(36) PROPAGATION AND CULTURE OF TREES BEARING NUTS, ACORNS, MASTS, KEYS, ETC.
These ripen from October to December. Acorns usually in November; but the beech, horse chestnut, walnut, and hazarl ripen their fruit in October, and most of the sycamores and maples in September . all these sought to be gathered as soon as ripe, because the best are liable to be picked up by wild animals as soon as they drop. They may be sown immediately or kept till February, as in neither case will they come up till April or May. The seeds should be sown in a sandy loam, in drills, at such a distance from each other that the leaves of the seedlings may not touch at the end of the first season; they should be gently pressed down into the soil, and covered to twice the depth of the seed. Drills are recommended for this description of tree-seeds that a spade may be inserted obliquely between the rows, so as to cut the tap-root of the plants, and force it to throw out lateral roots. This is commonly done in the spring of the second year, and, by increasing the lateral roots and their fibres, renders the tree better adapted for transplanting. At the end of the second year plants so treated may be taken up, and either planted where they are to remain, or transplanted into nursery lines, at distances suited to the habit of the species. Here they may remain two years longer, and be again replanted. The larger and stronger broad-leaved tap-rooted trees are, up to a certain point, before they are removed from the nursery, the more vigorously will they grow where they are finally to remain. The size to be attained in the nursery must depend on the condition of the soil into which they are to be transplanted. If moisture be so abundant as to supply the fibrils with water during the first summer, even if the removed plant has a stem an inch in diameter, so much the better, it being understood that it has been transplanted in the nursery every two years, and is therefore well supplied with fibrous roots, and has its wood perfectly ripe. If, on the other hand, the soil into which the plant is to be transplanted is dry and poor, the plants should be removed there at the end of the second year, because such plants, being of small size, have few leaves to exhale moisture, and before thy grow large they will have adjusted their roots and annual growths to the locality.
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