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Trenk, Fred B. (Fred Benjamin), 1900- / Forest planting handbook
(1932)

Plantations for special products and purposes,   pp. 29-34 PDF (1.7 MB)


Page 31


  Douglas fir, a tree of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific slopes, pos-
sesses ideal form, compactness and ability to retain its needles. It is
rather slow growing, except on reasonably fertile and moist soils. The
northern Rocky Mountain variety rather than that from the Pacific
slopes must be used as only this variety is adapted to Wisconsin con-
ditions.
  Balsam fir is sold extensively in the markets because it is an excel-
lent tree, and if successfully planted it should bring a profitable re-
turn. However, balsam is not always easy to plant. It grows rather
slowly at first and if grown too closely or crowded by weeds, it sheds
the needles of its lower branches, a condition which must be avoided
in a Christmas tree.
  All of these trees require moderately good soil. Distinctly sandy
soils must be avoided. It is not true that any worn-out fields on the
farm are suitable for growing Christmas trees. The soil may be of low
fertility, but it should be a loam or gravelly loam soil, well-drained
but moist. Badly eroded soil, from which the greater part of the
plant food has been carried away, will not produce well-shaped, deep-
colored trees.
Source and Size of Stock
  Section two of the agreement between the conservation department
and purchasers of trees requires that the purchaser "will not dig, cut
off, or move these trees after planting until they are large enough to
be sold for merchantable timber." This definitely applies to Christmas
tree plantings, and therefore trees from the state nursery cannot be
planted for Christmas tree purposes. Moreover, although there is an
increasing demand for living Christmas trees, the resale of young
trees purchased from the conservation department is forbidden. The
trees, therefore, will either have to be grown from seed or be pur-
chased from a private nursery.
  Considerable care and skill is required in growing evergreen trees
from seed, and losses of trees are often high during the first year of
growth in the seed bed. Methods of seeding and seed bed construction
will not be discussed here, but interested persons are referred to the
United States Department of Agriculture Farmers' Bulletin No. 1453,
"Growing and Planting of Coniferous Trees on the Farm." Other refer-
ences will be found in the appendix of this bulletin.
  Private nurserymen usually have for sale, at special prices for large
lot deliveries, one or more of the suitable Christmas tree species.
They may be either seedlings or small trees once transplanted. The
transplants are preferable, because they grow more rapidly immedi-
ately after planting and losses in planting are usually lower.
Planting Methods
   Some soil preparation is desirable. If the soil between the rows is
to be cropped for several years, the whole plantation area should be
plowed and the trees planted in rows, preferably in check rows, in the
cultivated soil. The planting, cultivating, and harvesting of a possible
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