cool place, to preserve them from flying; and the wine is rather for present drinking, than of long duration, unless the refrigeratorie be extraordinarily cold. The very smell of the first springing leaves of this tree, wonderfully recreates and exhilerates the spirits.

10. But besides these, beech, alder, ash, sycomor, elder, &c. would be attempted for liquors: Thus crabs, and even our very brambles may possibly yield us medical and useful wines. The poplar was heretofore esteem'd more physical than the betula. The sap of the oak, juice, or decoction of the inner bark, cures the fashions, or farcy, a virulent and dangerous infirmity in horses, and which (like cancers) were reputed incurable by any other topic, than some actual, or potential cautery: But, what is more noble, a dear friend of mine assur'd me, that a countrey neighbour of his (at least fourscore years of age) who had lain sick of a bloody strangury (which by cruel torments reduc'd him to the very article of death) was, under God, recover'd to perfect, and almost miraculous health and strength (so as to be able to fall stoutly to his labour) by one sole draught of beer, wherein was the decoction of the internal bark of the oak-tree; and I have seen a composition of an admirable sudorific, and diuretic for all affections of the liver, out of the like of the elm, which might yet be drunk daily, as our coffee is, and with no less delight: But quacking is not my trade; I speak only here as a plain husband-man, and a simple forester, out of the limits whereof, I hope I have not unpardonably transgressed: Pan was a physician, and he (you know) was president of the woods. But I proceed to the alder.

FOOTNOTES:

{142:1}

Primum cana salix madefacto vimine, parvam Texitur in puppim, caesoque induta juvenco, Vectoris patiens, tumidum super emicat amnem. Sic Venetus stagnante Pado, fusoque Britannus Navigat oceano.......

{142:2} See Philos. Transact. Vol. 9. num. 105. p. 93.

{144:1} Dr. Stubb. See the tractate intitled, Aditus novus ad occultas sympathiae & antipathiae causas inveniendas, per principia philosophiae naturalis, & fermentorum artificiosa anatomia hausta, patefactas, a Silvestro Rattray, M.D. Glasquensi, 1658. p. 55.

{148:1} Mr. Oldenburg.

{152:1} De Lithiasi, c. 8. n. 24, 25, &c.



CHAPTER XVIII.

Of the Alder.

1. Alnus, the alder, (both conifera and juelifera) is of all other the most faithful lover of watery and boggy places, and those most despis'd weeping parts, or water-galls of forests; ............. crassisque paludibus alni; for in better and dryer ground they attract the moisture from it, and injure it. They are propagated of trunchions, and will come of seeds (for so they raise them in Flanders, and make wonderful profit of the plantations) like the poplar; or of roots, (which I prefer) the trunchions being set as big as the small of ones leg, and in length about two foot; whereof one would be plunged in the mud. This profound fixing of aquatick-trees being to preserve them steddy, and from the concussions of the winds, and violence of waters, in their liquid and slippery foundations. They may be placed at four or five foot distance, and when they have struck root, you may cut them, which will cause them to spring in clumps, and to shoot out into many useful poles. But if you plant smaller sets, cut them not till they are arriv'd to some competent bigness, and that in a proper season: Which is, for all the aquaticks and soft woods, not till Winter be well advanc'd, in regard of their pithy substance. Therefore, such as you shall have occasion to make use of before that period, ought to be well grown, and fell'd with the earliest, and in the first quarter of the increasing moon, that so the successive shoot receive no prejudice: Some, before they fell, disbark their alders, and other trees; of which see Cap. III. Book III. But there is yet another way of planting alders after the Jersey manner, and as I receiv'd it from a most ingenious gentleman of that country, which is, by taking trunchions of two or three foot long, at the beginning of Winter, and to bind them in faggots, and place the ends of them in water 'till towards the Spring, by which season they will have contracted a swelling spire, or knurr about that part, which being set, does (like the gennet-moil apple-tree) never fail of growing and striking root. There is a black sort more affected to woods, and drier grounds; and bears a black berry, not so frequently found; yet growing somewhere about Hampsted, as the learned Dr. Tan. Robinson observes.

2. There are a sort of husbands who take excessive pains in stubbing up their alders, where-ever they meet them in the boggie places of their grounds, with the same indignation as one would extirpate the most pernicious of weeds; and when they have finished, know not how to convert their best lands to more profit than this (seeming despicable) plant might lead them to, were it rightly understood. Besides, the shadow of this tree, does feed and nourish the very grass which grows under it; and being set, and well plashed, is an excellent defence to the banks of rivers; so as I wonder it is not more practis'd about the Thames, to fortifie, and prevent the mouldring of the walls, and the violent weather they are exposed to.

3. You may cut aquatic-trees every third or fourth year, and some more frequently, as I shall shew you hereafter. They should also be abated within half a foot of the principal head, to prevent the perishing of the main stock; and besides, to accelerate their sprouting. In setting the trunchions, it were not amiss to prepare them a little after they are fitted to the size, by laying them a while in water; this is also practicable in willows, &c.

4. Of old they made boats of the greater parts of this tree, and excepting Noah's ark, the first vessels we read of, were made of this material.

When hollow alders first the waters try'd,{157:1}

And down the rapid Poe light alders glide.{157:2}

And as then, so now, are over-grown alders frequently sought after, for such buildings as lie continually under water, where it will harden like a very stone; whereas being kept in any unconstant temper, it rots immediately, because its natural humidity is of so near affinity with its adventitious, as Scaliger assigns the cause. Vitruvius tells us, that the morasses about Ravenna in Italy, were pil'd with this timber, to superstruct upon, and highly commends it. I find also they us'd it under that famous Bridge at Venice, the Rialto, which passes over the Gran-Canal, bearing a vast weight. Jos. Bauhimus pretends, that in tract of time, it turns to stone; which perhaps it may seem to be (as well as other aquatick) where it meets with some lapidescant quality in the earth and water.

5. The poles of alder are as useful as those of willows; but the coals far exceed them, especially for gun-powder: The wood is likewise useful for piles, pumps, hop-poles, water-pipes, troughs, sluces, small trays, and trenchers, wooden-heels; the bark is precious to dyers, and some tanners, and leather-dressers make use of it; and with it, and the fruits (instead of galls) they compose an ink. The fresh leaves alone applied to the naked soal of the foot, infinitely refresh the surbated traveller. The bark macerated in water, with a little rust of iron, makes a black dye, which may also be us'd for ink: The interior rind of the black alder purges all hydropic, and serous humours; but it must be dry'd in the shade, and not us'd green, and the decoction suffer'd to settle two or three days, before it be drunk.

Being beaten with vinegar, it heals the itch certainly: As to other uses the swelling bunches, which are now and then found in the old trees, afford the inlayer pieces curiously chambletted, and very hard, &c. but the faggots better for the fire, than for the draining of grounds by placing them (as the guise is) in the trenches; which old rubbish of flints, stones, and the like gross materials, does infinitely exceed, because it is for ever, preserves the drains hollow, and being a little moulded over, will produce good grass, without any detriment to the ground; but this is a secret, not yet well understood, and would merit an express paragraph, were it here seasonable,

.....& jam nos inter opacas Musa vocat salices.......

FOOTNOTES:

{157:1}

Tunc alnos primum fluvii sensere cavatas.

Georg. 1.

{157:2}

Nec non & torrentem undam levis innatat alnus Missa Pado ............

2.



CHAPTER XIX.

Of the Withy, Sallow, Ozier, and Willow.

1. Salix: Since Cato has attributed the third place to the salictum, preferring it even next to the very ortyard; and (what one would wonder at) before even the olive, meadow, or corn-field it self (for salictum tertio loco, nempe post vineam, &c.) and that we find it so easily rais'd, of so great, and universal use, I have thought good to be the more particular in my discourse upon it; especially, since so much of that which I shall publish concerning them, is derived from the long experience of a most learned and ingenious person, from whom I acknowledge to have received many of these hints. Not to perplex the reader with the various names, Greek, Gallic, Sabin, Amerine, Vitex, &c. better distinguish'd by their growth and bark; and by Latin authors all comprehended under that of salices; our English books reckon them promiscuously thus; the common-white willow, the black, and the hard-black, the rose of Cambridge, the black-withy, the round-long sallow; the longest sallow, the crack-willow, the round-ear'd shining willow, the lesser broad-leav'd willow, silver sallow, upright broad-willow, repent broad-leav'd, the red-stone, the lesser willow, the strait-dwarf, the long-leav'd yellow sallow, the creeper, the black-low willow, the willow-bay, and the ozier. I begin with the withy.

2. The withy is a reasonable large tree, (for some have been found ten foot about) is fit to be planted on high banks, and ditch-sides within reach of water and the weeping sides of hills; because they extend their roots deeper than either sallows or willows. For this reason you shall plant them at ten, or twenty foot distance; and though they grow the slowest of all the twiggie trees, yet do they recompence it with the larger crop; the wood being tough, and the twigs fit to bind strongly; the very peelings of the branches being useful to bind arbor-poling, and in topiary-works, vine-yards, espalier-fruit, and the like: And we are told of some that grow twisted into ropes of 120 paces, serving instead of cables. There are two principal sorts of these withies, the hoary, and the red-withy, (which is the Greek) toughest, and fittest to bind, whilst the twigs are flexible and tender.

3. Sallows grow much faster, if they are planted within reach of water, or in a very moorish ground, or flat plain; and where the soil is (by reason of extraordinary moisture) unfit for arable, or meadow; for in these cases, it is an extraordinary improvement: In a word, where birch and alder will thrive. Before you plant them, it is found best to turn the ground with a spade; especially, if you design them for a flat. We have three sorts of sallows amongst us, (which is one more than the ancients challeng'd, who name only the black and white, which was their nitellina) the vulgar round leav'd, which proves best in dryer banks, and the hopping-sallows, which require a moister soil, growing with incredible celerity: And a third kind, of a different colour from the other two, having the twigs reddish, the leaf not so long, and of a more dusky green; more brittle whilst it is growing in twigs, and more tough when arriv'd to a competent size: All of them useful for the thatcher.

4. Of these, the hopping-sallows are in greatest esteem, being of a clearer terse grain, and requiring a more succulent soil; best planted a foot deep, and a foot and half above ground (though some will allow but a foot) for then every branch will prove excellent for future setlings. After three years growth (being cropped the second and third) the first years increase will be 'twixt eight and twelve foot long generally; the third years growth, strong enough to make rakes and pike-staves; and the fourth for Mr. Blithe's trenching plow, and other like utensils of the husbandman.

5. If ye plant them at full height (as some do at four years growth, setting them five or six foot length, to avoid the biting of cattel) they will be less useful for streight staves, and for setlings, and make less speed in their growth; yet this also is a considerable improvement.

6. These would require to be planted at least five foot distance, (some set them as much more) and in the quincunx order: If they affect the soil, the leaf will come large, half as broad as a man's hand, and of a more vivid green, always larger the first year, than afterwards: Some plant them sloping, and cross-wise like a hedge, but this impedes their wonderful growth; and (though Pliny seems to commend it, teaching us how to excorticate some places of each set, for the sooner production of shoots) it is but a deceitful fence, neither fit to keep out swine nor sheep; and being set too near, inclining to one another, they soon destroy each other.

7. The worst sallows may be planted so near yet, as to be instead of stakes in a hedge, and then their tops will supply their dwarfishness; and to prevent hedge-breakers, many do thus plant them; because they cannot easily be pull'd up, after once they have struck root.

8. If some be permitted to wear their tops five or six years, their palms will be very ample, and yield the first and most plentiful relief to bees, even before our abricots blossom. The hopping-sallows open, and yield their palms before other sallows, and when they are blown (which is about the exit of May, or sometimes June) the palms (or olesikarpoi frugiperdae, as Homer terms them for their extream levity) are four inches long, and full of a fine lanuginous cotton. Of this sort, there is a salix near Dorking in Surrey, in which the julus bears a thick cottonous substance. A poor body might in an hour's space, gather a pound or two of it, which resembling the finest silk, might doubtless be converted to some profitable use, by an ingenious house-wife, if gather'd in calm evenings, before the wind, rain and dew impair them; I am of opinion, if it were dry'd with care, it might be fit for cushions, and pillows of chastity, for such of old was the reputation of the shade of those trees.

9. Of these hopping sallows, after three years rooting, each plant will yield about a score of staves, of full eight foot in length, and so following, for use, as we noted above: Compute then how many fair pike-staves, perches, and other useful materials, that will amount to in an acre, if planted at five foot interval: But a fat and moist soil, requires indeed more space, than a lean or dryer; namely, six or eight foot distance.

10. You may plant setlings of the very first years growth; but the second year they are better, and the third year, better than the second; and the fourth, as good as the third; especially, if they approach the water. A bank at a foot distance from the water, is kinder for them than a bog, or to be altogether immers'd in the water.

11. 'Tis good to new-mould them about the roots every second, or third year; but men seldom take the pains. It seems that sallows are more hardy, than even willows and oziers, of which Columella takes as much care as of vines themselves. But 'tis cheaper to supply the vacuity of such accidental decays, by a new plantation, than to be at the charge of digging about them three times a year, as that author advises; seeing some of them will decay, whatever care be used.

12. Sallows may also be propagated like vines, by courbing, and bowing them in arches, and covering some of their parts with mould, &c. Also by cuttings and layers, and some years by the seeds likewise.

13. For setlings, those are to be preferr'd which grow nearest to the stock, and so (consequently) those worst, which most approach the top. They should be planted in the first fair and pleasant weather in February, before they begin to bud; we about London begin at the latter end of December. They may be cut in Spring for fuel, but best in Autumn for use; but in this work (as of poplar) leave a twig or two; which being twisted archwise, will produce plentiful sprouts, and suddenly furnish a head.

14. If in our copp'ces one in four were a sallow set, amongst the rest of varieties, the profit would recompence the care; therefore where in woods you grub up trees, thrust in trunchions of sallows, or some aquatic kind. In a word, an acre or two furnish'd with this tree, would prove of great benefit to the planter.

15. The swift growing sallow is not so tough and hardy for some uses as the slower, which makes stocks for gard'ners spades; but the other are proper for rakes, pikes, mops, &c. Sallow-coal is the soonest consum'd; but of all others, the most easie and accommodate for painters scribbets, to design their work, and first sketches on paper with, &c. as being fine, and apt to slit into pencils.

16. To conclude, there is a way of graffing a sallow-trunchion; take it of two foot and half long, as big as your wrist; graff at both ends a fig, and mulberry-cyon of a foot long, and so, without claying, set the stock so far into the ground, as the plant may be three or four inches above the earth: This (some affirm) will thrive exceedingly the first year, and in three, be fit to transplant. The season for this curiosity is February. Of the sallow (as of the lime-tree) is made the shooe-maker's carving or cutting-board, as best to preserve the edge of their knives, for its equal softness every way.

17. Oziers, or the aquatick and lesser salix, are of innumerable kinds, commonly distinguish'd from sallows, as sallows are from withies; being so much smaller than the sallow, and shorter liv'd, and requiring more constant moisture, yet would be planted in rather a dryish ground, than over moist and spewing, which we frequently cut trenches to avert. It likewise yields more limber and flexible twigs for baskets, flaskets, hampers, cages, lattices, cradles, the bodies of coaches and wagons, for which 'tis of excellent use, light, durable, and neat, as it may be wrought and cover'd: for chairs, hurdles, stays, bands, the stronger for being contus'd and wreathed, &c. likewise for fish wairs, and to support the banks of impetuous rivers: In fine, for all wicker and twiggy works:

Viminibus salices.............

18. But these sort of oziers would be cut in the new shoot: For if they stand longer, they become more inflexible; cut them close to the head (a foot, or so above earth) about the beginning of October; unless you will attend till the cold be past, which is better; and yet we about London, cut them in the most piercing seasons, and plant them also till Candlemas, which those who do not observe, we judge ill husbands, as I learn from a very experienc'd basket-maker; and in the decrease, for the benefit of the workman, though not altogether for that of the stock, and succeeding shoot: When they are cut, make them up into bundles, and give them shelter; but such as are for white-work (as they call it) being thus faggotted, and made up in bolts, as the term is, severing each sort by themselves, should be set in water, the ends dipped; and indeed all peel'd wares of the viminious kind, are not otherwise preserved from the worm; but for black and unpeel'd, shelter'd under covert only, or in some vault or cellar, to keep them fresh, sprinkling them now and then in excessive hot weather: The peelings of the former, are for the use of the gard'ner and cooper, or rather the splicings.

19. We have in England these three vulgar sorts; one of little worth, being brittle, and very much resembling the fore-mentioned sallow, with reddish twigs, and more greenish and rounder leaves: Another kind there is, call'd perch, of limber and green twigs having a very slender leaf; the third sort is totally like the second, only the twigs are not altogether so green, but yellowish, and near the popinjay: This is the very best for use, tough and hardy. But the most usual names by which basket-makers call them about London, and which are all of different species (therefore to be planted separately) are, the hard-gelster, the horse-gelster, whyning or shrivell'd-gelster, the black-gelster, in which Suffolk abounds. Then follow the golstones, the hard and the soft golstone, (brittle, and worst of all the golstones) the sharp and slender top'd yellow-golstone; the fine-golstone: Then is there the yellow ozier, the green ozier, the snake, or speckled ozier, swallow-tayl, and the Spaniard: To these we may add (amongst the number of oziers, for they are both govern'd and us'd alike) the Flanders-willow, which will arrive to be a large tree, as big as one's middle, the oftner cut, the better: With these our coopers, tie their hoops to keep them bent. Lastly, the white-sallow; which being of a year or two growth, is us'd for green-work; and if of the toughest sort, to make quarter-can-hoops, of which our seamen provide great quantities, &c.

20. These choicer sorts of oziers, which are ever the smallest, also the golden-yellow, and white, which is preferr'd for propagation, and to breed of, should be planted of slips of two or three years growth, a foot deep, and half a yard length, in moorish grounds, or banks, or else in furrows; so that (as some direct) the roots may frequently reach the water; for fluminibus salices.......... though we commonly find it rots them, and therefore never chuse to set them so deep as to scent it, and at three or four foot distance.

21. The season for planting is January, and all February, though some not till Mid-February, at two foot square; but cattle being excessively liquorish of their leaves and tender buds, some talk of a graffing them out of reach upon sallows, and by this, to advance their sprouting; but as the work would consume time, so have I never seen it succeed.

22. Some do also plant oziers in their eights, like quick-sets, thick, and (near the water) keep them not more than half a foot above ground; but then they must be diligently cleansed from moss, slab, and ouze, and frequently prun'd (especially the smaller spires) to form single shoots; at least, that few, or none grow double; these they head every second year about September, the autumnal cuttings being best for use: But generally

23. You may cut withies, sallows and willows, at any mild and gentle season, between leaf and leaf, even in Winter; but the most congruous time both to plant and to cut them, is crescente luna vere, circa calendas Martias; that is, about the new moon, and first open weather of the early Spring.

24. It is in France, upon the Loire, where these eights (as we term them) and plantations of oziers and withies are perfectly understood; and both there, and in divers other countries beyond seas, they raise them of seeds contain'd in their juli, or catkins, which they sow in furrows, or shallow trenches, and it springs up like corn in the blade, and comes to be so tender and delicate, that they frequently mow them with a scyth: This we have attempted in England too, even in the place where I live, but the obstinate and unmerciful weed did so confound them, that it was impossible to keep them clean with any ordinary industry, and so they were given over: It seems either weeds grow not so fast in other countries, or that the people (which I rather think) are more patient and laborious.

Note, that these juli, are not all of them seed-bearers, some are sterile, and whatever you raise of them, will never come to bear; and therefore by some they are called the male sort, as Mr. Ray (that learned botanist) has observed. The ozier is of that emolument, that in some places I have heard twenty pounds has been given for one acre; ten is in this part an usual price; and doubtless, it is far preferable to the best corn-land; not only for that it needs but once planting, but because it yields a constant crop and revenue to the world's end; and is therefore in esteem of knowing persons, valu'd in purchase accordingly; consider'd likewise how easily 'tis renew'd when a plant now and then fails, by but pricking in a twig of the next at hand, when you visit to cut them: We have in the parish near Greenwich, where I lately dwelt, improv'd land from less than one pound, to near ten pounds the acre: And when we shall reflect upon the infinite quantities of them we yearly bring out of France and Flanders, to supply the extraordinary expence of basket-work, &c. for the fruiterers, lime-burners, gardeners, coopers, packers-up of all sorts of ware, and for general carriage, which seldom last above a journey or two, I greatly admire gentlemen do no more think of employing their moist grounds (especially, where tides near fresh rivers are reciprocal) in planting and propagating oziers. To omit nothing of the culture of this useful ozier, Pliny would have the place to be prepared by trenching it a foot and half deep, and in that, to fix the sets, or cuttings of the same length at six foot interval. These (if the sets be large) will come immediately to be trees; which after the first three years, are to be abated within two foot of the ground. Then in April he advises to dig about them: Some raise them abundantly, by laying poles of them in a boggy earth only: Of these they formerly made vine-props, juga, as Pliny calls them, for archwise bending and yoaking, as it were, the branches to one another; and one acre hath been known to yield props sufficient to serve a vine-yard of 25 acres.

25. John Tradescant brought a small ozier from S. Omers in Flanders, which makes incomparable net-works, not much inferior to the Indian twig, or bent-works which we have seen; but if we had them in greater abundance, we should haply want the artificers who could employ them, and the dexterity to vernish so neatly.

26. Our common salix, or willow, is of two kinds, the white and the black: The white is also of two sorts, the one of a yellowish, the other of a browner bark: The black willow is planted of stakes, of three years growth, taken from the head of an old tree, before it begins to sprout: Set them of six foot high, and ten distant; as directed for the poplar. Those woody sorts of willow, delight in meads and ditch-sides, rather dry, than over-wet (for they love not to wet their feet, and last the longer) yet the black sort, and the reddish, do sometimes well in more boggy grounds, and would be planted of stakes as big as one's leg, cut as the other, at the length of five or six foot or more into the earth; the hole made with an oaken-stake and beetle, or with an iron crow (some use a long auger) so as not to be forced in with too great violence: But first, the trunchions should be a little stop'd at both extreams, and the biggest planted downwards: To this, if they are soaked in water two or three days (after they have been siz'd for length, and the twigs cut off ere you plant them) it will be the better. Let this be done in February, the mould as well clos'd to them as possible, and treated as was taught in the poplar. If you plant for a kind of wood, or copp'ce (for such I have seen) set them at six foot distance, or nearer, in the quincunx, and be careful to take away all suckers from them at three years end: You may abate the head half a foot from the trunk, viz. three or four of the lustiest shoots, and the rest cut close, and bare them yearly, that the three, four or more you left, may enjoy all the sap, and so those which were spared, will be gallant pearches within two years. Arms of four years growth, will yield substantial sets, to be planted at eight or ten foot distance; and for the first three years well defended from the cattle, who infinitely delight in their leaves, green, or wither'd. Thus, a willow may continue twenty, or five and twenty years, with good profit to the industrious planter, being headed every four or five years; some have been known to shoot no less than twelve foot in one year, after which, the old, rotten dotards may be fell'd, and easily supply'd. But if you have ground fit for whole copp'ces of this wood, cast it into double dikes, making every foss near three foot wide, two and half in depth; then leaving four foot at least of ground for the earth (because in such plantations the moisture should be below the roots, that they may rather see, than feel the water) and two tables of sets on each side, plant the ridges of these banks with but one single table, longer and bigger than the collateral, viz. three, four, five or six foot high, and distant from each other, about two yards. These banks being carefully kept weeded for the first two years, till the plants have vanquish'd the grass, and not cut till the third; you may then lop them traverse, and not obliquely, at one foot from the ground, or somewhat more, and they will head to admiration; but such which are cut at three foot height, are most durable, as least soft and aquatick: They may also be graffed 'twixt the bark, or budded; and then they become so beautiful, as to be fit for some kind of delightful walks; and this I wish were practis'd among such as are seated in low and marshy places, not so friendly to other trees. Every acre at eleven or twelve years growth, may yield you near a hundred load of wood: Cut them in the Spring for dressing, but in the Fall for timber and fuel: I have been inform'd, that a gentleman in Essex, has lopp'd no less than 2000 yearly, all of his own planting. It is far the sweetest of all our English fuel, (ash not excepted) provided it be sound and dry, and emitting little smoak, is the fittest for ladies chambers; and all those woods and twigs would be cut either to plant, work with, or burn in the dryest time of the day.

To confirm what we have advanc'd in relation to the profit which may be made by this husbandry, see what comes to me from a worthy person whom we shall have occasion to mention, with great respect, in the next chapter, when we speak of quicksets.

The considerable improvement which may be made in common fields, as well as inclosed grounds, he demonstrates by a little spot of meadow, of about a rod and half; part of which being planted about 50 years since with willows (in a clump not exceeding four pole in length, on one side about 12) several of them at the first and second lopping, being left with a strait top, run up like elms, to 30 or 40 foot in height; which some years since yielded boards of 14 or 15 inches broad as good for flooring, and other purposes within doors, as deals, last as long, work finer, white and beautiful: 'tis indeed a good while since they were planted, but it seems the crop answer'd this patience, when he cut up as many of them (the year 1700) as were well worth 10l. And since that another tree, for which a joyner offer'd him as much for those were left, which was more by half than the whole ground it self was worth; so as having made 20l. of the spot, he still possesses it without much damage to the grass. The method of planting was first by making holes with an iron crow, and widening them with a stake of wood, fit to receive a lusty plant, and sometimes boaring the ground with an auger; but neither of these succeeding, (by reason the earth could not be ramm'd so close to the sides and bottom of the sets, as was requisite to keep them steady, and seclude the air, which would corrupt and kill the roots) he caus'd holes, or little pits of a foot square and depth to be dug, and then making a hole with the crow in the bottom of the pits, to receive the set, and breaking the turf which came out of it, ramm'd it in with the mould close to the sets (as they would do to fix a gate-post) with great care not to gall the bark of it. He had divers times before this miscarry'd, when he us'd formerly to set them in plain ground, without breaking the surface, and laying it close to the sets; and therefore, if the soil be moist, he digs a trench by the side of the row, and applies the mould which comes out of it about the sets; so that the edge of the bank raised by it, may be somewhat higher than the earth next the set, for the better descent of the rain, and advantage of watering the sets in dry weather; preventing likewise their rooting in the bank, which they would do if the ground next the plant or set were made high, and sloped; and being left unfenc'd, cattel would tread down the bank, and lay the roots bare: The ground should therefore not be raised above 2 or 3 inches towards the body of the set. Now if the ground be dry, and want moisture, he chuses to bank them round, (as I have described it in my Pomona, cap. VII.) the fosses environing the mound and hillock, being reserves for the rain, cools and refreshes the sets.

He farther instances, that willows of about 20 years growth, have been worth 30s. and another sold for 3l. which was well worth 5l. and affirms, that the willows planted in beds, between double ditches, in boggy ground, may be fit to be cut every five years, and pay as well as the best meadow-pasture, which is of extraordinary improvement.

27. There is a sort of willow of a slender and long leaf, resembling the smaller ozier; but rising to a tree as big as the sallow, full of knots, and of a very brittle spray, only here rehears'd to acknowledge the variety.

28. There is likewise the garden-willow, which produces a sweet and beautiful flower, fit to be admitted into our hortulan ornaments, and may be set for partitions of squares; but they have no affinity with other. There is also in Shropshire another very odoriferous kind, extreamly fit to be planted by pleasant rivulets, both for ornament and profit: It is propagated by cuttings or layers, and will grow in any dry bottom, so it be sheltred from the south, affording a wonderful and early relief to the industrious bee: Vitruvius commends the vitex of the Latines (impertinently called agnus castus, the one being but the interpretation of the other) as fit for building; I suppose they had a sort of better stature than the shrub growing among the curious with us, and which is celebrated for its chast effects, and for which the Ancients employ'd it in the rites of Ceres: I rather think it more convenient for the sculptor (which he likewise mentions) provided we may (with safety) restore the text, as Perrault has attempted, by substituting laevitatem, for the author's regiditatem stubborn materials being not so fit for that curious art.

29. What most of the former enumerated kinds differ from the sallows, is indeed not much considerable, they being generally useful for the same purposes; as boxes, such as apothecaries and goldsmiths use; for cart-saddle-trees, yea gun-stocks, and half-pikes, harrows, shooe-makers lasts, heels, clogs for pattens, forks, rakes, especially the tooths, which should be wedged with oak; but let them not be cut for this when the sap is stirring, because they will shrink; pearches, rafters for hovels, portable and light laders, hop-poles, ricing of kidney-beans, and for supporters to vines, when our English vineyards come more in request: Also for hurdles, sieves, lattices; for the turner, kyele-pins, great town-tops; for platters, little casks and vessels; especially to preserve verjuices in, the best of any: Pales are also made of cleft willow, dorsers, fruitbaskets, canns, hives for bees, trenchers, trays, and for polishing and whetting table-knives, the butler will find it above any wood or whet-stone; also for coals, bavin, and excellent firing, not forgetting the fresh boughs, which of all the trees in nature, yield the most chast and coolest shade in the hottest season of the day; and this umbrage so wholsome, that physicians prescribe it to feaverish persons, permitting them to be plac'd even about their beds, as a safe and comfortable refrigerium. The wood being preserved dry, will dure a very long time; but that which is found wholly putrified, and reduc'd to a loamy earth in the hollow trunks of superannuated trees, is, of all other, the fittest to be mingled with fine mould, for the raising our choicest flowers, such as anemonies, ranunculus's, auriculas, and the like.

What would we more? low broom, and sallows wild, Or feed the flock, or shepherds shade, or field Hedges about, or do us honey yield.{175:1}

30. Now by all these plantations of the aquatick trees, it is evident, the lords of moorish commons, and unprofitable wasts, may learn some improvement, and the neighbour bees be gratified; and many tools of husbandry become much cheaper. I conclude with the learned Stephanus's note upon these kind of trees, after he has enumerated the universal benefit of the salictum: nullius enim tutior reditus, minorisve impendii, aut tempestatis securior.

FOOTNOTES:

{175:1}

Quid majora sequor? Salices, humilesque genistae, Aut illae pecori frondem, aut pastoribus umbram Sufficiunt, sepemque satis & pabula melli.

Georg. 2.



CHAPTER XX.

Of Fences, Quick-sets, &c.

1. Our main plantation is now finish'd, and our forest adorned with a just variety: But what is yet all this labour, but loss of time, and irreparable expence, unless our young, and (as yet) tender plants be sufficiently guarded with munitions from all external injuries? For, as old Tusser,

IF CATTEL, OR TONY MAY ENTER TO CROP, YOUNG OAK IS IN DANGER OF LOSING HIS TOP.

But with something a more polish'd stile, though to the same purpose, the best of poets,

Plash fences thy plantation round about, And whilst yet young, be sure keep Cattel out; Severest Winters, scorching sun infest, And sheep, goats, bullocks, all young plants molest; Yet neither cold, nor the hoar rigid frost, Nor heat reflecting from the rocky coast, Like cattel trees, and tender shoots confound, When with invenom'd teeth the twigs they wound.{176:1}

2. For the reason that so many complain of the improsperous condition of their wood-lands, and plantations of this kind, proceeds from this neglect; though (sheep excepted) there is no employment whatsoever incident to the farmer, which requires less expence to gratifie their expectations: One diligent and skilful man, will govern five hundred acres: But if through any accident a beast shall break into his master's field; or the wicked hunter make a cap for his dogs and horses, what a clamour is there made for the disturbance of a years crop at most in a little corn! whilst abandoning his young woods all this time, and perhaps many years, to the venomous bitings and treading of cattel, and other like injuries (for want of due care) the detriment is many times irreparable; young trees once cropp'd, hardly ever recovering: It is the bane of all our most hopeful timber.

3. But shall I provoke you by an instance? A kinsman of mine has a wood of more than 60 years standing; it was, before he purchas'd it, expos'd and abandon'd to the cattel for divers years: Some of the outward skirts were nothing save shrubs and miserable starvlings; yet still the place was dispos'd to grow woody; but by this neglect continually suppress'd. The industrious gentleman has fenced in some acres of this, and cut all close to the ground; it is come in eight or nine years, to be better worth than the wood of sixty; and will (in time) prove most incomparable timber, whilst the other part (so many years advanc'd) shall never recover; and all this from no other cause, than preserving it fenc'd: Judge then by this, how our woods come to be so decryed: Are five hundred sheep worthy the care of a shepherd? and are not five thousand oaks worth the fencing, and the inspection of a Hayward?

And shall men doubt to plant, and careful be?{177:1}

Let us therefore shut up what we have thus laboriously planted, with some good quick-set hedge; which,

.......All countries bear, in every ground As denizen, or interloper found: From gardens and till'd fields expell'd, yet there, On the extreams stands up, and claims a share. Nor mastiff-dog, nor pike-man can be found A better fence to the enclosed ground. Such breed the rough and hardy Cantons rear, And into all adjacent lands prefer, Though rugged churles, and for the battle fit; Who courts and states with complement or wit, To civilize, nor to instruct pretend; But with stout faithful service to defend. This tyrants know full well, nor more confide On guards that serve less for defence than pride: Their persons safe they do not judge amiss, And realms committed to their guard of Swiss.{177:2}

For so the ingenious poet has metamorphos'd him, and I could not withstand him.

4. The haw-thorn, (oxyacantha vulgaris) and indeed the very best of common hedges, is either rais'd of seeds or plants; but then it must not be with despair, because sometimes you do not see them peep the first year; for the haw, and many other seeds, being invested with a very hard integument, will now and then suffer imprisonment two whole years under the earth; and our impatience at this, does often fustrate the resurrection of divers seeds of this nature; so that we frequently dig up, and disturb the beds where they have been sown, in despair, before they have gone their full time; which is also the reason of a very popular mistake in other seeds; especially, that of the holly, concerning which there goes a tradition, that they will not sprout till they be pass'd through the maw of a thrush; whence the saying, turdus exitium suum cacat (alluding to the viscus made thereof, not the misselto of oak) but this is an error, as I am able to testifie on experience; they come up very well of the Berries, treated as I have shew'd in chap. 26. and with patience; for (as I affirm'd) they will sleep sometimes two entire years in their graves; as will also the seeds of yew, sloes, phillyrea angustifolia, and sundry others, whose shells are very hard about the small kernels; but which is wonderfully facilitated, by being (as we directed) prepar'd in beds, and magazines of earth, or sand for a competent time, and then committed to the ground before the full in March, by which season they will be chitting, and speedily take root: Others bury them deep in the ground all Winter, and sow them in February: And thus I have been told of a gentleman who has considerably improv'd his revenue, by sowing haws only, and raising nurseries of quick-sets, which he sells by the hundred far and near: This is a commendable industry; any neglected corners of ground will fit this plantation. Or were such places plow'd in furrow about the ground, you would fence, and sow'd with the mark of the cyder-press, crab-kernels, &c. kept secure from cattel till able to defend it self; it would yield excellent stocks to graff and transplant: And thus any larger plot, by plowing and cross-plowing the ground, and sowing it with all sorts of forest-seeds; breaking and harrowing the clods, and cleansing it from weeds with the haugh, (till the plants over-top them) a very profitable grove may be rais'd, and yield magazin of singular advantage, to furnish the industrious planter.

5. But Columella has another expedient for the raising of our spinetum, by rubbing the now mature hips and haws, ashen-keys, &c. into the crevices of bass-ropes, or wisps of straw, and then burying them in a trench: Whether way you attempt it, they must (so soon as they peep, and as long as they require it) be sedulously cleans'd of the weeds; which, if in beds for transplantation, had need be at the least three or four years; by which time even your seedlings will be of stature fit to remove; for I do by no means approve of the vulgar praemature planting of sets, as is generally us'd throughout England; which is to take such only as are the very smallest, and so to crowd them into three or four files, which are both egregious mistakes.

6. Whereas it is found by constant experience, that plants as big as ones thumb, set in the posture, and at the distance which we spake of in the horn-beam; that is, almost perpendicular (not altogether, because the rain should not get in 'twixt the rind and wood) and single, or at most, not exceeding a double row, do prosper infinitely, and much out-strip the densest and closest ranges of our trifling sets, which make but weak shoots, and whose roots do but hinder each other, and for being couch'd in that posture, on the sides of banks, and fences (especially where the earth is not very tenacious) are bared of the mould which should entertain them, by that time the rains and storms of one Winter have passed over them. In Holland and Flanders, (where they have the goodliest hedges of this kind about the counterscarps of their invincible fortifications, to the great security of their musketiers upon occasion) they plant them according to my description, and raise fences so speedily, and so impenetrable, that our best are not to enter into the comparison. Yet, that I may not be wanting to direct such as either affect the other way, or whose grounds may require some bank of earth, as ordinarily the verges of copp'ces, and other inclosures do; you shall by line, cast up your foss of about three foot broad, and about the same depth, provided your mould hold it; beginning first to turn the turf, upon which, be careful to lay some of the best earth to bed your quick in, and there lay, or set the plants; two in a foot space is sufficient; being diligent to procure such as are fresh gathered, streight, smooth, and well rooted; adding now and then, at equal spaces of twenty or thirty foot, a young oakling or elm-sucker, ash, or the like, which will come in time (especially in plain countries) to be ornamental standards, and good timber: If you will needs multiply your rowes, a foot or somewhat less: Above that, upon more congested mould, plant another rank of sets, so as to point just in the middle of the vacuities of the first, which I conceive enough: This is but for the single foss; but if you would fortifie it to the purpose, do as much on the other side, of the same depth, height, and planting; and then last of all, cap the top in pyramis with the worst, or bottom of the ditch: Some, if the mould be good, plant a row or two on the edge, or very crest of the mound, which ought to be a little flatned: Here also may they set their dry-hedges, for hedges must be hedg'd till they are able to defend and shade their under-plantation, and I cannot reprove it: But great care is to be had in this work, that the main bank be well footed, and not made with too sudden a declivity, which is subject to fall-in after frosts and wet weather; and this is good husbandry for moist grounds; but where the land lies high, and is hot and gravelly, I prefer the lower fencing; which, though even with the area it self, may be protected with stakes and a dry hedge, on the fosse side, the distance competent, and to very good purposes of educating more frequent timber amongst the rows.

7. Your hedge being yet young, should be constantly weeded two or three years, especially before Midsummer (of brambles especially, the great dock, and thistle, &c.) though some admit not of this work till after Michaelmas, for reasons that I approve not: It has been the practice of Herefordshire, in the plantation of quick-set-hedges, to plant a crab-stock at every twenty foot distance; and this they observe so religiously, as if they had been under some rigorous statute requiring it: But by this means they were provided in a short time with all advantages for the graffing of fruit amongst them, which does highly recompence their industry. Some cut their sets at three years growth even to the very ground, and find that in a year or two it will have shot as much as in seven, had it been let alone.

8. When your hedge is now of near six years stature, plash it about February or October; but this is the work of a very dextrous and skilful husbandman; and for which our honest countrey-man Mr. Markam gives excellent directions; only I approve not so well of his deep cutting, if it be possible to bend it, having suffered in something of that kind: It is almost incredible to what perfection some have laid these hedges, by the rural way of plashing, better than by clipping; yet may both be used for ornament, as where they are planted about our garden-fences, and fields near the mansion. In Scotland, by tying the young shoots with bands of hay, they make the stems grow so very close together, as that it encloseth rabbets in warrens instead of pales: And for this robust use we shall prefer the blackthorn; the extravagant suckers which are apt to rise at distance from the hedge-line, being sedulously extirpated, that the rest may grow the stronger and thicker.

9. And now since I did mention it, and that most I find do greatly affect the vulgar way of quicking (that this our discourse be in nothing deficient) we will in brief give it you again after George Markham's description, because it is the best, and most accurate, although much resembling our former direction, of which it seems but a repetition, 'till he comes to the plashing. In a ground which is more dry than wet (for watry places it abhors) plant your quick thus: Let the first row of sets be placed in a trench of about half a foot deep, even with the top of your ditch, in somewhat a sloping, or inclining posture; then, having rais'd your bank near a foot upon them, plant another row, so as their tops may just peep out over the middle of the spaces of your first row: These cover'd again to the height or thickness of the other, place a third rank opposite to the first, and then finish your bank to its intended height. The distances of the plants would not be above one foot; and the season to do the work in, may be from the entry of February, till the end of March; or else in September to the beginning of December. When this is finish'd, you must guard both the top of your bank, and outmost verge of your ditch, with a sufficient dry-hedge, interwoven from stake to stake into the earth (which commonly they do on the bank) to secure your quick from the spoil of cattle. And then being careful to repair such as decay, or do not spring, by supplying the dead, and trimming the rest; you shall after three years growth sprinkle some timber-trees amongst them; such as oak, beech, ash, maple, fruit, or the like; which being drawn young out of your nurseries, may be very easily inserted.

I am not in the mean time ignorant of what is said against the scattering these masts and keys among our fences; which grown to over-top the subnascent hedge, may prejudice it with their shade and drip: But this might be prevented by planting hollies (proof against these impediments) in the line or trench, where you would raise standards, as far as they usually spread in many years, and which, if placed at good distances, how close soever to the stem, would (besides their stout defence) prove a wondrous decoration, to large and ample enclosures: But to resume our former work; that which we affirm'd to require the greatest dexterity, is, the artificial plashing of our hedge, when it is now arrived to a six, or seven years head; though some stay till the tenth, or longer. In February therefore, or October, with a very sharp hand-bill, cut away all superfluous sprays and straglers, which may hinder your progress, and are useless. Then, searching out the principal stems, with a keen and light hatchet, cut them slant-wise close to the ground, hardly three quarters through, or rather, so far only, as till you can make them comply handsomely, which is your best direction, (lest you rift the stem) and so lay it from your sloping as you go, folding in the lesser branches which spring from them; and ever within a five or six foot distance, where you find an upright set (cutting off only the top to the height of your intended hedge) let it stand as a stake, to fortifie your work, and to receive the twinings of those branches about it. Lastly, at the top (which would be about five foot above ground) take the longest, most slender, and flexible twigs which you reserved (and being cut as the former, where need requires) bind-in the extremities of all the rest, and thus your work is finished: This being done very close and thick, makes an impregnable hedge, in few years; for it may be repeated as you see occasion; and what you so cut-away, will help to make your dry-hedges for your young plantations, or be profitable for the oven, and make good bavin. Namely, the extravagant side branches springing the more upright, 'till the newly wounded are healed. There are some yet who would have no stakes cut from the trees, save here and there one; so as to leave half the head naked, and the other standing; since the over-hanging bows will kill what is under them, and ruin the tree; so pernicious is this half-toping: But let this be a total amputation for a new and lusty spring: There is nothing more prejudicial to subnascent young trees, than when newly trim'd and prun'd, to have their (as yet raw) wounds poyson'd with continual dripping; as is well observed by Mr. Nourse: But this is meant of repairing decay'd hedges. For stakes in this work, oak is to be preferr'd, tho' some will use elder, but it is not good; or the blackthorn, crab-tree, in moorish ground withy, ash, maple, hasel, not lasting, (which some make hedges of; but it being apt to the browsing of cattle, when the young shoots appeared, it does better in copp'ces) the rest not lasting, should yet be driven well in at every yard of interval both before, and after they are bound, till they have taken the hard earth, and are very fast; and even your plash'd-hedges, need some small thorns to be laid over, to protect the spring from cattle and sheep, 'till they are somewhat fortified; and the doubler the winding is lodg'd, the better; which should be beaten, and forced down together with the stakes, as equally as may be. Note, that in sloping your windings, if it be too low done (as very usually) it frequently mortifies the tops, therefore it ought to be so bent, as it may not impede the mounting of the sap: If the plash be of a great, and extraordinary age, wind it at the neather boughs all together, and cutting the sets as directed, permit it rather to hang downwards a little, than rise too forwards; and then twist the branches into the work, leaving a set free, and unconstrain'd at every yard space, besides such as will serve for stakes, abated to about five foot length (which is a competent stature for an hedge) and so let it stand. One shall often find in this work, especially in old neglected hedges, some great trees, or stubs, that commonly make gaps for cattle: Such should be cut so near the earth, as till you can lay them thwart, that the top of one may rest on the root or stub of the other, as far as they extend, stopping the cavities with its boughs and branches; and thus hedges which seem to consist but only of scrubby-trees and stumps, may be reduced to a tolerable fence: But in case it be superannuated, and very old, 'tis advisable to stub all up, being quite renewed, and well guarded. We have been the longer on these descriptions, because it is of main importance, and that so few husband-men are so perfectly skill'd in it: But he that would be more fully satisfied, I would have to consult Mr. Cook, chap. 32. or rather instar omnium (and after all which has been said of this useful art of fencing) what I cannot without injury to the publick, and ingratitude to the persons, (who do me the honour of imparting to me their experiences) but as freely communicate.

It is then from the Reverend Mr. Walker of Great-Billing near Northampton, that (with several other particulars relating to our rural subject) I likewise receive from that worthy gentleman Tho. Franklin of Ecton, Esq; the following method of planting, and fencing with quick-sets; which we give you in his own words.

10. About 10 or 12 years since, I made some essays to set some little clumps of hedges and trees, of about two pole in breadth, and three in length: The out-fences ditch'd on the outside, but the quick-sets in the inside of the bank, that the dead-hedges might stand on the outside thereof; so that a small hedge of 18 or 20 inches high, made of small wood, the stakes not much bigger than a man's thumb, which (the banks being high) sufficiently defended them for four years time, and were hedg'd with less than one load of shreadings of willow-sets, which, (as my workmen told me) would have requir'd 6 load of copp'ce-wood: But the next year after their being planted, finding wast ground on the top of the bank of the outer fence, between the dead-hedge and the quick, I put a foot-set in the same space between the quick and the dead-hedge, which prosper'd better than those planted in the side of the bank, after the vulgar way, and hold it still. This put me upon thinking, that a set cheaper and better of quick-fence, might possibly be found out; and accordingly I made some tryals, with good success, (at least better than the old way) tho' not to my full satisfaction, till I had perus'd Mr. Evelyn's Silva, &c. The method I us'd, was this: First I set out the ground for ditches and quick, in breadth ten foot; then subdivided that by marking out 2 foot 1/2 on each side (more or less, at pleasure) for the ditches, leaving 5 in the middle between them: Then digging up two foot in the midst of that 5 foot, plant the sets in; tho' it require more labour and charge, I found it soon repay'd the cost. This done, I began to dig the fosses, and to set up one row of turfs on the outside of the said five foot; namely, one row on each side thereof, the green side outmost, a little reclining, so as the grass might grow: After this, returning to the place begun at, I ordered one of the men to dig a spit of the under-turfmould, and lay it between the turfs, plac'd edge-wise, as before describ'd, upon the 2 foot which was purposely dug in the middle, and prepar'd for the sets, which the planter sets with two quicks upon the surface of the earth, almost upright, whilst another workman lays the mould forward, about 12 inches, and then sets two more, and so continues. Some there are who plant three rows of sets about 8 inches interval; but I do not approve it; for they choak one another. This finished, I order another row of turfs to be plac'd on each side upon the top of the former, and fill the vacuity between the sets and the turfs, as high as their tops, always leaving the middle where the sets are planted, hollow, and somewhat lower than the sides of the banks, by 8 or 10 inches, that the rain may descend to their roots, which is of great advantage to their growth, and far better than by the old way; where the banks too much sloping, the roots of the sets are seldom wetted in an ordinary season, the Summer following; but which if it prove dry, many of the sets perish, especially the late planted: Whereas those which I planted in the latter end of April, tho' the Summer hapned to be somewhat dry, generally scap'd, very few of them miscarrying. Now the planting thus advanc'd, the next care is fencing; by setting an hedge of about 20 inches high upon the top of the bank, on each side thereof, leaning a little outward from the sets, which will protect them as well (if not better) than a hedge of 3 foot, or four inches more, standing upon the surface of the ground, which being rais'd with the turfs and sods about 20 inches, and the hedge about 20 inches more, will make 3 foot 4 inches; so as no cattle can approach the dead-hedge to prejudice it, unless they set their feet in the ditch it self; which will be at least a foot deep, and from the bottom of the fosse to the top of the hedge, about 4 foot and 1/2, which they can hardly reach over to crop the quick, as they might in the old way; and besides, such an hedge will endure a year longer. I have at this present, an hedge which has stood these 5 years; and tho' 9 or 10 foot be sufficient for both ditches and bank, yet where the ground is but indifferent, 'tis better husbandry to take 12 foot, which will allow of a bank at least 6 foot broad, and gives more scope to place the dead hedges farther from the sets; and the ditches being shallow, will in two years time, graze; tho' I confine my self for the most part to 9 or 10; because I would take off the only objection of wasting ground by this way, should others follow it. In reply to this, I affirm, that if you take 12 foot in breadth, for ditch and bank, you wast more ground, than by the common way: For in that a quick is rarely set, but there is 9 foot between the dead hedges, which is entirely lost all the time of fencing: When as with double ditches, there remains at least 18 inches on each side where the turfs were set on edge, that bear more grass than when it lay on the flat. ......... But admitting it did totally lay wast 3 foot of ground, the damage were very inconsiderable, since forty pearch, in lengh 220 yards, which makes pearches, 7, 25", 9', or 7 pole 1/4, which at 13 shil. 4 pence the acre, amounts not to 7d. 1/2 per ann. Now that this is not only the best and cheapest way of quick-setting, will appear by comparing the charge of both: In the usual way, the charge of a 3 foot ditch is 4d. per pole, the owner providing sets; if the workman finds them, he will have for making the said ditch, and setting them, 8d. the pole, and for hedging, two pence; that is, for both sides 4d. the pole, which renders the charge of hedging, ditching, and sets, 12d. the pole; that is, for forty rod in length, forty shillings: Then one load of wood out of the copp'ce costs us, with the carriage, (tho' but two or 3 miles distance) ten shillings; which will seldom hedge above 8 pole (single hedge.) But allowing it to do ten, to fence 40 pole, there must be at least 8 load of wood, which costs 4l. making the whole expence for ditching, setting, and fencing of 40 pole, to be 6l. reck'ning with the least; for I know not any that will undertake to do it under 3s. 6d. per pole, and then the 40 pole costs 7l. Whereas, with double ditches, both of them, setting and sets, will be done for 8d. per pole, and the husbandman get as good wages, as with a single ditch, (for tho' the labour about them is more, yet the making the table is saved) which costs 1l. 6s. 8d. And the hedges being but low, they'll make better wages at hedging for a penny the pole, than at two pence for common hedges; which comes to 6s. 8d. for hedging forty pole on both sides: Thus one load of wood, will fence 30 pole at least, and 40 hedg'd with 2/3 of wood less, than in the other way, and cost but 1l. 6s. 8d. which makes the whole charge of sets, ditching, fencing, and wood, but three pounds.

l. s. d. 01 06 08 00 06 08 01 06 08 ——————- 03 00 00 ——————-

Hitherto this obliging and industrious gentleman.

11. To other uses: The Root of an old thorn is excellent both for boxes and combs, and is curiously and naturally wrought: I have read, that they made ribs to some small boats or vessels with the white-thorn, and it is certain, that if they would plant them single, and in standards, where they might be safe, they would rise into large body'd trees in time, and be of excellent use for the turner, not inferior to box, and accounted among the fortunate trees, and therefore us'd in fasces nuptiarum, since the jolly shepherds carryed the white-thorn at the rapine of the Sabines; and ever since counted{192:1} propitious.

The distill'd water, and stone, or kernels of the haw reduc'd to powder, is generally agreed to be sovereign against the stone. The black-crab rightly season'd and treated, is famous for walking-staves, and if over-grown, us'd in mill-work; yea, and for rafters of great ships. Here we owe due eulogy to the industry of the late Lord Shaftsbury, who has taught us to make such enclosures of crab-stocks only, (planted close to one another) as there is nothing more impregnable and becoming; or you may sow cyder-kernels in a rill, and fence it for a while, with a double dry hedge, not only for a sudden and beautiful, but a very profitable inclosure; because, amongst other benefits, they will yield you cyderfruit in abundance: But in Devonshire, they build two walls with their stones, setting them edge-ways, two, and then one between; and so as it rises, fill the interval, or cofer with earth (the breadth and height as you please) and continuing the stone-work, and filling, and as you work, beating in the stones flat to the sides, they are made to stick everlastingly: This is absolutely the neatest, most saving, and profitable fencing imaginable, where slaty stones are in any abundance; and it becomes not only the most secure to the lands, but the best for cattle, to lye warm under the walls; whilst other hedges, (be they never so thick) admit of some cold winds in Winter-time when the leaves are off. Upon these banks they plant not only quick-sets, but even timber-trees, which exceedingly thrive, being out of all danger.

12. The pyracantha paliurus, and like preciouser sorts of thorn and robust evergreens, adorn'd with caralin-berries, might easily be propagated by seeds, layers, or cutting, into plenty sufficient to store even these vulgar uses, were men industrious; and then, how beautiful and sweet would the environs of our fields be! for there are none of the spinous shrubs more hardy, none that make a more glorious shew, nor fitter for our defence, competently arm'd; especially the rhannus, which I therefore joyn to the oxyacantha, for its terrible and almost irresistible spines, able almost to pierce a coat of mail; and for this made use of by the malicious Jews, to crown the sacred tempels of our Blessed Saviour, and is yet preferred among the most venerable reliques in St. Chapel at Paris, as is pretended, by the devotees, &c. and hence has the tree (for it sometimes exceeds a shrub) the name of Christ's Thorn. Thus might berberies now and then be also inserted among our hedges, which, with the hips, haws, and cornel-berries, do well in light lands, and would rather be planted to the South, than North or West, as usually we observe them.

13. Some (as we noted) mingle their very hedges with oaklings, ash, and fruit-trees, sown or planted, and 'tis a laudable improvement; though others do rather recommend to us sets of all one sort, and will not so much as admit of the black-thorn to be mingled with the white, because of their unequal progress; and indeed, timber-trees set in the hedge (though contemporaries with it) do frequently wear it out; and therefore I should rather encourage such plantations to be at some yards distance, near the verges, than perpendicularly in them. Lastly, if in planting any the most robust forest-trees, (especially oak, elm, chesnut) at competent spaces, and in rows; you open a ring of ground, at about four foot distance from the stem, and prick in quick-set plants; you may after a while, keep them clipp'd, at what height you please: They will appear exceedingly beautiful to the eye, prove a good fence, and yield useful bush, bavin, and (if you maintain them unshorn) hips and haws in abundance: This would therefore especially be practis'd, where one would invite the birds.

14. In Cornwal they secure their lands and woods, with high mounds, and on them they plant acorns, whose roots bind in the looser mould, and so form a coronet of trees. They do likewise (and that with great commendation) make hedges of our genista spinosa, prickly furzes, of which they have a taller sort, such as the French imploy for the same purpose in Bretaigne, where they are incomparable husbands.

15. It is to be sown (which is best) or planted of the roots in a furrow: If sown, weeded till it be strong; both tonsile, and to be diligently clip'd, which will render it very thick, an excellent and beautiful hedge: Otherwise, permitted to grow at large, 'twill yield very good faggot: It is likewise admirable covert for wildfowl, and will be made to grow even in moist, as well as dry places: The young and tender tops of furzes, being a little bruis'd and given to a lean sickly horse, will strangely recover and plump him. Thus, in some places, they sow in barren grounds (when they lay them down) the last crop with this seed, and so let them remain till they break them up again, and during that interim, reap considerable advantage: Would you believe (writes a worthy correspondent of mine) that in Herefordshire (famous for plenty of wood) their thickets of furzes (viz. the vulgar) should yield them more profit than a like quantity of the best wheat-land of England? for such is theirs: If this be question'd, the scene is within a mile of Hereford, and proved by anniversary experience, in the lands, as I take it, of a gentleman who is now one of the burgesses for that city. And in Devonshire (the seat of the best husbands in the world) they sow on their worst land (well plow'd) the seeds of the rankest furzes, which in four or five years becomes a rich wood: No provender (as we say) makes horses so hardy as the young tops of these furzes; no other wood so thick, nor more excellent fuel; and for some purposes also, yielding them a kind of timber to their more humble buildings, and a great refuge for fowl and other game: I am assur'd, in Bretaigne 'tis sometimes sown no less than twelve yards thick, for a speedy, profitable, and impenetrable mound: If we imitated this husbandry in the dry and hot barren places of Surrey, and other parts of this nation, we might exceedingly spare our woods; and I have bought the best sort of French-seed at the shops in London. It seems that in the more eastern parts of Germany, and especially in Poland, this vulgar trifle, and even our common Broom is so rare, that they have desired the seeds of them out of England, and preserve them with extraordinary care in their best gardens; this I learn out of our Johnson's Herbal; by which we may consider, that what is reputed a curse, and a cumber in some places, is esteem'd the ornament and blessing of another: But we shall not need go so far for this, since both beech and birch are almost as great strangers in many parts of this nation, particularly Northampton and Oxfordshire. Mr. Cook is much in praise of juniper for hedges, especially for the more elegant inclosures, and we daily see how it's improved of late.

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