The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Northern England and Southern Scotland in 1841

Allanton Park

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Allanton Park has been done justice to by Mr. Nesfield, in our Volume for 1838. The gardener pointed out to us the different transplanted trees of which Mr. Nesfield has given the dimensions; and we found them, as might have been expected from the account which Sir Henry has published of the preparation of the soil, in vigorous growth. There can be no doubt of the success of the mode of transplanting adopted by Sir Henry Steuart; but it is a great mistake to suppose that it is the best that can be adopted in every case. Notwithstanding the small cost which attended this mode of transplanting at Allanton, every where else it will be found far too expensive for general purposes. It is also very tedious; for a large tree requires four or five years to prepare. In the great majority of cases, the best mode of transplanting large trees is to take them up with as many roots as possible, even though these should extend 10 ft. or 12 ft. on every side, reduce the head in proportion to the roots, envelope the trunk and main branches in hay-bands, plant in a mass of thoroughly prepared soil, and supply water liberally during the first summer. In all situations which are tolerably sheltered, this mode will be found to succeed; and it is evident, that it must be far less tedious and expensive than the mode adopted at Allanton. In the case of exposed situations, there is no better mode, in our opinion, than depriving the stem of all its branches, in the Continental manner described in detail in p. 130. The decapitated tree, in this case, will grow very slowly at first, but its growths, like those of a seedling plant placed in the same situation, will accommodate themselves to the exposure, and produce a vigorous tree there, in a shorter time than it could be produced by any other means; whereas a tree with a branchy head would, in the first year, be blown to one side, and, the shelter of that side occasioning every year the largest shoots to be produced there, the tree would continue one-sided for many years, if not always. We are quite aware of all that has been said against decapitating trees, and even cutting over the stems of thorn plants before planting a quick hedge; but we have seen and read enough to satisfy us that the modes we have recommended are the best for general purposes. In gardening, as in other arts, science will explain the cause of success or failure, and it will sometimes suggest new and improved practices: but no reasoning on scientific principles can set at nought practices which have been attended with success for ages; and one of these, in our opinion, is the Continental mode of transplanting large trees. On extraordinary occasions, it may be desirable to prepare a tree for three or four years before it is removed; and, in that case, no details can be more complete than those given in the Planter's Guide. [Editor's Note: Allanton House belong to Henry Steuart, author of THE PLANTER'S GUIDE; Or, a Practical Essay on the Best Method.. ]