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ARTICLE XIV.-ON PLANTING WASTE LANDS,-MON-
XV.-ON LANDSCAPE GARDENING, SIR H.
XVI.-TYTLER'S HISTORY OF SCOTLAND,
ON PLANTING WASTE LANDS.
[The Forester's Guide and Profitable Planter. ROBERT MONTEATH. Edinburgh, 1824. Review, October, 1827.]
EDUCATION has been often compared to the planting and training up of vegetable productions, and the parallel holds true in this remarkable particular, amongst others, that numerous systems are recommended and practised in both cases which are totally contradictory of each other, and most of which can, nevertheless, be supported by an appeal. to the fruits they have brought forth. It would seem to follow that the oak is more easily taught to grow, and the young idea how to shoot, than is generally allowed by the warm assertors of particular systems, and that Nature will, even in cases
of neglect or mismanagement, do a great deal to supply the errors or carelessness whether of the preceptor or the forester. It would be wasting words, to set about proving that in both departments there are certain rules which greatly assist Nature in her operations, and bring the tree, or the youth, to an earlier and higher degree of maturity than either would otherwise have obtained. But we think it equally plain, that the rules which are found most effectual are of a very general character, and, when put into practice, must be modified according to the circumstances of each individual case; from which it results, that an exclusive attachment to the minutiae of particular systems will, in many instances, be found worse than unnecessary.
To apply this maxim to the art of planting, we would remark, that there are certain general principles respecting planting, pruning, thinning, and so forth, without which no plantations will be found eminently successful, even in the most advantageous situations; and which, being carefully followed, in less favourable circumstances, will
make up for many deficiencies of soil and climate. But on the other hand, there are many peculiar modes of treating plantations which, succeeding extremely well in one situation, will in another impede, rather than advance, the progress of the wood. Yet it frequently happens that these very varieties, or peculiarities of practice, are insisted upon, by those who build systems, as the indispensable requisites for success in every case. This
leads to empirical doctrines of all sorts, which, perhaps, prevail more among planters than in any other department of rural practice. Such are, violent and exclusive prepossessions entertained in favour of any particular kind of tree, how valuable soever; such are also the differences eagerly and obstinately maintained respecting particular modes of preparing the ground, and the precise season of putting in the plants. Such, also, are some particular doctrines held concerning pruning. Upon all these points we find practical men entertain and express very opposite opinions, with as much pertinacity as if they had been handed down, in direct tradition, from the first of men and of foresters. The feuds arising from these differences of opinion have, as in the case of religion itself, been unfavourable to the progress of the good cause; and one of the most important of national improvements has been, in a great measure, neglected, because men could not make up their minds concerning the very best possible mode of conducting it.
We are far, very far, from supposing ourselves capable of filling up, by a general sketch, a summary of rules which may be useful to the planter, yet we claim some knowledge of the subject, from sixteen years' undeviating attention to the raising young plantations of considerable extent, upon lands which may be, in general, termed waste or unimproved. Indeed, to lay aside for a moment our impersonality, the author of this article having, in the course of that time, seen reason to change his