(29) ROADSIDE TREES AND HEDGES
Little attention is paid to the planting of trees along road-sides, and in such situations healthy or well-shaped ones are seldom seen. A pit should be made of sufficient size (2 to 3 feet square), and filled with good soil mixed with rotten dung. The plants require to be fenced, and for the first summer occasionally watered, and the earth dug and kept clear of weeds. In forming avenues on boulevards, the trees should be planted 30 feet apart, and if space allows of it, there should be a double row to form a shady arch for pedestrians. The oversight of these is sometimes given to the surfaceman, or to a man appointed for the purpose, and it should be his duty to maintain the avenues complete. Trees, especially in or near large towns, are subject to injuries which disfigure their appearance or retard their growth, and not unfrequently destroy the plants. To prevent this it is customary to surround the stem with a cradle, or matting, or thorny branches.
Hedge-plants are of great importance both for shelter and protection of plantations. By far the best for outside hedges are the common hawthorn and the wild crab. The sloe or black thorn makes an excellent hedge; but it throws up many suckers, and requires constant attention to keep it within bounds. It forms, however, an excellent barrier for picturesque plantations, where it is allowed to spread itself in every direction. Holly and yew hedges are suitable for inner enclosures. The only forms an excellent hedge, both for gardens and fields, as its leaves are rarely injured by insects; and, being an evergreen, it harbours neither weeds nor verming at its roots. Birds are also much less apt to build in it than in deciduous hedges. It has two disadvantages, viz., the slowness of its growth , and imperviousness to wind in the winter season. Were holly hedges occasionally introduced among those of the common thorn, they would add greatly to the beauty of the country in winter. The common furze sown on the top of a bank forms an effective hedge in a short period, but it is not durable. In moist soils, willows or poplars, and in situations exposed to the sea-breeze the elder, may be planted; but such hedges can hardly be considered as fences from want of compactness and density of foliage. The land for hedges should be carefully prepared and freed from weeds before planting, and the expense of doing this will be well repaid by the growth of the hedge afterwards. The ground should be cleared of weeds two or three times a year until the plants have reached some height. Hedge plants should not be pruned till after three years, or they will become stunted; after that pruning should take place once a year. A hedge one-third beech and two-thirds hawthorn is excellent for high and cold situations.
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