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He also says, “ Some authors who treat of the
“ qualities of the earth, say that it ought to be of the same quality, three or four feet deep, for Trees, which, if they have not that depth, will languish and decay after they have been planted six years. But this is not true in fact: for most Trees will thrive very well if they have two féet depth of good earth, especially Fruit Trees, which produce the most generous Fruits when their Roots spread near the surface of the earth."
Whether we consider the effects here stated to be produced by the Roots being kept more within the influence of the sun and air, or by the peculiar nature of the food supplied by the soil in that situation, it operates in support of one and the same principle, viz. that it is necessary the Roots should be kept near the surface; for whether that which supplies the food of Plants be a red, a black, or a brown loam, or sand or clay, the proper quality of food to induce fructification, and produce the highest flavoured fruits, can only be furnished within a certain depth from the surface, or within the
proper influence of the sun and air.
Mrs. Ibbetson has given a Theory which directly opposes those Practical Observations and Conclusions; when speaking of the Roots of Plants, she says, “ The endeavours I have made to collect facts sufficient to prepare myself to give an exact account of the laws by which the Root is regulated, the powers which govern it in its exterior as well as interior form, the parts which compose, and the
mechanism which moves it, has at length given me courage sufficient to venture on my task, and if I do not thoroughly satisfy my readers, I shall still show many things perfectly unknown, and at a further time, I shall hope to add circumstances that may render it more complete and more worthy the attention of the public, at least I can promise that I shall advance nothing but what all may ascertain the truth of, nor enter into any detail that may not be proved to be just and true, by those who will take the trouble of seeking both in dissection and practical Gardening, that knowledge which constant labour and watching has procured
I certainly do not possess the powers of examination, or perhaps of dissection, to justify any criticisms on Mrs. Ibbetson's representations of what she has seen ; but as the connection, application, and use of the different parts as seen and described by her, are in a great measure conjectural, I may perhaps, without presumption, venture to offer a few remarks on her opinion of the process of nature.
“ It is the Tap Root which always forms the leading shoot of the tree, and if it is cut, it will without doubt spoil that part, by forming two middle stems to the tree, at least I have generally found this to be the case; and as the beauty
of the tree depends much on the perpendicular height of its single pillar, the custom they have in most nurseries of curtailing the Tap Root is a most vicious one."
She also says, “ What is the use of the Tap Root ? by shooting perpendicularly down to fix the tree firmly to the ground and keep it straight in that position.”
This appears to me a conjecture, neither supported by the observations of nature, nor the principles of science.
What person possessing the least knowledge of mechanics, could ever expect that a pole, with any substance fixed at its top, exposing a large surface to the winds, could remain straight in its perpendicular position when set in the earth, without horizontal fixtures ? Indeed the elm, one of the American tallest-growing trees, is seldom if ever found with that kind a Tap Root, but is supported straight in its per-satsen bome pendicular position wholly by horizontal or lateral LEIL Roots. The authoress proceeds. “Thus it is surrounded by radicles which perpetually pump up from every different soil as it proceeds in depth, what other Roots cannot attain, matter, which mixed with what the higher grounds bestow, serves to bring a variety to compound the different ingredients required for the various nourishment of the tree; probably minerals are wanted to form the juices of the bark; and I doubt not that the deep descent of the Tap Root is most necessary to the health and vigour of the tree.
How improper then is the custom of cutting it, and curtailing also many of the other Roots, each of which has its appropriate branch, which will of course suffer in decay, for the dilapidations produced by the igno
rance of the gardener. · But the loss of the Tap Root can never. bę remedied, it can no longer
# Wild serve as a deep well, to gain not only a quantity of moisture from the number of rills it may meet with in its descent, but also matter from a variety of soil, and innumerable productions it passes in its way. The
Tap, Root then is only like the radicles only a large
fumpto collect and thrqy up all that kilosofi it can select of water and other juices, the second part of the Root (which she describes to be the place where the root joins the Trunk,) is the reservoir for collecting the materials, and the third part is the laboratory for forming each different gas and juice necessary for the health and habits of the tree; I may well add a fourth, for the radicles are the collectors sent out on every side to seek fresh provisions, to augment the stores, and increase the riches of this little habitation."
Again, That a Tap Root or any Root that is injured should be cut off, there can be no doubt, since the danger of the rot is greater than any other inconveniencies; but the greatest care, when trees are to be transplanted, should be taken not to hurt the Roots, and if any radicles can be preserved by wrapping them up in fresh earth, it should be done, for if they will live a little time, it will be a great gain to the tree; and here is the advantage of having the pit ready dug, and removing the plant with all the earth round it; it preserves the few radicles alive, and enables them directly to perform their office of pumping moist
ure and nourishment from the earth. But if the
These observations, as they respect trees in their hann