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Study Ii Care Of The Woodland

Almost every farm, large private estate or park has a wooded area for

the purpose of supplying fuel or for enhancing the landscape effect of

the place. In most instances these wooded areas are entirely neglected

or are so improperly cared for as to cause injury rather than good. In

but very few cases is provision made for a future growth of trees after

the present stock has gone. Proper attention will increase and

perpetuate a crop of good trees just as it will any other crop on the

farm, while the attractiveness of the place may be greatly enhanced

through the intelligent planting and care of trees.

How to judge the conditions: A close examination of the wooded area may

reveal some or all of the following unfavorable conditions:

The trees may be so crowded that none can grow well. A few may have

grown to large size but the rest usually are decrepit, and

overtopped by the larger trees. They are, therefore, unable, for the

want of light and space, to develop into good trees. Fig. 139 shows

woodland in such condition.

There may also be dead and dying trees, trees infested with

injurious insects and fungi and having any number of decayed

branches. The trees may be growing so far apart that their trunks

will be covered with suckers as far down as the ground, or there may

be large, open gaps with no trees at all. Here the sun, striking

with full force, may be drying up the soil and preventing the

decomposition of the leaves. Grass soon starts to grow in these open

spaces and the whole character of the woodland changes as shown in

Figs. 140 and 141.

Where any of these conditions exist, the woodland requires

immediate attention. Otherwise, as time goes on, it deteriorates

more and more, the struggle for space among the crowded and

suppressed trees becomes more keen, the insects in the dying trees

multiply and disease spreads from tree to tree. Under such

conditions, the soil deteriorates and the older trees begin to


The attention required for the proper care of woodland may be summed

up under the four general heads of _soil preservation_, _planting_,

_cutting_, and _protection_.

Improvement by soil preservation: The soil in a wooded area can best be

preserved and kept rich by doing two things; by retaining the

fallen leaves on the ground and by keeping the ground well covered

with a heavy growth of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The

fallen leaves decompose, mix with the soil and form a dark-colored

material known as _humus_. The humus supplies the tree with a

considerable portion of its food and helps to absorb and retain the

moisture in the soil upon which the tree is greatly dependent. A

heavy growth of trees and shrubs has a similar effect by serving to

retain the moisture in the soil.

Improvement by planting: The planting of new trees is a necessity on

almost any wooded area. For even where the existing trees are in

good condition, they cannot last forever, and provision must be made

for others to take their place after they are gone. The majority of

the wooded areas in our parks and on private estates are not

provided with a sufficient undergrowth of desirable trees to take

the place of the older ones. Thus, also, the open gaps must be

planted to prevent the soil from deteriorating.

Waste lands on farms which are unsuited for farm crops often offer

areas on which trees may profitably be planted. These lands are

sufficiently good in most cases to grow trees, thus affording a

means of turning into value ground which would otherwise be

worthless. It has been demonstrated that the returns from such

plantations at the end of fifty years will yield a six per cent

investment and an extra profit of $151.97 per acre, the expense

totaling at the end of fifty years, $307.03. The value of the land

is estimated at $4 per acre and the cost of the trees and planting

at $7 per acre. The species figured on here is white pine, one of

the best trees to plant from a commercial standpoint. With other

trees, the returns will vary accordingly.

The usual idea that it costs a great deal to plant several thousand

young trees is erroneous. An ordinary woodlot may be stocked with a

well-selected number of young trees at a cost less than the price

generally paid for a dozen good specimen trees for the front lawn.

It is not necessary to underplant the woodlot with big trees. The

existing big trees are there to give character to the forest and the

new planting should be done principally as a future investment and

as a means of perpetuating the life of the woodlot. Young trees are

even more desirable for such planting than the older and more

expensive ones. The young trees will adapt themselves to the local

soil and climatic conditions more easily than the older ones. Their

demand for food and moisture is more easily satisfied, and because

of their small cost, one can even afford to lose a large percentage

of them after planting.

The young plants should be two-year-old seedlings or three-year-old


Two-year-old seedlings are trees that have been grown from the seed

in seed beds until they reach that age. They run from two to fifteen

inches in height, depending upon the species.

Three-year-old "transplants" have been grown from the seed in seed

beds and at the end of the first or second year have been taken up

and transplanted into rows, where they grow a year or two longer.

They are usually a little taller than the two-year-old seedlings,

are much stockier and have a better root system. For this reason,

three-year-old transplants are a little more desirable as stock for

planting. They will withstand drought better than seedlings.

The best results from woodland planting are obtained with

native-grown material. Such stock is stronger, hardier and better

acclimated. Foreign-grown stock is usually a little cheaper, owing

to the fact that it has been grown abroad, under cheap labor


The trees may be purchased from reputable dealers, of whom there are

many in this country. These dealers specialize in growing young

trees and selling them at the low cost of three to ten dollars per

thousand. In States in which a Forestry Commission has been

inaugurated, there have also been established State nurseries where

millions of little trees are grown for reforestation purposes. In

order to encourage private tree planting, the Forestry Commissions

are usually willing to sell some of these trees at cost price, under

certain conditions, to private land owners. Inquiries should be

made to the State Forestry Commission.

Great care must be taken to select the species most suitable for the

particular soil, climatic and light conditions of the woodlot. The

trees which are native to the locality and are found growing

thriftily on the woodlot, are the ones that have proven their

adaptability to the local conditions and should therefore be the

principal species used for underplanting. A list from which to

select the main stock would, therefore, vary with the locality. In

the Eastern States it would comprise the usual hardy trees like the

red, pin and scarlet oaks, the beech, the red and sugar maples, the

white ash, the tulip tree, sycamore, sweet gum and locust among the

deciduous trees; the white, Austrian, red, pitch and Scotch pines,

the hemlock and the yew among the conifers.

With the main stock well selected, one may add a number of trees and

shrubs that will give to the woodland scene a pleasing appearance at

all seasons. The brilliant autumnal tints of the sassafras,

pepperidge, blue beech, viburnum, juneberry and sumach are

strikingly attractive. The flowering dogwood along the drives and

paths will add a charm in June as well as in autumn and an

occasional group of white birch will have the same effect if planted

among groups of evergreens. Additional undergrowth of native

woodland shrubs, such as New Jersey tea, red-berried elder and

blueberry for the Eastern States, will augment the naturalness of

the scene and help to conserve the moisture in the soil.

Two or three years' growth will raise these plants above all grass

and low vegetation, and a sprinkling of laurel, rhododendron, hardy

ferns and a few intermingling colonies of native wild flowers such

as bloodroot, false Solomon's seal and columbines for the East, as

a ground cover will put the finishing touches to the forest scene.

As to methods of planting the little trees, the following

suggestions may prove of value. As soon as the plants are received,

they should be taken from the box and dipped in a thick puddle of

water and loam. The roots must be thoroughly covered with the mud.

Then the bundles into which the little trees are tied should be

loosened and the trees placed in a trench dug on a slant. The dirt

should be placed over the roots and the exposed parts of the plants

covered with brush or burlap to keep away the rays of the sun.

When ready for planting, a few plants are dug up, set in a pail with

thin mud at the bottom and carried to the place of planting. The

most economical method of planting is for one man to make the holes

with a mattock. These holes are made about a foot in diameter, by

scraping off the sod with the mattock and then digging a little hole

in the dirt underneath. A second man follows with a pail of plants

and sets a single plant in this hole with his hands, see Fig. 129,

making sure that the roots are straight and spread out on the bottom

of the hole. The dirt should then be packed firmly around the plant

and pressed down with the foot.

Improvement by cutting: The removal of certain trees in a grove is often

necessary to improve the quality of the better trees, increase their

growth, make the place accessible, and enhance its beauty. Cutting

in a wooded area should be confined to suppressed trees, dead and

dying trees and trees badly infested with insects and disease. In

case of farm woodlands, mature trees of market value may be cut, but

in parks and on private estates these have a greater value when left

standing. The cutting should leave a clean stand of well-selected

specimens which will thrive under the favorable influence of more

light and growing space. Considerable care is required to prevent

injury to the young trees when the older specimens are cut and

hauled out of the woods. The marking of the trees to be removed can

best be done in summer when the dead and live trees can be

distinguished with ease and when the requisite growing space for

each tree can be judged better from the density of the crowns. The

cutting, however, can be done most advantageously in winter.

Immediately after cutting all diseased and infested wood should be

destroyed. The sound wood may be utilized for various purposes. The

bigger logs may be sold to the local lumber dealers and the smaller

material may be used for firewood. The remaining brush should be

withdrawn from the woodlot to prevent fire during the dry summer


In marking trees for removal, a number of considerations are to be

borne in mind besides the elimination of dead, diseased and

suppressed trees. When the marker is working among crowding trees of

equal height, he should save those that are most likely to grow into

fine specimen trees and cut out all those that interfere with them.

The selection must also favor trees which are best adapted to the

local soil and climatic conditions and those which will add to the

beauty of the place. In this respect the method of marking will be

different from that used in commercial forestry, where the aim is to

net the greatest profit from the timber. In pure forestry practice,

one sees no value in such species as dogwood, ironwood, juneberry,

sumac and sassafras, and will therefore never allow those to grow up

in abundance and crowd out other trees of a higher market value. But

on private estates and in park woodlands where beauty is an

important consideration, such species add wonderful color and

attractiveness to the forest scene, especially along the roads and

paths, and should be favored as much as the other hardier trees. One

must not mark too severely in one spot or the soil will be dried out

from exposure to sun and wind. When the gaps between the trees are

too large, the trees will grow more slowly and the trunks will

become covered with numerous shoots or suckers which deprive the

crowns of their necessary food and cause them to "die back." Where

the trees are tall and slim or on short and steep hillsides, it is

also important to be conservative in marking in order that the stand

may not be exposed to the dangers of windfall. No hard-and-fast rule

can be laid down as to what would constitute a conservative

percentage of trees to cut down. This depends entirely on the local

conditions and on the exposure of the woodlot. But in general it is

not well to remove more than twenty per cent of the stand nor to

repeat the cutting on the same spot oftener than once in five or six

years. The first cutting will, of course, be the heaviest and all

subsequent cuttings will become lighter and lighter until the

woodlot is put in good growing condition. On private estates and

parks, where beauty is the chief aim, the woodland should be kept as

natural, informal and as thick as possible. Where the woodland is

cut up by many paths and drives, density of vegetation will add to

the impression of depth and distance.

Protection: This subject has already been discussed considerably in the

previous study on Forestry, and here it becomes necessary merely to

add a few suggestions with special reference to private and park


Guarding woodlands from _fire_ is the most important form of

protection. Surface fires are very common on small woodland holdings

and the damage done to the standing vegetation is generally

underestimated. An ordinary ground or surface fire on a woodland

area will burn up the leaf-litter and vegetable mold, upon which the

trees depend so much for food and moisture, and will destroy the

young seedlings on the ground. Where the fire is a little more

severe, the older trees are badly wounded and weakened and the

younger trees are frequently killed outright. Insects and disease

find these trees an easy prey, and all related forest conditions

commence to deteriorate.

Constant watchfulness and readiness to meet any emergency are the

keynote of effective fire protection. Notices similar to the one

shown in Fig. 143 often help to prevent fires. It is also helpful to

institute strict rules against dropping lighted matches or tobacco,

or burning brush when the ground is very dry, or leaving smouldering

wood without waiting to see that the fire is completely out. There

should be many roads and foot-paths winding through the woodland in

order that they may serve as checks or "fire lanes" in time of fire.

These roads and paths should be kept free from brush and leaves and

should be frequently patrolled. When made not too wide,

unpretentious and in conformity with the natural surroundings, such

drives and paths can become a very interesting feature of the place,

winding through the woodland, exposing its charms and affording

opportunity for pleasant driving and walking. The borders of the

paths can be given special attention by placing the more beautiful

native shrubs in prominent positions where they can lend increased


In case of fire, it should be possible to call for aid by telephone

directly from the woodland and to find within easy reach the tools

necessary to combat fire. It is also important to obtain the

co-operation of one's neighbors in protecting the adjoining

woodlands, because the dangers from insects, disease and fire

threatening one bit of woodland area are more or less dependent upon

the conditions in the adjoining woodland.

As to other forms of protection, passing mention may be made of the

importance of keeping out cattle, sheep and hogs from the woods, of

eliminating all insects and disease, of keeping the ground free from

brush and other inflammable material, of retaining on the ground all

fallen leaves and keeping the forest well stocked with little trees

and shrubs.

Forest lands may be exempted from taxation: In New York and other States

there exists a State law providing for exemption or reduction in

taxes upon lands which are planted with forest trees or maintained

as wooded areas. The object of the law is to encourage home forestry

and to establish fairness in the agricultural land-tax law by

placing forest lands in the same category with other crop-producing

lands. For detailed information and a copy of the law, one should

address the local State Forestry Commission.

Tree Studies

How To Identify Trees
Group I The Pines
The White Pine (pinus Strobus)
The Pitch Pine (pinus Rigida)
The Scotch Pine (pinus Sylvestris)
Group Ii The Spruce And Hemlock
The Norway Spruce (picea Excelsa)
Hemlock (tsuga Canadensis)
Group Iii The Red Cedar And Arbor-vitae
Red Cedar (juniperus Virginiana)
Arbor-vitae; Northern White Cedar (thuja Occidentalis)
Group Iv The Larch And Cypress
The European Larch (larix Europaea)
Bald Cypress (taxodium Distichum)
Group V The Horsechestnut, Ash And Maple
The Horsechestnut
The White Ash (fraxinus Americana)
Sugar Maple (acer Saccharum)
Silver Maple (acer Saccharinum)
Red Maple (acer Rubrum)
Norway Maple (acer Platanoides)
Box Elder (acer Negundo)
Group Vi Trees Told By Their Form: Elm, Poplar, Gingko And Willow
American Elm (ulmus Americana)
Lombardy Or Italian Poplar (populus Nigra, Var Italica)
Gingko Or Maidenhair Tree (gingko Biloba)
Weeping Willow (salix Babylonica)
Group Vii Trees Told By Their Bark Or Trunk: Sycamore, Birch, Beech,
Blue Beech, Ironwood, And Hackberry
The Sycamore Or Plane Tree (platanus Occidentalis)
Gray Or White Birch (betula Populifolia)
American Beech (fagus Americana)
Blue Beech Or Hornbeam (carpinus Caroliniana)
Hackberry (celtis Occidentalis)
Group Viii The Oaks And Chestnut
White Oak (quercus Alba)
Black Oak (quercus Velutina)
Red Oak (quercus Rubra)
Pin Oak (quercus Palustris)
Chestnut (castanea Dentata)
Group Ix The Hickories, Walnut And Butternut
Shagbark Hickory (hicoria Ovata)
Mockernut Hickory (hicoria Alba)
Black Walnut (juglans Nigra)
Group X Tulip Tree, Sweet Gum, Linden, Magnolia, Locust, Catalpa,
Dogwood, Mulberry And Osage Orange
Tulip Tree (liriodendron Tulipifera)
Sweet Gum (liquidambar Styraciflua)
American Linden (tilia Americana)
The Magnolias