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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/20

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12
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and sixty feet high. Wonderful stories are told, also, of the value of the eucalyptus as a preventive of malaria, and in reclaiming swamps by absorbing their moisture. But, whatever may or may not be true of it in these respects, the rapidity of its growth and the quality of its wood will commend its cultivation wherever it can be acclimated.

A good deal has been expected of the Scotch pine, and it has been somewhat extensively imported for the purpose of planting. In Europe it has a great reputation for the durability of its wood, and for its rapid growth on poor soils and in exposed situations. But time is seeming to prove that this tree is not well adapted to our country. It grows well for a while, and has a promising appearance while young; but, after attaining an age of from twelve to twenty years, it is apt to fail, dying off suddenly, to the great disappointment of the planter. Its most valuable use is as a nurse-tree in very exposed places, where it will shelter other and better trees until they get established and are able to take care of themselves.

But it is hardly worth while to go abroad for the Scotch pine when we have at home such a tree as the pitch-pine (P. rigida). This tree can be produced from seed in this country in the open field with as much certainty as a crop of corn. It has been grown for many years in this way on the barren and wind-swept soil of Cape Cod, and its cultivation has been entirely successful. Large plantations of it are to be found there, and, for the production of fuel and as a nurse for more valuable trees in such exposed and sterile situations, it has proved worthy the attention of land-holders, as it can be planted at a cost of from one to two dollars an acre.

But the white pine is the most valuable of the conifers for our Northern States. No other is equal to it as a timber-tree. The one drawback to its cultivation is the difficulty of producing it from seed in the open field. It is a tender and delicate plant at its beginning. It needs the care and shelter of the nursery. But a tree so noble when fully grown, and so valuable for many purposes, is worthy of all needed care when young, and will repay it abundantly. The tree-planter can well afford to be at the expense of transplanting this tree from the nursery. For timber, when fully grown, for shelter-belts on farms and grounds, as well as for its fine appearance on the lawn as a single tree or in clumps, our American white ]pine stands second to no other tree in its claims upon the attention of the planter. The rapidity with which it is being swept away by the lumberman's axe, together with its great usefulness and desirability in the arts, and especially for building purposes, will give this tree for some time to come an increasing economic value.

The European larch is quite worthy of cultivation, especially in New England. Professor Sargent says, "There is no tree capable of producing so large an amount of such valuable timber in so short a