Roots are, notwithstanding, impatient of resistance, and at all times evince a partiality for that soil which is most accommodating, and run most evenly and luxuriantly where they meet with the least resistance and the greatest support.

The office of the Root is to collect and apply the food, which forms and determines the growth of the Plant and Tree; and the constitution and habit of the Roots determine those of the branches. If the Roots grow luxuriantly, the branches will also; and the reverse.

From hence it must be concluded, that in planting trees, two essential objects present themselves for our consideration : first, to ascertain the soil best adapted to afford a sufficient and accommodating body, bed, or space for the Roots to repose and range freely in, and induce and support such habits as are most desired; and next, that it contains or will admit the application of a supply of food, of a proper quality, and in due quantity. And to determine this, due attention must also be paid to the situation or elevation of the Roots, in comparison with the surface of the soil. In a deep tenacious soil or clay, Roots can only find a free passage through fissures or clefts which are formed by its occasional contraction. And as these openings are not very close together or numerous, the Roots do not divide much or become fibrous

; but those which strike into them, range wide and deep, and getting beyond the general influence of the sun and air, collect their food or sap from a


source ill adapted to fructification; and conse quently Fruit Trees under such circumstances are generally found to be of a cold, aqueous, and unprolific nature.

On the contrary, when a soil is light, porous, and shallow, the Roots, meeting no obstruction, divide and form a great number of fibrils, which ranging horizontally, and being more exposed to the effect of the sun and air, incline a tree more to become fructiferous, than to an increase of wood or an extension of branches. And in such a situation, the greatest supply of food being appropriated to the production of fruit, the tree grows but little in size.

It is remarked by Hitt on this part of the subject:

“ I have made observations on the productions of most kinds of soil, and found the most healthy old Peach and Nectarine Trees growing on a brown-coloured loam, with a rock about a foot from the surface of the borders. From this I conclude, that it will be a good method to lay a floor of broad stones or planks under the Roots of Fruit Trees, where there is not a natural rock, which will prevent the Roots from sinking too much below the surface; for the tap or downright Roots may produce vigorous shoots, yet they are but seldom well furnished with blossom-buds. When all the Roots of a Tree are near the surface of the borders, it blossoms best, being well furnished with small branches, which are not so subject to suffer by the honey-dews as thicker ones.”



Mr. Knight, in his Treatise on the Apple and Pear, says, “ The strongest and most highly flavoured liquor which has hitherto been obtained from the Apple, is produced by a soil which consists of a shallow loam on a limestone basis." Miller, speaking of Fruit Trees, says, “ And it

" sometimes happens that the Roots of Trees are buried too deep in the ground, which, in a cold or moist soil, is one of the greatest disadvantages that can attend tender Fruits ; for the sap, which is contained in the branches, being by the warmth of the air put strongly into motion early in the Spring, is exhausted in nourishing the blossoms, and a part of it perspired through the wood-branches, so that its strength is lost before the warmth can reach to the shoots, to put them into an equal motion in search of fresh nourishment to supply the expense of the branches, for want of which the blossoms fall off and decay. And the shoots seem to be at a stand until the further advance of the warmth do penetrate to the Roots, and set them in motion, when suddenly after, the Trees which before looked weak and decaying, do make prodigious progress in their shoots, and before the Summer is spent, are furnished with much stronger branches than those Trees which have the full advantage of sun and showers, and that are more fruitful and healthy; which must be certainly owing to the former observations, as also to their drawing in a great quantity of crude moisture, which, although productive of food, is yet unkindly for Fruit.”

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 feet 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 me.”

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. She says, “ 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."

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