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would hardly be possible to contrive a practice that would be more prejudicial to it than this is.
The chief properties that constitute the excellence of a hedge, are strength and
closeness. Now, a hedge can be made
strong by nothing else than the vigour and size of the principal stems of which it is composed. But, it is evident, that, by cutting the tops of all the radical shoots, each of them is forced to send out a great many smaller ones, as in a pollard-tree; and each of these small stems being cut again and again, are-divided into still smaller and more numerous ramifications, till the number of these are increased to such a degree, and their size, of consequence, so much diminished, that the hedge may be said to consist entirely of an infinite number of small twigs, closely interwoven with one another, which have not sufficient strength to make any considerable resistance to a furious bull, who
will will easily break through any part of such a hedge that he may chance to attack, howevenclose it may it may appear to be. But if, instead of being cut in the top, the thorn be allowed to advance upwards without any interruption, its stem, like that of any other tree, will continue to encrease in size and strength, and, in a short time, become so large as to be able to resist the whole force of any animal that we may have occasion to fear. They even, in time, become so large as to occupy almost the whole space that was originally left between the plants, so as to form a solid vegetable wall (if I may use that expression) which it is almost impossible for any force to overturn. It is, therefore, obvious, that cutting the top of a hedge, when young, tends greatly to diminish the strength of it.
It will, perhaps, be a more difficult task to convince the reader, that this practice likewise tends to diminish the thickness of the
hedge; hedge; although, I flatter myself, that I shall be able to demonstrate this as clearly as the other.
When the principal stem of any tree is cut over, the sap that would have gone to encrease the size of its top, being stopt in its ascent, forces out a great many shoots all round the stem, immediately below the place where it has been cut over. And, when this is the casse with a hedge, the number of shoots that are Crowded together draw the lap so powerfully to that place, and occasion such a deep shade below it, that all the horizontal shoots that had sprung out from the stem near the roots, being deprived of their nourishment, and the influences of the air, are checked in their growth, and in a short time totally perish; leaving the stem at the root quite naked and bare *. And, as there I are,
* As those who have not paid much attention to the growth of trees, may, perhaps, be at a loss to
are, from that period, no branches springing immediately from the under part of the
comprehend the full force of the argument made use os, I shall here subjoin a few observations tending to illustrate it more clearly.
The principal use of the branches of a tree, is, to pump up the sap from the roots, and distribute it properly through the whole plant; so that the health of the tree, and form of the trunk, in a great measure
depend upon the' proper arrangement of these
Every branch carries off from the stem a part of the nourishment that is imbibed by the roots ; and altho', in its passage, it serves to augment the size of that part of the item that is below it, yet the parts that are above it receive no addition from the sap that is pumped up by this branch ; so that, if some branches f.re allowed to remain upon the stem near the root, and others at regular distances above one another to the top, the under part of the stem will be of a considerable size, and it will taper gradually upwards, so as to stand extremely firm and secure. But, is all the branches are at once lopped away from the stem, and it is allowed to remain naked to a considerable height, it continues nearly of the fame size from the root to the part where the branches begin to set out;
and, stem, to detain the sap in its passage, and make that part of it cncrease in its size, it
and, being thus so Ionr; and slender, it is not of a sufficient strength to support the top, so as to be, in many cafes, bent down towards the ground, and continue to grow in a distorted and languishing condition. This is more particularly observable in the broadleaved Scots elm, and the freest shooting pear-trees, than in any other species of trees that I know: But the fame phaenomenon is observable in all trees, in a smaller or great degree, according to the vigour or pliability of their shoots.
But, as the sap always more naturally ascends in an upright than in a lateral direction, if, by any# means, several strong shoots are made to spring from any part of the stem, these assume an upright direction, and continue to draw away a great deal of nou. rifhment to themselves •, so that the weaker horizontal shoots below them, not being able to attract to themselves a sufficient quantity of sap, they begin to languish, till at length, more and more weakened by the made and dripping of the branches above them, they gradually fall away. Having thus, for a time, helped to encreasc the size of the under part