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flat bed for the stream, which will run with much les* force, and will be more likely to increase the deposit. .'. . 3
If the drains are obstructed by the roots of willows, or'' other trees, the proprietor must decide whether he- will sacrifice the trees or the drains; both he cannot keep, iu> less he chooses to go to the expense of laying in cement all of the drains which carry constant streams, for a dis- ,. tance of at least 50 feet from the dangerous trees. The trouble from trees is occasionally very great, but its occurrence is too rare for general consideration, and must be met in each case with such remedies as circumstances suggest as the best.
The gratings over the outlets of silt-basins which open at the surface of the ground, are sometimes, during the first year of the drainage, obstructed by a fungoid growth which collects on the cross bars. This should be occasionally rubbed off. Its character is not very well understood, and it is rarely observed in old drains. The decomposition of the grass bands which are used to cover the joints of the larger tiles may encourage its formation.
If the surface soil have a good proportion of sand, gravel, or organic matter, so as to give it the consistency which is known as "loamy," it will bear any treatment: which it may chance to receive iu cultivation, or as pasture land; but if it be a decided clay soil, no amount of draining will enable us to work it, or to turn cattle upon it when it is wet with recent rains. It will much sooner become dry, because of the drainage, and may much sooner be trodden upon without injury; but wet clay cannot be worked or walked over without being more or less puddled, and, thereby, injured for a long time.
No matter how thoroughly heavy clay pasture lands may be under-drained, the cattle should be removed from them when vt rains, and kept off until they are comparatively dry Neglect of this precaution has probably led to more disappointment as to the effects of drainage than any other circumstances connected with it. The injury from this cause does not extend to a great depth, and in the Northern States it would always be overcome by the frosts of a single winter; as has been before stated, it is confined to stiff clay soils, but as these are the soils which most need draining, the warning given is important.
WHAT DRAINING COSTS.
Draining is expensive work. This fact must be accepted as a very stubborn one, by every man who proposes to undertake the improvement. There is no royal road tc tile-laying, and the beginner should count the cost at the outset. A good many acres of virgin land at the West might be bought for what must be paid to get an efficient system of drains laid under a single acre at home. Any man who stops at this point of the argument will probably move West,—or do nothing.
Yet, it is susceptible of demonstration that, even at the West, in those localities where Indian Com is worth as much as fifty cents per bushel at the farm, it will pay to drain, in the best manner, all such land as is described in * the first chapter of this book as in n*;ed of draining, Arguments to prove this need not be based at all on cheapness of the work; only on its effects and its permanence.
In fact, so far as draining with tiles is concerned, cheap ness is a delusion and a snare, for the reason that it implies something less than the best work, a compromise between excellence and inferiority. The moment that we come down from the best standard, we introduce a new element into the calculation. The sort of tile draining which it is the purpose of this work to advocate is a system so coinISO
plete Ii every particular, that it may be considered as an absolutely permanent improvement. During the first years of the working of the drains, they will require more or less attention, and some expense for repairs; but, in well constructed work, these will be very slight, and will soon cease altogether. In proportion as we resort to cheap devices, which imply a neglect of important parts of the work, and a want of thoroughness in the whole, the expense for repairs will increase, and the duration of the usefulness of the drains will diminish.
Drains which are permanently well made, and which will, practically, last for all time, may be regarded as a good investment, the increased crop of each year, paying a good interest on the money that they cost, and the money being still represented by the undiminished value of the improvement. In such a case the draining of the land may be said to cost, not $50 per acre,—but the interest on $50 each year. The original amount is well invested, and brings its yearly dividend as surely as though it were represented by a government bond.
With badly constructed drains, on the other hand, the case is quite different. In buying land which is subject to no loss in quantity or quality, the farmer considers, not so much the actual cost, as the relation between the yearly interest on the cost, and the yearly profit on the crop,— knowing that, a hundred years hence, the land will still be worth his money.
But if the land were bounded on one side by a river which yearly encroached some feet on its bank, leaving the field a little smaller after each freshet; or if, every spring, some rods square of its surface were sure to be covered three feet deep with stones and sand, so that the actual value of the i property became every year less, the purchaser would compare the yearly value of the crops, not only with the interest on the price, but, in addition to this, with so much of the prime value as yearly disappears with the destruction of the land.
It is exactly so with the question of the cost of drain. age. If the work is insecurely done, and is liable, in five years or in fifty, to become worthless; the increase of the crops resulting from it, must not only cover the yearly interest on the cost, but the yearly depreciation as well. Therefore what may seem at the time of doing the work to be cheapness, is really the greatest extravagance. It is like buiding a brick wall with clay for mortar. The bricks and the workmanship cost full price, and the small saving on the mortar will topple the wall over in a few years, while, if well cemented, it would have lasted for centuries. The outting and filling of the ditches, and the purchase and transportation of the tiles, will cost the same in every case, and these constitute the chief cost; if the proper care in grading, tile-laying and covering, and in making outlets be stingily withheld,—saving, perhaps, one-tenth of the expense,—what might have been a permanent improvement to the land, may disappear, and the whole outlay be lost in ten years. A saving of ten per cent. in the cost will have lost us the other ninety in a short time.
But, while cheapness is to be shunned, economy is to be sought in every item of the work of draining, and should be studied, by proprietor and engineer, from the first examination of the land, to the throwing of the last shovelful of earth on to the filling of the ditch. There are few operations connected with the cultivation of the soil in which so much may be imperceptibly lost through neglect, and carelessness about little details, as in tile-draining. In the original levelling of the ground, the adjustment of the lines, the establishing of the most judicious depth and inclination at each point of the drains, the disposition of surface streams during the prosecution of the work, and in the width of the excavation, the lino which divides economy and wastefulness is extremely narrow and the