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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/25

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METHODS AND PROFIT OF TREE-PLANTING.

fifty cents apiece, and hardly worth that, have been planted with the native pitch and white pine, the Scotch and Austrian pine, the Norway spruce, and the European larch, are equally convincing. Mr. Fay planted in 1854, and in 1877 had one hundred and twenty-five acres densely covered with trees. The larches had reached a height of forty feet and a diameter of fourteen inches. Scotch pines, sown as late as 1861, were thirty feet high and ten inches in diameter a foot from the ground. Mr. Fay is abundantly satisfied with the results of his experiments. Professor Sargent says, speaking of the plantations made by Messrs. Fay and others: "When we consider the success which has attended the experiments of these gentlemen in reclothing their property with forest growths, under circumstances, too, as disadvantageous as it is possible for Massachusetts to offer, it must be acknowledged that the attempt to replant our unimproved lands. is a perfectly feasible one; and the only wonder is that the inhabitants of Essex and Barnstable Counties, with such examples before them, have not already planted their worthless, worn-out lands with a crop which would yield a larger profit than any they have produced since the first clearing of the forest."

Taking the results of Mr. Fay's planting, and the average results of the planting of the larches in the Highlands of Scotland, which are nearly the same in like conditions, Professor Sargent finds that, on ordinary soil, larches planted when about one foot high and three years old, will in twenty years average twenty-two feet in height and seven inches in diameter three feet from the ground; and that in thirty years they will be from thirty-five to forty feet high and twelve inches in diameter; and, if thinned out, the remaining trees, at fifty years from the time of planting, will reach from sixty to seventy feet in height and at least twenty inches in diameter. On this basis he makes the estimated profit on a plantation of ten acres of larch-trees, at the end of fifty years, to be $52,282.75, or thirteen per cent per annum for the whole time. The estimate is carefully made, as would be seen, if we had space for the particulars; but with a considerable discount from the figures of Professor Sargent there is left, certainly, a reasonable profit.

It is to be remembered also that trees are not exhausting crops, but that they tend to enrich and improve the land on which they grow. If this be taken into account, the estimate of possible and probable profit from the planting of our many acres of wild, rocky, sandy, and other poor and practically waste land, is to be counted only by millions of dollars, while the benefits that would accrue from extensive tree-planting in the more equable distribution of rain and the flow of our streams in meteorologic influences upon health and comfort, and in other ways, would be simply incalculable.