(19) THE COMMON BIRCH
The COMMON BIRCH (Betula alba, L.) is a tree of the second rank, worthy of culture in inferior soils and situations, especially as coppice-wood. The spray, in some parts of the country, is sold to the besom-maker, and gives a fair return.
The tree seeds freely, and is easy of management. It is often planted in poor soil as a nurse for oak and sweet chestnut. It yields excellent fuel.
The wood is used for carving, furniture, and agricultural implements, and in the Highlands of Scotland and Sweden for building material. The bark, covered with a layer of earth, is used in roofing, and baskets and boxes are made of it. The weeping birch forms one of the most beautiful features in Highland scenery.
None of the American or Himalayan birches have yet been planted with a view to profit as timber-trees, though cultivated for many years.
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