Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

roots as for branches, to enable them to withstand either severe freezing or severe trimming. But the general reason for the loss of these winterkilled Osage plants was succulent, spongy, and tender wood in root and branch; and it must continue to be so with hedge rows set at the level of undrained soils. The plants seem too have died of too much cutting and too much water in the soil.

As already intimated, trimmed hedges surely grow thin in the lower parts in a few years, however well this operation may be performed. Great care and good management may postpone the "self-thinning," by the inside, shaded, and weak bottom branches dying ont; but these branches will as certainly die out as that the sap tends naturally to the top parts of the hedge, where there is more heat and light. The north side of a hedge, being the most shaded, will be likely to fail first in the lower parts, when, from the necessity of thickening the bottom part, and renewing the live growth from the ground, the labor and cost of laying hedges that have long been subjected to trimming will be found greatly to exceed the cost of laying untrimmed fences.

The objections to untrimmed hedges consist mainly in their shading more ground than when trained low; but this is chiefly the case on the north side of east and west fences, crops getting as much sunlight in about half the time, on the sides of north and south fences.

HEDGES AS A HARBOR FOR INSECTIVOROUS BIRDS.

One of the greatest advantages of growing hedges is the fact that they provide shelter for birds. In a general sense, most insects are the enemies of improved vegetation; and they also comprise the natural food of most birds, and do vastly more damage where the country is open and birds are few.

It is a significant fact, that in a number of districts in England, where many of the hedges have been grubbed up, the increase of destructive insects has become so great that it has been found necessary to take measures for the preservation of the birds, particularly the hedge sparrow.

RENEWAL OF OSAGE THORN HEDGES.

It has been established by experience in the British Islands, and to a limited extent in this country, that hedges sooner or later become so thinned at the bottom that renewed or young bottom growths are essential to maintain their efficiency as fences; and this necessity cannot be evaded in the case of the Osage thorn. The sap tends so much towards the top that the lower part will become thin by 6 self-pruning," which will be succeeded by holes and gaps. This result may be expected in both trimmed and untrimmed hedges. These gaps and holes may be temporarily mended, however, by inserting detached branches cut from thicker parts of the fence. Layering has been suggested; but in the shade and in dry soil, in which the layer must grow, if at all, their growth will be so slow as not to become available against animals in any reasonable length of time, and it is probable that but few layers would survive.

Osage thorn hedges may grow to a height of twelve to twenty feet before they require laying. Laying reduces the height of the fence twothirds or three-fourths, or more, causing the new growth to be made near the ground, and here, accordingly, multitudes of vigorous young saplings are sent up, growing up in like manner, at each successive laying.

THE STRENGTH OF TWO-ROW HEDGES WHEN PLEACHED.

Single-row hedges cannot well be renewed by laying without stakes. But double rows may not only be laid or pleached without stakes, but, when laid down in a proper manner, the hedges will constitute a very strong fence, Two-row hedges are believed to be much the best adapted to resist the stress of gales of wind, the attempts of rampant animals to break over them, and for any contingencies requiring great strength in a fence,

Figure 3 represents a section of the horizontal form of laying the brush of each of the rows backward and obliquely over to the opposite side. The stems of the thorns are pleached, one from each side or row, alternately, each sapling being brought down from the opposite side, and laid in such a manner that each stem crosses the last one laid, about midway of its length, and in the center between the hedge rows, the angle formed between the saplings and the ground being about thirty degrees. In illustration of the great strength of this form of two-rowed hedge, Figure 4 represents a vertical section of the same, which is five feet high above the ridge, and forms an almost impassable barrier against any farm stock.

SINGLE-ROW HEDGE NOT EFFICIENT UNLESS STAKED.

After special examination of one-row fence, in Illinois, both unlaid and such as is called laid, the conclusion is reached that neither neat por efficient single-row hedge can be made without the aid of stakes; and it is stated that in the British Islands, stakes are always employed to give it stiffness, and hold it in line in pleaching. Specimens of the single-row Osage thorn that we saw had much the appearance of a line of brush with tops all outward, and butt-ends in the center. Such single-row fence spreads so wide, and settles to the ground so much, that it occupies even more space, as seen in Figure 5, while not possessing a third of the value, as a fence, that is required by a substantial two-row hedge; and the single-row fence-it cannot be correctly called hedgemust sag and settle toward the ground, if pleached without staking. We have examined some specimens in which there were live stakes. obtained by cutting off the tops, and leaving the lower of the thorn stems.

DISADVANTAGES OF LIVE STAKES.

Live stakes may save a portion of the time that should be devoted to preparing others, but the subsequent disadvantages resulting from their use will more than outweigh the trifling saving of time effected. A hedge becomes thin at the base of the growing stakes, the sap ascending and forming a spreading, stool-like form of growth, where the hedge is trimmed at the top of the stakes, instead of sending up shoots, as would be the case if the stake saplings were laid at the bottom to thicken it with young growth. Another defect is, that numbers of vigorous shoots spring from the crowns of the stakes, forming and maintaining a growth of shoots two or three feet in advance, and higher than the general height of the hedge. It is also necessary to cut live stakes off at the ground preparatory to relaying the hedges, which is not required when detached wood is used. Dead or detached stakes are always preferable to live ones; they serve two or three years before decaying, by which time the form and material of the hedge become set, or firmly fixed by growth, and stakes are no longer necessary.

The tops of the stakes, set three feet apart, are bound at the top by winding or wattling long, slender, thorn stems so as to inclose the tops of stakes between them. The object of staking is to so stiffen a Ledge that it can be made with far less thorn material than would be practicable if stakes were not employed. The stakes also prevent the sagging of pleached or obliquely laid saplings, preventing the oblique material from smothering the young undergrowth of shoots from the base of the fence. The strength imparted by the stakes also prevents the brush from being pushed out of line by stock, or blown out by gusty winds. The object of wattling or double-winding them at the top with saplings, which makes a much more handsome fence, is to liold the tops of the stakes, and consequently of the fence, in a straight, even line.

In an Osage thorn single-row hedge, trained in this tapering form, the top of the hedge will not prevent either sunlight or rain from access to its outside growth, as would be the case with square or flat top train. ing. There are specimens of square-top Osage thorn hedge in the west, the bottom of which is already thin, and in places open.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS.

Strong, two-rowed hedges are much more suitable for large inclosures, to turn rampant animals, to bear severe stress of boisterous winds, or for any purpose where a very strong fence is necessary, than a single-row fence can ever become under the best possible management. The doublerow will make the best fence for farmers generally, particularly where the farms and their subdivisions are extensive in area.

Single-row fence seems most suitable for vegetable and flower gardens, and nursery grounds, besides lawn and ornamental grounds, as before stated. It bears trimming better, and requires less ground for growth.

SETTING QUICKS IN HEDGE ROWS.

This hedge-row ridge, having been prepared in the fall as suggested, may be harrowed over once or twice, as soon as the frost is out of the ground in early spring. A mode of setting Osage thorn quicks, known as spade-setting, consists in opening a line of slits in the surface soil, at regular distances on the line of the intended hedge, with a long, narrow spade. The spade being thrust down a sufficient depth, is pushed forward from the operator, when an assistant inserts the root ends of the young quicks. There are serious objections to this mode of setting. The quicks are not set, but tucked in and often doubled back, the roots being placed between two flat surfaces, when the spade is withdrawn, and the slit closed by pressing the soil back against the quick with the foot, which process as certainly flattens the roots as a botanical specimen is flatteued between the leaves of a book. This flat position and restricted direction of the young roots must retard the formation of an efficient hedge.

FURROW TRENCHES FOR DOUBLE-LINE QUICK ROWS.

For making the trenches a plow with a deep land-side is best, forming a deep furrow, smoothed on one side. A new mode of furrow-trenching and of setting Osage thorn quicks in the trenches is shown in Figure 6, which represents a cross-section of double-row trenches on the crown oi

the ridge. Stakes are set the whole length of the fence line in the cen. ter. The distance between the quick rows is two feet. The trenching is commenced by first plowing a light furrow toward the center, which will rest on the space between the trenches. Next turn a light furrow on top of the first, depositing this also over the space between the trenches. Then plow a furrow out of the bottom of each trench, turning both fur. rows outward from the lines of the quick rows. By this process of taking two furrows from each trench, a suitable supply of mold is deposited precisely where it is most needed to fill in about the roots of the quicks, when these are set up.

The old mode of setting the quicks, at uniform distance between the rows, was by means of a line with colored strings tied to it at the required distances. The land side of the furrow was the support to stand the quicks against, and guide them in a straight line. But the land side of the trench was liable to be crooked, and the labor and time required were considerable. A more serious objection, however, is that some of the roots of the quicks are turned aside from their natural position by pressing against the wall of the trench. This misplacement of the roots retards their growth in some degree, but the injury is less than that of the same kind incident to slit-setting, by means of a spade. Another defect is that all the soil is turned out on one side of the trench, providing no mold to fill in on the other side of the quicks.

THE SETTING GUIDE.

As a rope or garden line cannot be kept straight, and the land side of single furrows is liable to the same objection, a tool has been devised which may answer the three-fold purpose of spacing the quicks as they are placed in the trenches, as a support to the quicks, and as a guide to keep them in line; these several objects being desirable, and even neces. sary, before and during the operation of filling in the soil, and earthing up the quicks. This setting guide will cost only a few cents and a little labor. It is made by taking a narrow strip of inch board or three or four inch batten, fourteen to sixteen feet long, and attaching.to it three strips of hard wood, one in the middle, and one at each end, for legs, which should be sixteen to eighteen inches long. Figure 7 gives a side outline of this form as set for use, about one-third of its width from the land side of the furrow-trencb. Vertical chalk marks can be made on this setting guide, or small pins of wood may be inserted at the distance the quicks are to stand in the rows, two feet being a good distance for a two-row hedge, giving one plant to every foot in length of the fence. Of course, the quicks in each row will be placed opposite the spaces in the other. The quicks in the figure are spaced one foot between, as for a single-row hedge. If holes are made at intervals of four inches, the entire length of the guide, pins can be inserted, and the quicks be set at any number of inches apart that is a multiple of four. By placing the quicks in the angles formed by the pins or pegs and the horizontal strip, they are supported in position on two sides, and can be placed as they are to remain in the trenches, with ease and rapidity. When the lines are properly staked in each trench, the stakes being set so that the guide may be against two at each time of its removal, there will be no sagging, nor any side-ways deflection of the setting guide or the row, while the quicks are placed and supported in a good form to have their roots properly extended and molded, and the soil filled in on both sides of the rows.

RESULTS OF CLOSE TRIMMING.

It is supposed that none but single-row hedges will be trained by the repressive process of trimming twice annually, for the quicks in hedge of this form will be slender in consequence of the crowding of the roots from thicker setting in the rows. Trimming does thicken the surface of the hedge by causing a stubbed, stooling form of growth, but this form at the top soon shades the bottom part, keeping out air, light, and moisture.

After a few years of close pruning, twice each year, inlaid hedges present a thin bottom growth. Trimmed hedges cannot well be trained more than two and a half to three feet high, a yard across at the bottom, while narrow at the top. Of these dimensions, a continually trim med hedge is not always a safe fence as against jumping horses and cattle, and its ultimately thinned bottom opens a door for the inroads of untamed swine. On the other hand, pleaching causes a thick, bottom growth, thicker after pleaching than before, by the combination of old and of new growth, and while ample new growth is forming in the bot. tom the old saplings, now pleached layers, are still kept growing; and if not cut two-thirds through they will grow too much and prevent growth lower down, many of them sending up new shoots in all parts of the fence. The pleached saplings also add great strength to such forms of fence by combining an upright and an oblique, or an old and new growth, crossing and strengthening both forms of thorn material. The young shoots from the bottom of a pleached hedge tend outward in a degree toward the light, but the brush of the laid saplings can be spread wide enough to protect this growth, or so much of it as may be required, so that a properly pleached hedge, while making ample growth in tho bottom also protects it. Hence a healthy growth of Osage thorn hedge may be made renewable for ages by successive and reasonable pleaching.

REPAIRING HEDGE FENCE.

A hedge that has been trimmed from five to seven years becomes so thin and inefficient as a fence in its lower parts, that it must either be laid or repaired. Such a hedge may be repaired by thrusting detached brush cut from the thickest places into the holes as compactly as this can be done and driving down stakes, or working saplings through it obliquely, according to the necessity of resisting swine, or stray. ing hedge-breakers of any sort. The process of mending requires frequent repetition, when stock is grazed to any considerable extent near poor hedges, and laying will soon be found to be more economical than patching with repairs, however carefully performed.

HEDGING WITHOUT LAYING

consists in cutting back the quicks the first year at six to eight inches from the ground, cutting off the vertical shoots six inches higher the second year, and repeating the same process and distance the third season, when the hedge row will be about two feet in height. It is then allowed to grow another foot higher when the top growth is again carefully cut off, after which the hedge is kept down by close trimming in July and November of each year. This is hedging by negation, or repressing it instead of first encouraging growth, and then training so as continually to maintain it in the bottom equally with the top of the

« AnteriorContinuar »