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is to be set along an old fence-row, the fence ought to be moved the year previous, and the ground broken up and cultivated. It would then be in a better condition to receive the hedge. After the ground has been fully prepared, it is necessary to stake off the row, and draw a line to work by. The hole for inserting the plants should be made with a dibble, twelve inches in length, and three and a half inches in diameter at the top, having a wicket into which to insert a handle, with a pin at the top of the socket to bear the foot upon, in pressing it into the ground to make the holes; these holes should be about eight inches apart; the plants then to be put into the holes about an inch deeper than they were in the ground when in the nursery—the earth to be then well packed about the roots. Proper transplanting is one of the most important matters in getting the hedge properly started. Too much care cannot be taken in this particular. Afterwards comes the cultivating, hoeing, ploughing, &c. The soil on both sides of the hedge needs thorough cultivation, and the bedge row must be kept clean during the whole of the summer season. Nostock should be allowed in the enclosure where the hedge is set until after harvest; and it is better to have none until fall. The summer's growth will by that time become hard, and will thenceforward protect itself.
The next spring, a year from the time the hedge was set out, it must be cut off at the surface of the ground, below all the buds, just at the top of the yellow root. The root will then swell up, and put out a number of strong shoots, just at the surface of the ground. It then needs to be thoroughly cultivated until about the middle of June, when it should have another cutting within two inches of the former one, and then cultivate as usual. By this process of cutting, is formed at once a strong and firm base; and if this process of cultivating thoroughly, and cutting down completely, is carried out systematically, success is certain. It is thought by some that it is necessary to cut down more than twice a year, but it is a mistake, for any one who has had any experience in matters of this kind, as one practical farmer assures us, will know that it is necessary to let a tree form a top to a certain extent, in order to obtain roots and trunk; and by keeping it trimmed too closely it will paralyze its growth. The following spring cut within three or four inches of the former cutting, and again in June four or five inches above that, continuing the cultivation until it is four years old, and even after it has attained the size necessary to answer the purpose of a good fence, the ground alongside of it should be kept in good condition.
Many persons have supposed that the plant will not endure severe cold. It certainly has endured cold 35° below zero, and will undoubtedly meet the contingencies of hard winters; but like every thing else upon a farm, it ought never to be treated with neglect. The only difficulty is the first winter, on ground that cracks badly with frost. A sure remedy for this is to cover the ground close up on both sides with straw, in the fall. The straw need never be removed, as it keeps the ground moist, and the weeds from growing in the summer.
The fourth spring it may be cut six or seven inches above the former cutting. The following June eight inches higher, after which the latter part of the summer's growth will make it sufficient to answer the purpose of a good fence. After this, trimming once a year will be sufficient; this should be done in the latter part of the summer or fall, before the wood hardens. It will be found that much less trimming is necessary after the hedge is formed. The reason is very obvious, to wit: its manner of growing will cause each plant to spread and throw out a great number of branches, to be supplied with sap, and cause the former vigorous growth to be exhausted, so that it will then grow more slowly.
The first cutting, that of one year after the hedge has been set, can be best done with a pair of shears made for the purpose, and to be had at most hardware stores. The second cutting can be done with a short, heavy, briar scythe, hung upon a strong, stiff snathe. The second year's cutting can also be done with a scythe. The best way is to walk along the right side of the row, and cut half way, or to the centre of the row. When you get to the end of the row, turn around to the right, and come back upon the other side, cutting the other half in a similar manner. In so doing it can be cut of an oval shape. Then by taking a large cutter, such as are used for cutting up cornstalks-it should be kept very sharp-using the knife and cutter to trim the sides, and keep them in proper shape, at all times letting the lower branches extend out, in order that they may become strong, that the base may be wide. It should be at least four or five feet wide at four years old. If the lateral shoots are trimmed as frequently, and with as much thoroughness as the upright shoots, they will soon lose their vigor and strength, as the natural tendency of the growth is upward-hence the necessity of skill and judgment to properly form the hedge. Great care should be taken to secure a closė, strong, and firm base, since a large portion of the hedges that have been set have failed, for want of the use of a proper method in forming the base. The trimming of the third year can be done in the same manner as that of the second year. The fourth year's trimming will have to be done mostly with the knife, at all times keeping the hedge in the shape of the one above represented.
Concerning the amount of time and labor expended in planting and cultivating this plant for hedge purposes, another practical farmer assures us, that it takes four or five years to make a fence, costing one day's work for forty rods in planting, as much for cultivating and hoeing as it would cost to hoe a row of corn, and no more ; say half a day for cutting and hoeing forty rods yearly, which for five years would be
two and a half days for forty rods; in all, at $1 per day, the cost would be $350. He speaks of companies who set out thousands of rods of Osage hedge yearly; they charge sixty cents a rod, but get but little pay down ; they guarantee a good fence, and wait for most of the pay until the fence is perfected. It is true, says our farmer, that the ground should be well prepared, and all the work well done, and in season, to make a good hedge row; so it must be to make a good row of corn, and there is no more difficulty, and but little more labor in cultivating the Osage Orange row, than the row of corn.
Such are the merits and excellencies of this plant, that in the opinion of the most experienced hedge-growers, the Osage Orange will rapidly take the place of all other fences on the prairies, inasmuch as it is more protective, easier to be kept in repair, and the cost is but trifling.
The preceding cut represents a full grown and completed hedge fence : nothing would add more to the beauty and protection of a farm, than being surrounded and divided by well trimmed and thrifty hedges.
The preparation of maple sugar is considered one of the most agreeable of their occupations, by farmers residing in districts where many sugar maple trees grow wild. A great part of the forests of Northern Illinois consists of these valuable trees. Towards the latter part of March, when the buds begin to swell, and the nocturnal frosts are followed by warm days, these trees are tapped with augers, about two feet above the earth, and hollow elder tubes being inserted in the bores, the sap is made to trickle through them into troughs placed below. Every morning the contents of the troughs are emptied into kettles, and the sap, at first but slightly sweet, is boiled the whole day until it assumes the thickness of syrup; from the moment it commences to thicken, it is continually stirred. This maple syrup has a very agreeable and aromatic taste, as if it had been mixed with vavilla, or the extract of orange blossoms, and hardens within a few hours after being poured out of the kettle into flat vessels. If it is previously clarified with milk, or the white of eggs, the sugar receives a light brown color; without such previous purification, however, it has a dark brown appearance, having, nevertheless, a sweet and pleasant taste. From one bore of a tree a gallon of sap runs out, within about twenty-four hours, three or four gallons yielding a pound of sugar. At spring time, a family can prepare from one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds of sugar within eight days. Tapping the trees does not damage them, if, after the sap has ceased to flow, the holes are stopped with clay.
In districts where no sugar maples grow wild, every farmer should plant a half or a quarter of an acre with these trees, which may be easily raised from the seed. In the short space of eight or ten years, he might raise a sufficient supply for himself, and in a longer period,