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hedge. The plan involves the performance of so much labor, and ap. pears so little adapted to extensive hedging that we do not recommend it, believing that it would retard the extension of true hedging.
TRAINING HEDGE FENCE.
Osage thorn fence, when kept down by trimming, should be trimmed as soon as the spring growth, sometimes called the midsummer shoot, is completed. This may be earlier or later, according to the character of the season, but the interval of rest between the first and the second stage of the year's growth usually occurs before the first of July. During this interval of rest, directly after the first growth is complete, is the best time for summer trimming. The second trimming may be performed at any time between the falling of the leaves and the setting in of severe freezing weather, but no trimming should be done when the sap is congealed to any great extent by frost.
Some persons may prefer one form of tool, others another. A variety might be suggested, but we sketch two only of the best for practical uses. Figure 8 represents the trimming hook, and Figure 9 the trimming blade. Both require handles from two to three feet long, according to the height of the operator. When the growth to be cut off is small, the hook with a shorter handle may be used with one hand, but in all cases when the shoots are thick and vigorous, the trimming blade is the most effective and the most convenient tool.
HOW TO TRIM HEDGE FENCE.
If, in the process of trimming, the shoots are cut toward the bottom growth of the wood as downward in an unlaid one, or against the lean. ing direction of the layers in a laid hedge, the ends from which the shoots are cut are more or less split, bruised, or maimed, and the result will be dead, stubbed ends. To avoid such injuries, all trimming should be performed by striking toward the tips, as upward with unlaid hedge, and in the direction the brush leans with such as have been pleached. The principle is the same in trimming hedge as in pruning by hand. The wood cuts will heal well, if they are smooth, and the new growth will start at the top instead of below the ends that have been cut.
The season in which to pleach is not when the hedge is growing, but in the fall, between the falling of the leaves and the time when winter sets in. Osage thorn hedge should not be pleached during severe freezing weather, but pleaching may be done in mild weather, when there is but little frost in the wood, and in the winter in southern latitudes. In the northern belt, where the Osage thorn thrives, which is as far north as southern Wisconsin, it is not safe to pleach in winter. But if not done at the best time in the fall, this work may be performed before the buds swell in the spring, as early as the middle of March.
An Osage thorn hedge will attain a given size earlier in some localities than in others, according to the richness of soil, and other conditions affecting the rate of growth. Size rather than age, therefore, may decide the question when to pleach. A hedge requires laying when the stems of the saplings average two inches in thickness at three feet from the ground. Hedges that grow slowly, as they will in wet ground, if they grow at all, may require laying when the saplings are one-fourth smaller, though no younger, to thicken the bottom of the fence. Osage thorn quicks may attain this size in six or seven years. When the saplings are much larger, the labor and expense of pleaching will be proportionally greater.
The tools required for pleaching or laying are few and simple in form. Figure 10 represents the pleaching hook, the point being somewhat beak. like in form, and the handle made of wood. The uses of the four-toothed press pole, Figure 11, will hereafter be stated.
REPAIRING HEDGES FOR FIRST PLEACHING.
There being no horizontal or oblique old layers to pull out when a hedge is to be first laid, the process of preparation is very simple. It consists in trimming off such straggling side growth as may be in the way of the workmen ; setting the stakes if a single row or a staked hedge is in hand, and cutting off saplings close to the ground where there are more than one to a foot. The thorn brush thus obtained may be used to fill in at the bottom, and in thin places.
LAYING SINGLE HEDGE.
In single-line hedge the saplings are so wound between as to press against the stakes, the tips or brush ends being all turned to the beveled or slanting side. For a single-thorn hedge, the form of Figure 8 is preferable. In this form the tips or brush are turned equally and alternately on both sides of the stakes, and thirty degrees is about the right inclination of the saplings when pleached. The hedge being commenced right by thrusting brush down among the live-shoot stakes to rest the first layers upon, the layers being placed at the same angle throughout, the work proceeds to completion. To prevent breaking where the saplings are cut and bent in the act of laying down, take care to cut twothirds off, as this prevents too much sap from going to the layers, and causes a thicker and stronger degree of new growth from the bottom of the hedge.
TELAYING HEDGE FENCE.
This work is the most difficult of all hedging operations. The first step is to trim away the straggling side-shoots, as just described. The hook (Figure 10) is suited for this work, gathering straggling growth 'better than a straight hedge tool. Next pull out the old layers, drawing them out by the butts, or lower ends. This will be the tough part of hedging work, and it seems practicable to perform it by an easier, if not a quicker, process, by the use of horse-power. A boy can lead a horse, with a suitable chain attached to the whiffletree, while a man attaches the chain to the lower ends of the old lavers, as fast as he comes to them: and so on from one end of the hedge to the other. The old stuff, botli live and dead, being cleared out, the stakes are set a few inches one side of the line of saplings, and the laying is then proceeded with, by bending down the saplings one by one, cutting each as much as two-thirds off, about three inches from the ground, this height being required to facilitate the bending to the stakes without breaking off the remaining third, by which the saplings are still attached to their roots, and through which they are to be kept alive. This very important process should be performed with deliberate care, and as fast as each sapling is laid down, the stub joined at its base by cutting is to be cut off by a short sideblow with the hooked edge of the pleaching-look. The first cut of twothirds, to facilitate laying down, is made with the reverse edge, seen in the projection on its part, Figure 10. It is quite necessary to cui oil the stubs, or the young growth to come forward will be from the tips of the stubs instead of from the ground, where it is requircd. If left uncut tho stubs will also prove great obstacles to the work when, in six or cight years, the laying down process must be repeated.
PLEACHING STOUT OR TANGLED IEDGE ROWS.
When the saplings are large there will be found much spreading brush on the sides of the tops, and it will be found difficult to crush this growth on the side that goes under in laying the sapling in the hedge. It can be cut off when brought down low enough, but this will be found slow work. When the vertical stem-growth is three or more inches in each sapling, the work may be reduced. The strongest under-branches must be cut off to admit of laying well. But the hedge (double-row hedge being now under consideration) being ready for laying, three men, ono to cut and two to pull down and press, can get on proportionately easier than one alone.
Two men use the press-pole, represented in Figure 11; the other uses the pleaching-hook. The pole is thrust through behind each stout ver. tical sapling, when both men pull gently and equally. Thus bent back a little, the third man cuts it two-thirds through, cutting obliquely downward with the pleaching-hook. The two men steadily press the sapling down to the laid part of the hedge, the teeth in the pole keeping it from slipping sideways, and also serving to guide it to its assigned place, when the men bear heavily on the pole, forcing down the sapling, and crushing back the brush on its under side, till both are in the desired position. The force here employed is threefold as great as one man can exert in the same work. Consequently, much of the trimming from the under side, to let the brush sapling into its place, is saved, while all the men are enabled to work with less hindrance from thorn brush, and the bedge is made thicker and stronger. The man with the pleaching-hook cuts off tho stubs, and attends to any trimming that may be required, while the others are at work pressing down the sapling brush. A tough pole is necessary for this work, and the process appears more workman-like than for two men to bend down Osage thorn saplings with pitchforks, thus wasting half their power,
We have spoken of pleaching double-row hedges, by crossing the saplings alternately, when each sapling, and each row, by the force derived from thorns and roots, severally and reciprocally supports tho other, and resists every tendency to displacement. This form of fonco may be made even stronger by placing a continuous line of long, medium-sized, rough-trimmed saplings in the angle or crotch above the line shero saplings cross one another. No stakes are required. This
form of thorn fence is similar to the old time “herring-bone” rail and stake fence, and the name “herring-bone hedge” would not be inappropriate.
Another plan of forming two-row hedge, when laying it, may here be noted. The saplings, standing two feet apart in each row, are left at intervals of six feet in each line, to form live stakes by cutting the tops off. There will be layers enough when the hedge is again laid to admit of these stakes being cut out if they become stooly where previously cut off. About half the saplings may be laid along outside one stake, then inside of the next, and thence angling across to the other row; so of the saplings on each row, the ends of the brush protecting the young growth below the place where it hangs over on either side. The other half of the saplings is laid to cross one another in the center of the hedge, as in the herring-bone form, without regard to the stakes. The stakes and the layers can easily be taken out when relaying becomes necessary. The stakes are the means of adding side-walls, as it were, to the hedge. The hedge so made cannot be otherwise than very strong, from combining the herring-bone and staking features, and the combination affords a choice of two plans of stout double-row hedge, either of which is comparatively easy of construction and subsequent management.
TRIMMING WITHOUT LAYING, AND LAYING WITHOUT TRIMMING.
A hedge that is left without laying seven years will have been trimmed fourteen times. An average hand will trim a mile in twelve days. Multiply twelve by the number of trimmings, and we have a charge, at a dollar per day, of $168. The hedge so trimmed must be cut off at the ground, for it cannot be easily or tolerably well laid after seven years of close trimming. Hence, at the end of a seven years' course of trimming, we have an interval of two years without any fence, except the old brush lying beside it, to protect the young growth that is springing from the bottom to form the new hedge. With the untrimmed doublerow hedge we have a little more shade, far more protection against wind, no liability to trespass with jumping animals, a good fence during our life-time, little or no expense for trimming; but, at the end of the seven years, there is the expense of laying. A man will prepare, stake, and lay four rods of stout hedge per day, which is a dollar for every four rods, or eighty dollars per mile, in seven years. It will be seen that a course of seven years' trimming costs fifty per cent. more than once laying with no trimming; and, if we charge one dollar per mile per annum for a little trimming away of straggling shoots from the sides of the tall hedge, the result will remain substantially the same.
HEDGE AND DITCII FENCE.
As generally understood by those interested, there are large areas of both low and clayey soils in Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota, where open ditches are required as water-courses. In some of those States several of these ditches have been made as a means of partial surface drainage; and many more would be made, some of them on division lines, where the ground is suitable, if the water-courses could be protected against damage to their sides by the treading of animals.
There are many ditches which are water-courses in the spring, but which dry up, and remain dry, during most of the other three-quarter's of the year, except during and for a brief time after drenching rains,
but which might be rendered more valuable could they be made to hold stock-water during a greater portion of the warmest season of the year. Shading, as is well known, retards evaporation, and these open ditches can readily be shaded by growing Osage thorn hedge-rows on either side, and when five or six years grown, or before, if the growth is vigorous, laying them down obliquely across the ditch, making a hedge over the water-channel, as shown by Figure 12.
The thorn brush would also protect the ditch banks against injury by animals in seeking water. The roots of the horizontal saplings and their living growth of thorn layers prevent the hedge growth from falling into ditches so fringed and shaded. If, in the course of years, sucb ditches should require cleaning out, the layers might be readily cleared away, and a new arch supplied from the fresh, vertical growth which had been allowed to form in readiness. Another important advantage of such shading would be that the shade of the horizontal thorn brush would keep the frost in till the general atmospheric temperature would be sufficient to thaw it out of all merely shaded ground. In this way the sides of the ditches and the tops and insides of the ditch banks, or ridges, may be secured against the crumbling and abrasion to which they would be subject by frequent freezing and thawing. Such protection and shading effects of horizontal hedges would also be advantageous in connection with outlets or open drains, particularly with the drains.