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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 forman
Amer der tallest-growing trees, is seldom if ever found with Ku Khme a Tap Root, but is supported straight in its per unatoa bank pendicular position wholly by horizontal or lateral 7 Lite teen Roots. The authoress proceeds. “ Thus it is sur
, rounded 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
mayla 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', home Jonly a large pump to collect and throw up, ail that 1. Kufa 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 tree is taken out some hours before it is replaced, all the radicles are sure to die. And if the Tap Root also is injured, no wonder they never make fine trees, or that those planted by nature are always found superior. The reason that throwing a quantity of water. into the pit has been found serviceable is, that it supplies moisture and quickens the growth of the new radicles, and what is still more advantageous, and should be constantly done, a large barrow of good mould should be thrown on the Roots and about the radicles; for a young and tender Root, if it has to pierce through the clods of earth in its sickly state, will certainly fail."
These observations, as they respect trees in their dan native soil and climate, may generally apply; but when it is considered that the business and art of a nurseryman and gardener is to render the nature and habits of trees as subservient as possible to every variety of soil and situation, and the
experience and observation of all show that the Tap Root is prejudicial to fructification, I cannot but think that the terms “ ignorant and vicious," as they respect the general operation of cutting off or changing the course of the Tap Root in young Plants, and particularly of Fruit Trees, are ill applied; but when attached to the too general practice of breaking off and reducing the Roots on every transplanting, neither those nor any other words can be too severe.
That a Tap Root or any other Root is peculiarly adapted to supply any particular branch or part of a tree, I very much doubt; but should this be the original arrangement in the system of nature, experience proves that it is not an invariable law, for if a part of the branches of a tree be lopped off, the sap which those would have consumed, is given to the remaining branches, and they are proportionally increased. Whenever part of the Root is taken off, it does not affect any particular branch, but the whole of the branches are equally affected by the privation and loss; and although cutting
; off the Tap Root may, by lessening the supply of moisture, produce the same effect as an extended surface of branches, and incline a tree to vary the vertical growth of its branches at an earlier period, yet it is proved in every nursery-ground that all young Plants of erect-growing Trees, are inclined to form their strongest branches in a perpendicular position, and if not obstructed, to throw out its whole strength into one stem, until it attains a height proportioned to its nature and supply of food, and this even after the Tap Root is removed.
The effect intended by pouring water into the pit on transplanting, as here explained, is undoubtedly desirable, but it will seldom be produced by such means.
A great quantity of water poured on will often cement or encrust the earth, and render it so close and adhesive, that it will obstruct the emission of fresh radicles, or the progress of the old ones,
and the Plant in consequence will be much injured.
Water in those cases should be applied a little at a time and often ; this will afford sufficient moisture, and keep the soil loose.
Mould may be a good thing thrown into the pit in the quantity here mentioned, about the Roots of Forest Trees when planted, but it must be improper for Fruit Trees; for by retaining a large 13 portion of moisture, it will oppose fructification, and endanger their health, or by affording a luxuriant supply of food, the Roots may be made to increase rapidly in size, but form few in number. A few large Roots running deep and spreading wide, may be necessary to produce a large Timber Tree, but it will be prejudicial to a Fruit Tree, for, as before observed, those trees are always more prolific when the Roots are much divided or fibrous, and kept near the surface of the soil.