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rate observation, too often to be met with on subjects relating to rural affairs. For, experience has sufficiently convinced me, that this plant will not only grow, but thrive, in any rich well cultivated foil, (unless in particular circumstances that need not here be mentioned), even although it be of a very dry nature *. It could not, however, in
* To remove, in some measure, the prejudice that might, perhaps, arise in the mind of inattentive observers against the writer, for the seemingly paradoxical assertion in the text, it will not be improper herd to mention a few facts relating to this subject, that their own suture experience and observation will enable them to judge of impartially.
Water is not more essentially necessary to the thriving of the willow than to most other plants or trees; but only is, on many occasions, incidentally useful, as tending to promote that particular tenderness, and easy penetrability of soil, which is essentially necessary to the health, if not to the very existence of this species of plants. As a proof of this, recollect, if ever you saw any kind of willow thrive in what
can general, be made to thrive, if planted in the' fame manner as thorns ;^nor would it, in
can properly be called a quagmire, where the soil is swelled up with such a superabundance os water, as to be reduced to a fort of semifluid state. Again, Did you ever see willows thrive, if planted upon a hard, poor, clayey soil, however much the surface may be covered with water? I foolishly, in my younger years, planted several pieces of ground of this nature with willows, but without any sort of success; Again, although it is rare to meet with a sandy soil that is so much subjected to wetness, as to be never dry through a whole season, yet I once met with a case of that kind ; the situation being so low, that^ notwithstanding the best drains that could be made from it, the ditches were never dry. Willows were planted upon the face of the ditch, so as never to be above six inches from the water; but the greatest shoots that ever they made in one season, did not exceed six inches. If your observations shall concur with mine in these examples, we will be obliged to conclude, that wetness does not, in all cases, cause willows to prosper.
any respect, be proper to train it up for a fence, in the same way as has been described,
On the other hand, please again to recollect, if ever you saw willows planted in a rich mellow gar. den-mold, (if the foil was not a hard sand or gravel), which did not fend out luxuriant shoots, whether the situation was dry or otherwise ? I am disposed to think that you have not. For, altho' I have tried the experiment several times, it has never once failed with me. And, I have frequently had shoots of willows from eight to nine feet in length, in one season, upon soils naturally as dry as almost any could be.~-In short, the results of all my observations, relating to the growth of willows, are, That they will thrive only rn such soils as are of a soft light nature, which are easily penetrated by the roots of this plant < That unmellowed clays are too coherent for them % and that sar\d, by falling too closely together, makes too much resistance to the roots.—-That rich garden-niold, if kept open by frequent digging, is always in a proper state for them :—That banks of mellow earth, by the fides of rivulets or runningwater, which often rises near the surface of them, by being kept always soft by the natural moisture!,
as best for that plant. The willow, as a fence, could seldom be successfully employed, but for dividing into separate inclosures any extensive field of rich ground. And, as it is always necessary to put the foil into as good
without being drowned or rendered poachy by the adhesiveness of the foil, are peculiarly proper for rearing this plant:—That even clayey foils, or such as tend towards clay, if not absolutely pure and rigid, when lying so low as to be within the reach of water, if thrown up into narrow banks or ridges by the spade, [having ditches between each, always, or for the greatest part of the year, filled with water, will, by this management, be rendered very proper for rearing this plant. Because, in this situation, the ridge, being above the level of the water, is exposed to the meliorating influences of the fun, and air, and, being constantly kept moderately damp by the suction of the roots of the plants that grow upon it,'the mold quickly acquires that mellow richness so necessary for the well-being of the willow. Whether these observations are just or not, suture experience stnd observation will determine.
order as possible before a hedge of this kind is planted in it, the easiest method of putting it into the necessary high tilth, will be to mark off the boundaries of your several fields in the winter, or early in the spring, with a design to give a complete fallow to a narrow ridge, six or eight feet bread, in the middle of which the hedge is intended to be planted the ensuing winter. This ridge ought to be frequently ploughed during the summer-season, and, in autumn, be well manured with dung, or lime, or both, (for it cannot be made too rich) and be neatly formed into a ridge before winter.
Having prepared the ground in this manner, it will be in readiness to receive the hedge, which ought to be planted as early in winter as can be got conveniently done; as the willow is as much hurt by being planted late in the spring, as the hawthorn, (§ X.) But, before you begin to make a fence of this kind, it will be necessary to