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INCLOSURES And FENCES.
TH E uses and value of inclosures are now so generally understood, that it will not be necessary to say any thing upon that head in this place. I only propose, in this essay, to make some observations on the principal uses, comparative value, and manner of rearing several kinds of fences, with a view to enable the young
farmer farmer to make choice of such kinds as may best answer the purpose that he may desire.
Comparative Value of Dikes and Hedges.
The fences that are most universally employed, are either stone-dikes or hedges *. Dikes, if well built, as effectually preserve a field from the intrusion of domestic animals, as any other kind of fence whatever; but they afford little warmth or shelter to the field: Whereas hedges, if good, answer both these purposes equally well. But the most material distinction between dikes and hedges is, that dikes are in their highest degree of perfection as soon as they are reared,
# Dike is a term employed in the following Essays, to denote any kind of wall reared for the purpose of inclosing a field, and nothing else.
and and from that moment begin to decay; so that the person who builds this kind of fence immediately receives the full benefit of it; whereas, hedges, being at first weak and tender, stand in need of attention and care, and do not become a fence for several years after they are planted. And, as they continue to encrease in strength, and gradually acquire a higher and higher degree of perfection, it is long before they begin to fall toward decay; so that they are, in general, infinitely more durable than dikes, although they are longer of becoming of use to the person who plants them.
Which of these two kind of fences may, upon the whole, be most eligible, must, in general, be determined by the circumstances and views of the possessor of the ground to be inclosed. If he is a tenant who has a short lease, without a prospect of getting it renewed, or, if he has immediate- occasion for a complete fence, it may perhaps, in general, neral, be most prudent in him to make choice of dikes, if the materials for rearing these are at hand; but, if it is probable that his posterity may reap any advantage from these inclosures, it will be almost always more for his advantage to make choice of hedges.
Os dry Stone-Dikes.
If you live in a country where good free stone can be easily got, and lime procured at a moderate price, a dike built of these materials will, it is true, be almost as durable as a hedge; although, in general, it will neither be so cheap nor agreeable. But dry stone-dikes, unless built of the finest quarried stone, are of such a perishable nature, as to be hardly ever worth the expence of rearing; and never, as I apprehend, excepting where the field that you would wisli to
inclose inclose has plenty of stones upon its surface, which you are under a necessity of carrying away before the field can be improved. In this situation, a man may, in some measure, be excused, if he should be tempted to put them into dikes; because the carriage of these stones may be said to cost him nothing; and he may, perhaps, be at some loss how to dispose of them in any other manner. But, in all other circumstances, I apprehend, that it is very bad oeconomy to rear fences of this kind, as seal * dikes can
• Feal is a provincial word, which may perhaps have many synonyma. It here means any kind of sod dug by the spade from the surface of grassground, consisting of the upper mold rendered tough and coherent by the matted roots of the grafs thickly interwoven with it. If only a very thin bit of the upper surface is pared off with a paring spade, the pieces are here called Divots. These being of a firmer consistence, are more durable when built into dikes than seal, but touch more expensive also.