How to plant a tree

The operation of inserting plants in the soil is performed in various ways; the most general mode recommended by Marshal and Nicol is pitting, in which two persons are employed, one to operate on the soil with a spade, and the other to insert the plant and hold it till the earth is pat round it, and then press down the soil with the foot. The pit having been dug for several months, the surface will therefore be incrusted by the rains or probably covered with weeds The man first strikes the spade downwards to the bottom two or three times, in order to loosen the soil, then poaches it, as if mixing mortar for the builder; he next lifts up a spadeful of the earth, or if necessary two spadesful, so as to make room for all the fibres without their being anywise crowded together; he then chops the rotten turf remaining in the bottom and levels the whole. The boy now places the plant perfectly upright an inch deeper than when it stood in the nursery, and holds it firm in that position. The man trindles in the mould gently; the boy gently moves the plant not from side to side, but upwards and downwards until the fibres be covered. the man then fills in all the remaining mould, and immediately proceeds to chop and poach the next pit, leaving the boy to set the plant upright and to tread the mould about it. This in stiff, wet soil he does lightly, but in sandy or gravelly soil he continues to tread until the soil no longer retains the impression of his foot. The man has by this time got the pit ready for the next plant; the boy is also ready with it in his hand, and in this manner the operation goes on.

One general rule, and one of considerable importance in transplanting, is to set the plant or tree no deeper in the ground than it was originally; deep planting very often causes a delay, if not sudden destruction.

The following mode has been practised for many years on the Duke of Montrose's estate, in Scotland: The operator with his spade makes three cuts twelve or fifteen inches long, crossing each other in the centre at an angle of 60 degrees the whole having the form of a star. He inserts his spade across one of the rays, a few inches from the centre, and on the side next himself; then bending the handle towards himself, and almost to the ground the earth opening in fissures from the centre in the direction of the cuts which had been made, he at the same instant inserts his plant at the point where the spade intersected the ray pushing it forward to the centre and assisting the roots in rambling through the fissures. He then lets down the earth by removing his spade, having pressed it into a compact state with his heel; the operation is finished by adding a little earth with the grass side down, completely covering the fissures for the purpose of retaining the moisture at the root, and likewise as a top-dressing, which greatly encourages the plant to put fresh roots between the swards.

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